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Looking to the Future: How to Land a Job Before You Graduate



Looking to the Future How to Land a Job Before You Graduate

As an (almost) fresh grad, your future is bright. But with all of these professional opportunities at your doorstep, you’ll need to get smart if you want to get ahead.

So, what’s the key to landing a job before you graduate? First, you need to get started early. Starting your job search in advance will ramp up your prospects massively, as will being strategic about putting yourself out there professionally.

Keen to learn more?

Here are 4 steps to success every ambitious future graduate should consider.

1. Start Early: Be on the Lookout for Opportunities, Well Before You Complete Your Course

If your goal is to gain professional employment before you graduate, you need to be on the front foot. Start looking at job boards at least 6 – 12 months before completing your degree. If you’re a business grad, keep an eye out for any open MBA jobs. Law students should stay abreast of the roles available in the legal field. Students of medicine would be wise to familiarise themselves with current job openings in the medical industry.

To be fair, this advice applies to all study disciplines across the board. Regardless of what course you’re completing, it pays to be prepared for what comes next. Feeling the pressure? Don’t worry, you don’t need to apply straight away. The purpose of this exercise, initially, is just to make you familiar with what roles are out there, as well as the selection criteria recruiters are searching for. Armed with this information, you can start getting your assets together.

2. Prepare Yourself: Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile, and Get Your Elevator Pitch Together

So, you’ve got an idea of what kind of job you’re looking for. But, do you know how you can add value to the role? This is, essentially, what recruiters want to know. When completing a professional application to an employer, then, you need to be sure to highlight what they have to gain from employing you. Take care not to focus on selfish reasons, or why you want the job for yourself, but instead, how you add value for them.

In this sense, the key to a successful application is knowing yourself, and what you bring to the table. For this kind of professional soul-searching to be effective, you’ll need to dabble in a little personal branding. Creating and cultivating a personal brand takes several steps, including:

  • Identifying what makes you special – your unique selling points (or USPs).
  • Highlighting the skills that set you apart, and that make you competitive.
  • Understanding your core values, and what kind of work they align with.

Once you’ve identified these elements, you can utilise them to formulate your professional elevator pitch – one you can use to ‘sell’ yourself to prospective employers.

3. Be Strategic: Put those Professional Networking Feelers Out

Now that you know exactly what you’re about, and what roles are out there for you, it’s time to put the feelers out. Make lists of employers whose mission statements align with your core values and professional goals, and start to reach out to them.

A great way to make initial contact with an employer is to request an informational interview. This is not a bid for a job. Instead, it’s more of an opportunity for you to get to know the industry, and the employer, better. Be sure to arm yourself with thoughtful, considered questions about the company and the roles available within it. In addition to this, do some research in advance. Check out the organisation’s website, social media profiles and LinkedIn. This will also enable you to ascertain whether your values and goals align.

4. Get Experience: Complete Internships Or Volunteer

Don’t have any professional experience in your field yet? That’s okay. You can always volunteer. If that’s not your gig, though, you could apply for a professional internship.

Either way, getting some hands-on industry action can do wonders for your credibility as a job applicant. The best part? Once you’re situated within a professional working environment, you’ll also have the opportunity to glean firsthand insights from your peers about the role you’ve got your sights set on. If you’re lucky, they may even take you on permanently.

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