A good job: it’s what we are all after. It’s why we are in college, and why we spend countless hours writing papers, studying, making flashcards, and reading. But if we all want jobs, and a lot of us happen to be studying the same thing, then that makes the job market pretty competitive.
So what can you do now to set yourself apart from the competition and guarantee yourself a job upon graduation?
Know yourself. Aka: know your brand. Check out last week’s blog “Personal Branding: it’s not only about social media” to learn about how to brand yourself!
Write a killer resume with a cover letter. The purpose of a cover letter is to give the reader a reason to read your resume. Your cover letter should connect you to the company/job, while your resume should demonstrate your skills and professional experience. Don’t just have a generic resume and cover letter. Tailor one specifically for each position or company you’re applying for and use keywords from the job description. Need help? Visit Resumes and Cover Letterson the CCO’s website, or come to the CCO during walk-in hours (Monday-Friday 9am-4pm) for resume/cover letter critiques.
Things you can do to build your resume:
Do internships early! Not only do internships give you REAL experience in the workplace and professional connections, internships give you the opportunity to try out a job you think you’d like to do. If you like your internship, that’s great! If you don’t like your internship, it gives you an opportunity to reevaluate your options and try other things before entering the workforce for real. Plus, interning gives you an opportunity to build your professional network. Check out the CCO Express for internships that apply to you!
Study Abroad! There are tons of study abroad opportunities and having international experience sets you apart from those who don’t! At Purdue we even have internship programs abroad, classes that go abroad for May-mesters or Spring Break, and exchange programs. You name it; the study abroad office probably has an option for you! For more info check out Purdue’s Study Abroad website.
Take leadership positions in organizations! This gives you real-world leadership experience you can talk about in an interview, and apply to any leadership roles you obtain during your career. Practice makes perfect, so practice leading!
Get involved: Getting involved in student organizations is a great way to show employers that you not only can get good grades, but you can also balance things outside of schoolwork and demonstrate skills that can’t be demonstrated in your work experience—teamwork, organization, planning, presenting, etc. Check out Purdue’s Get Involved website!
Practice interviewing: Again, practice makes perfect. So, practice interviewing! There are lists of typical interview questions on the CCO’s website. Write up answers to these questions and become comfortable answering them! The more you practice them, the more natural you will feel in an interview. Practice your responses in front of a mirror, in front of your friends… basically, just PRACTICE. You can go to InterviewStream for more practice, and last but not least, you can always schedule an appointment with an advisor at the CCO for interview preparation.
Research companies where you may want to work. Make a list of possible companies you may be interested in. This way, you have company goals in mind, and when you finally get an opportunity to talk to them, you’ll already know what they’re all about and why you want to work for them! Check out Purdue’s Career Wiki and the CCO’s Researching Companies page.
Want more information? Check out the CCO’s Job Search Skills page.