I Landed a Job Before I Graduated, and You Can Too

College graduation is an extremely exciting part of your life; you’re ending a four-year (sometimes longer) chapter of your life and starting the beginning of your professional life! It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for, but now what? There are actually a few ways to land that first job before you even step across the stage and turn that tassel on your hat to the left…

Let me catch you up real quick, I’ve recently accepted an account coordinator position at Mindful Kreative.

I’m so grateful that I had a seamless transition from being an intern to working full-time. Trust me though – I’ve put a lot of work in to get to where I am today.

Let’s start from the basics. I’m sure you’ve heard that you should build your resume and get as much experience as you can. In all honesty, it is so important. When applying and interviewing for jobs, you’re trying to sell yourself and explain why you’re the best candidate for the position. Your resume is a tool used to bait and hook an interview. (More tips on nailing your interview can be found here.)

As rule of thumb, your resume should stay within one to two pages long. As you continue to learn more and add to your resume, you can remove outdated experiences. Although some jobs, internships and leadership positions leave your resume, they still make excellent talking points during an interview. Companies don’t want to only hear you repeat everything they’ve already read on your resume; they want to see what else you have to offer.

It’s important to remember, that a lot of college majors are multifaceted and can lead you down many paths. With that being said, gain as much experience as you can. Most, if not all, of the thousands of people applying to the same position went to school, so how does your experience set you apart? Since most four-year degrees require an internship or professional experience of some type, keep in mind that just having one required internship may not make you a shoe-in for the job. If you had a part-time job in college, unrelated to your major, what did you learn from it? What skills were relevant to your desired field of work? Don’t forget, any experience is good experience.

During any internship or job, you should maintain a fantastic work ethic throughout your entire time with each company. Although it can feel like the hard part is getting an internship, the work really begins once you accept an offer. During internships, you have the potential to network with professionals in your field and really learn the ins and outs of your major’s industry. Internships are a great opportunity to get your feet wet and put what you’ve learned in the classroom to the test.

Gaining as much experience as you can throughout your college career is extremely important. Every new internship you obtain will get you one step closer to a full time position. Finding an internship during your senior year or last semester of college has the potential to open the door to your first full-time position. Many employers see internships as a chance to find out if someone is a good fit for the company. If you continue to put your best foot forward and remain a dependable, motivated, proactive part of the team, you may get an offer for a permanent position following graduation.

Sometimes, depending on the company and management, your supervisor won’t approach you and offer you a position. There’s no harm in taking the initiative and showing interest in staying with the company. Personally, I think it’s beneficial to let your employer know that you are consciously preparing for graduation during your interview. At the end of most interviews, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. This is a great time to inquire about the possibility of a full-time position after the internship.

Positioning yourself as an ambitious, eager student will show the company that you are planning ahead and on top of things. Once graduation starts to approach and it’s around the time you should start to apply to jobs, you can bring up the topic again to your employer. Let your supervisor know you’re still interested in staying with the company long-term and ask if there is potential for you to take on a permanent role within the company.

This conversation may seem a little awkward, but that’s okay. This type of conversation is necessary if you want to remain working with the company. Theoretically, the worst thing that could happen is that they say a position is not available. This isn’t a terrible thing though; now you can confidently apply to other jobs. If this is the outcome, transition it into an opportunity. Let your supervisor know you are actively looking for a job and ask if you can use them as a reference on applications.

Transitioning from a student to an active professional within your chosen field can be an intimidating change. Remember to start building your resume early, maintain a strong work ethic during your internships and lastly, take initiative when the time comes to ask about potential full time positions.

Best of luck!

– Jackie