This blog post was originally written for Indiana INTERNnet and was published here.
There are a lot of different tools out there to help students better their careers during and after college, but sometimes you may not know where to start. Each of the resources below can help you find experiential opportunities, expand your network or prepare for graduation.
Career Services Offices
If you’re still in college and preparing to graduate, it’s a good idea to connect with someone at your university’s career center if you haven’t already. These offices can provide multi-faceted assistance with your post-graduation job hunt. A representative can look over your resume or cover letter for free and give you feedback. Sometimes, universities will offer a mock interview service so that you can practice answering tough questions and become more aware of your interview behavior. If you feel nervous about the job search process or want to brush up on your skills, career services is a good place to start.
Specific schools within large universities often have a variety of resources that can help new grads. Signing up for listservs is a good way to keep tabs on job opportunities that are specific to your field. Don’t forget to utilize your professors, too. These individuals are highly skilled and usually well connected to their industry, and most of them are happy to help their students out. Approach them either via email or in person and see if they have any advice for you or know anyone they’d be willing to connect you with. Remember, even if networking doesn’t result in an immediate job, it will benefit you in the future to make as many good connections as possible.
Professional Associations & Organizations
As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, there is an organization or professional association out there for just about any passion or interest a person can have. For example, I currently serve as the Vice President of the Public Relations Student Society of America at my university. This organization is built to help students in my field prepare for their post-graduation careers. It’s highly likely that your field has a similar organization. Associations can often connect you with professionals in your industry, help you find leads on jobs and internships, and gain new skills. Though membership dues can get pricey, if you utilize the benefits of your membership to its fullest extent, it will be worth it.
LinkedIn is a great tool to help you find new opportunities and make connections in your area. If you don’t already have an account, you should make one as soon as possible. It is becoming more and more common for potential employers to look up job applicants on social media, and LinkedIn is included in that. If you’re new to the site, check out these tips on making your profile the best it can be. If you already have an established network on LinkedIn, get in the habit of checking your feed regularly. Your connections will often like or share opportunities that you might not find on regular job boards. Many companies also host their own pages and use them to post job openings. Following your favorite companies and professionals closely on LinkedIn can propel your career forward.
I’m going to go ahead and plug Indiana INTERNnet for a second, not because I work for the organization but because I utilized this website to find previous internships. Indiana INTERNnet is a great resource for college students seeking internships in any industry, and each opportunity is manually vetted to make sure that the company is legitimate (other job boards are not always reliable). By creating an Indiana INTERNnet account and keeping it up to date, you can find new opportunities quickly and apply to them very easily. It’s a great tool!