Landing a full-time job before graduation is one of the biggest goals for any college student! In fact, for many college students getting their dream job is their main motivation for going to college.
But today with a lot more people attending a four year university than in the past, it can be especially hard to get hired straight out of college or even have anything lined up! You no longer stand out just by having a degree.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that there is no hope! Luckily I was one of those people able to graduate knowing I had a full-time job lined up for me after college (even after COVID-19!). And I have prepared a list of all the tips and tricks I used to land a full-time job before graduation, so you can be one of those people too!
If you read and implement these super easy tips and tricks to getting a full-time job before graduation, you will definitely be ahead of the game!
1. Get Some Work Experience
In order to land a full-time job before graduation, you need to have work experience under your belt.
Unfortunately, this means real work experience. So, while your babysitting career may have gotten you into college as an extracurricular during high school, it will not for full-time employment. I have heard it straight from the mouth of a hiring manager that you need to have actual work experience.
By real or actual work experience, I mean that you need to have been a tax-recognized employee at some point. This could be working on campus at your University’s library, working as a barista at Starbucks on the weekends, or being a summer camp counselor through your hometown’s Community Center.
Whatever the actual job is, the most important thing is just having that experience to show potential future employers that you know how to be a good employee, work with others, and have responsibilities aside from academics.
INSIDER TIP: Most job applications actually require that you enter your employment history going back three employers. So I would actually recommend having three job history experiences that you can document for the application. However, one is definitely better than none!
2. Do the Groundwork Summer Your Junior Year
Believe it or not, summers during college are actually MONUMENTAL in landing you a full-time job before graduation. I know, summer is supposed to be the time where you get to relax and not have to worry about school anymore.
Well, in college, this isn’t necessarily the case. You should be busy during your summers. Either you should be working on building your work resume (see tip #1) or you should be at some type of internship.
Of course, I realize that summer 2020 is a lot different. And you shouldn’t worry too much about this! If you don’t have a job and you lost all your internship opportunities this summer, employers will be understanding. But you should still try to find value out of this somewhat different and bizarre summer. By finding value, I mean that you should have something to talk about when you are in an interview and they ask “What did you do summer 2020 since I see a gap in your resume during this time?”
Trust me they will ask questions like this. So you need to be prepared to speak about it! Just finding value in your summer experiences is important. Anything that you can talk about that makes you more of an asset to the company is great!
In addition to this, you should be thinking about what kind of job you want after graduation! Because for many majors, the time to apply for full-time jobs is during the fall. That means, you need to be doing the groundwork during Summer Your Junior Year.
Here are some questions to think about:
- What do I want to do?
- Where do I want to work?
- What are the possible companies in these industries?
Going into fall of your senior year will be ten times easier if you figure out the answers to these questions and of course, do some research!
3. Know Your Job Application Timeline
Different majors with different job prospects have different job application timelines!
For some majors, job openings and application processes don’t really start until spring. Usually these are majors in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. But for other majors, job application processes begin right at the start of fall your senior year. Most of these majors are Business, Economics, Engineering, or even if you plan to apply for graduate school.
So, you need to figure out your job application timeline before your senior year (during the summer your junior year, see tip #2), so that you can be on top of it!
Do not wait until the last second, thinking that another opportunity will pop up! If something even remotely interesting comes up, you should apply! First, it doesn’t hurt to apply. Second, the more places you apply, the more likely you will get an offer. So don’t fall into the trap of waiting.
My friends that waited, were left scrambling their Spring term! And because campus was closed due to COVID-19, they couldn’t even go to the in-person on campus career fair events. So, just think about this next time you wait!
4. Reach Out for Informational Interviews
First, what is an informational interview, you may ask?
Informational interviews are interviews that are conducted by you (as the potential hire) to people in career positions that you aspire to be in!
Or maybe you don’t aspire to be in that career position, but you love the company they work for and want more information on that. Or perhaps the person you are interviewing has their PhD and you are considering that for yourself, so you are asking them about their experience with graduate school.
In any instance, informational interviews are basically a WAY IN. They are a great way to introduce yourself in a more natural way. But also show the company or school that you are 1) a proactive person and 2) genuinely interested.
Both of these factors will make you stand out in the hiring or application process!
STORY TIME: I was actually able to skip even applying (meaning I did not have to submit a resume or cover letter to this job opening) to a job because of a great informational interview. The person I interviewed, emailed me to skip the application process and get me straight into an interview with the hiring manager at the company because our talk went so well! So if that’s not beneficial enough, I don’t know what is!
5. Stop by Your School’s Career Center
Pretty much every college or university has a career center on its campus. Despite this great resource, most students opt out of using it either because they didn’t think it was worth the time to set up an appointment or aren’t aware of it all together.
If I had to bet, I would guess that you know there is a career center on campus but have yet to utilize it like most of the other students.
This is a HUGE mistake. The career center can be a great aid in the application process. When I was applying for full-time employment before graduation, the career center helped edit and review my resume (for free), read over my cover letter (for free), audit my LinkedIn profile (for free), and give me 1-1 counseling with someone who has expertise in my field (for free)!
The fact that most students don’t maximize on the great opportunity that the career center offers, is a grave shortcoming.The career center can really alter your hireability and up your professionalism.
Oftentimes they give that extra sparkle to any resume or cover letter that helps you get your foot into the door! So don’t be one of those students that overlooks this great resource.
Networking is major today! Hopefully by the time you are applying for a full-time position before graduation, you have already built a great network of people behind you that can serve as referrals, references, and opportunities.
If you attend a larger University, this may seem harder to do beauce of the larger class sizes. But this should not be an excuse! I went to a huge public school in California, with class sizes of up to 500 kids, and was still able to make those connections with my professors and teaching assistants.
Being able to network can definitely give you a leg up on landing a full-time job before graduation because you never know where those network connections could lead. Plus, it gives you extra practice on how to conduct yourself in a professional yet conversational way that is perfect for any interview.
If you are nervous about networking or just need some more tips, check out my other post How to Network like a Pro for Introverts!
Some Additional Reminders
Even if you aren’t able to graduate with a full-time job already lined up, it does not mean that you have failed! So many of my friends and peers were in the same exact position as you!
Sometimes there are just things outside of our control that can affect the job market. For example, the current economy is experiencing a downslope because of COVID-19 concerns. Many industries like hospitality, travel, and food have been hit pretty hard and it can be difficult for companies within these industries to hold onto current employees let alone hire new ones!
The main point to takeaway here is that no matter where you end up after graduation, you shouldn’t be discouraged! Everyone has a path and you just need to trust that your path may not look exactly like everyone else’s or what you dreamed it would be.
At the same time, many of my friends simply didn’t graduate college with a job because of a timing issue. So, because you have read this post directly from someone who has been through what you will be going through soon, you can easily avoid this issue. By starting early, you really are setting yourself up for success, not only in your future career endeavours, but in life!
So take what you will from this and get hustling!
HOES THAT HUSTLE – CAREER + LIFESTYLE BLOG
Hoes That Hustle is a lifestyle blog following one Hoe on her professional journey as a twenty-something year old through some real-life adulting!
Somewhat like a public diary or advice column, this blog will document everything without a filter! The good, the bad, and the UGLY!
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