As much as you may not want to admit it, the real-world awaits. The Career Development Center is here to assist you in the transition from college life to career. We would strongly suggest that somewhere between your studies, activities, and social life, you find time to complete the following steps to prepare yourself for success in life after St. Thomas.
1. Figure Out What You Want To Do NEXT
You don’t have to have the rest of your life figured out today, but it would be beneficial to start thinking about what you want your next step to be. Is it graduate school? A long term service program? A job? If you are unsure about what you want to do after graduation, rest assured that you are not alone. The Career Development Center has inventories you can take to help narrow down your options, and career specialists are available and armed with resources to assist you in the career decision making process.
2. Update, Tailor, and Polish Your Resume
Most likely you haven’t looked at your resume since last spring when you were searching for internships. Start by updating your documents to include whatever experience you had this past summer. Reorganize the sections of your resume to tailor it toward whatever career field, industry, and/or company you are interested in. Then bring your new draft into the Career Development Center to have it reviewed by a career specialist. Continue to ask other people to look over your resume (faculty, family, connections) to get as much insight as possible into what people notice and what advice they might have for improvement.
(if you have not yet started a resume, we hope to see you ASAP!)
3. Buy a Suit
You are likely to have to wear a suit many times, not only throughout your senior year, but throughout your career. Think of it as an investment for your future. This investment will get you through on-campus interviewing, career fairs, networking events, employer site interviews, and your first day of work, in addition to many other business days and meetings down the road.
4. Practice Interviewing
Your resume and cover letter are what get you in the door for an interview, the interview itself is what gets you the job. Make sure that you are well prepared by taking time to reflect on your skills and experience, develop and practice answers to common interview questions, and research the positions and companies that you are applying to. Attend an interviewing skills seminar or schedule a mock interview with a career specialist in the Career Development Center.
5. Create a Profile on TommieCareers
TommieCareers is our online job and internship posting board. Develop your profile to automatically receive information that relates to the what you are interested in, and check the site often or create an email search agent to stay on top of the new jobs and internships that are posted daily.
6. Participate in On-Campus Interviewing
More commonly known as OCI, on-campus interviewing allows you to apply for jobs and internships and interview with employers right on campus in the Career Development Center. Although OCI may not be for everyone, there are a lot of great opportunities that are posted from a variety of companies throughout the fall and spring semester. For more information visit the OCI page on our website.
7. Attend Career Fairs
Career fairs are a great way to network with employers to learn more about companies and entry level positions or internships they might have available. There are a number of career fairs that take place throughout the year including the Government and Non-profit Career Fair, the MN Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair, the Education Fair and the Virtual Career Fair. For more information visit our seminars and events page.
8. Thinking Graduate School?
If graduate school is your next step, be sure to complete the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, or whatever standardized test is required for application to the programs you are interested in. You will also need a resume or CV for most graduate programs as well as a well written personal statement.
9. Collect References and Letters of Recommendation
Most applicants will only need professional references, while graduate school and jobs in certain industries (i.e. Education) may require letters of recommendation. Build and maintain relationships with faculty, advisors and supervisors that you can ask to be a positive reference for you. It is beneficial to explain your interests and goals as well as to hand them a copy of your resume to give them a framework to go off of when writing your letter or speaking with an employer over the phone.
10. Get Involved
Take advantage of leadership positions that may be available on campus and get involved in activities that match your interests. Employers look specifically for leadership experience on your resume, and like to see community engagement.
11. Clean Up Your Social Media
It is extremly likely that employers will do an online search for you before bringing you in for an interview. Make sure they like what they find. Google yourself, set your privacy settings, and be sure to remove anything that you wouldn’t want your potential future boss to see.
Develop a strong LinkedIn profile and take advantage of this valuable program to network with professionals and companies that you are interested in. Participate in the Student Alumni Mentoring program and Take a Tommie to Lunch sponsored by the UST Alumni Association. Attend alumni networking events like First Friday Lunches and other local networking events. Print FREE business cards for networking courtesy of the Student Legacy Program.
13. Check Your Credits
Be sure to check in with your advisor, Academic Counseling & Support and the Registrar to confirm that you have all the credits and requirements that you need to graduate. This would be very bad news come May 2015.
14. Stay Connected
Follow, like, connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.
14. Have Fun!
The next eight months will go by quickly. Make sure you go to class, maintain/improve your GPA, and work on the above 13 things. But also take time for yourself to enjoy your last semester on campus, travel, spend quality time with your friends, and visit your favorite local places. If you have to literally schedule time for yourself to do this, do it! As I mentioned before, the real world awaits…
Written by: Laura Kloss