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It’s that glorious time of the year as college seniors are preparing for graduation. Some call it bittersweet. Some are beyond ready to get the heck out of there. Some aren’t even thinking about graduation yet because they’re too busy studying for finals. And, some are preparing for their careers.

Whichever outlook YOU have on this celebratory time of life, you should really consider focusing on the latter outlook – preparing for your career. Yes, finals and getting in those last few parties are important for both grades and sanity, but this is the time to get your ducks in a row for your future.

If you haven’t done these things yet, what are you waiting for?

  • Research the companies that spark your interest.
    • And by research, I mean really research. Check out their social media pages to see what they’ve been up to. Know some of their clients as well as news of those clients. Being able to mention this kind of information in an interview will 100 percent set you apart from the competition.
  • Say bye-bye to your college email address and hello to a new personal email address.
    • Consider how you want to brand yourself. I’d stick with first and last name.
  • Update your resume.
  • Build your portfolio.
    • I know the big question is whether to have an online or physical copy. In my experience, both are impressive. I like the physical copy because you can bring it in to show them and know they’ve see it, but online is nice because if you don’t want to leave your only portfolio with them then they have the opportunity to read it on their own time.
  • Schedule informational interviews with a person for a company you’ve researched.
    • Bring questions, your resume and portfolio – this is your chance to get your name out there. It’s your foot in the door. Whether a job comes out of it or not, you’ve just grown your network of contacts. But, do it right. Make sure to send them a thank you note for meeting with you then stay in contact with them every few months or so.
  • Write unique, standout cover letters for the companies where you’re submitting your resume.
    • Make sure to highlight your experience that matches what they’re looking for in a candidate. This is your time to connect the dots for them on why you’re the best fit for the position.
  • Consider asking a professor, faculty member or previous internship supervisor to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf.

Whether you’ve heard these things all before or not, actually doing them is what matters.

For anyone in the industry that has been through this process or can offer insight – what other tips do you have for those graduating seniors preparing their future?

Shelby Ray
Shelby Ray
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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