As a college student, online or on campus, you have access to a wide range of support services designed to help you find your next job. A recent study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) asked students to share which resources they used most and rate them on effectiveness.
What initially caught my eye about the NACE report was the fact that “faculty members” rated so highly (more about that below). This list sparks a lot of ideas and none of the items included is unusual, out of reach or difficult to access, but they all require some initiative on your part to get them started.
This list presents the top 10 resources students found most effective in the NACE survey. I’ve also included a simple task for each one to show how you can take action on these items as an online student.
1. Employer Websites: Most companies have some kind of web presence these days, even if it is only a static webpage. There’s a lot of information here to help you research the organization itself and learn more about trends in the industry. The Muse shares additional ways to research a company online.
Your Task: Locate the websites for three companies hiring in your career field and search for the following: career/job listings, organization history and mission, links to social media accounts, product and service descriptions, newsletters, research reports.
2. Employer Representatives on Campus: Recruiters often visit college campuses to conduct interviews. If your online program is part of a campus-based school, look at the career center’s calendar of events to find out how you can submit your resume for consideration. If your school does not have a physical campus, know that the online career center is developing relationships with employers and can help you meet them in other ways (see #8 below).
Your Task: Call or chat with your career center advisors this week and ask how they connect hiring companies with students online (e.g., virtual interviews, in-house job boards).
3. Friends: You’re not in this alone. Once you begin the discussion with friends you may find that many are either actively looking for a job, or planning to do so in the near future. Regularly sharing concerns and conversations can lead to a source of mutual motivation and support.
Your Task: Start an informal job club with one or more of your friends or classmates. If you are all actively searching for new opportunities, but not the same one, you can send each other the relevant postings you come across in your searches, widening the cast of your net.
4. Career and Job Fairs: Campus-based schools sponsor student career and job fairs, which can focus on exploration and decision-making or on job applications and recruiting. In person events allow you to make a first impression and have conversations directly with companies that are hiring now. Students rated virtual fairs rated much lower in the NACE effectiveness survey, but 42% of said they attended those as well.
Your Task: Don’t rely on school-sponsored events. Check with your career center for options, but also monitor your local news and chamber of commerce calendar for job fairs in your community. Register for an upcoming event and prepare to attend.
5. Faculty Members: How well do you know the instructors in your academic program? Some may be full-time academics on the tenure track. Others are probably teaching part time while also working full time in their industries. Conversations with faculty members can lead to a wide range of job search assistance including networking, advice, mentoring and resource sharing.
Your Task: Contact one of your current or past instructors to set up an appointment (or visit them during online office hours) to talk about career development. Prepare a short list of questions and career topics you want to discuss.
6. Family: Your parents, siblings and extended family can be helpful additions to your professional network. And with the holidays approaching you’ll no doubt be answering questions from them about your progress with school and employment plans. Are your relatives aware that you are looking for a new position? They know you well and may be able to provide some kind of guidance if they know what you need.
Your Task: Do your relatives work in your field of interest or know others who do? Identify at least one family member who may be able to help you with your job search and get a conversation started via phone, email or in person meeting.
7. Alumni: Successful graduates of your school and degree program know how you are feeling as an online student with a job search on the horizon. They have been there and can provide advice about what you should be doing now to make the process a little easier when you graduate. Alumni associations provide an easy way to connect with prior students and resources, including in some cases through career counseling and one-on-one mentoring programs.
Your Task: Use the LinkedIn Alumni Tool to find out where graduates from your school are working (i.e., companies and industries) and what they do (i.e., job titles). Does your alumni association have an official LinkedIn Group? Join and follow the most recent discussions.
8. Employer Information Presentations on Campus: Company representatives often meet with students in groups to provide more information about what it’s like to work at these organizations, promote upcoming hiring needs and share general advice about the application process. This is similar to #2 above, and can also be an alternative to career fair participation.
Your Task: Contact your school’s career center for more details about how they are building relationships with employers. Sign up for the next webinar or virtual information session presented by an employer in your field of interest.
9. Career Services Office: This one may seem obvious, but when was your last contact with a career advisor? From career and academic major decisions, to resume writing and interview practice career advisors are ready to assist you in a variety of ways, via text chat, Skype and telephone appointments. In addition to individual sessions you can also attend small group meetings and use web-based library resources. Some centers also offer a for-credit career course.
Your Task: It’s never too soon (or too late) to work with career counselors and advisors. Locate the contact details for your online career center and set up an appointment today.
10. Social Networking Sites: Social networks have become powerful allies in the job search process; you’ve probably seen headlines like “Find Your Next Job on Twitter!” Knowing how to navigate these networks with your own social accounts as a professional person seeking employment, takes some practice.
Your Task: A new article from Mashable suggests 25 ways you can get closer to your dream job, and many of them involve social media. For example, “set up a Twitter list and add 10 people in your desired industry.”
Are you ready to take on these tasks? Take advantage of the resources available to expand your network and discover new opportunities while you are in school. You aren’t at a disadvantage as an online learner, but it is up to you to make the first move.
Photo by: U.S. Department of Education
Source: Inside Online Learning Blog – onlinecolleges.net