Whether you are a high school student or college student, you should start your job search and career planning early on, long before your anticipated graduation date. The earlier you get started the more prepared, qualified, confident and marketable you will be when you actually start looking for that full-time job as graduation approaches.
Starting your job search:
1. Seek some advice
As early as freshman year visit the career planning center at your high school or college. Get help developing a resume, which you will need before you start applying for jobs, even part-time jobs. Get some interview tips also. Most centers have literature on interview tips and many offer practice mock interviewing workshops as well. Most career planning centers can also help you develop a career path suitable to your skills and interests.
2. Enhance your resume
Once you develop your first resume, work on adding to it. As a student your work history will be limited so you need to focus on your academic standing, accomplishments and activities. Engage in sports, run for class officer, contribute to the school newspaper. Assume a position such as yearbook editor or finance society president. These accomplishments look impressive on a resume and highlight skills like leadership and time management that most employers look for when hiring.
3. Get some experience
An essential part of any job search is work experience, especially work related to your field or specialty. Look for part-time jobs, internships, summer jobs and volunteer work. Most all work experience, whether paid or not, offers valuable real world experience and the opportunity to further develop your skills.
4. Remain flexible
Once you start applying for a full-time job to begin after graduation, have a goal in mind but always remain flexible. Research and interview with companies you are interested in but don’t limit yourself and miss out on some good opportunities, especially with today’s lean job market. Go for a job that jumpstarts your career, that you will enjoy and learn from and consider that job a stepping stone to your dream job down the road.
5. Stay Connected
One of the biggest mistakes of graduates is not staying in touch with valuable networking connections. The people that you come in contact with, whether its fellow students or professors, can connect you with other professionals who are already in the “real world”. Many times professors are part of clubs or associations with other people in the same industry that you could join as a student.