Staying Professional throughout Your College Career:
- Carefully choose your e-mail address. You will use your e-mail to communicate with many people throughout your college career—friends, professors, advisors, potential employers, and more. It is important to have an e-mail address appropriate for all situations.
- Have at least one suit. There may be times in your college career where professional business attire will be required, such as job interviews, career fairs, and class presentations.
- Enroll in classes that prepare you for the everyday world. Even if your major doesn’t require it, try to take an upper level writing or communication course; writing and communications skills play an important role in almost every career field.
- Gain practical experience inside the classroom. Courses that offer tips in résumé writing and interviewing skills will help you tremendously when beginning the job search or graduate admissions processes.
- Look for possible work experience. Some areas of study, such as engineering or computer science, offer co-ops and internships to students. This can be one of the best ways to gain work experience before you graduate and enter the field.
- Find a balance in extracurricular activities. Activities outside the classroom can offer students a variety of options for participation; from volunteer organizations and Greek life to athletics, clubs, and professional organizations, students can meet new people and become involved on campus.
- Meet with your advisor regularly. Even if you have a specific reason for meeting, it is important to develop a relationship with your advisor. He or she can help you decide which courses and career paths are right for you.
- Have fun too! While you’re taking classes for your major, and possibly minors or concentrations too, try to take a few classes in other areas too. If your school offers them, try taking a class in aerobics or pottery or maybe golf or billiards.
Tips for Beginning the Job Search and Interviewing Process:
- Always have your résumé up to date. Even if you’re not actively searching for a job yet, you never know when an unexpected opportunity may arise.
- Start to build a portfolio of your work. Whether you have examples of classroom projects, samples of work from an intern-ship or co-op, or an assortment of both, many prospective employers like to see the type experience that you’ve had and the quality of work you can do.
- Get letters of recommendation before you graduate. If graduate school is a possibility for your future or you feel that a recommendation from a faculty member could increase your chances of getting a job, try to get a letter of recommendation before you graduate. Some schools will even keep them on file for you for future use.
- Use the career service centers that are available on campus. Career centers offer services such as career advising, practice interviews, résumé critiques, and much more.
- Attend job fairs. Many colleges and universities offer job fairs that bring representatives from businesses and organizations across the United States. Job fairs can be a great place to make new contacts and talk to others who work in your field.
- Make the most of alumni/faculty contacts. Sometimes the best way to get your foot in the door is through people you know. Some schools even provide graduates with an alumni network to help them get started in their careers.
- Take the time to really look at the jobs or graduate programs to which you are applying. Avoid blindly applying to jobs and programs without knowledge of the company or school—you don’t want to be caught off guard if the employer or school representative calls you to discuss a position or program. Being able to ask questions and engage in a discussion will increase your marketability.