Lauren Berger, CEO and founder of InternQueen.com, is a highly sought after career and internship expert. She has published two books, “Welcome to the Real World” and “All Work, No Pay.” Earlier this month, Berger shared advice in a webinar about graduation and career success for recent and upcoming graduates. For more post-college and career advice, visit laurenbergerinc.com.
Preparing for graduation
If you don’t have a job lined up, calm down! The hiring process differs among industries, so your offer may come later than your roommate. You should set a three-month deadline to have a job after graduation. A deadline will help you stay on track to obtaining your goal.
Make sure you’re passing your classes and all of your credits are obtained. There are plenty of students who were forced to delay their graduation due to failed classes or a missed credit. If you’re participating in the graduation ceremony, make sure everything is prepared (cap, gown, tickets, etc.).
Searching for jobs and internships
Berger told her own story of how she searched for jobs when she moved to Los Angeles. She wrote down goals she wanted to reach and you can do the same. After graduation, write down these three goals that you want to achieve.
- Goal 1: Get a job
- Goal 2: Work at Creative Artists Agency
- Goal 3: Make friends
After graduation, you need to adopt the mantra of “your job is to get a job.” Dedicate four hours, three days a week to job searching and following the tips listed below.
- Scan the web sites and job boards (Monster, Career Builder, Indeed, etc.). Each industry may have a preferred web site, so do some research to determine which site you should be using.
- Continue to plant seeds with your network of connections. Let your professional connects know you need a job, and that you want to sit down with them and get advice. You can schedule an informational interview over coffee to hear how they got started in their careers.
- Utilize social networks to reconnect with former contacts and see where they have landed. LinkedIn is the best tool to utilize. Berger also suggests to not underestimate your Facebook connections and network with them. “It’s never hurts to put the ask out.” You can search for job related hashtags on Instagram and Twitter (example: #IndyAccountingJobs).
- Search for and attend networking events. Eventbrite is a great tool to use to search for local events. You could contact professional membership groups and ask if you can attend their networking events (with or without membership). Berger tried this method and even helped create a University of Central Florida alumni group in LA.
Resume and cover letter
Your resume and cover letter must be perfected for your job search. Triple check for mistakes each time you apply. Berger gave excellent tips for perfecting these vital pieces.
- Resume must be limited to one page, especially this earlier in your career.
- Do not put your cover letter in the body of the email. Attach your cover letter and resume in PDF formats to the email.
- Keep font and sizing consistent.
- Mention the company’s name in the cover letter.
- Do not include Microsoft Office skills on your resume or cover letter, only include skills like bilingual, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.
- Objective statement or summary are not necessary.
- Lead with the most relevant experience, even if it’s not chronological. As Berger would say, “Don’t let their eyes stop at Starbucks.” If you had an internship last summer, but currently work at Starbucks, you can list your internship first.
- Customize your cover letter and show that you took the time to research the company.
After you ace your cover letter and resume, you may need to negotiate your salary in the interview or once they’ve extended a job offer. Wait to see what the company offers you before answering. Remember you can negotiate for other items, such as gas reimbursement, paid time off, technology, etc.
The last helpful tip Berger gave was a workbook to aide your job search. By answering the questions, you will have a better understanding of what you’re interested in and how to achieve it.
- What is your dream job?
- What industry do you want to work in?
- What size company do you want to work for? (Small, medium, large, start up, etc.).
- Think of your previous internships and decide what you liked/disliked.
- What city do you want to work in right now? Is it a realistic in your current situation?
- What are five companies you want to work for in the city you want to work in?
- When is your job hunting start date? And your goal date? (3 months out).
- What will your job schedule be? What are your available hours to dedicate to searching?
- Have 10 opportunities brewing at all times. One is bound to work out!