Finding a job is not easy and preparing for the job market is a lengthy process. College life is a time period when students remain busy with a lot of things like regular classes, exams, assignments, workshops, etc but not with preparation for the job market. So when they graduate from college, they land on the real-life job market scenario and suddenly feel they are not acquainted with the process. This makes them frustrated & eats up a lot of time at the beginning of their career. If students know how to prepare themselves for the upcoming competitive job market, they will perform much better and land their dream jobs pretty easily. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Here are the 14 ways you can prepare yourself as a student for job market while you are still in college.
1. Do an internship: “You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job”. Well, it’s not true always. Here is how you will nail it. Go for an internship or volunteering. Many companies offer summer internships when the vacation starts in schools or colleges. Use that time by taking an internship program. This is a very important work experience that you can put in your resume and will help you immensely to land jobs as a fresher.
2. Participate in extracurricular activities: Recruiters value extracurricular activities a lot in case of hiring fresh graduates. If you are a footballer, it shows you are physically tough and enduring. Being a team captain shows your leadership quality. And if you can debate well, it demonstrates your analytical, data processing and communication skills. So, find out where you are good at and participate. It can be sports, cultural activities, arranging events and many other things.
3. Look for part-time employment: Sometimes, there is a part-time job offer for a certain number of days or weeks. Take these types of chances. You can mention that as your working experience. Students are appointed as salesmen in a week or month-long trade fair or events. Work there. Sometimes, teachers appoint students as a research assistant or data collector. You can try that out too. These are the solid work experiences that will help you significantly when you will start looking for jobs as a fresh graduate.
4. Work on your hobby or entrepreneurial project: This is another great way of portraying real-life work experience. If you have a hobby that you can work on, spend some time with that regularly so that you can create some values. If you have any business idea, try that out on a small scale. Even if you fail, you can show these attempts as experiences in your resume. An entrepreneurial mindset is highly valued in workplaces. And working on these projects, you have just demonstrated that you possess that mindset.
5. Be an active club member: Every college or university has different clubs. Be an active member of some of these clubs where you can learn and contribute. If you can hold any positions there like Club President or Secretary, it’s even better. You can portray that participation and club activities in your resume.
6. Do volunteer work: If there is any community club at your school or near your locality, be an active member there or work as a volunteer in some nonprofit organizations. Doing charity, community & volunteer work gives a good impression of your ethics and social responsibility.
7. Start networking: Being proactive is a prerequisite for effective networking. Be bold and start reaching to people. Start connecting with people, online and offline. Have good communication with your seniors who have recently graduated or will graduate soon. Follow up on which company they join. If that interests you, don’t hesitate to have them informed. Know your alumni and start connecting with them. Make sure you have a good relationship with your teachers. Many companies ask teachers to refer students or graduates for a position. You don’t want to miss that chance. Don’t just connect and lie back. Engage with them on a regular basis. But before you do that, learn the norms of how to start a good conversation. Have a short bio and elevator pitch ready so that you can introduce yourself quickly and effectively.
8. Start Using LinkedIn: If you have not started using LinkedIn already, you better do that. LinkedIn is a great place to build a professional network. Keep your profile polished and professional. Don’t use LinkedIn like a Facebook profile.
9. Tutor students or in an educational institution: If you have the opportunity, tutor students. You can add this as a teaching experience. This might help you to land some specific jobs as a teacher or instructor. Teaching students also improve your communication skills as well as your skill in managing and dealing with people. These skills are very important especially in Sales and Marketing jobs.
10. Improve your soft skills: Well, though your college or university teaches you lots of stuff on many subjects, they rarely train you up for developing your soft skills. You have to do it yourself. Soft skills are very crucial in landing jobs nowadays. Sadly, many students don’t put emphasis here. Learn the advanced level application of MS Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. Get some content creation skills, video, and image editing skills. Learn skills based on the industry or sector you want to work for. You can take some communication skill tests and show the scores in your resume. Take some online courses on the subject matter that interests you. There many free courses on YouTube or LinkedIn. Also, take some certification courses so that you can show your skills. Start learning slowly but steadily. Improve your English, Math and Analytical skills. As CVs or resumes are getting obsolete day by day, most of the companies, nowadays, take cognitive and skill assessments where they test candidates based on language and analytical proficiency. Prepare yourself on those subjects so that you score good marks there. You will find lots of content on the internet for improving your cognitive skills. Study these.
11. Aim for a standard result: People nowadays have generated a notion that “academic result doesn’t matter to get a job, all that matter is your skills.” While it’s true in most cases, it’s not the actual picture for a lot of situations. A good grade never harms, rather it does exactly the opposite. Having a good grade implies that the person is persevering, hard-working, and intelligent. The good grade gives the fresh graduate an edge over many others. It’s also a deciding criterion in many job positions. There are many job positions like Finance where recruiters prefer candidates with good grades. So college students should aim for at least standard results if not an outstanding one which will definitely improve their job finding possibility.
12. Do homework on your desired industry: Find out your industry or job sector where you want to work and start learning deeply about that industry or sector. If you want to work in the financial sector, learn finance, follow news on the stock market, world economy. If you want to work with technology, learn the current trends in technology, the future of technology, etc. This industry-specific knowledge will help you get the vibe and trends of the job market and also in the interview.
13. Prepare your resume/ CV: Many students don’t have a CV or resume while they are students. They start creating one after graduation. It’s not an ideal practice. Create your CV or resume right when you are in college or university. Then update it each semester. You can then evaluate how much value you have added to yourself in each semester. You can have your CV or resume reviewed here for free.
14. Check job posting sites and match your skills: Occasionally check some job posting sites and see the jobs of your preferred sector or industry. See what are the skills and other requirements they are looking for. Match these skills with your ones and see what you are lacking. Plan ahead when you are going to get these skills mastered. Thus you can prepare yourself ahead keeping pace with the job market.
Last note: Keep one thing in mind, don’t do everything just with an intent to add them in your resume. Rather try to create values and improve yourself on a regular basis. There is a saying, “There is no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure- General Colin Powell.” Finding a new job always takes longer than you might think. Whether you’re a college student at first grade or with looming graduation, the sooner you begin to prepare for job market, the better.
About upskillable: upskillable is the hub of Technology dream jobs powering Saudi’s Digital Transformation. If you’ve got digital skills, we’ve got technology jobs. It is a pre-employment assessment solution with an integrated jobs portal built by a team of experts with years of experience working with great organizations. upskillable’s integrated job board, multidimensional psychometric and skills assessment engine, and applicant tracking system (ATS) accelerate the hiring process by leveraging automated intelligence (Ai). Our pre-employment assessment solution is not only easy to use but also curates instantly the top candidates making easy the hard work of hiring the right person.