Written by Lindsey Bell, Career Resources Specialist, Career Center
Are you preparing to graduate in the coming months? If so, congratulations! Graduating with a college degree is a huge accomplishment that can assist you in obtaining your future career goals. While graduation is an exciting time, it is also important to not lose sight of necessary pre-graduation planning to increase your chances of career success. Below are several career planning steps you can take in the months leading up to your graduation to ensure your success.
Decide on your post-graduation path
It is important to have a clear post-graduation goal in mind as a starting point. There is no “right” choice—whether you are interested in full-time or part-time employment, gaining internship experience, going to graduate school, joining the Peace Corps, or taking another path, it’s important you find what works best for you. Once you have determined the path you will take, you can start planning your next steps.
Map out your professional network
Make a list of all the current professional connections you have (family friends, coworkers, professors, supervisors, etc.). Next, narrow down that list to people who might have connections in your career field of interest. Did you know that 50-80% of jobs are found through networking? Now is the perfect time to reach out to your existing contacts and expand your network. Update your LinkedIn profile and try reaching out to Missouri State alumni in your career field.
Stay up to date on Career Center Events
The Career Center offers several events to assist students in their career readiness. Consider attending a virtual Career Fair, Mock Interview Day, or networking event to help boost your confidence as an emerging professional.
Get your résumé reviewed by the Career Center
It is a good idea to get your career documents reviewed by multiple people; other people may notice errors or inconsistences that you, as the résumé writer, overlook. The Career Center’s dedicated staff are résumé and cover letter experts. We can review your documents over email, through Zoom, or through our virtual drop-in hours. You can also upload your résumé to Handshake and have it critiqued online by one of our trained Peer Advisors.
Prepare your job search strategy
Looking for a job can be stressful and time-consuming, but fortunately, there are strategies you can implement to make it easier on yourself. You can start by contacting people in your professional network and searching for job openings on job search engines that are specific to your industry. Use a Job Search Tracker to help you keep track of the dates in which you applied for jobs, interviewed, followed up, and sent post-interview thank–you notes. If you’re still not sure where to start, you can always set up an appointment with our staff in the Career Center to determine a job search strategy that works best for you.
Do a mock interview with the Career Center
Interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience! While it is normal to be nervous, practicing ahead of time can help you feel more confident for your future interview. Schedule a mock interview with one of our Career Resources Specialists or practice on your own through InterviewStream.
Celebrate your success!
Congratulations! You are now set up for post-graduation success. Hopefully, you have gotten into your graduate school of choice, nailed the interview for your dream entry-level position, or laid the foundation for your future job–search strategy. And if you still need help, that’s okay too—the Career Center is available to Missouri State alumni at no cost. We’ll be here when you need us, Career Bears!