Congratulations to the class of 2013. After graduation parties and a few days on the beach, it’s time to focus on your career strategy. There are several things you can do over the summer to get a jump on your classmates in what may be your first professional job search.
Before you leave campus for good, ask your professors and classmates if you can stay connected during your job search. Professors may be willing to serve as references, and classmates in your field of study may turn up job opportunities or connections that will be helpful to you. This is your first chance to establish a strong network, and the skills you build now will be critical to your future success. Connect with your university’s alumni association; they will be able to connect you with alumni in your field.
One of the constraints you’ll face in the job market is your lack of actual business experience. Select some of your best work from classes in your major to use as proof of what you learned and how you performed. If you have completed class projects like social media or advertising campaigns, case studies, or financial analysis, keep a couple of samples to offer employers as proof of the quality work you are capable of doing. You may be asked for a writing sample if you’re going into a job that requires writing, so keep what you consider to be an example of your best writing as well.
Set up an effective LinkedIn profile and start following companies that are leaders in your targeted industry or profession. (Be sure to get a professional, well-lit head shot for your profile; this is no place for a blurry self-shot.) You can also find university alumni through a LinkedIn search, and your recent graduation is a great reason to ask for a connection. There are plenty of good resources out there to help you craft a profile that presents you as a serious job candidate.
Start your research on how to market yourself.
Here’s a list of blog posts and online articles for young jobseekers or anyone starting out in a new job.