Don’t start thinking all the hard work will be over once you graduate: the next challenge life will throw you is navigating the job market. Even though you’re armed with a degree, you won’t automatically find a job. Knowing more about the current job market and what you need to do to prepare will improve your chances of success.
1. Connections Are Key
It’s easier to find jobs if you have connections than if you rely on job listings alone. You should start networking before you graduate — while you’re still around plenty of people who could be great connections for your career, including professors, other students, and people you meet at career events. Make sure you’re actively networking by carrying a copy of your resume or some business cards with you at all times and by striking up conversations with people.
Another way to make connections now is to work a part-time job or internship. It’s best to find a job in the field you want to work in after you graduate, but any kind of work will introduce you to new people.
2. Your Experience Is Valuable
Employers want to see you have more than just a degree — they need to know you possess the right skills for the job, which you’ll have gained through work experience.
Many students are concerned that much of their work experience will be irrelevant to the type of job they’re seeking after they graduate and therefore leave this experience off their resume. In fact, any kind of work will have developed your skills. Depending on what positions you’ve held, you may be able to demonstrate that you’re responsible, work well under pressure, take initiative, or have team-working skills. No matter if you’ve done gig work like housesitting or entrepreneurial work like tutoring, include it on your resume.
3. Employers Want Leaders
A key skill employers want to see from graduates is leadership. If you have leadership skills, an employer can put you in a position that has the potential for growth and where you could be leading the business in the future. Find ways to develop your leadership skills, such as by holding an elected position in a campus organization, setting up your own club, or leading a research team.
4. Declining Offers Can Be the Best Move
The job market is currently favourable to jobseekers. In many industries, there are more positions open than people to fill them. When you receive an offer, think carefully about whether you want to accept. Although it’s always exciting to receive a positive response, you may have discovered the job was not everything you’d hoped for when you interviewed. Alternatively, if you’re hesitant to accept because you’re still waiting for a response from the job you wanted most, it’s worth reaching out to the other company before you decide to accept or decline an offer.
5. You Need to Follow Up
It’s important to follow up at every stage when you’re applying for a job. If you don’t hear back with an offer to interview soon after you apply, drop the company an email. You should also reach out after interviews to ensure you’re not waiting around too long for an answer.
Start preparing for life outside of education now by learning to be more independent. One thing you should do is move into your own apartment. You’ll find University of Alberta off-campus housing at 1Ten on Whyte, where you’ll receive a fully-furnished suite and access to great onsite amenities, including a gym, games room, and study rooms. Plus, you’ll be close to campus and many of the top sites in Edmonton. Book a tour today.