Once you land in your first role, you can rest assured that your new employer wants a highly engaged employee. What’s that? Employees who operate consistently above and beyond the norm. Better described they:
- Put the Company or Organizational above themselves
- Put the Mission of the Organization above themselves
- Leverage, creatively, all available resources
- Think outside ‘the box’
Those who perform at this level contribute, learn and lead at a more rapid clip than others. That is why this is the kind of employee companies want.
So how do you become this kind of career athlete?
You start by demonstrating this behavior on campus. Since behavior is a habit, it is in your best interest to become a highly engaged student on campus, then leverage and reference those attributes to a prospective employer.
Let me talk about point #3, the “Leverage, Creatively, All Available Resources.” And let me put it in the context of this theme of Job Search.
There is no common description from campus to campus that describes campus resources. Many have similar programs but they organize and name things differently. The key is when you are doing a job search, can you find and utilize many valuable resources. More than what the normal student does. In there lies advantage.
The most underutilized asset on most campuses is the Career Center. Freshmen typically do not engage the robust tools they offer and too often seniors end up on their doorstop this time of year with the panic of, “I am graduating in a couple of months and I need a job!”
Use these as a starting point but stay curious and involved regarding your search:
- Seek resources, events and seminars that can assist in your search. Make a list and calendar these events. Make sure you look in more than one place:
- Within your college (of your major)
- At the Career Center
- Within Student Affairs
- By viewing a campus activity calendar
- Find every job fair offered on campus. There are ones that are campus wide but there are ones in your college or an adjacent college (say you are a business major but they are recruiting in the school of communications). See if your skills and ambitions apply to job fairs not targeted to you, then go and be prepared.
- If you are an underclassman, find student organizations that can better your chances of landing that dream job. There are two big advantages here. First, you better your skills by being a member of that organization, but even more important, you are hanging out with other high potential students who are going places. Those in student organizations tend to be a cut above.
- There are often portals that you can log into to find companies interested in students from your campus. Don’t wait for a job fair if you can seek an internship or job opportunities by interested organizations looking to your campus.
- Leverage the opportunity to network with guest speakers in your class. They probably have synergy with where you want to go because they are being brought into a class you are taking in pursuit of that mission. The professor does not bring average people to speak, rather the exceptional. Networking with them can pay off. Dress for it, show up early, be prepared and then follow-up.
- You should network with alums that you know who have recently entered the workforce.
- Professors have relationships and knowledge of great hiring companies (note to self, I had better look exceptional to the people I interact with in order to create opportunity).
- And finally, many colleges or programs have academic advisors. They are most often in the know about events, activities and employers who might be a fit for you.
The key is, you must dedicate some time and effort, above the norm, to plan activity that lead to landing your dream job. Don’t leave this to chance. Be focused on success (as you define it) and be intentional about going after it.
Recent data shows that out of all the students who graduate with a four-year degree, half land the job they trained for, and the other half is un or under employed.
Be intentional and engaged and be on the right side of these statistics.