Four Tips on Career Planning for Soon-To-Be Graduates

Graduating college is meant to be one of the happiest milestones in one’s professional development. You have just completed two to four years of extensive academic coursework to finally break into your desired industry; and nothing should come in the way of you celebrating yourself and all of your personal achievements. If planned correctly, your transition from graduate to industry professional can be easier than the finals you have just completed. By staying ahead in your career planning, you are positioning yourself for peak success. There is never a wrong time to start with your career planning ventures, so whether you’re a freshman or final-semester senior these quick tips will help you with achieving your professional goals.

Explore Industry Entry-level Positions

If you are a student who knows exactly what field and industry you wish to break into, then congrats! You have already achieved arguably one of the hardest parts of the career planning process. Now that that is out of the way, here comes the “fun” part! Explore your field and see what entry-level positions suit you and your goals best. Utilize sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor to research a role you can picture yourself developing in. While your dream job is more than likely not an entry level position, look for roles that will help grow you into the professional you wish to be.  

If you are a student who is still struggling to determine, there is no need to fear! It can be difficult trying to decide which industry you can potentially spend the rest of your professional career at. But as difficult as it may be, it is a necessary first step that needs to be completed to launch your career planning journey. A great way to tackle this feat is by utilizing your university’s career center. Here you will be partnered with a professional advisor who will provide you with the best practices with narrowing down your desired degree and career. A benefit with working with an advisor is that they have the potential of introducing you to positions that you may never even thought of.

Build Your Own Experience

Building your own professional experience foundation is critical to achieving career planning objectives. This may be a bit tricky if you are wrapping up your senior year, but certainly not impossible. To begin, explore what university or community organizations you would like to join. See what affiliations are tied with your desired industry. Not only will you be furthering your industry knowledge, but you would also be intrinsically establishing your own relevant network. Participating in academic or community affiliations does not only strengthen your resume, but it also serves a key role in developing your professional soft skills.

Once you’ve found your community, allow for yourself to grow! Maybe you’ll discover another passion within your industry? Maybe you will unearth new job opportunities? Maybe you’ll discover that your major isn’t exactly for you? Either way, by joining an extracurricular activity you are one step closer to achieving your career planning goals.

Optimize Your Resume

You will want to make sure that your resume is optimized for the positions you will be applying for. By the time you’ve reached this step, you’ve already located what entry-level positions you’d like to apply for. To take your research a step further, review your selected job postings to identify what keywords can help boost your resume visibility within Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

When developing you resume, be sure that you are highlighting your most industry relevant skillsets and experiences. This is a great opportunity to flex on your various achievements, affiliations, and projects that have occurred throughout your academic tenure. If you were unable to obtain an internship or participate in a university organization, then lean in on your studies! Since you are entry-level, it is perfectly acceptable for you to highlight your course titles and major projects completed. Afterall, your resume is meant to showcase all of your industry-related experience.

Having an optimized resume is a critical part of your career planning progression. If you struggle with putting together a cohesive document, then consider partnering with a resume writing firm that can ensure that you have this necessary tool to achieve your job searching goals.

Build Your LinkedIn Account

One of the strongest ways to establish your industry network, aside from joining various organizations, is to create your own LinkedIn profile account. While this may seem like another frivolous app to be glued to, LinkedIn can actually serve as a powerful tool by connecting you with other professionals. Not only does this site allow for you to search for new job openings, it also allows you to be visible to recruiters and hiring managers. Take your resume information and have it displayed across your LinkedIn profile. This allows for recruiters and hiring professionals to locate your candidacy without you even having to apply for the position. By establishing and maintaining an in-depth online professional presence you are better positioning yourself for professional success.

Career planning does not have to be as daunting as it seems. By keeping these four quick tips in mind, you are establishing a strong foundation for your post-graduate experience. It is best to keep in mind that when applying for positions, you will face rejection. And that is absolutely okay. By developing a secure career plan, you are preparing yourself for the worst-case scenario. And while the job searching process is not a linear journey, at the very least you are creating yourself an answer for the dreaded family question, “So, what’s next?”

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