With my college diploma in hand, I can safely say: the job search is scary. It’s stressful. It’s nervewracking. It’s time consuming. It’s the moment that everything you’ve done for the past four years is really put to the test.
But, I can also safely say that I was prepared for my job search. I had received a lot of great advice from professionals and taken a lot of time before the second semester of my senior year to prepare myself for my profession. In fact, I did all I could to avoid unemployment. (To learn more about my journey, click on the Prezi I made before my senior year below.)
I’m not an expert on avoiding unemployment. But, I am a success story. (I begin my full-time job as the Public Relations Coordinator for ATI Physical Therapy’s East Coast Offices next week!) Therefore, in the coming weeks, I plan on sharing the best secrets, tips, and advice I have for finding a job (or internship!) through my new series “Avoiding Unemployment.”
Please note: This series isn’t just for frantic graduates who haven’t landed a job yet or for soon-to-be seniors who are just now thinking about the job search. In fact, if you’re an underclassman, this may be even more for you! The sooner you start building your professional network and brand, the valuable better chance you’ll have to beginning a successful career.
My first piece of advice: get a business card.
Nothing will make you look like more professional than having a business card! You can order get 250 business cards for less than $15 on Vistaprint, which is always my go-to source for ordering business cards.
What to include: Always include your name, email address, phone number, school, and major. You can also add any other information that you deem important (for example, your blog/website link, your position on the board of a professional society or organization on campus, etc.). You can also put your internship title on there, but remember, internships usually only last a semester, so if you want to use your cards for the long term, I’d keep them more generic.
Know your audience: Know who you’ll hand your cards out to. For example, I have a more creative version that includes my Twitter handle to hand out to PR/marketing professionals. But, I also have a cleaner, more straightforward version to hand out to public affairs/government professionals. Don’t be afraid to be a little creative if you’re in an industry that appreciates that! (Creativity does not mean that your card can say “Call me maybe” on it — anywhere.) Here are some samples…
How to hand out your card: As a student, I found that figuring out the right moment to hand out my card (if there was a right moment at all) could be difficult. My best advice is to be genuine. If you truly want to connect with someone and learn more about them and their career, hand them your card. Ask for theirs. This exchange should be the beginning of a professional relationship. (We’ll talk about those more later!)
Students and recent grads — what do you want to learn more about? Which parts of your job or internship search do you struggle with most? Comment below and your suggestion could be the next part of the series!