I’ve stood among the hundreds of thousands of people in Times Square, hollering in excitement as that famous ball made its descent into the New Year. And as soon as the ball disappears into the days gone bye, those throngs of people join one another in a chorus of Auld Lang Syne as confetti rains down from above.
It may seem crazy to stand in the same spot for hours, in the December cold, for really only about two minutes of thrilling delight–the last of the old and the first of the new. But those two minutes bring a combination of conflicting emotions–a tinge of sadness that time has gone by, an eager anticipation for what is yet to come, and an uneasiness of the unknown.
For those of you preparing for graduation in the next few months, you may be starting to feel some of those same emotions. These last few years have led you to a thrilling achievement. And, for some of you, you may be the first in your family to graduate from college. No matter who you are, turning the corner from student to graduate will be a major transition.
Moving into 2012, you have a valuable gift–the gift of time. So take the opportunity to reflect over what you have learned, both in and out of the classroom, and start preparing yourself for your next role.
As you consider your list of New Years’ resolutions, make sure to save room for those related to helping you land a job. Ideas include:
- Get involved in a professional organization, club, sport, or community group.
If you do more than one, try to diversify yourself to showcase different skills and interests. See if your chosen major or industry of study has a related organization you can join. And, don’t just be a member. Try to take on a leadership role to build your skills and experience.
It’s never too early to get the word out that you will be looking. Not only do you want to talk with people you know, but you want to reach out to professional association members, your professors’ contacts in the community, friends of family members and more. Building your network can lead to internships and jobs through the relationships you develop.
- Review your online profiles.
If you have a presence online, make sure you update it regularly. If you don’t have one, it’s a great time to create one! As you start applying for jobs and prepare to leave college behind you, ensure that the material seen on your social profiles is professional. Update your profile photos to a professional-looking photo and make sure that any content on your site that contain comments you may not want a potential employer to see are removed.
- Volunteer or get an internship.
Volunteering your time or taking on an internship is a great way to add experience to your resume and expand your network. And, you may even be able to get college credit for your time!
- Visit your campus career center.
Almost every school has the resource and it’s free to you. They can be a valuable resource for assistance with resume writing and interview advice. Plus this is the time of year employers start on-campus interviewing; check for a schedule of events.
- Do you need a makeover?
Take a look in your closet. Are you ready to dress the part of a professional candidate?
I’m not going to bore you with the old clichés like “The early bird gets the worm.” But it is true that preparation will help you reach your ultimate goal. Take this chance to position yourself ahead of the rest of the field of 2012 graduates. Not once has anyone ever uttered the words, “Had I only NOT prepared…”
Michele is a Senior Recruiter for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a former assistant director at the University of Maryland University College’s Career and Cooperative Education Center, she’s no stranger to students trying to plan their careers. During that time, she worked with non-traditional college students to gain school credit for on the job work experience. Michele also taught seminars on job searching, resume writing and interview techniques, and partnered with local employers to help students gain employment. At Sodexo, she has continued her interest in shaping student careers by serving as a mentor to an intern in the company’s Future Leaders Program. Michele began her recruitment career in 1999, joining Sodexo in 2008 where she recruits for a range of food, facilities and environmental services positions. Michele holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park (go Terps), is a charter member of a Baltimore area Toastmasters chapter, and a Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) and Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR). When not giggling with her two girls, Michele enjoys writing … and watching the Yankees win, much to the dismay of her husband. Join her on LinkedIn or just Network with Us at Sodexo.