Jump Starting Your Career

CATEGORIES: Student Tips

As the semester begins, so does the pressure for internships, co-ops and potential jobs after graduating. Whether you are a Freshman or Senior, it’s always important to be serious about advancing your career and preparing for the future. If you do not know where to start, luckily the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has many great career service events that will give you the tools you need to succeed. Here are just a few things you should do to increase your chances in the workplace and start making a profile for yourself.

Networking is one of the best things you can do for yourself. There will never be a time where you will ask yourself, why was it beneficial for me to meet that person? It will always be a benefit to socialize and grow your own personal network. I know for me, this has come in handy in many ways. For one, I have gotten my foot in the door for several companies by getting recommended to the company from my peers. Another instance networking has paid off has been when I can mention a person’s name and the company or individual I am talking with has a mutual connection. The world is a tiny place and Iowa State University has so many people that can help you reach all ends of the spectrum. You may never know who will turn out to be the next Bill Gates or Humanitarian of the Year. My point is, socializing and getting your name and passions out into the open will never harm you, but it will indeed help you succeed.

Creating a Linkedin Profile is another big way to increase your networking potential and showcase your school work and achievements. A lot of companies and recruits use this social media platform to locate students they may be interested in, as well as learning more about what specific skills you have acquired through your different classes and organizations. For me personally, I was contacted for the career fair by a company, and in past experiences, I have had employers ask me about certain classes that I have listed and how those skills learned in class could be applied in the real world. This social media platform may sound scary to some, but it has made my personal profile to the business world look much more professional and has allowed for me to share some things that may not be appropriate to be listed on a resume.

Checking out CyHire and Career Services will give you support when looking for companies to work for or preparing to jump start your career. CyHire offers a list of each company and their internships or full time positions. It’s a great way to see who is out there looking for Iowa State students, as well as who is going to be at events held on campus, such as the Spring Career Fair. Career Services helps with the other side of things, such as interviewing, making your resume, and showcasing yourself as someone who is confident and has the skill set to succeed in the workplace. Career Services is also good at helping students find internships and helping them determine what companies may fit the particular person’s interest or qualifications. 

A sample resume available on the LAS Career Services website
A sample resume available on the LAS Career Services website

Applying for internships and getting your name out there should be something that is being done constantly. It’s important to show companies that you are interested, even if the position is for summer 2017 it is good to apply in the fall and show initiative toward the company. If you are a Freshman and are not looking for an internship, it’s still a good idea to do some research and find companies that you would be interested in working for in the future. It’s always looked highly upon to reach out and see what types of skill sets they are looking for for particular positions, or new hires. By applying for an internship, you are growing the potential to learn new skills and to be seen as someone who values their future career. Applying for internships before the upcoming career fairs can also give you a conversation topic that you can use when chatting with the recruiters at their booths. It never looks bad to someone if you are already interested in their company and have taken the time to apply!

Attending the Career Fairs are a good way to put all of the networking and profile work you have done to the test. The Career Fairs are something that Iowa State holds at least once every semester. On Wednesday, September 23, I went to the Business, Industry, and Technology and People to People career fairs co-hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Science. All of the work to apply for internships and how I utilized the career services came together. My resume featured all of my organizations and my roles within each, as well as my skills that would be of use for the positions I was applying for. I got interview practice, as well as a confidence boost when I realized that it is not scary at all to talk to recruiters because all you have to do is tell them everything you are already doing on campus. No one knows yourself better than you do, so anyone can succeed if they believe in oneself. Career Fairs are great practice and if you are serious they have the ability to offer jobs and internships. With over two hundred companies in search of multiple individuals, it’s almost impossible to not find something you are interested in. Sometimes, certain companies you may not have even had in mind, will spark your interest. Besides, if you aren’t utilizing this opportunity to get a job or internship, you will still learn about several corporations and will increase your networking. 

I hope these tips have helped you find a place to start, have given you a fresh look into what are good tools to utilize to be successful in the workplace. With that, good luck on your job adventure and happy hunting!