I’ve been informally coaching my undergrad business school students on how to prepare for the business world they’ll face while job-seeking in just 1.5 years. They have some work experience, usually as interns. When it comes to presenting themselves in a business context, they are pretty green.
But they’re eager and ambitious, so I decided to compile a set of tips to help them get ready.
I’d appreciate comments and additions from colleagues on these:
- Find a Local Professional Association in your area of interest — whether industry or job function. Join as a student member, and volunteer to help with a committee.
- Use All 120 Characters Available for Your LinkedIn Headline, and pack it with keywords about your skills. Finance, analytics, big data, strategy — use the terms hiring managers are looking for.
- Write Your LinkedIn Bio With Your Goal in Mind. Who are you trying to persuade? If it’s to attract job offers, then emphasize your skills, attitude and drive. Talk about contributions you made during internships. Declare your ideal industry and job function.
- Use a Professional Photo. Seems obvious, but surprisingly many LinkedIn members use shots more suited to Facebook.
- Clean Up Your Social Media. Take down photos and delete comments from your younger days that may make you look undesirable as an employee.
- Practice Your Elevator Speech. Come up with a few sentences that identify your situation and your goals. Add in a personal or professional twist to stimulate interest. Once you have it down, then start practicing ways to adjust your speech on the fly, depending on the audience.
- Buy Your Name as a Domain, and use it for your professional email address.
- Start Building Your Professional Network. Begin with your classmates, teachers and guest speakers. Add people you meet at your internships. Send out LinkedIn invitations, and also maintain a database of contacts. Keep in touch.
- If You’re Not a Natural Joiner, then find other ways to position yourself. Try writing a guest blog post. Follow writers on business subjects of interest to you, and actively comment on their posts.
- Think Ahead. You are in college now, but in the business world before you know it. Take steps early, and often, to position yourself for a satisfying career.
A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.