Wednesday, March 9, 2011

College Students Prepare to Enter the Workforce

College graduations are looming for thousands of students across the country. That means students will be looking to enter a competitive job market. If you’re one of those students, it’s time to prepare for the real world. Here are a few things you should be doing now to gain an advantage over your fellow classmates.
Update your resume
Resumes are still the ticket to getting an interview in most careers. Make sure your resume has current and compelling information. Most importantly, have a few professionals proof read it for grammar and spelling. One mistake and your resume will end up in the trash. You’ll want to customize your cover letter and resume for each job application. While you’re at it, open a LinkedIn account. It’s the Facebook for professionals.
Upgrade your wardrobe
Sweatpants and hoodies may work for the classroom, but won’t cut it in the business world. Research the industry you’re looking to break into to get a sense for the dress code. You will need at least one business suit and good shoes for interviews. You’ll want to get something versatile so you can accessorize in case there is more than one in-person interview. It’s time to start building your business casual wardrobe as well.
Prepare for interviews
Interviews can be scary, but if you are well prepared you can get through them like a pro. Google interview questions and come up with common questions to expect. If you have some ideas on how you want to answer some questions—even if they don’t ask the common questions—you’ll be ready. Don’t forget to research the company granting you an interview and mention concepts they practice that you appreciate.
Don’t sell yourself short
If you haven’t already, start networking now. If you plan on staying in the community where your school is located, search out a young professionals group and also find out where industry leaders hang out. If you’re relocating, get on LinkedIn and use the connections of professionals in your community. Chances are they know people in other cities that can help you land an interview.
Don’t get discouraged. You’re entering a competitive job market. Aim for your goal, but be prepared with a back up plan. Find a job that provides you with necessary experience so you can eventually land that dream job.

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