by Jamelia Lowman.
After years of studying, sleepless nights and papers, graduation is around the corner. College seniors: are you ready for the real world? Selicia Smith, a senior at City College, admits that she is overwhelmed and anxious about her upcoming graduation.
“I am very nervous,” says Smith, 23, a political science major and communications minor. “Even though I have worked and interned, it is not a guarantee that I would be offered a full time job, especially with the way the economy looks.”
Many other seniors share the same concern.
Preparation helps. Rahea Faniel, associate director of placement recruiting at the CCNY Career Center, offers this advice about what college seniors should be doing right now to be ready for the job market.
Tailor your resume. We have all heard a lot of different things about what the resume should look like. The bottom line: employers look for specifics. So target your resume to a certain employer–which means you’ll have more than one version. And remember to focus on skills, knowledge and work experience, including internships.
Do your research. Most students go into interviews without enough information. Go online and find out everything about the industry you’re interested in and each company you apply to. Knowing about the company shows the employer that you’re interested and you took initiative to go the extra mile.
Have a plan B. Being versatile is important in this economy. So don’t focus on one industry or one company. You need Plan A and Plan B. Students usually set their sights a little too narrow and that leaves them with limited options. Pick a minor or learn a skill outside of your major. A student becomes more marketable when their skills are diverse.
Practice those interview questions. You’ll go in with confidence and intelligence if you role play with a friend or mentor beforehand.
Work your network. Relationships are very important for college seniors; talking to professors isn’t enough. Networking does not only mean attending events. Join professional and mentoring organizations to meet professionals in the field. Get informational interviews with companies you are interested in working for, and try to shadow individuals in your field. And don’t forget to create a Linked-in page for digital networking.
Seek government jobs. The government–local, state and federal–is a huge employer. So check for the opportunities many students skip.
Get support. Attend workshops, read online articles and visit the career center.
You can have the job you want…if you’re proactive.
While these things are few, they are the most important for college seniors and all students in general. David Thompson, a career counselor at the career center says that every student should do these things, even before they are seniors.”Taking these tips and applying them would make a student more marketable and would increase their chances of getting hired,” says Thompson. “Students should visit the career center more often.”