A First-Year Survival Guide for Career Development
By Cole Hankins, senior Political Science & Marketing student, Mock Interviewer at CCES
About 4,200 students attend Career Fair every year with hopes of securing internships and job offers after graduation. But for first-year students, attending your first Career Fair isn’t the end of a career development journey, but rather a beginning. You may be asking, “What can I do in my first year to prepare myself for a job out of college?”
If so, you’ve come to the right place. Don’t be overwhelmed. Most of us have four years to explore careers, hone our skills, and decide what’s next after graduation. With that in mind, here are four steps you can take right now to make year one a career development success.
1.Create your Handshake profile. Think of Handshake as LinkedIn for Miami students. You can search and apply for internships, read career advice from established professionals, RSVP for networking events on campus, and receive messages from employers — all through Handshake.
You’ll continue to develop your Handshake profile throughout your time at Miami. For now, start with three steps: (1) add a professional headshot, (2) complete the “Career Interests” section, and (3) upload your resume. After you upload your resume, you can opt to “Build Profile from Resume” or build one from scratch to instantly get your profile up-and-running.
2. Register for a basic interviewing workshop. It’s never too early to practice the skills you’ll need to ace the interview and land a job after college. Once you’ve completed the one-hour basic interviewing workshop, you’re approved to attend mock interview sessions and on-campus interviews with employers for the rest of your time at Miami. You can find a list of upcoming workshops on our website.
3. Attend an upcoming networking event. Check out “Events” on Handshake to find upcoming info sessions, speakers, and panels specific to your career interests. Once you’ve RSVP’d, conduct some research online, generate a few questions for the employer, and prepare a 30 to 45-second “Miami hello” (name, year, major, hometown, and past and present work experience) to introduce yourself to people you’re meeting.
What does the employer do? Where are they located? What industry do they operate in? Who are their customers? What is their company culture? Questions like these are a good starting point for your research.
Employers are people too and they’ve been in your shoes. Seize the opportunity to learn from them now and it will pay dividends when you graduate.
4. Get involved on campus. Career development is about so much more than career fairs and cover letters. Future employers are looking for the skills you develop through campus involvement, and as a first-year student, there’s no better time to get involved than right now.
Whether it’s a student organization, a part-time job, a volunteer opportunity, etc., set yourself apart in ways you can include on your resume. Taking on leadership roles, organizing events, and participating in marketing efforts are all great ways to do so.
Complete these four steps and you’re already on track for an impactful career development journey here at Miami. Have questions? Schedule an appointment with your career advisor or visit us in the Armstrong Student Center.