1. Don’t avoid the question, “What do you want to do after college?”
Seek it out. Talk to your friends and family to get advice and help. You’ll be amazed by how many people will want to help you achieve your dreams if you simply involve them. The more people who know you’re on the job hunt, the better.
And by the way, it’s OK to still be unsure of what career path or even first job is right for you. Again, talk to people about it. Seek advice from those who know you best. Here are some helpful conversation starters to use over Thanksgiving Break:
I feel like you know me really well, and I’m interested in what you think I would be great at.
When you graduated from college, what were some of the things you considered doing?
You seem to love what you are doing. How did you end up in the field that you are in? Did you know this was what you wanted to do right after college?
I love, but I’m unsure of how I could use it after college. Do you have any ideas?
I’ve always loved, and I’m looking for some advice on how I can couple my passion for this into a career. What are your thoughts?
2. Start scheduling informational interviews, job shadows, internships, and coffee chats for Winter Break.
Winter break. Appreciate it while you still have it. Instead of catching up on sleep for the whole month, use it as an opportunity to get some real work experience or meet with people in an industry or at a company where you may want to work. You can start planning over Thanksgiving Break.
Set up coffee chats for 30 minutes with local alums from your college in companies where you may want to work.
Check out Koru’s free job finder to start applying for internships.
Ask your family and friends for opportunities to come in and shadow them for a day.
3. Teach yourself job skills, pad your resume, and learn something fun.
You are what you do. As you get closer to graduation and start having more conversations with employers, you will quickly realize that experience is worth infinitely more than a perfect GPA.
Take advantage of your college break to learn something outside of your comfort zone or something that you are curious about but would never have time to do during school. There are amazing free resources out there for just this purpose. For example, know you are into marketing? Why not take a free course on Google Analytics? Interested in product management? It is helpful to understand basic coding. Done some creative work? Share it and learn more about great design on Behance.
Here’s a list of our favorite resources:
Code Academy — Basic to advanced coding skills
Inbound Marketing Certification — Learn all the keys to running successful inbound and content marketing campaigns
Lynda — Classes and courses on everything from excel, adobe products, and photography
Udacity — Online courses developed and taught by leaders at tech companies
Creative Live — Free online courses taught by creative experts
You’ll blow people away by telling them you snagged self-taught Photoshop or Ruby on Rails skills over Thanksgiving Break.
4. Polish your LinkedIn Profile and your social media brand.
Most of the students or recent college grads that do Koru come to us thinking that they are in good, or at least decent, shape on LinkedIn and social media. Few actually are.
Spend a couple of hours on your LinkedIn profile. It’ll pay back big time. Here are a few key things to look at:
Summary — This is your chance to tell people about your passions, skills, and goals. Things like this often don’t jump out on a resume, so your summary is a great opportunity to share them.
Job history — Worried your summer working at the hot dog stand won’t cut? Don’t. Put it down. Less than glamorous job experience shows that you have grit.
Study abroad — If you studied abroad, make sure to include it on your profile. Studying abroad shows you are curious, able to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, and have the ability to understand different cultures.
When you’re through, Google yourself. What shows up? While having a strong LinkedIn profile is important, make sure that your past social media behavior does not damage your online brand.
5. Have fun, be yourself.
Most importantly, be your best and authentic self through all of this. People hire people, so show off the great person that you are and get ready to kick some ass. That, and beware the turkey coma.
Michaela Gianotti serves as Koru's content specialist around job seeker and candidate experience advice. She attended Whitman College, where she spent the better part of four years convincing her family that English majors can get jobs too. She has since found awesome work (SEE!) at 826 Seattle, msnNOW, and Koru.More from Michaela Gianotti