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How to be career-ready: 5 tips for new graduates hitting the job market

How to be career-ready

With commencement season here, this is the time of year that many graduate students prepare to assume their first full-time position. Soon-to-be graduates are preparing to transition from graduate school to the job market. 
Harriette Royer, the career services professional at the Warner School of Education and Human Development, says that while the career goals of graduates may vary as they complete different programs, there are first steps that every graduate hitting the job market should take to help transition from graduate student to a new professional. 
“It’s never too early to start planning for your future career,” Royer says. “Summer is an auspicious time for graduates to fine-tune their career next steps and polish their job search tools, including LinkedIn profiles, networking outreach and interviewing strategies, to help prepare for their future career.
Royer offers advice to help soon-to-be graduates—and even recent graduates—to get started on the job search process and transition to a new career: 

  1. Grow your professional network. Networking is one of the most important first steps. Network both in-person and online. Attend professional gatherings, conferences and workshops where current and potential colleagues congregate. Get to know some of them more personally. Cultivate friendships. Explore collaborations and shared interests. Grow and expand your circle by using virtual collaboration tools such as the University’s Meliora Collective and the Warner School’s LinkedIn page to connect with alumni, recruiters, peers, faculty, staff and friends.
  2. Research your field.  Graduate students who take the time to research speakers, conference presenters, prospective employers, and interviewers prior to their conversations are far more likely to achieve their desired goals than those who do not. Doing your research before an interview makes you a more engaging, interesting, and informed candidate. So, before applying for positions, be sure to research prospective employers and more. 
  3. Weave in good storytelling. Throughout the career search process—from your resume and cover letter to your interview—you will have to tell stories about yourself and your experience. The key to landing a job is good storytelling. Candidates who shine in presentations, teaching demos, and interviews are accomplished storytellers. Find your theme and promote it throughout the process. With the right narrative, you’ll stand out in a competitive market. 
  4. Hone your communication skills. Quality communications—oral, written and listening skills—are important in understanding questions and conveying your ideas in a clear, concise manner. 
  5. Find a mentor. Faculty, practitioner and career mentors can provide encouragement, advice, and guidance on navigating your specific field. Additionally, they may know of a position opening or have a colleague to connect you to for a future job. The University’s Meliora Collective Mentorship Program is a great place to start. The program brings enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students, alumni and parents together in a unique partnership to prepare mentees for their professional future.  

Bonus Tip: Career Services support offered at the Warner School does not end once the diploma is awarded. Alumni can tap into the Warner School’s Career Services support post-graduation as they need it. Connect with the Warner School’s dedicated career services professional, Harriette Royer, to make an appointment for a resume/CV/cover letter review or a mock interview. You can also utilize the Career Services resources and services or check out career events across campus.