Seniors from both college and high school will be setting out to look for jobs soon. However, the education system doesn’t typically leave students ready to face the working world.
Landing a job in spring would be the ideal outcome, but graduates may not really be sure how to get employed. The critical aspect of landing a job, regardless of whether you’re leaving high school or college, is being prepared. You should have a firm grasp of what kind of a job you’re looking for and find out what the requirements for that position are.
To help, 13 experts from Forbes Human Resources Council share their insight into what high school and college grads should be doing to land a job in spring, and why those elements are of such importance.
1. Network And Practice Interviewing
Graduating can be an exciting and stressful time for seniors. It can be easy to forget the basics of job searching — networking and interviews. Remember to keep your contacts as you collaborate on projects or work with teachers for possible future letters of recommendation or job referrals. Also, practice interviewing with friends or teachers to help you be prepared for when the time comes. – Kelly Loudermilk, BuildHR, Inc.
2. Know What You’re Passionate About
Really putting thought into what they are passionate about is important in identifying the right job or career. College and high school counselors can assist with personality profiles, but talking with friends and family about what you are good at and drawn to will also help. My advice: try things! Don’t wait until you are sure. Take chances and try various options. – Diane Strohfus, Betterworks.com
3. Learn To Expand Your Personal Boundaries
The ability to set appropriate boundaries rises as a key marker of psychological well-being because we’re constantly being pulled in multiple directions. The challenge for young people is that moving into work life requires shifting personal boundaries to include the needs/demands of colleagues and team. This is a key factor for success. – Leeno Karumanchery, PhD, MESH/Diversity
4. Do Your Leg Work
Research a few companies you’re interested in and contact their HR to see if they have short-term intern programs or job shadow days. Get your foot in the door by showing eagerness to take a paid or unpaid opportunity to work in your field of interest. Potential employers are impressed by candidates that are proactive and enthusiastic. The experience will also help build your resume. – Regina Romeo, CPS HR Consulting
5. Identify Company Values You Can Get Behind
Job vacancies are at an all-time low and the fight for top talent is on! You will have a plethora of employment options. Start now to identify five to 10 companies that enact values that resonate with you. Do you value trust, hard work, efficiency? Find companies that value the same and their management philosophy will be well-aligned with your needs. Share this during the interview process to impress. – Christine Wzorek, White Label Advisors
6. Find A Mentor And Create A Plan
It can be difficult figuring out your next steps in this exciting time of your life. It’s important to set yourself up for success by preparing in advance. Network as early as possible and start planting the seed in your areas of interest with those you meet. Find a mentor already in the workforce, and create a plan for yourself with actionable steps to reach your goal by graduation. – Charles Ashworth, Copper
7. Identify What Makes You Unique
Help employers understand why you stand out from the crowd by focusing on accomplishments or attributes that make you unique and of which you are exceptionally proud. Be willing to take risks and put yourself out there. If employers aren’t connecting with who you are, those are not employers with whom you want to align yourself. You have a right to find an employer who values you! – Sherrie Suski, Tricon American Homes
8. Build Your Professional Brand
It is important that college seniors be aware of how to brand themselves in a professional manner and be aware of how they act and speak to their new environment. This may mean a social media audit, the way we dress to an interview, the way we conduct ourselves at a networking event. Branding is also about how I speak and what I speak. All the lingo of school should be left in school. – Tasniem Titus, Dentsply Sirona
9. Globalize Your Thoughts And Actions
Today’s workforce is global and multicultural. High school and college seniors can get a head start by participating in global projects and study-abroad opportunities or simply seeking a mentor globally. By demonstrating global thoughts and actions, the seniors can create a clear differentiation and announce their readiness to be successful leaders of the future. – Vineet Gambhir, Summit Partners
10. Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts
Recent graduates, go clean out your social media closet! You can bet that employers are looking at this, and if your social media looks like that of half the young people I know, it’s in dire need of an overhaul. Hide the accounts you don’t want people to see, delete embarrassing photos, get rid of any radical commentary and generally look like someone an adult wouldn’t mind employing. – Tracy Cote, Genesys
11. Make Your Resume Real-World Ready
It’s critical that employers can envision candidates as successful employees. Students with relevant internship experiences stand out for me. Employers can understand that you needed income, but if all you’ve got on your resume is bartending and babysitting, it’s harder for them to understand how you’ll contribute in their environment. – Joyce Maroney, Kronos Incorporated
12. Close Your Skills Gap
Whether it’s high school or college, students should prepare themselves for graduation by either volunteering or taking internships during holidays and vacation periods to bridge the gap between formal education and workplace needs. Students who demonstrate the skills and outcomes for which employers are looking will certainly stand out once they are ready to enter the workforce in any season. – Dr. Timothy J. Giardino, Cantata Health & Meta Healthcare IT Solutions
13. Improve Your Communication
Use every opportunity to practice your communication skills. About 70% of what we do in business relates to written and oral communication. Speak up in class every opportunity you have. Seek out chances to give oral presentations in front of peers. With experience, your skills will only improve so the key is seizing every opportunity you have to become a better communicator. – Heide Abelli, Skillsoft
Forbes Human Resources Council, 25 Nov 2019.