- Preparation for the Job/Grad School Search
The same idea works here. Students who devote a strong effort in each of these three areas will attract more positive attention and will be more successful in achieving their goal (whether it’s landing a great job or getting into graduate school). Just like in the example of the stool, few employers or graduate schools seek out students who complete college with a weak or unbalanced result.
Academic Performance — Every student understands that grades are important.
They are one indicator of the student’s knowledge in their field of study. As students complete each semester, they build their cumulative average. The higher their grades, the more attention they may receive from employers and graduate schools.
The best employers and graduate schools have minimum grade requirements.
Only the students who have earned grades at or above those requirements will be considered. So, the first challenge is to get the best grades that you are capable of achieving.
However, most employers are not interested in grades alone. They want to know about a broader range of capabilities. Those capabilities are demonstrated when students participate in campus, work, and community activities.
Participation — Students make themselves more interesting and attractive to employers and graduate schools when they are able to provide powerful examples of their skills and accomplishments. Every employer and graduate school would like to learn about an applicant’s leadership, communication, and people skills. They want to know that a candidate is self-confident, accepts responsibility, solves problems, and gets things done.
Students who have made an ongoing effort to get involved in campus, work, and community activities will put themselves in a position to obtain the experiences that employers and graduate schools want to hear about.
The best candidates compete by participating. As they participate, they accumulate an array of useful skills and pertinent accomplishments that can be used to build their resumes and should be discussed in their interviews.
Preparation — An effective job search requires an extraordinary amount of preparation. That’s why I believe that the senior-year job search actually begins in the freshman year. Since most students will not be chased by employers and graduate schools, students will have to do the chasing.
The short process goes something like this: Research and identify target employers and graduate schools. Evaluate and rank them. Investigate their requirements and expectations. Develop a plan to meet or exceed those requirements and expectations. Accumulate impressive skills and accomplishments. Build an impressive resume. Prepare for the interviews. Apply to employers and graduate schools. Interview with employers and graduate schools. Evaluate offers. Have a backup plan if things don’t work out.
Students who pay early attention to these three legs of college success will have a significant advantage as they compete for employment and advanced educational opportunities.
About the Author
Bob Roth is the author of The 4 Realities of Success During and After College. Bob’s newest book, The College Student’s Guide to Landing a Great Job, is available now. For more information, visit Bob’s website: www.the4realities.com.