Your #1 Goal As You Set Foot on a College Campus This Year

college Aug 01, 2022

By: Alan J. McMillan

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
  • Which align to your skills and passions
  • And 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 lifelong earnings in a wonderful career.  There are other things 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 and you run them by your parents. Maybe there are two you like so much that you wish you could work for both of them. This would be nirvana.

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

Let me turn to freshmen: Typically you think getting a job is so far away you don’t really start working on it. You think, this 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 who 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 counselor thinks, where were you?

  • At the career fairs,
  • At the mock interview 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 it 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 Job Offers?

The road to multiple offers is paved with internships. Internships let you ferret out if you really like the job or the industry. Employers love it because they can see you in their environment for a couple of months.

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

If you understand you need an internship during all of your summers at college, getting started in the fall of your freshman year seems more important, and it is.

So How Do You Get Internships?

A really good idea would be to work this fall's career fair (they also call those events job/internship fairs).

Imagine, the room is filled with over a hundred companies who send recruiting staff and 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  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 you can make the career fair work for you. This 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 who might not attend the career fair. This takes engaging the network you have built and using social media to go after prospective companies who align with your skills and passions.

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

Yes, it 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 versus this may seem crazy. Don’t be crazy. This is why you came to college.

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 (this is four month earlier than what I just relayed to you).

Freshmen at the Career Fair

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

  • You begin a relationship with many corporate campus recruiters. They are at this year’s and next year's fair as well. After you meet with 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 fall's 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!

For a deeper dive into topics like this, check out LearnEarnRetire's course offering here.

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