September brings the beginning of new classes to attend, books to read, and projects to complete. Days quickly fill up with research, homework, friendly debates, and study sessions. The thoughts of preparing to search for an internship, summer job, or professional position, may pop into your thoughts when you walk by the career center, have someone ask what you plan to do after graduation or next summer or sign your student loan documents. Most of the time concern about preparing for a job search are included with other items on the “what I should do after everything else is completed” list. Steven Covey, in “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, has a great metaphor for how to take care of the items on that list. He gives people a number of large rocks, a vase, and sand. He says that they need to get all the rocks (the most immediate projects) and the sand (projects that need to get done but are not urgent) in the vase. Most people put the sand first in the vase first and then try to put the large rocks on top. No amount of pushing or rearrange the large rocks get the desired results. Those who put in the big rocks and pour the sand over the rocks find that everything fits into the vase. By starting to work on your job search early, it can be the sand that fits around class, projects, part-time work, and your social life.
What do you need to do? Create an accomplishment based resume, prepare for interviews, understand the basics of salary negotiation, build a professional network, and understand how to handle the first 30 days on a new job. Sounds overwhelming? It can be if you let it. But if you approach as you would if you needed to eat an entire elephant (apologies to my fellow vegetarians) you can handle it. How do you eat an elephant you ask, you eat it one bite at a time.
Preparing for a job search is a huge project. It can be challenging to figure out what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. For the past few months, we have been working on a College to Career Transition Calendar. Starting in October, there are very doable weekly tasks that should take less than an hour. By completing each weekly task, you will be prepared to apply and interview for jobs in the spring.
Look for the announcement of the calendar and how to access it in October.