The Show Goes On…Time to Shine!
Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year you need to start thinking about the new school year and wrapping up all your summer activities. And don’t hate us for pointing that out. We just want you to get a jump on the Fall semester. The earlier you plan, the better prepared you’ll be to tackle the challenges of the new year, and more importantly, position yourself for what comes next: the real world. As a rising senior, your focus should be on entering the professional world. So, here are ways you can make your last trip through campus the one that counts the most.
Build Winning Habits
Business Insider did a study on 17 top CEOs. Guess what they all have in common? They are all EARLY risers. What does this mean for you, rising senior? Well…BE a rising senior. Go to class. Use a real alarm clock (because the alarm on your cell phone is really easy to ignore or hurl across the room.) Start the practice of rising early, even if it means you need to skip a party or two the night before. Early to bed, makes early to rise easier. Build the habit of showing up, even when you don’t want to. It might be your senior year, but you still have to make the grade. Go out on a high note.
Be a Joiner
Most college campuses sponsor a myriad of student organizations. And getting involved in them is a great way to expand your social network and build your resume. These include groups affiliated with both state and national professional associations (not just fraternities and sororities.)
Some good ones to keep in mind are:
- Public Relations Student Society of America
- Public Relations Society of America, with chapters at more than 250 colleges and universities across the US.
- Society for Human Resource Management with student chapters at more than 400 schools.
Be sure to look them all up. Many of these groups hold monthly or quarterly events on campus where they chat about career options and trends. So, attending them – or even organizing one – puts you in direct contact with the people who can help guide you towards any number of career options. Another great networking opportunity and resume builder is to get involved with your school’s newspaper, gazette or magazine — no better way to stay ahead of the curve than by not only hearing the breaking news first, but by writing it.
Profess Your Interest
Talk to your instructors. Professors have lives and networks outside the classroom. Their professional connections could be in a variety of fields or even with government agencies. And most are published authors, and regular contributors to other media. This means that a professor in a particular academic department may know which employers tend to hire that department’s graduates. This is a key thing to remember because there are many employers who reach out to professors directly to pass along job openings to their students. It’s a much more effective way than posting on a job board. So have a 15-minute chat with one of your instructors, ask for their advice and let them know your career goals.
Reach Out & Up
Friends who were seniors last year are now in the work force. Many employers who hire college students for internships and jobs recruit by talking to students they’ve already brought on board. Terese Corey Blanck, director of Student Experience, a company that places college students into internships, says, “Once we find a great student worker, we always turn to them first to see if they have any friends they can recommend.”
Your roommate may seriously make you ponder a life in solitude, but he/she might be the key networking contact you’re looking for. “The point is that everyone has contacts,” says Jerry Houser, director of the Career Development Center at Caltech. “They just need you to ask the right questions, and they can often come up with lots of names.” Write a career goal statement and memorize it, something short and memorable that you can come up with on the spot. This is your calling card. When friends hear of something similar, they’ll remember, “hey, my friend was just saying something about that.” A connection has been made.
Make Every Job a Career Builder
Getting a job related to your field of interest while in school is not as hard as you might think. The trick is being able to balance the needs of your resume with the need to eat. If you can do both, then win and win. A career-starting resume needs to have a clear focus. So, if political science is your major, you might be better served participating on the Student Government Board for free, rather than working in the food court for minimum wage.
However, the reality is you might not be in a position to do that, so you have to find that balance. Emily Wallach, a student at Emory University, did just that. “In my situation, I had to work part-time to get through college, so it was important to find common ground between that work and my career goals. Even as a cashier, I emphasized teamwork and a positive attitude from that working experience.” In other words, she MADE IT RELEVANT. All work experience is good experience. And any extracurricular activities that can go along with that will make you look more well-rounded. And employers love that.
There are a number of opportunities on campus that can help you make an easier transition into the real world. And as you go back to school for the Fall, be looking for those opportunities. Work hard, make the grade but also don’t forget to have fun. The summer may be ending, and soon your tan will fade, but the show – in this case YOUR show – goes on. Look back on this year as one to remember.