With graduation on the horizon, Park Scholar seniors reflect on their time at IC
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Posted on behalf of Francine Price '12
It’s hard to believe that four years ago to this weekend I was getting ready to come to Ithaca to be interviewed for the Park Scholarship. Having already been accepted to IC, interviewing for this award was one of the final steps (although an unexpected one) in preparing for a successful college career. While applying to colleges and for scholarships is stressful, the process is often made easier through the support of parents, teachers and guidance counselors.
Now four years later, I’m at a very different crossroads in my life. Instead of applying for college, I’m applying for jobs. Unfortunately, I am quickly learning that the steps I need to take to get a job are not as black and white as they were when I was applying to colleges. However, I believe there are a few steps that every college student can take to make their job hunt senior year, and afterwards a little bit smoother.
1. INTERN. Whether you do it during the semester or over summer break, having one or more internships on your résumé can help in a variety of ways. First and foremost it gives you the opportunity to work in a professional environment. Second, internships give you the chance to get an idea of what type of work or office you do/do not enjoy working in. The third and most valuable part of interning are the connections you make with the people you worked with. The harder you work at an internship the bigger an impression you’ll make. That way, when you contact your supervisor a few months later to check in, they’ll remember who you are and how well you worked with their company.
Which brings me to step 2.
2. NETWORK. Possibly the most important step, in a world where anyone can submit a résumé by clicking “send.” Networking and building your own professional network are key to finding a job. So, on the last day of an internship it is important that you approach the people you most want to keep in contact with and ask them for their contact information. Then whether it’s 3 or even 6 months after the internship ended send out emails to those people just to check in. Let them know what projects you might be working on and ask them how things are going at work. If you worked on something specific while at a company this is the perfect time to ask how everything with it panned out. From there, it is good to check in again every once and while to see how things are going. This keeps you on their radar and hopefully gives them incentive to think of you when they hear of a job opening. If you’re lucky, a connection may even offer to take a look at your resume and pass it along to other employers who are looking to hire.
Speaking of resumes …
3. SEEK OUT HELP/ADVICE. In my personal experience, I’ve found that one of the biggest differences between applying to colleges and applying for jobs is that there isn’t someone there to check up on you along the way. Yes, you have advisors in college, but since they are also often professors with a busy schedule, you cannot expect them to hunt you down to make sure you’re doing all the right things. If you need advice on where to start (I know I did) then set up an appointment with your advisor, or your school’s career services department. Even more important is to have several people look over your résumé , cover letters and reel (if you have one). Because, even if you’ve proofread it a million times, a set of fresh eyes will often find mistakes you didn’t. They can also offer you advice about formatting or what information you should/shouldn’t include.
It’s no secret that finding a job in today’s economy is difficult for everyone, not just recent college graduates. So, while the idea of applying for “real world” jobs may be scary it is nice to know that there are a couple of things you can do to help make the process a little easier.
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