By: Shane Simmons
Ask yourself this question – Why did you decide to attend college?
What was your answer?
Sure, some 18 year olds may be all in for the intellectual challenge, but many of you made the decision for one big reason – you want your dream job. Congratulations! Attending college is a massive stepping stone in that direction, but what many students don’t realize is just receiving a degree isn’t enough.
Check out these statistics: 20.5 million students enrolled in college in the US in 2016. 1.9 million bachelor degrees were awarded between 2016-2017.
So with all the competition out there, how do you stand out?
1. Get an Internship Now
This is a big one. According to NACE, 72.7 percent of interns from 2016 received full-time offers. That’s nearly 3 out of 4 interns! Josh Killey, Kelley Indianapolis Career Services Director, says employers are increasingly utilizing their intern pool to find their next full-time hires. The short of it comes down to experience. Employers consistently rank work experience among the top attributes they seek in entry-level candidates.
Killey says you can never land an internship too early. Whether you’re a freshman or senior, a great internship provides you an invaluable experience that will pay dividends when it comes to the job search.
Still not convinced? A Kelley Indianapolis student was offered a job in Ireland after her summer internship.
“An internship is a chance for you to learn, take the theory and concepts from your curriculum and apply them to the real-world problems. This allows you the opportunity to develop real-world solutions,” Killey says.
2. Create a Professional LinkedIn Profile
Research shows it takes just seconds for someone to leave an everlasting first impression. Your
LinkedIn profile is a perfect tool to showcase yourself and your experience. Killey recommends creating your profile before your freshman year of college and establishing as many connections with people in your field of interest as possible.
Even if you don’t have much work experience, list where you attend college and what you’re studying. Be sure to add any extracurricular activities you’ve participated in, and don’t forget to list any awards you’ve earned. LinkedIn is a perfect platform for networking, which we will discuss in more depth in our next step.
Have you heard that expression? It’s simple, but it could be the cornerstone of building your empire of contacts. Contacts who, by the way, could help get you an interview at that Fortune 500 company you’ve always dreamed of working for or the consulting firm downtown that’s searching for its next superstar employee. This is where your LinkedIn profile, which we mentioned above, will help.
Incorporate Twitter into your networking arsenal. While LinkedIn is often touted as the professional social network, a lot of professionals are on Twitter – and can be easily found using strategic searches and hashtags. For example, if you’re interested in supply chain and logistics, you can search for a number of people you admire in the industry. After you create that list, search for them on Twitter and directly reach out to them on the social networking website.
4. Utilize Career Services
All college students should be using this resource – it’s a no brainer. The Kelley Indianapolis Career Services Office can help you optimize your résumé and cover letter, conduct mock interviews (which is a huge value) and get in front of power-players who could be writing you a paycheck one day. And with opportunities like
KelleyCareers, students have access to a list of job openings and internships.
“We’ll guide you through every step of career planning,” says Killey. “From preparing a résumé, to scheduling interviews with prospective employers, to working with a professional career planner, we will help you prepare for all stages of the career process.”
If the help is there, use it!
5. Get Involved
It’s easy to get caught-up trying to balance lectures, homework, socializing and a job. But don’t let this stop you from getting involved because the benefits can produce extraordinary results.
At Kelley Indianapolis, there are many on-campus student organizations that provide both professional and personal growth. Getting involved on campus allows you to apply skills learned in class, develop leadership qualities and work as a team. Not only that, you’ll have a chance to meet new friends and take a break from your stressful studies.
Killey says if you’re looking at student involvement from a job-search perspective, you can’t go wrong with getting involved.
“In addition to GPA, employers consistently want to see students with experience in leadership roles, involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer hours and study abroad experience,” says Killey.
So there you have it. Implementing these tips throughout your college experience will be the sweet icing on the cake to your degree.