Welcome to your senior year of college! I am sure that it will prove to be an exciting culminating year of your college career. This journey is a marathon and not a sprint. If you want to have a year that sets you up for a prime position after graduation, here are 26 mile markers that you need to hit over the course of this next year:
Create a list of the Top 10 companies that you are interested in and get started on your research file for each of them. It will help you not rush this research when you have an interview and it will also help you to develop company research skills which are a critical long term skill to have.
Develop your network. You should set a goal to meet 3-5 new people at various stages of their career each month of your senior year. A network is critical to your job search. The majority of job seekers find a position through a network, which is more than any other job search source. Attend a networking workshop if this sounds scary or impossible.
Set up a professional twitter account and follow relevant professionals and companies. It will help you stay in the loop and watch the trends in your field and it can help you build contacts. Be conscious about your postings because your social media will be seen an extension of your professional self.
Develop a buddy system or group of other senior job seekers that will help you to stay on track. You need to serve as each other’s support system when things are tough and to celebrate each other when things are going well.
Reach out to your references to formally request their support and ask them for a letter so that you have one on file. If you need one you don’t want to ask for one last minute. You can just ask them to update the letter with necessary contact information or personalize it any way needed.
Get involved with a professional organization outside of Baruch. You need to be able to establish your commitment to the field and belonging to a professional association and participating in their events is one way to do this. You should also consider taking a leadership role. Many of these organizations have seats on their board for Members-At-Large and students seats. It never hurts to inquire.
Do something for some of your networking contacts. It’s important that networking not be simply focused on “What can you do for me?” It needs to be reciprocal (i.e., supporting your network as much as you would like it to support you).
Finally, Mile 26, Celebrate Your Successes. Job search is a process and it can take a while. It has been said that it takes about 1 month for every $10,000 you are hoping to earn. You need to focus on cheering yourself on for getting out of your comfort zone, learning something new, having an interview, etc. All of these things are important to eventually finding your first job.
Not all of these items have to be completed in the order that they appear, but you should address them all if you’d like to find yourself with a position after graduation. Remember, it’s a marathon so pace yourself, stop at rest stops for water and celebrate crossing the finish line and all the mile markers in between.