How to Land A Job BEFORE You even Graduate - 34 Tips and Resources
by Eric Hebert
Education & Preparation
1. Figure it out. The first step in landing that job is figuring out what it is that you want to do! It may seem heavy, but you got to start somewhere. If you're already in school, you have a sense of what industry you'd like to work in (or your hopelessly lost!). Start with that and explore what options you'll have working in that industry at the entry level position.
2. Know the job. After you figure out the kind of job you want, you need to know what the job entails. Learn as much as possible about the job so you can focus on learning and obtaining the skills needed to fulfill the duties required. If know exactly what an employer will be looking for, then it'll be much easier to have it come interview time.
3. Make sure you're qualified. Now that you know what the duties are, it's time to assess your skills. Do you have what it takes to get the job done? Will you be qualified at the time you graduate for this position? There's no point in preparing yourself for a job you can't even get. Know what you're capable of doing and find a job that fits.
4. Take the right classes. The earlier you figure out what kind of job you want, you'll have the opportunity to take the right kinds of classes while in college. It's never a good idea to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your education if it's not focused on a specific end. Plan in advance and take courses that fit into your job description.
5. Take your education seriously. Again, don't waste your money on education if it's not going to be put to use. While you're there, pay attention as much as possible to what you are learning; it not only will prepare you for the job you'll soon have but also give you a taste of what you'll be doing, and will show when you start your career.
6. Get a part-time job. Employers will want to see at least some experience. Even if mommy and daddy are taking care of you like the spoiled little brat that you are, consider having a part time job while in school. The pay might not be great, but at least you'll show some responsibility to any future employers.
7. Make it relevant. Now that you've decided to get off your butt and get a job, think about getting a job that will teach you skills you can use in the future. Don't get a job working in a warehouse doing physical labor if you plan on having a career in sales. Know what basic job principals you need work on and find a job to help strengthen them.
8. Don't get fired. It's bad enough that you only have so little experience up to this point. What's even worse is not having good responsible experience. Getting fired from a job that anyone can do (including a monkey) just shows how irresponsible and immature you are. If you're going to get a job, take it as seriously as possible.
9. Leave a impression. Be the best you can be! Every part time job you have, no matter how insignificant it may seem, plays an integral role in how you develop as a worker and employee. As you succeed in small doses, you grow more confident in your abilities which in turn makes you do an even better job. The cycle of confidence will show later on in the job hunt.
10. Get to know your teachers. Leaving an impression with your teachers is just the same as making nice with an employer. Teachers are experts in their field, and if you can get in on your teacher's good side (or even befriend one), they'll prove to be a great personal reference later in the hiring process.
11. Find a mentor. Take the time to seek out those in your community who share similar interests or even more so work in the same industry that you are trying to get into. You're bound to find someone who you can grab coffee with here and there who's willing to share some tips and information on how to get your foot in the door.
12. Connect with your peers. Make sure your fellow students and friends are aware of your job plans. You might connect with a few that are interested in getting a similar job and can assist you in the process. While you my face some competition, use it to your advantage by keeping an eye on their moves; you can learn a lot from them.
13. Network with everybody. That being said, get out there and start networking! It's kind of a sad truth, but much of life is not based on how smart you are or what it is you know; it's who you know that gets you the good job. Locate places where people of similar interests hang out (happy hours are a good start) and make your face a familiar one.
14. Have a hobby. You've got to do something with yourself other that working and sleeping that you enjoy (and no getting drunk is not a hobby as much as we all tell ourselves it is!). Try to take your hobby to the next level and compare it to the job or industry you're getting into. Can you find any similarities?
15. Join an organization. There are many organizations and associations located in your area. Find one that you can enjoy being a part of or better yet, find a club that people with influence frequent. Use these events to find common ground with people and plant the seeds for possible job opportunities in the future.
16. Play sports. Almost any job you'll ever get will deal heavily with your ability to work with others. What better way to showcase these abilities than to excel at a team sport? You don't have to be some amazing athlete to play in a sport, and don't always worry about being the all-star. Become an unsung-hero type and it will build character.
17. Share Your Talents. Are you an artist or musician? What kind of gifts do you have to bestow upon the world? Put your artwork in galleries or play a concert at the local coffee house. It will shine on your resume the next time you have an interview, and show potential employers that you have multiple talents and aren't afraid to use them.
18. Know your criminal record. Have you had any tickets or violations in the past? Know what your criminal record is in case someone checks you out and brings it up in front of you. Never try to hide from any law-breaking you may have committed, but rather be aware of your past and prepared to discuss any details should someone bring them up.
19. Use Google Alerts. A great way to keep on top of what is being said about you online is to use Google Alerts. What happens is, anytime someone blogs about you or mentions your name, Google will know about it. They'll send you emails once they find something! It's also a great way to keep updated about news and events in your industry.
20. Be aware of social networks. We all have MySpace and Facebook accounts; be wary of what pictures of you there are or anything else that may prohibit you from getting hired at a future job. Most of these networks have options to close pages off so only "friends" can view your personal profiles.
21. Get Published. A fantastic way to show your expertise in your industry is to get published either online or in a magazine. Do some research and find out who hires freelance writers; or, you may be able to get published by donating an article. Either way, it's a great tool that any employer would be impressed with.
22. Pay Your Bills. Many employers don't run credit checks on you, but in today's day and age, there's bound to be all kinds of snooping around into your personal life. Make sure you don't have any outstanding tax liens or collections agencies chasing you down for debts you haven't paid.
23. Build a website. Trust me, if you start a website now that describes your career and accomplishments, you'll definitely reap the benefits once interview time comes around. Many employers are using the web to do background checks on prospects; use your website to make a name for yourself online.
24. Blog as much as possible. Add a blog or use blogging software to maintain updates on your website. Discuss your targeted industry as much as possible. Provide helpful information or talk about how a certain task could be done better or in a different way. This will prove your passion for the job in addition to your knowledge.
25. Create a podcast. Record a podcast every now and then that takes your discussion further. Much like getting published, you could have your podcast published on other sites and blogs and keep track of how many times the podcast was downloaded. Interviews with others in your industry provide great content for a podcast.
26. Shoot a video. Grab a friend and a video camera and shoot a quick introduction to yourself and your website. Amid the hundreds if not thousands of paper resumes an employer has to go through in their lifetime, you're bound to make a big impression by hosting a welcome video on your site.
27. Have business cards. Remember those networking events we discussed earlier? Joined an organization? Have a friend of a friend who knows someone at the place you're trying to work at? Get some business cards printed with your contact information and web address to show everybody you mean business.
28. Run and advertisement. Take the business card to the next level and purchase a small advertisement in your local paper. You could offer a service that plays into the career you're about to get into and maybe even get some freelance work you can use to build up your resume.
29. Use pay-per-click. Anyone can run an affordable advertisement using Google or Yahoo. Target specific keywords that are used often in your target industry and raise some eyebrows online. You could even target your ads geographically if you had different locations in mind.
Find the Job
30. Join Linked-in. Think MySpace for professionals. The more people you meet using Linked-in that already have a presence in your industry, the more chances you have to landing that dream job right off the bat. Simply another way the Internet is changing the way employees get found and hired.
31. Search Online. Start using Monster.com and other online job search services. Post your resume with your targeted graduation date. You never know when a potential employer could be out looking for you, and it doesn't mean they won't give you a shot just because school's not over with.
32. Grab the Yellow Pages. Search the Yellow Pages for companies in your area that you'd consider working for. Contact them and send the your resume, letting them know what your intentions are in the future. They might offer you an internship which you can turn into a full time gig once you graduate.
33. Check out Craigslist. New job listings are posted every day on Craigslist; take advantage of it. Try to find opportunities whenever you can, just to see if someone will bite. Try to get as many interviews as possible; even if you don't get hired, each one will prepare you for the next.
34. Pick up the paper. Lots of employers still use the classifieds to find employees. Don't rule it out when looking for a job opportunity. Get out there, pick up the phone, and get that big job before you even graduate!