By: Arizona Advertising Guild

As a college senior, the realization that you are about to head into your final semester of your collegiate career is probably weighing on your mind. Feeling the heat? Then this blog is for you. What you choose to do, or not to do, in these next few months will help determine your post-graduate endeavors. Have you taken the time to think about how you will approach corporate America following graduation? It can be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready to tackle your first job out of college.

Get an internship.

Buzz kill right? When you think about your final semester of college, you’re likely thinking about one last hoorah at spring break. It’s important to have fun, but it’s also equally important to gain valuable experience before you dive headfirst into the job pool. An internship is a great way to get your feet wet in whatever industry you’re studying. You may not realize it now, but real-world experience will put you miles ahead of the competition. Walking into a job interview with samples of school work is nice, but walking in with client experience as a recent grad? That’s impressive. Most universities offer job boards with local internship opportunities and you can often earn school credit while you’re at it.

Job proof your social media accounts.

You might be thinking it’s a bit dramatic to think that a company would actually look you up on social media. Well, you’re wrong. According to Career Builder, 70 percent of employers look up a candidate on social media. In today’s digital age, everything you post to your social accounts becomes a representation of who you will be as an employee. Here are a few simple things you can do to help job proof your social accounts:

  1. Change your profiles to private to help limit what information is shared with non “friends.”
  2. Update your profile photos and cover images. Use a professional head shot if you have one.
  3. Ensure that your social media handles are appropriate – no derogatory or lewd language.
  4. If you keep your profiles public, start engaging with brands and professionals you admire. Recruiters will notice this positive interaction.
  5. Be aware of what you’re posting. What you say today could affect you in the future. If you need to, go back and delete posts that could be misinterpreted or present you in a bad light.

Update your voicemail recording.

This piece of advice may seem frivolous but the reality is that this is often the first “interaction” a recruiter will have with you. Seriously, think about it. The chances of you answering a call from an unknown number is pretty slim and the last thing you want HR to hear is – “Hey, this is Amy. I’m probably out partying with friends or tanning by the pool. Leave me a message and I might call you back.” Something as harmless as your cute voicemail recording could be a deciding factor when narrowing down candidates for a position.

Be prepared.

On average, it takes more than seven months of job searching before you actually land a job. Even if you’re not ready to jump into the workforce, you need to be ready to apply. University job fairs often happen months before graduation and some companies are willing to wait if you’re the right candidate. Waiting until after graduation to start working on a resume and LinkedIn profile will put you at a serious disadvantage.

Network. Network. Network.

College is a great time to make connections with people who know your industry. Whether it be your professors or guest lecturers, engage in class and follow up after a presentation with a thank you note or some additional insights. Leaving an impression on someone who’s already connected can open doors for you as you embark on your job hunt. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your professors and classmate to endorse your skills or write recommendations for you on LinkedIn.

You can also look into opportunities to volunteer for local industry groups. Many organizations will let you attend events for free when you offer to help set up. You’ll get to meet current industry pros and build relationships before you ever apply for a job. Check out our blog on networking for more tips and tricks.

Best of Luck, Soon-To-Be Grad

In the end, it’s all about balance. Be sure to soak in these final moments of college bliss and enjoy it while you can. Just be sure to set aside time to prep and plan for your future.

If you’re looking for additional resources, the Arizona Advertising Guild frequently shares professional tips and insights on our blog, like this article with tips for job hunting out of state. We also pull together a monthly roundup of industry events happening in the Phoenix area for those in our market, so check back each month for new opportunities. Best of luck, soon-to-be grad!