Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Back-to-School Rush: Are YOU Ready to Rumble?

Scary as it may seem, the summer is just about over and it is time to seriously think about how to ramp up for the beginning of fall semester classes. Beyond the usual preparations like finding textbooks, selling your unborn first child to purchase text books, moving into your dorm or apartment, and figuring out your class schedule, there are things you should be thinking about to prepare for your job search this fall. These things can be summed up into several categories: Things Involving Career Services, Things You Need to Do Yourself, and Things You’ll Kick Yourself For Not Doing ASAP.

Now class, let us begin.

Things Involving Career Services

Even though you may have never set foot in your local Career Services Center, it is time to change that. Many Career Services Centers, and especially the ones at MSU, have loads of information regarding interviewing, resumes, and many other subjects. Unless you have been doing some serious research on your own, there’s a solid chance that taking a few minutes to stop into your nearest career center will help you to learn something new. Another great asset the majority of career centers have are experienced advisers who can help you figure out what path you would like to take or help you be more successful in the career path you have chosen. In addition to learning about how to enrich your career path by speaking with an adviser, most career centers also have a plethora of resources in the form of written materials, websites, and information sessions you can use to use to enhance your skills.

If you are an MSU student or alumni, your next step after visiting your career center is to register for My Spartan Career. This is a website that supports job postings, seminar registrations, and other events relating to career services.

Once you have registered for MSC, your next step will be to upload an updated resume to your profile and fill in all of the required information regarding your contact information and education. Other documents that may be helpful to upload include your unofficial transcript (you can go to to get this information) and a cover letter.

**A word of warning for anyone on MSC. You cannot apply to ANY job postings in MSC until you have posted a resume to your profile. Also, the times for generic resumes and cover letters are over. It is important to cater your resume and cover letter to each job you apply to!**

Things You Need to Do Yourself

Aside from your usual responsibilities, there are some key things you need to
do to prepare for the upcoming career search season. Here are a few:
  • Update Your Resume
  • Update Your Unofficial Transcript
  • Look up the companies that will be attending the Career Gallery in October and make a list of the ones you would like to visit at the event.
  • Start researching your top 5-10 companies that you’d like to apply to this semester.
  • Visit the Center for Spartan Engineering to schedule a mock interview, get a list of upcoming seminars, bring your resume in to be critiqued, and find a time to meet with a career adviser.

Things You’ll Kick Yourself for Not Doing ASAP

Here begins the section of the things you might just kick yourself for not doing ASAP. The number one thing on your list should be to put the time in NOW to save yourself grief LATER. I’ve talked to far too many students who have left their career searches until the last minute or are seniors and have never even put together a resume. To be frank, it would be silly to think that even if you wait until the last minute, you’ll still be able to pull something off. With the way things are right now, even people with their ducks in a row are having an incredibly difficult time finding internships and full-time positions. This is not the time to sit back and watch the world go by. It’s time to take charge of your career goals and get rolling!

Now that I’ve gone through my generic “get your butt moving” pep talk, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of things you really should be doing to get your search rolling…

One very helpful method of staying on track is by making yourself a list of career goals to accomplish for the semester along with a record of the things have done so far. One thing I do every year is to make a list of all of the companies I have applied to. After I have my base list, I’ll add in how I applied to them (in person, online, etc.), when I applied, who I can contact from the company if I have any questions, if I sent them a “Thank You” note via e-mail or snail mail, and what position(s) I applied for. Making a list like this is a good way to keep your head straight during the craziest part of the career search season (from September to November).

That’s about all for now. Taking care of these things now will be an important asset in the near future when things become a little more complicated and you’re required to keep track of many different activities. In addition to all of these different action items, make sure to check in with my blog each week to learn more about resumes, networking, interviewing, and many other career search related topics. I will be covering a new topic each week so tune in and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two!

Like always,

Good Luck Job Seekers!

Starting next week (the first week of classes), I will begin my fall blog series. Each week will be devoted to a new career topic so tune in to learn more about how to search for jobs McSpartan style!

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