Life After College: How to Position Yourself for Your Dream Career

By Cameron Resnick

After spending a pretty penny on a college education and obtaining your degree, the next step is finding a job in your chosen profession. The problem is, though, that there are thousands upon thousands of students in the exact same position, looking for the same jobs you are. Given that high level of competition, it’s essential to take the right steps to finding that first post college job before you hit the market.

1. Take advantage of the opportunities available to you while you’re still in school. Many universities offer resume-writing assistance and interview coaching to their students during their time at college. Students would be wise to take advantage of these opportunities while they are still students in order to have a clean, appealing resume ready to go long before graduation, and be interview-ready. Recruiters stress the importance of having a typo-free resume (many companies ignore resumes with such mistakes), and resumes are meant to give employers an image of who you are before meeting you. If you want to make a good impression, your resume (and personal presentation) needs to be in tip-top shape, so use the resources available at your school’s career center to get you there.

2. Develop your network. Graduates are best served by tapping into the networks they’ve built during their time at school to get a foot in the door in the professional world. To grow your professional network, consider attending conferences and symposiums during college Meeting people that have similar professional interests to you (and are already employed) will put you on the inside track to building a good network. In these situations, it’s vital to come prepared: have business cards in hand, and dress appropriately. It’s cliché, but dressing for the job you want is one of the first steps to getting that job, so a nice suit may be a worthwhile purchase (even for those on tight collegiate budgets).

At the end of the day, no one is going to hand you a job without you showing you are the perfect candidate. Companies, much like sports teams, don’t want to make bad investments when stocking their farm systems with entry-level employees. So, focus on getting where you want to be and work your way there. Nine time Olympic champion Mark Spitz said it best: “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.”



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