The Fall semester is finally about to start! For some, this is the first step of this incredible journey toward getting a college degree. For others, this might be the very last step before graduation and, eventually, finding a job. What’s true for everybody is that this is the time of the year when we start feeling that sense of excitement and anticipation, together – let’s be honest! – with a pinch of anxiety about what awaits us ahead.
Whether you’re in college or you’re completing grad school, this might also be a good time to start planning your next steps after school which, of course, include finding a job. And this is where CSI Professionals is there to assist you: in the next paragraphs you’ll find some tips and strategies that will help you navigate through this new – and exciting – journey of networking and finding your dream job.
Know what you want
Finding a job that fits you, your ambitions, your goals, and your taste starts from… you! Knowing what you want – and what you don’t want – is the first step to finding a job that aligns with who you are, and that will make you feel accomplished and satisfied.
- Make a list of your passions, your skills, and what you’re looking for in a workplace and in a job. This will help you discern whether what you read in a job description matches your interests!
Sometimes, if you have some previous experience (an internship, for example) this process might be a bit easier since you’ve already experienced firsthand what the job entails and what you like or don’t like about it.
What if you don’t have this kind of experience? No problem at all. College is also an amazing – and extremely valuable – opportunity to find internships and possibilities for part-time employment. If you’re looking for this experience, our suggestion is to refer to your school’s Career Center: they’ll be able to provide you with some additional guidance and direct you to internships or on-campus jobs that best align with your major and with your passions.
Start building your resume
Building an effective resume is the next step. Did you know that employers or HR managers spend less than 20 seconds looking at your resume while skimming through applications? Well, that’s not much time, and this is why what we want is to maximize our chances of making our resume stand out. After all, our resume is like our business card, and it’s our chance of making a good first impression… and we all know that making a good first impression matters!
Alright, how do we achieve this goal? There are several strategies you can implement – and we’ll be dedicating a whole, detailed Resume Workshop to them very soon – but for now, let’s just focus on a couple of tips:
- Keep it simple, clear, concise, and organized (ideally, max. 1 page)
- List your education, experiences, skills (and significant achievements) in reverse chronological order
- Don’t forget to add your contact information – and remember: no photo, and no sensitive personal information (age, DOB, marital status, SSN, etc.)
Keep in mind that your school Career Center may offer some additional (and tailored) guidance and templates to help you. Even your professors and mentors can be incredibly valuable resources. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to them!
Attend Career Fairs (Network! Network! Network!)
This step is probably the most fun part of the process! Once you’ve got your resume, and it’s looking clear, organized, and sharp – be ready to put yourself out there. This may sound daunting at first, especially if this is your very first experience, but trust us: once you start networking and connecting with both employers and candidates, you’ll notice how much your confidence increases, and, who knows, you might also end up finding it fun!
CSI Professionals Inc. has been participating in school Career Fairs for many years now, and we are happy to provide you with some useful tips. Let’s address everything in order:
What should I do before the event?
This step is just as important as the networking event itself. This is when you prepare yourself for meeting companies and interviewers.
- Make sure you prepare your resume well – and bring some extra copies with you to the event! Revise it well and make sure you can address all your selling points (and eventual gaps) on it.
- Remember first impressions? Well, we know that it’s not always right to judge a book by its cover – but this is how first impressions work. Make sure you carefully plan your grooming and attire before the event.
A little tip: wear something professional that makes you feel confident and empowered. Try on the clothes you’re planning on wearing in advance and see how you feel in them, and how they fit!
- Work on your elevator pitch. Imagine you’re on an elevator with a successful employer you really want to work with – how do you quickly and effectively summarize who you are, what you do, and what you want to do in 60 seconds?
What should I do during the event?
Now, this is your time to shine. The first suggestion we have is Network! Network! …and again, Network! You know your resume well, you know what your selling points are, and now it is time to get to know the companies – and let them get to know you.
- Ask questions about the companies you’re interested in; ask them about the job positions they offer and ask all the questions that you need to learn more about the company.
- Be the best, the most professional and confident version of yourself – careful though, being over-confident can be seen as bragging! Keep it real and talk about your skills and achievements honestly and in a concrete way.
What should I do after the event?
Someone might think that everything ends when the Career Fair ends – wrong! There are some additional steps you’ll need to take to ensure the company remembers you and, eventually, calls you for another interview.
- If you had interviews during the Career Fair, or you talked to some HR representatives, remember to send them a follow-up and/or thank you email. It will show them that you care, that you’re respectful, and that you’re interested.
- If you decide to apply for the job, prepare your application carefully. Remember to tailor your resume (and cover letter) to the specific company and job you want.
- Revise everything carefully and… submit your application!
What is the right mindset to approach the job-seeking process?
We know that networking, looking for jobs, and applying for jobs are nerve-wracking processes – we know it, and there’s one important aspect that we want to emphasize: the right mindset for approaching this task.
Finding a job is a process, and there will be ups and downs – there might be hundreds of no reply, hundreds of rejections, and this is normal! It’s part of the process, and what matters is your perseverance. Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up: keep applying for jobs, keep searching for the jobs that align with your profile, and keep investing in yourself, in your professional growth, and in your own improvement.
At CSI Professionals we believe in you, and we know that dedication and perseverance will take you far!
Start your application for one of our positions today by submitting your resume to info@csiprofessionalsinc We are looking forward to meeting you soon!
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