Heather Cooper asked for last minute volunteer ideas, internship tricks, and club involvement that would be helpful for a last minute boost to her resume. Below are some responses on ways Heather, and you, can give your resume that “wow” factor.
Rick Chen: More people need to take advantage of your campus’ career center. Most people start to go to the career center in April or May when they are about to graduate. The best thing to do is to be a regular at the career center. Get internship opportunities, resume reviews, and career counseling for the four years that you are paying for it with your tuition and school fees.
In your senior year, take advantage of more “practical” advice the career center provides. Do mock interviews so you feel comfortable and understand the type of questions that people will ask. Get your resume reviewed multiple times by different people to get second and third opinions with different perspectives. Browse through the alumni network, attend network events with alumni and local corporations and companies, and browse the career center’s job postings.
Nathan Parcells: This is a great question! Here are my thoughts:
1. Focus on finishing out strong. This means maintaining or improving your GPA, taking courses relevant to your major and ones that will improve your job prospects. Hint: students who have tech skills tend to do better in their job search.
2. Build relationships with professors. During senior year it’s easy to zone out, dreaming about your post-grad life (should I backpack through Europe or…) but don’t let senioritis stop you from taking advantage of your academic network. Believe it or not, many of your professors were professionals in a former life. Meaning: They know people and will likely have contacts in your industry. Facebook mentioned that professors are often the first group they turn to when looking for top talent on campus. Be genuine, take your professor up on office hours, ask to grab a coffee and find out what kind of meaningful advice they can offer regarding your post-grad job plans or career search. When a company comes calling, you want to be there person who’s first in their mind to contact.
3. Get involved on campus but make it count. This is a great idea if you can find a way to gain meaningful experience. Hint: don’t just join a group, pay dues, and never show up. Figure out how you can pick up a new skill or improve an existing one. Skills like managing a group’s social media accounts, organizing outreach, event planning, website design, account management, and community building are all transferrable to your post-grad job hunt.
4. Attend the career fair. No, really, don’t miss out on it. Companies spend a good amount of money to visit your school. But don’t go without a plan. Research the companies that are attending and select the ones that will be a good fit for your background. Drag out the suit your mom insisted you take with you to campus, take it to the cleaners, show up early with your resume and cover letter, and ask meaningful questions. As the person mentioned above, take advantage of your career center. Like professors, they also know people and they are full of resources. Sign up for the mock interviews, let them give your resume, cover letter, and portfolio the once-over.
5. Start early. Most companies start recruiting early and this means that your post-grad job search begins now.
6. Get an internship! If you have the time, one of the best ways to obtain additional experience is by interning.
1. Network with past and current professors. Let them know what you are interested in doing and ask for any advice/contacts in the industry you are interested in.
2. Every so often, send an email to friends who have already graduated. Find out what they are doing and where they are located. Again, tell them what you are interested in and see if they have any advice/contacts.
3. If you haven’t already done so, join a professional organization. These organizations offer a great alumni network and events that can build your resume.
Nicki Affonso-McMorrow: To follow-up on Nathan’s comment about career fairs, go to all of the ones offered on your campus.
At my school, we have separate career fairs for engineering, nursing, and business. Different companies go to each, so why not check them all out? If you have an interest in a particular company or field, there is no reason you can’t go and at least get a business card. The person there may not be in the department you’d like to be in, but they certainly will know someone who is.