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Your #1 Objective As You Set Foot On Campus this Fall

Posted by Alan J. McMillan on Tue, Sep 02, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Millions of you are on campus for the fall.  Some of you are newly minted freshman and many others are making your return from summer break.  Interests, area of study, and academic environments vary.  BUT, you all share the same #1 objective.

There are over 21 million of you attending college in America, and over 150 million post-secondary students worldwide and yes, you ALL have the same objective.

It is NOT: 

  • Your GPA
  • Selecting your major
  • Or even graduating

Although they are important, they are necessary, and they are clear priorities, they are however subordinate to this:

  • To have multiple job offers by the holiday break of your senior year
  • That align to your skills and passions
  • And that are economically viable

Everything else is secondary.  I did not say other objectives are not important.  Rather, this is the most important.

Research says you go to college and your parents send you there for the prospect of getting a great job and having enhanced life long earnings in a wonderful career.  There are other things that you get from colleges, but surveys rank this typically at the top.

Imagine, you come home for the holidays, and you have multiple job offers.  You run them by your parents.  Maybe there are two that you like so much; that you wish you could work for both of them.  THAT is nirvana.

If you buy into this notion, and you should, sound logic says reverse engineer to that objective from where you are today.

Let me turn to Freshmen:  Typically you think ‘getting a job is soooo far away’ that you don’t really start working on it.  You think, that time will come somewhere in the future.  So you blow off many opportunities to hone your skills and make progress.  That’s a mistake.

Many seniors wake up during the holiday break when they keep hearing from friends that have offers or constantly being asked from parents, how is the job search going?  Then they run into the Career Center for help. 

When they arrive at the Career Center, the councilor thinks, where were you?

  • At the career fairs,
  • At the mock interviewing sessions,
  • At the LinkedIn and resume development workshops,
  • In the workshops to develop your elevator pitch,
  • And why didn’t you do any internships?

They regret that because they see your talent and potential but you just started too late.  IF you had engaged earlier, you would have a much better outcome.

And you end up deeply regretting not starting the process sooner.

How Do You Get Multiple Offers?

The road to multiple offers is laden with internships.  Internships let you ferret out if you really like that job or that industry.  Employers love it because they can see you in their environment for a couple of months (read:  a sixty day job interview).

Internships are not the only way to get multiple offers but it is the best way.

If you buy off on needing an internship during all of your summers at college, getting started in the fall of your freshmen year seems more important, and it is.

So How Do You Get Internships?

A real good idea would be to work this falls career fair (they also call those events job/internship fairs).

Imagine, the room is filled with over a hundred companies who send recruiting staff that are missioned with finding the best and the brightest for internships and job offers.  There is no other time in your career where it will be served up to you like this.  Take advantage of it.

If Hundreds of Students Attend, How Do You Stand Out?

Well the job fair is show-time!  You have experts working those booths who travel to colleges all over the nation so they know how to spot great talent.  How can you capitalize on the moment?  You get to the career center well in advance and get your head into the game and begin to prepare.  Incidentally, the skills that you will learn are lifetime career assets and they are some of the best lessons you will learn in college.

Is That Enough?

No.  You have to do research so that you can make the career fair work for you.  That requires a bunch of prep and research.  Most don’t do enough.  So if you do, you will stand out.

Is That Enough?

No.  You need to be on the lookout for job opportunities from companies that might not attend the career fair.  That takes engaging the network you have built and using social media to go after prospective companies that align with your skills and passions.

You Mean Wherever I am In College, I Should be Engaging in All of This Work?

Yes, that is why you came here.  To embark on a great career that makes your dreams come true.  Now get after it.

To think you put more time into studying for a midterm vs. this seem crazy.  Don’t be crazy.  This is why you came.

Multiple Offers By The Holiday Break of My Senior Year, Is That Realistic?

Actually some think it is a weak goal.  I was meeting with a Dean of a top business school in his office recently and he said many of his students were leaving their summer internships (between their junior and senior year) with an offer (that is four month earlier than what I just relayed to you).

Freshmen at the Career Fair

Freshmen internships are tough in that your potential hire date is three years away but you need to work the next career fair for a few reasons:

  • You begin a relationship with many corporate campus recruiters.  They are at this years and next years fair as well.  After you meet them follow up with them.  Thank them in an email for their time and re-engage with them next fall.
  • You become better at the skills of searching for a job and working the job fair itself.
  • And, you just might pull one off for this summer, and that would be huge!

GET TO THE CAREER CENTER whoever you are and prep for this falls career fair. Make it your own.  If you think you have all of this down or you will learn it from friends, OK, but you will always take away advantage from every session. 

Seize the day!

Topics: Dream Jobs, Job Fair, Professional Network, College Experience, Passion