Securing a job before graduating college can feel like being on top of the world! It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you have a new career waiting for you when you graduate. You don’t have to stress about job searching and interviewing on top of making sure you pass your classes. But how do you actually land a job before graduating from college?
In the summer before the last year of my computer science B.S. program, I was offered a full-time software developer position for a major company in the finance industry. They offered a great starting salary, benefits, and a sign-on bonus! Here’s how I got the offer.
- Network, network, network!
Networking is incredibly important when you’re searching for jobs. It can be the difference maker that takes you from applying to 100 different jobs online with no callback to not having to apply to a job because you know someone who works for a company you’re interested in, and they can connect you with someone in the hiring department.
Every opportunity I had to meet with representatives from different companies I treated as a chance to show my value to them. When you’re networking with companies, there’s a few key things you want to demonstrate:
- You’re personable
- You’re interested in the company
- You’re eager to learn and develop
- You have experiences in what they’re looking for
Give them a reason to remember you by expressing your interest in them, and showcase some of the experiences you have up to that point. A lot of companies look for leadership experiences through clubs and other extracurricular activities.
In the computer science field, many companies wanted to see that I had an interest in programming outside of the classroom. They would want to see any code that I’ve written and what languages I was comfortable with.
When I was networking with the company I’m currently with, I connected with an alumni from my school. They would reach out to the school a few times a year and gauge the interest of students wanting to participate in activities sponsored by the company. And you better believe I took part in every single one!
Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of alumni networks! Reach out to alumni from your school to see if they would be able to connect you to the right people. LinkedIn is a great resource.
2. Cast a wide net
It’s important to be open to different career possibilities. You don’t want to bottle neck yourself so much where you’re only interested in one role with one company. Although ambitious and admirable, to put yourself in the best position to be successful in your job hunt, you should be open to the many possibilities related to your degree.
Cast a wide net when you’re applying for positions with different companies. Take a chance on a company you may not have thought about interviewing with. The more opportunities you take in reaching out to companies and expressing interest in them, the better chance you’ll have at landing an interview that leads to a job, or even better, getting to choose between multiple job offers.
3. Follow up with your connections
After you’ve networked and expressed interest in a company, and you received their contact information, always make sure to follow up with them. Representatives go to many different colleges, so you want to keep the memory of meeting you fresh on their minds while they’re deciding who to push to their hiring teams.
Within the first few days of meeting with someone from a company you’re interested in, send them an email expressing appreciation and excitement for opportunities with the company. Mention something specific from the meeting, and be sincere. Here’s an example of what a follow up could look like the following:
It was great connecting with you this past week at Tennessee State! I am excited to learn more about the opportunities the company has for future graduates, and I hope you’ll keep me in consideration for any upcoming openings. I believe I would be a amazing fit based on our conversation about the company and the things I am looking for in a career! I loved the career training that the company has!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Making sure you follow up with the companies you network with can go a long way in getting opportunities to interview with them and securing a job.
4. Secure an internship with the company
Securing an internship with a company is a fantastic way to land a job before graduation. Many companies make an effort to hire from their internship pool.
My company, for example, hires over 50% of all new hires for the year from the intern pool. On top of that, most of the interns who satisfactorily complete their tasks, demonstrate a willingness to learn, and fit well with the company receive a job offer at the end of the internship.
Those are some pretty good odds. So, if you can secure an internship, you’ll be one step closer to landing a job before graduation!
If you’re interested in how to obtain an internship, read this article on how I received multiple internship offers as a computer science major, How I Got Multiple Internship Offers While In School. There are many strategies in that article to help you get the internship that leads to your career!
5. Continually find ways to show interest in the company
When a company has shown interest in you through networking events, follow ups, and interviews, be sure to continue to show interest in them. Here are a few ways you can show a company you’re interested in them:
- Attend and participate in the events they have at your school
- Wear their swag around campus
- Keep the networking connections strong through email
- Continue to work on the skills they’re looking for in a new hire
When a company is going through their hiring process, they’re more likely to give you consideration for a job if they know you’re interested, and you check off the boxes they’re looking for in a candidate.
Continue to participate in company sponsored events, maintain connections with the company, and work on the skills that they highlight as important for new hires to possess, and you should be a solid candidate for them to want to hire.
Securing a job before graduating is a great way to set the tone for the beginning of a wonderful career. Over the course of the article we dove into 5 strategies for landing a job while in school:
- Network, network, network!
- Cast a wide net
- Follow up with your connections
- Secure an internship with the company
- Continually find ways to show interest in the company
Even if you’ve already graduated college, these tips can still be incredibly useful in your job search. And don’t get discouraged if the job hunt hasn’t produced your dream job yet! Stay positive, and be open to the possibilities that come your way.
How’s your job search going? Reach out!
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