Welcome to the Workforce!
Provided by Visa, Content Partner for the SME Toolkit
Internships are not just for college students. Whether it's that final resume-building gig you are looking for to impress future employers, or an internship to win over college admissions decision makers, there are resources to help you find that next opportunity.
Before you start your search, do a personal inventory of what you want. Think about whether your internship has to be close to home, or if you are willing to broaden your search and work abroad. Is your dream to work for your local newspaper or as a marine ecology intern in Costa Rica?
Here are a few things to consider before sending out your resume:
- Have you used keywords central to your industry? (E.g. engineering, finance, business, marketing, law, biotech, education, computer science/technology, design)
- Are you appealing to companies that interest you?
- What location are you looking for?
- What type of employer do you want? (Non-profit, for profit, government)
- Compensation: are you willing to work for free, or do you need to be paid?
Going to job portal sites is a great start, but you should also try going directly to the source. If there is a company you have dreamed of working for, check their website for job postings aimed specifically at students. One example is Google, which has dedicated part of its site to student jobs.
When you land the internship of your dreams, make sure you add value. Find a way to make an impact and be memorable for the contribution you make to the organization. While you are making new business connections on the job, don't forget to keep those connections alive once you leave by asking to keep in touch. Graduation may be months or years away, but the contacts made at your internship could open doors in the future.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and put that lifetime of education to work for you. Finding the right job isn’t easy—it takes motivation to go after the industry or company you want, effort to ace the application and interview process and a bit of luck to land the job. Read on for tips, advice and tools that will help ensure a successful search.
Your school career center is an excellent place to start when looking for work. As a resource provided to students, the point of a career center is to find jobs that relate to specific fields of study. Check in with a career counselor for advice on resume building or to sign up for on-campus interviews. Recruiters often come to schools and universities looking for future prospects. It's a great way to get your foot in the door of an otherwise out-of-reach company.
Headhunters and employment services can also be a good source for job leads. One of the major benefits of working with placement agencies is that they already have established relationships within the industries they service and know exactly who to put you in front of. The downside is that some may charge you a fee for their services or require a percentage of your pay from the company who has hired you.
Networking has become the new buzzword in professional circles—and for good reason. Many of the best jobs out there are never advertised. The key to landing them is a lucky combination of being in the right place at the right time and talking to the right person. Don't be afraid to go to social events and advertise yourself or talk about your goals. Or share your plans with friends and family. You'll be surprised how supportive people can be. After all, everyone has been there at one time or another. If they can't immediately connect you with a job, they can often provide valuable advice on where to look and who the best contacts might be.
Know What You’re Looking For
Think about the big picture and not just the job you want now. Beyond earning a paycheck, what skills and experiences do you want to take away from your new job? Look to the next step of your career and think about which job will get you closer to that goal. Also, look at the associated benefits. A high-paying job with no benefits may not be as advantageous as a lower-paying position with a complete benefits package.
Consider cost of living and your expenses before you relocate for a job. Every city is different, so a starting salary in one area may not be enough to support you in a new location. Moving costs are another factor to take into consideration. If your prospective employer isn't going to pay your moving costs, make sure the salary will make up for these costs in the long run, or that you have additional funds to cover the expenses.
Landing a Job
It may sound silly but the only way to find a job is to look for one. Some experts actually recommend you start looking six to nine months ahead of time. In fact, finding work can be almost as time consuming as a full-time position. Constantly keep your eyes open for new opportunities and keep up on networking to build your list of contacts. Even if you choose not to work immediately upon graduation, it’s good to have the opportunity if you change your mind.
Have a well-written resume that focuses on the skills and experience related to the specific position. If you’re lacking in work history, you can always include your education and other applicable experience along with any awards you have received that are applicable to the job. As you continue down your career path, remember to update your resume with your most current and relevant work experience.
Use action words and other phrases to better illustrate your experiences. "Managed all inventory," sounds more active than "in charge of all inventory." Also, keep in mind that employers receive many resumes, so make sure yours stands out with smart content or an interesting design. Employers are also incredibly busy. When writing your resume, try to be concise without making things sound like a laundry list. They would much rather read one well-written sentence than four describing the same thing.
Appearance is important. In addition to ensuring your resume is well-thought out and organized, make sure it is pleasing to the eye. This will give potential employers the impression that you have strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
Preparation is key to a successful interview. Research the company as well as you can and learn about what they do and how they do it. During the interview, be sure to ask questions about the company and share the things you’ve been looking into. Also, take your knowledge of the company and determine how you fit in, then discuss how your skills could help the company.
Paying Student Loans
You have the education. Now it's time to start paying for it. Easier said than done. But the following information may make paying back your student loans just a little bit easier.
Exit Interview. If you have taken student loans, your school is required by law to give you an exit interview. This is simply a time to meet with a financial aid advisor to discuss your repayment obligations and options. Make sure not to miss the opportunity.
Grace Periods. Because most college students don't get jobs immediately after graduation, lenders usually offer a grace period of about six months before you need to start repaying your student loans. Take time during your grace period to organize your finances and evaluate your options.
Repayment Options. There are many different ways you can arrange your payment schedule, depending on what you can afford:
- The standard payment plan, if you can afford it, will offer you the lowest total loan cost.
- A graduated payment plan will start you out with lower payments that increase as time goes on.
- With income-related payment plans, your monthly payment amounts are tied directly to your income instead of rising gradually no matter what your income.
- Extended repayment allows you to make smaller payments for a much longer period of time.
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