Students in campus need to spruce up their image and network way before they graduate to have a better chance of securing a job after college. This is according to a new report released today that revealed students are not aggressively preparing for their post-college careers, one of several reasons that many struggle to find jobs upon graduation.
The report, ‘The Student Career Development Study’, was commissioned by StudentAdvisor.com and Washington Post Company and covered 200 students in the US. 85 percent of the students surveyed said they consider internship important but only a third have a LinkedIn account and only 1 in 9 has a blog.
The report recommends;
1. Get an internship
Okay, we know in Kenya that might be a challenge. But do whatever it takes to get an internship position whether or not it is in line with your course. An internship will help you in two main ways; One, you get to network and two, if you are really hardworking and strategic, the company might just retain you after your internship period is over. Don’t worry if you are an unpaid intern, the experience is what counts.
2. Sign up on LinkedIn.
There are actually companies that recruit employees using the professional networking site. Ensure your profile is up-to-date and go all out in listing your achievements, activities and interests, then try and link up with professionals in your preferred field. The report revealed 93 percent of students surveyed do not have an understanding of personal branding. Furthermore, many are not taking advantage of easy branding initiatives, such as LinkedIn profiles, business cards, personal domain names, or professional blogs.
“Part of the reason why students are struggling to find jobs is because they fail to develop their careers while in college. Students should strive to market themselves online and offline, in order to secure internships and jobs.”
– Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, Gen Y expert and bestselling author of Me 2.0
3. Get a mentor
70 percent of students surveyed have at least one mentor, according to the research. 37 percent say their parent is their mentor, 28 percent say their professor, 21 percent say their family or friend, 17 percent say their current or former employer and a mere 1 percent say someone they’ve found in an online networking group. A mentor will help you make important career decisions. So instead of just listing random referees on your CV, have more contact with your referees or make your mentors referees.