It’s never too early to start thinking about how you’re going to get a job when you graduate. According to Dan Schawbel, Forbes contributor and author of personal branding guide ‘Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future’, students should be taking action as early as high school if they want to map out a promising path to getting a job straight out of uni.
Here are our top 5 tips to get ahead of the rest when it comes to landing your dream position upon graduation.
- Take charge of your job search
See your graduate job hunt like it’s a continuous process, not a mad rush when you’re actually ready to start work. You want to be thinking about how to take control of your career development as an ongoing process. Proactively follow fields of work and industries that interest you. Read trade magazines and blogs and follow influential people on Twitter. Don’t rely on job boards and recruitment agents to find a job. Use your initiative, reach out and contact employers directly. Get in touch with people who are already doing the roles you want. Ask them what the job is like and how they got there. Most people will be happy to help you along if you approach them in the right way. Keep building up contacts so that you’ve got a valuable network for the next stage of your career.
- Establish a presence on your own website or blog
Use WordPress, Weebly or Wix to put together a simple website or blog. Buy your own domain name and link it up to the site. With the rise of drag and drop website builders this is now all relatively easy to do. What should you promote or blog about? You can use the website as a resume. Feature your education, any special academic achievements or extra-curricular activities you get involved with. As for blogging, if you don’t know what career path you want to pursue, pick a personal interest and write about that. Hone in on a professional topic if you can, but if not, writing on a subject that interests you will contribute towards your overall online presence.
- Harness the power of social media
You can start a LinkedIn profile before you’ve even left high school. Detail your academic achievements and any part time jobs you’ve held to demonstrate that you have shouldered responsibility. Use Twitter to join in discussions related to your chosen career path. This way employers will become familiar with your name. Recent research suggests that 40% of employers now screen candidates on social media, so it’s more important than ever to keep your profiles clean and professional. Make sure your accounts are on private and that any information or images accessible to the public are projecting an image consistent with how you want to be perceived.
Doing an internship is one of the best ways to increase the likelihood of landing a job straight out of uni. Not only will you gain valuable, hands on experience in the field, you can also use this opportunity to develop strong working relationships with contacts in the industry. An internship looks great on your resume and demonstrates your commitment and real world ability to potential employers.
- Join an industry-specific group
Professional development and industry-specific groups are a huge and widely untapped resource. Most universities have clubs or associations affiliated with big professional groups or industries. Some examples include Sydney University’s Sydney Marketing Society and Melbourne University’s Financial Management Association of Australia. These groups can connect you to established professionals in your industry of choice. They are a great way to make relationships that are likely to be helpful in the future including potential mentoring connections.
Gone are the days of spending your time at university solely on intellectual pursuits before transitioning to job-hunting mode when you leave. These days everyone is communicating and networking online. Follow the advice above as early as you can to give yourself the greatest chance of scoring your ideal job upon graduation.
Why not start your graduate job search today?