Based on a job market that, of late, seems to be trending up, recent graduates have more of an opportunity to get the job that they want, rather than settling for the job that they need.
But the job market hasn’t fully bounced back and it’s still tough out there, so here are four tips to consider before hitting the job trail:
Start your search early. Students should get a head start on understanding what they want in a career – based on both professional interests and what they expect from an employer – to ensure they are prepared to move forward when presented with the right opportunity. Beyond reflecting on what they want, students need to spend time actually researching prospective opportunities.
There are so many tools available for students to use to learn more about a company or an industry – such as a company’s website or social platforms – that students should take the time to research an organization’s mission and values. That kind of due diligence always comes in handy during the interview phase. For additional insight on an industry or a specific organization and help further refine the job search, students also can speak with a professional recruiter.
Work your network and follow up. Top companies make hiring decisions well in advance of graduation, so that means the job search needs to begin well in advance of your last college exam. Connect with friends, family and teachers to advertise your job hunt. You never know what kind of opportunities you can uncover unless you ask.
Students also should take advantage of professional organizations on campus both for networking opportunities and for the chance to learn more about what they do or don’t like. As a result, hopefully you won’t waste time on that six month unpaid internship in an industry that doesn’t suit you, but instead, you’ll channel your efforts into what you know you want. And as with any meeting, don’t forget to follow up with new connections and send a thank you note, even after informational interviews. Take advantage of LinkedIn, connect with everyone you know including recruiters, follow companies that you are interested in working for and join groups that you are interested in.
Get comfortable with major trends in your field. Read industry publications to understand the major trends and how they fit into the bigger picture of the business. Graduates with a fresh perspective and solid understanding of an industry are more valuable to hiring managers than folks that don’t have a similar level of industry awareness.
For example, in the IT world, every organization across every industry is investing in how data is captured, stored, analyzed and kept secure. Yet, there is a shortage of qualified candidates.
If you’re coming out of school with a strong understanding of not only how data works, but what core functions are trending in the industry, AND you can prove you’re a quick learner, you’ll be in great shape as an attractive candidate to employers.
Get the right work experience. Understanding the type of work experience required for a new job is central to landing it. Experience is one of the first things hiring managers look at when evaluating a candidate. Whether it’s a paid position or an unpaid internship, think ahead to the roles you’ll fill in the future. Are you adequately preparing for them? Research the certifications or degrees you’ll need down the road, and start mapping out how you’ll earn them en route to your dream job.
Katie Kocmond is an Information Technology Recruiting Manager at Addison Group, a nationwide provider of professional staffing and search services. Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration & Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Addison has received Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for both Client and Candidate service for the past four years. Learn more at www.addisongroup.com.