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Attention College Seniors: Make Yourself Marketable!

This semester has already been a busy one for me! I’ve started my senior year of college (totally bittersweet!), landed two amazing internships (couldn’t make up my mind and choose one!) and have begun applications for graduate school. Yeah, I’m swamped.

Well, it’s crunch time. Sure, my fellow seniors and I have two more semesters until our parents ask us, “So what’s your plan now?” but time flies and before you know it we’ll be walking across that stage getting our diplomas.

As an experienced intern, I thought I’d share a few pointers on how to make professional networks and become recognized around the office (and even the online job market). The time to get your name out there is NOW.

Step 1: Create a LinkedIn Profile. This social networking site dedicated to connecting professionals all over the world is the ultimate way to highlight your skills. You can include educational and professional experience, as well as any outstanding qualities you may possess. Make yourself marketable. List any other languages you speak, volunteer work you’ve done, committees and clubs you’re a member of, and so on. A well-rounded individual stands out! Forget being limited to you seeking out employers. This two-way “employment website” has employers looking for you! I’ve received messages from employers who have stumbled upon my profile and offered me a position within their company!

Step 2: Internships, Internships, Internships. I cannot stress enough how important they are! Employers like experienced individuals, especially those who show initiative, superb work ethic and potential growth. Internships not only allow you to get a better understanding and feel for the particular field you’re interested in, but they also make you so much more marketable post graduation. Although some (well, most) internships are unpaid, it’s completely worth it to get the experience. Some internship positions even lead to job opportunities, so start applying!

Step 3: Introduce Yourself. Make it a point to let people in the office know who you are. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek mentorship. Go ahead and shadow various departments within that company. You increase the possibility of meeting and networking with someone who will vouch for you in your future career endeavors. The whole point of an internship is to learn. Your superiors get that you’re a college student. Don’t go crazy though! You don’t want to bother someone who has an approaching deadline with a list of “how do you think I should…” questions.

Step 4: Don’t Hold Back. As graduation approaches and it’s time to start filling out job applications, really seek out organizations you’d love to be a part of and positions you’d absolutely love to fill. Apply for your dream job. Don’t focus on the possibility that your dream job is also hundreds of other college graduates’ dream job. You’ll never know until you try! 

The real world is approaching and it’s time to start thinking about the future. Nevertheless, make sure to enjoy your last year of college! Best of luck!

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