How To Secure A Job Before Graduation

Securing a job before graduating college can feel like being on top of the world! It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you have a new career waiting for you when you graduate. You don’t have to stress about job searching and interviewing on top of making sure you pass your classes. But how do you actually land a job before graduating from college?

In the summer before the last year of my computer science B.S. program, I was offered a full-time software developer position for a major company in the finance industry. They offered a great starting salary, benefits, and a sign-on bonus! Here’s how I got the offer.

  1. Network, network, network!

Networking is incredibly important when you’re searching for jobs. It can be the difference maker that takes you from applying to 100 different jobs online with no callback to not having to apply to a job because you know someone who works for a company you’re interested in, and they can connect you with someone in the hiring department.

Every opportunity I had to meet with representatives from different companies I treated as a chance to show my value to them. When you’re networking with companies, there’s a few key things you want to demonstrate:

  • You’re personable
  • You’re interested in the company
  • You’re eager to learn and develop
  • You have experiences in what they’re looking for

Give them a reason to remember you by expressing your interest in them, and showcase some of the experiences you have up to that point. A lot of companies look for leadership experiences through clubs and other extracurricular activities.

In the computer science field, many companies wanted to see that I had an interest in programming outside of the classroom. They would want to see any code that I’ve written and what languages I was comfortable with.

When I was networking with the company I’m currently with, I connected with an alumni from my school. They would reach out to the school a few times a year and gauge the interest of students wanting to participate in activities sponsored by the company. And you better believe I took part in every single one!

Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of alumni networks! Reach out to alumni from your school to see if they would be able to connect you to the right people. LinkedIn is a great resource.

2. Cast a wide net

It’s important to be open to different career possibilities. You don’t want to bottle neck yourself so much where you’re only interested in one role with one company. Although ambitious and admirable, to put yourself in the best position to be successful in your job hunt, you should be open to the many possibilities related to your degree.

Cast a wide net when you’re applying for positions with different companies. Take a chance on a company you may not have thought about interviewing with. The more opportunities you take in reaching out to companies and expressing interest in them, the better chance you’ll have at landing an interview that leads to a job, or even better, getting to choose between multiple job offers.

3. Follow up with your connections

After you’ve networked and expressed interest in a company, and you received their contact information, always make sure to follow up with them. Representatives go to many different colleges, so you want to keep the memory of meeting you fresh on their minds while they’re deciding who to push to their hiring teams.

Within the first few days of meeting with someone from a company you’re interested in, send them an email expressing appreciation and excitement for opportunities with the company. Mention something specific from the meeting, and be sincere. Here’s an example of what a follow up could look like the following:

Hello Jan,

It was great connecting with you this past week at Tennessee State! I am excited to learn more about the opportunities the company has for future graduates, and I hope you’ll keep me in consideration for any upcoming openings. I believe I would be a amazing fit based on our conversation about the company and the things I am looking for in a career! I loved the career training that the company has!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Tom

Making sure you follow up with the companies you network with can go a long way in getting opportunities to interview with them and securing a job.

4. Secure an internship with the company

Securing an internship with a company is a fantastic way to land a job before graduation. Many companies make an effort to hire from their internship pool.

My company, for example, hires over 50% of all new hires for the year from the intern pool. On top of that, most of the interns who satisfactorily complete their tasks, demonstrate a willingness to learn, and fit well with the company receive a job offer at the end of the internship.

Those are some pretty good odds. So, if you can secure an internship, you’ll be one step closer to landing a job before graduation!

If you’re interested in how to obtain an internship, read this article on how I received multiple internship offers as a computer science major, How I Got Multiple Internship Offers While In School. There are many strategies in that article to help you get the internship that leads to your career!

5. Continually find ways to show interest in the company

When a company has shown interest in you through networking events, follow ups, and interviews, be sure to continue to show interest in them. Here are a few ways you can show a company you’re interested in them:

  • Attend and participate in the events they have at your school
  • Wear their swag around campus
  • Keep the networking connections strong through email
  • Continue to work on the skills they’re looking for in a new hire

When a company is going through their hiring process, they’re more likely to give you consideration for a job if they know you’re interested, and you check off the boxes they’re looking for in a candidate.

Continue to participate in company sponsored events, maintain connections with the company, and work on the skills that they highlight as important for new hires to possess, and you should be a solid candidate for them to want to hire.

Summary

Securing a job before graduating is a great way to set the tone for the beginning of a wonderful career. Over the course of the article we dove into 5 strategies for landing a job while in school:

  1. Network, network, network!
  2. Cast a wide net
  3. Follow up with your connections
  4. Secure an internship with the company
  5. Continually find ways to show interest in the company

Even if you’ve already graduated college, these tips can still be incredibly useful in your job search. And don’t get discouraged if the job hunt hasn’t produced your dream job yet! Stay positive, and be open to the possibilities that come your way.

How’s your job search going? Reach out!

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5 Key Strategies To Prevent Burnout

Burnout is a term used to describe someone that is feeling tired and mentally exhausted resulting from a buildup of stress. This can come from several different areas in your life, such as school, work, and parenting.

It is a serious problem that affects many people around the world, and it’s important to take action steps to limit the buildup of stress leading to burnout.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my article, What Is Burnout And How To Identify It At Work Before It’s Too Late, it goes into detail on the process of burning out and what signs to look out for.

If you feel like you’re on your way to burning out from your commitments, there are strategies available that can help prevent it. Here are 5 strategies that you can use to help you avoid burnout.

  1. Locate the source of the stress buildup

It’s important to find what stressors are in your life and where they are coming from. Like any problem you face in life, it’s easier to deal with the stress when you know what’s causing it. For this to work, it’s important to be as specific as possible about what the stress is and where the source of the stress can be found. Without knowing these two things, it’s difficult to address the problem.

As an example, let’s look at the two statements below:

  • “Work is stressing me out, and I don’t think I can take it much longer.”
  • “The added responsibilities on top of my regular duties at work without added support is becoming difficult to manage. Work was fine until my boss asked if I could take on a new project. It’s becoming difficult to stay motivated because I don’t see an end to the extra work I’ve received.”

The more specific and honest with yourself you can be, the more effective you’ll be at addressing the issues to prevent burnout. Once you’re able to identify the source of your stress, you can take steps to address it.

2. Identify your support system and utilize them

Your support system is anyone you can turn to that will listen when you have a problem, and they will help you in addressing the problem. Having a strong support system will give you a safe place to share the stress in your life, and if they’re close to you, they can provide guidance that would best suit you.

It’s important to note that when a person goes down the path to burnout, one of the steps that they could go through is withdrawal from social interaction. If you’re feeling this way, it’s important to seek out your support system.

If you’re not the kind of person that likes to share personal information, such as the things that are causing you stress, your support system can also provide a way to change your environment or engage in social activities. It can be just as beneficial to be doing something you enjoy with others, such as game nights or eating out.

3. Take time for yourself

Not only is it important to have a support system available, but having personal time for the things you enjoy is also important in minimizing the effects of stress leading to burnout.

When work, school, or life gets stressful, and you feel the effects of the stress for any length of time, it’s important to take a step back and dedicate some time for yourself.

The time doesn’t have to be long, but during this time, you should do something you enjoy, such as a hobby or working out.

The reason you want to take time out for yourself is that your brain releases different signals depending on what you’re doing. If you’re constantly stressing about something, then your body is constantly sending the same signals, and over time this can lead to serious health problems, which includes, but is not limited to, burning out.

When you’re doing something you enjoy, your brain releases different signals that enable you to feel happy, relaxed, and overall in a good place. So, when you get back to your commitment, you’ll be in a better position to continue working.

4. Prioritize the important things

There’s a saying:

  • “The straw that broke the camel’s back.”

This can be in reference to a small or minor issue being the final thing that causes a big reaction. As an example, let’s say one day I had a terrible experience starting from the time I woke up. I missed my alarm, sat in traffic to get to work, forgot to eat breakfast, missed a meeting, and I forgot to grab my wallet, so I couldn’t get lunch either.

As I’m sitting at my desk with all of these problems built up inside me, a coworker walks over and asks how my lunch was. Although they meant no harm in the question, it upset me so much that I walk out of the office and go home. With that last action, I miss the rest of my meetings, and I’m responsible for explaining to my boss where I was the next day.

In my example, what my coworker said was meaningful enough to me that I left my other commitments unfinished to go home. However, it shouldn’t have had such an impact that I neglected my other priorities as a response.

It’s important to prioritize the important things in your life so that you can see where your time and energy should be spent. Your priorities should include some form of the following:

  • Work/school success
  • self-care
  • friends/family

It can be in any order that you feel and as specific as necessary, but it’s important to note that a lot of things that can be stressful, you wouldn’t necessarily find on your list. These would be the straws that we want to avoid stressing over in our lives. In my example, what a coworker said, that wasn’t even rude or offensive, was not something that I should have prioritized as important.

When you’re able to prioritize what’s important in your life, you have a clear picture of where your time and energy should be spent, and you’re better able to keep the straws from becoming the reason for your burnout.

5. Find meaning in what you’re doing

I cannot stress this one enough. When you’re feeling down about your work or school, it is important to find meaning in what you’re doing, and keep it at the forefront of your mind. You had your reasons for starting whatever it is that’s causing you stress, but you have to continue to see the value in what you’re doing.

Whether it’s finishing the semester strong so you’re one step closer to graduating, or many people being dependent on successful completion of your project at work, what you’re doing has value. It’s meaningful. You may have to remind yourself every once in a while, just in case you forget.

Without having the value behind what you’re doing, you start to lose the motivation or drive to continue doing it. You may even start developing negative feelings towards it. By staying aware of the meaning behind what you’re doing, you’re better able to keep the motivation for doing it alive.

Even in the most difficult of situations, you can find something meaningful to hold onto so that you can continue forward.

Conclusion

Many people around the world have experienced or will experience burnout in their lives. It’s important to find ways to keep from going down that path for your overall well-being. In this article, we looked at 5 key strategies for helping to prevent burnout:

  1. Locate the source of the stress buildup
  2. Identify your support system and utilize them
  3. Take time for yourself
  4. Prioritize the important things
  5. Find meaning in what you’re doing

Although any one of these strategies can help as an aid against burnout, using a few or all of the strategies together can have a better effect and a higher success rate.

What things do you do to fight against burnout? Let me know!

And, as always, if you enjoyed reading the article, and you feel it’s been helpful, make sure to like, subscribe, share, and be on the lookout for more ways to feel empowered and confident in your career and education goals!

Thinking About Going Back To School? Here Are Some Important Things To Consider

Whether you’re wanting to finish the degree you started, begin a master’s program, or earn a second bachelor’s degree, there’s a few important things to consider before going back to school.

  1. Why do you want to go back to school?

Before I decided that going back to school for my second bachelor’s degree was in the best interest of my family and myself, I created a list of reasons why I should go back to school. This is a good first step to do if you’re deciding something major like going back to school as it enables you to visually gather your thoughts in one place.

Creating a counter argument list is also helpful in comparing the pros and cons of going back to school versus not going back. To create a counter argument list, you would write down reasons why going back to school would not be a good idea, and then you would compare your results with each other to see which side makes the most sense for you.

The list I put together had many good points, I remember, but the number one reason for wanting to go back to school was the following:

  • I am not happy in my career, and I don’t see it getting better without change.

I read this line over and over again until it got stuck in my head. What if, I reasoned with myself, I could change how I feel about my career instead of changing my career? It made sense to try to make it work since I had already put so much effort into my career at that point. In thinking about it this way, I sometimes compare my feelings towards my career with a bad relationship. I wasn’t happy, but I was trying to make it work in hopes that it would get better.

With all the effort given in making my career work, in the end I realized that it just wasn’t for me. So, I continued with the idea of going back to school by building on the list I created previously.

From my list, I put together goals in order to work towards a different outcome than the career I was moving on from. My goals in going back to school was to put my family in a better place financially, and so I could get into a career that I was happy with. With my goals in front of me, I felt comfortable moving forward with going back to school.

2. How are you going to pay for school?

This is a big consideration considering the price of a single college class can reach thousands of dollars. Factor in your current bills and other obligations, and it can get expensive fast. Before I started my second bachelor’s degree program, I took out a student loan for just enough to allow me to get started with school. During the school year, I applied for scholarships that I qualified for, and I also worked full time. I set aside money earned from my work to pay the cost of tuition for the upcoming semester. These things together are the reason why I was able to make it through school without having to worry about finances.

When you’re considering how you’re going to pay for school, you need to be aware of the cost of attendance at the school you’re interested in attending, and how you’re going to get the money to allow you to continue taking classes until you graduate.

Tip: Many schools offer a reduced cost per credit hour after a certain number of hours in a semester.

I highly recommend seeing if the school you’re interested in attending does this. The school I was attending reduced the cost of each credit hour above 12 credits from a couple hundred dollars to under $50. This significantly lowered my overall tuition cost.

Also, if you’re still eligible, fill out the FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) online. Enrollment starts each year in October, and it can be a great way to receive aid if you qualify.

3. How are you going to fit school in with the rest of your life?

I’ll admit, this one was probably the toughest consideration for me to address. The reason why it was so tough to deal with was because I needed to work full time for the money and benefits. It is definitely not easy fitting a full time course load alongside a full time job throughout the week.

If you are in the same position as I was with needing to keep working during the school year, careful planning and flexibility is essential. It is important to find out if you can take the classes you need to reach your goals while maintaining your current job. To figure this out, you can talk to the advisers at the specific school you’re interested in attending to see if there would be any conflicts between your work schedule and the times classes are offered.

I knew I couldn’t continue teaching while I went to school because many of the courses that I needed to take were only offered during the day when I was teaching. It wouldn’t have worked for me. Luckily, I found a job that was flexible in allowing me to return to school full time.

On the flip side, there may not be much time available for other things in your life. I know I struggled with not being able to hang out with my friends or do fun activities as often as I would have liked because I had school, work, and family commitments that came first. If you’d like to read about how I balanced multiple commitments and how you can as well, check out the link here:

As A Full Time Student, Employee, Husband, And Father, Here’s How I Balanced It All

4. Do you have credits earned from a previous school & do they transfer?

When I went back to school for my second degree, I spent a couple weeks worrying about my credits transferring from the schools I previously attended. I had to argue my case with different department heads for not having to take any general education courses, since I already took them to earn my prior degree.

The new school I was attending did not offer some of the courses that I took, so I had to fill out transfer equivalency forms saying that a description for a class I took previously matched with the description for a class that was offered at my current school.

If I didn’t go through this process and instead accepted what the school said would be the credits they would accept towards my second degree, I would have been in school for at least an extra semester. The extra cost of tuition and lost wages for not being able to work in my new field would have been a major setback.

Tip: Sit with an adviser at the school you’re considering attending to see what credits you have will transfer and save you time in completing your degree.

If some credits don’t immediately transfer, do some research in the courses offered at the school to see if a class matches with any courses you’ve taken previously, and make a case to present to the department head that oversees the class.

Conclusion

There are many things to consider before going back to school. A few important considerations are:

  1. Why do you want to go back to school?
  2. How are you going to pay for school?
  3. How are you going to fit school in with the rest of your life?
  4. Do you have credits earned from a previous school & do they transfer?

There are many other things to be aware of before returning to school, but having answers to the considerations listed here will have you on your way to creating the future you’ve always dreamed of.

If you enjoyed reading the article, and you feel like it’s been helpful, make sure to like, subscribe, share, and be on the lookout for more ways to feel empowered and confident in your career and education goals!