Happy New Year! Now get to work…
Graduation is not as far off as you think. Here are ten things you can start doing today to ensure your successful future:
1. Clean up your social media accounts.
Privacy settings do not mean a thing and you should not rely on them. Start cleaning up your pages and creating a positive ‘personal brand’ or reputation as it used to be called. BrandYourself.com is a great place to start – it was created by a group of college students just like you to help fellow students clean up their online brand. This is not a fast process so start it now.
2. Add a professional looking picture to your accounts and to your resume.
You do not have to spend money, find a friend with a nice camera, and ask them to take some shots for you. Then show those shots to the professionals in your life who can help you pick the best one.
3. Check your email address.
I do not care how long you have had that email address – get rid of it permanently if it is not professional. You cannot go wrong with something like YourNameHere@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. A Gmail account is free and is accepted as a professional email. Anything @hotmail.com is suspect as are several other email providers.
4. Create a professional profile on LinkedIn.com.
Consider this your online resume. Search other profiles in the field you want to be in and look at what they have on their profiles. Once done, again have the professionals in your life look over your profile to make sure it looks good, spelling is correct, etc.
5. Start working on your professional paper resume
Use the same checking process with the professionals as above. Creating a resume that makes potential employers want to call you is not as easy as it looks. Put some time into this.
6. Create a professional business card.
I know you do not have a job yet but this will give you something to leave behind with everyone in your network, potential employers, and leads. All you need is your name, phone number and that proper email address you now have. VistaPrint.com has several inexpensive offers for nice business cards. They also offer free cards but those come with their logo on the back, spend the extra money to have that logo removed – you may be a poor college student but you do not want to appear cheap.
7. Dress for the work you want.
I am not saying you have to start going to class in a suit and tie but think about where you want to be in a year. How do the people who are already there dress? You need to start building your wardrobe and becoming comfortable in those clothes. That right there will take a lot of stress out of future interviews.
8. Begin gathering your recommendations and references.
Do it now so you do not have to scramble later on when they are needed.
9. Get serious with your job research.
Read, learn, and gather all the information you can on the industry you want to work in, the company you want to work for, and their competition. Set up news alerts using a free service such as Google Alerts. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn. Knowledge is power.
10. Speak up; this is no time for sissies.
Start letting everyone in your network, including friends, family, professors and more, know when you will graduate and what it is you want to do. You never know who knows who in your network and if you do not speak up; they will never know you were looking for that perfect opportunity.
These ten things will help you start to create your brand and make future employers, customers and clients take notice. In a good way.
Oh, and do not forget to send me your graduation announcement!