How to Market Yourself Before You Graduate

There’s never a better time than college to market yourself and get a head-start with employers. Why? Because a college graduate will never find such a rich mix of professional talent and opportunities throughout their career again.

A head-start can mean the difference between landing your dream job and spending months (or years!) after graduation looking for the right job. It all depends on how well you brand yourself. But how do you do that to get the best results possible?

Sell Yourself

You are your sales pitch. That is, you’re selling yourself. Work on developing this skill before you have your degree in hand, and you’re wading through the trial and error period with actual interviews.

Developing valuable skills before you graduate will give your resume an edge over your competitors. When you start to feel the responsibilities of adulthood, this may also help to fuel your cause. Use that determination to your advantage.

Start With Classes & Clubs

In college,  the connections you need are closer than you think. There are many people just like you trying to make a name for themselves by making relevant professional connections.

Opportunities are in virtually every class you take – from classmates to professors. Gather information about other students, and your instructors. Introduce yourself.

Get involved in clubs and societies that are likely to attract professionals that are gatekeepers to the opportunities you need. Do more than just attend meetings. Be an active member. Leave a good impression.

Master a Skill

If you’ve taken a class that sparked your interest in a specialization you would love to pursue, build on that. Research it. Find practice sheets and worksheets in your textbooks or online. Turn that interest into a skill.

Experience is everything. Employers are looking for candidates with experience, and the more you practice, the more opportunities you have to develop a portfolio that proves it.

Network

Depending on your personality, this may be the easiest or hardest recommendation to follow, but it’s definitely the most important one. For this reason, we’ll spend a bit more time on this.

If you’re an introvert or  generally shy away from interaction, take heart. Practice makes perfect. Push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations with complete strangers. The connections you make will be well worth it.

Here are some networking tips to get you started.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues and classmates if they know someone who could help you further your career. The worst you can hear is “no”. The best thing about Ground Zero of the networking scale is that you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  2. Look for business mixers for professionals in your field and attend them, even if you end up going by yourself and don’t know anyone. Talk to the people around you. Professionals will appreciate your efforts and will likely remember you as a go-getter when an opportunity arises that you would be suitable for.
  3. Print some business cards, and share them every chance you get. It’s  one of the most traditional and easiest ways to share your contact information with others. Collect some from other professionals as well, and reach out to them after you leave. People will appreciate the fact that you took the time to email or call.

Building a successful career requires you to propel yourself forward through skill and creativity.  Your career is waiting at the end of your comfort zone.

college-mate-logo-black

About the Author

Shandean Williams-Reid is a freelance Business Analyst from Kingston, Jamaica. She is passionate about reading, family life and her adventures as a new mom. She’s recently started blogging. Catch her on Instagram and Twitter.

This post is the second January submission for the Monthly College Mate Writing Contest.

Advertisements

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Really helpful, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. doctorinspe says:

    Loved this article!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Thanks! So did we. Great pointers by the author. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nass says:

    Very well thought out! Excellent points!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great article! Applies to students in the U.K. Too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Thank you James! The article wasn’t written for any specific region. The hope is that it applies to students everywhere 🙂

      Like

  5. Alicia says:

    I’ve never thought about this. I guess I should. Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Hi Alicia! We didn’t either in college, and highly recommend it. If you need any assistance with it, let us know! 🙂

      Like

  6. Third Line says:

    Based on my experiences, I have somewhat done that. But, it is challenging to get a job you want or grow a successful business. But, you cannot give up.

    I would highly recommend a college graduate to start his or her own business. He/she must not depend on potential employer(s) to hire him/her for a job. He/she should do something (e.g. drawing clip arts or doing photography) constructive on his/her own free time. That is how he/she can better his/her skills. He/she can learn and do something else professional and productive as well. Then, when his/her business(es) grows and he/she makes so much money, I guarantee that every employer is going to be interested in hiring him/her.

    When you are struggling or do not have anything, you are pretty much alone. But, if you are doing so well, having many followers/buyers, and making so much money, then everyone shows up for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. College Mate says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing. That is excellent advice, and is how we got started. Our founder started her PR business at 16 in college. College Mate is the student branch of the firm. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s