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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How I Got Multiple Internship Offers While In School

Getting an internship is an important milestone in a student’s college career. Internships open the door for career opportunities by giving you a chance to show your employer that you’d be a great fit with the company after the internship ends.

If they like you, they’re likely to either offer you another internship if you’ll still be in school next year, or they’ll offer you a job for when you graduate. It’s an amazing feeling to have a job secured before you finish with school because it’s one less stress you have to worry about.

An internship also gives you highly valuable experience that you can put on your resume to show other companies that you’re serious about what you want to do when you get out of school.

When I went to school for my first bachelor’s, I didn’t bother getting an internship anywhere. I was confident that I was going to a health profession school after completing my bachelor’s, so my college career lacked any real-world experience outside of my part time job.

I didn’t make that same mistake during my second bachelor’s degree program. Through 5 key steps, I obtained multiple internship offers, and I interviewed with even more companies. Having multiple internship offers allowed me the opportunity to decide where I wanted to go as well as consider potential job offers after finishing the internship.

If you’re trying to obtain an internship while you’re in school, here are some things I did, and I hope you find them useful in your search.

  1. Utilize school resources

Most schools have a career center, or something similar, where you’re able to inquire about job opportunities, networking events, and professional development.

I utilized my career center frequently whenever they hosted events such as resume workshops or mock interviews. Their job is to be a resource for students, and they can provide a wealth of information to help you land the internship of your dreams.

They were also a lifesaver with regards to getting my resume presentable for companies. There are many people out there who charge for services like this, but your school more than likely offers this service for free.

Tip: If you haven’t already, check out your school’s career center and see how they can help you succeed.

2. Go to all company hosted events

Different companies often visited our school to meet with students and share information about the company.

I highly recommend attending as many of these company hosted events as possible. It was through one company meet and greet that I received an internship offer on the spot.

If you struggle with meeting new people or networking in general, I wrote a post addressing some things you can do in these situations called Networking As An Introvert.

3. Attend Career Fairs

Career fairs that are organized by your school are great opportunities to put yourself out there and network with other companies. Many times, companies are looking out for students graduating soon as well as those seeking internships.

Tip: Research what companies are going to be present and see what they’re looking for at the career fair. Look for companies you’re interested in networking with, and print enough resumes to cover those companies, plus a few more just in case! This will save you time on the day of the fair.

Make sure you do your research ahead of time on what each company does, so when you get asked why you want to work for that company, you’ll have a stellar answer ready to go!

Also, have your elevator pitch ready to present! This is a quick rundown of who you are, what your interests are, and what you bring to the table. It’s a way to spark interest in the people you’re networking with and a great jumping point to talk about why you’d be a great fit with the company.

4. Reach out to the department head of your college

The department head for my major was an incredibly valuable resource. Companies would email him job and internship opportunities, and he would send them to the students.

Try to set some time with your department head to talk about internships and see how they can help you. Or if they’re busy, you can always reach out by email to see what opportunities he’s come across.

It’s important to know that for every successful student that leaves the college with a job, that’s one more student that makes the college look good. So, it’s in their best interest to help you find success in your internship search.

5. Attend your classes and be engaged

This is an important part of how I got multiple internship offers. When you attend your classes, engage in what’s going on in the class, and show you care, the professors will see that. The professors themselves have valuable insight into opportunities for students.

I had a couple professors who would ask students who were doing well in their classes what their summer plans were. If they didn’t have any plans, the professors would provide themselves as a resource to obtaining one, if the students were interested.

Going to class and doing well also puts you in a great position to ask for a reference letter if a company requires it. The more time you spend with the professors in class and show you care, the better the letter will be. And, you’ll definitely want a stellar letter of recommendation.

6. Prepare for interviews

This is probably the single biggest factor in obtaining an internship. When you receive an opportunity to interview with companies for internships, it’s important to prepare for each interview.

To prepare for your interview, take the time to do background research on the company and figure out why you would want to work there. Look up reviews from other people who interviewed with them for the same position to get an idea of what questions you may be asked. The better prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be when you’re interviewing for the internship.

Summary

I went back to get my second bachelor’s degree in my late 20’s. As a nontraditional student, I was able to secure multiple internships by doing these 5 key things:

  1. Utilize school resources
  2. Go to all company hosted events
  3. Attend Career Fairs
  4. Reach out to the department head of your college
  5. Attend your classes and be engaged
  6. Prepare for interviews

I hope these tips help you in your internship search like they’ve helped me. Remember to like, subscribe, and share, and I look forward to hearing from you!

I Became A Father While Still In School. Here’s What Surprised Me The Most

It is such an amazing feeling becoming a father. When your newborn holds your finger for the first time, and you’re holding them with all the love in the world, you realize that you would do anything for them.

My son was born one year into my second bachelor’s degree. My goal, at the time, was to complete the program in two years. With him added to our family, I was wondering if it could still be possible.

My wife and I took the whole summer leading up to my second year to plan how our family will function while I was still in school and we were both working. Once the semester started, we implemented our plans.

There were many ups and downs with raising a newborn during the following year, but here are the things that surprised me the most about it.

  1. Daycare is ridiculously expensive

As new parents, we could not believe how expensive a traditional daycare costed. I’m talking second mortgage or vacation every month type expensive. This was probably our biggest concern while I was finishing up school. Adding an expense like this on top of everything else we had to pay was incredibly stressful.

At one point, we considered having my parents help with babysitting, but they lived over an hour away from us. Taking two hours out of our day traveling for our son on top of driving to and from work and school wasn’t feasible for us.

Instead, we decided to research the different daycare options in our area, and select the one that fit our budget as best as possible and one that we were comfortable leaving our son with.

Tip: Daycares will fill up fast for newborn care, so it’s important to research your options and get your name on a wait list for when your child reaches the minimum age that the daycare will accept.

Our budget during the year was tight, but thanks to some solid planning over the summer, we made it through to the end.

Aside from the traditional daycares, another option to consider is in-home care. This is where people take children into their homes and care for them. In-home daycares vary, but a reputable one will be licensed in the state its in, and will have good reviews. They don’t take in as many kids, but the ages of the children can vary widely. They will typically be cheaper than a traditional daycare as well.

Tip: Research all your options before deciding on care for your child. Keep in mind these options:

  • Traditional daycare
  • In-home daycare
  • friends/family

2. I felt like a natural caring for my son

This one was weirdly surprising to me. My experiences with babies and small children were very minimal. In fact, I couldn’t remember ever holding a baby prior to holding my own son. But, whenever I held my son, my heart felt full and my life complete.

I was told a few times in my life that I’d be a good father, and although I know it’s something I’ll continue working at for the rest of my life, with my son, I feel like a natural.

3. Changing diapers and cleaning weren’t an issue

When I thought about changing diapers before my son was born, I would always cringe. I’d think about the kinds of things I’d find in a diaper, the smell, and then cleaning it up. I couldn’t help but feel a little queasy.

Once he was born, however, all those feelings went away. I don’t even remember his diapers having any sort of foul smell for the first few months.

Changing his diapers was a part of caring for him, and I’d do my very best to make sure he was receiving the best care.

4. People are much more comfortable talking to you with a baby

It’s amazing to me how many strangers strike up conversations with my wife and me when we have our son. And while I’m not at my most comfortable when people engage in small talk with me, it’s easier when my son is there being the center of attention.

Other dads are incredibly supportive, too. I remember going into a men’s restroom to change my son one time, and other guys that going in and out of the restroom offered their support and words of encouragement. It’s not something I expected with my son, but it’s a great feeling.

5. My professors were incredibly supportive when it came to my son

I almost tear up thinking about this point. While I tried my best in school and got to know my professors, I didn’t expect them to be so supportive and understanding when it came to things going on with my son.

Whenever he got sick or couldn’t go to daycare for the day, I notified my professors saying I wasn’t going to be in class that day. Often, I would get a response wishing my son well or giving me an update on what’s going on in class and what I should do to prepare for the next class.

Tip: Always communicate with your professors and be proactive whenever you find out you’re going to miss class.

My grades never suffered because I missed a class due to my son. My professors were always flexible and wanted me to succeed. I am still grateful for their support, and I hope other students in my position have the same luck with their professors as I did.

Summary

Becoming a father is an incredible feeling. I learned so much about him and myself, and I continue to do so. During the first year of his life, there were 5 things that surprised me the most:

  1. Daycare is ridiculously expensive
  2. I felt like a natural caring for my son
  3. Changing diapers and cleaning weren’t an issue
  4. People are much more comfortable talking to you with a baby
  5. My professors were incredibly supportive when it came to my son

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!