With classes wrapping up over the next few weeks at many
colleges, it’s more important than ever to plan your next step. Are you
graduating? Do you have a job?
Big questions. Last year, when I was preparing for my own graduation from the University of Maine, I was overwhelmed by these questions from family and friends. At that time, I had no concrete plans. I had applied for the Young & Free Maine Spokester position, but had not yet landed the job. I had plenty of anxiety as I searched for a job, as did many of my fellow graduates.
Now that my Spokester term is coming to an end, I am being asked the same questions. As I move forward with my career and look for my “next step”, I’ve been doing a few things to ensure my job hunt is as smooth as possible.
As you begin or continue your job search, keep these things in mind.
Leverage Your Network
Who do you know in your immediate or extended group of friends who may have connections in your industry? If your best friend’s parents are connected, start a dialogue with them. Did you have an internship during your college career? Connect with your supervisor to see if anything is available at the organization you worked in. As I’m learning through my current job search, leveraging your network is a powerful thing.
Practice Professional Presentation
Replace your Facebook profile picture with a professional headshot. Update your Twitter biography with something that represents a professional version of yourself. I’ll echo what we’ve been told over and over again: Potential employers will take to the Internet, searching Google and monitoring your social media activity to learn more about you. The best thing you can do is put a professional foot forward.
Get people talking. Contribute to conversations. Online or in person, generate some buzz with meaningful, effective communication. ‘Like’ companies you want to work for on LinkedIn and comment on their posts. Share posts from favorite organizations on Facebook, adding your own commentary on the content. Get your name out there in a positive light in front of the companies you want to work for.
Connect with Everyone, Everywhere
You never know when a conversation with a stranger could turn into the opportunity of a lifetime. Just last year a friend of mine bumped into a man in the grocery store, apologized for knocking his item on the floor, then while waiting in line discovered he worked for a major engineering firm. They exchanged contact information and eventually, my friend landed a great job at the very same firm.
Best of luck as you plan your next step. If you’re still looking for a job, don’t forget that the Young & Free Maine Spokester position is up for grabs!