These days, going to college is about so much more than expanding your mind and furthering your education. It is common knowledge that going to college is one of the best ways to guarantee that you’ll get a good job. However, there is more to landing your dream job than simply receiving your diploma. Here are some other ways to ensure that your first job is a great one.
Be a Model Intern
Many colleges require that you complete an internship as a graduation requirement. Even if your school does not require this, it is a good idea to do an internship anyway. Interning is perhaps the best way to make contacts in your field of choice before graduating. A positive reference from a respectable company can open a lot of doors. If you’re lucky, you may even get a job offer at the end of your internship. To increase the odds of this happening, do multiple internships if possible. You can continue to intern after you graduate if you don’t find a job right away. It is very common for new graduates to work retail or wait tables while completing a new internship.
View Every Interaction as an Opportunity
Your relationships with your instructors doesn’t have to end when you graduate. Professors make great references for new graduates, and their letters of recommendation are crucial for those who decide to pursue graduate degrees. Instructors teach what they know; they often have significant experience working in the fields that they are teaching. They will happily refer star students to their contacts in the professional world. You should approach every class as a chance to impress your professor and prove to him or her that you deserve that referral.
Become Familiar with Office Culture
Office Culture is very different from other work environments. Retail and food establishments tolerate a great deal of immature behavior that would be unacceptable in a professional environment. Similarly, actions that are laughed off in school cannot be replicated once you have an adult job. This is easy enough to learn if your parents had office jobs, but it is harder to grasp for people who come from different backgrounds. You don’t want to be the new employee who dresses inappropriately and makes loud, off-color jokes.
Make a point of observing workplaces norms during your internships. This is half the value of interning. The actual work has obvious value, but learning how to fit in and make the proper impression is just as crucial. Though the specifics will vary from office to office, the basics are generally the same. You should try to model your behavior on the employees who are the most respected and competent, not the ones who seem fun and popular.
Tempting as it may be, don’t try to make friends immediately. This is sometimes viewed as a hallmark of immaturity or a holdover from school. Professional adults don’t expect friend groups to naturally form in the office the way they do in the classroom. Work friendships take longer to form and must be allowed to develop naturally.
Add a Minor
Minors don’t fit into everyone’s academic plans, but consider completing one if your major’s curriculum allows you enough space. A minor can give your major some needed focus, or it can help you establish a knowledge base for a career in a completely different field; it is not unheard of for new graduates to find jobs based on their minors rather than their majors. In a competitive job market, every credential helps. A minor can push your resume to the top of a list of qualified candidates.
Nothing replaces talent and a good work ethic when it comes to succeeding in a new job. Rather than settling for flipping burgers after graduation, take these preparations so you can land in a relevant, fulfilling field after college.