As students at Minnesota School of Business, a career college, it is probably safe to say that your reason for attending school is to, well, pursue a career. Whether it’s a promotion at your current employer, a new job in a new career field, or your looking to make yourself more marketable and broaden your skill-set, there are many things you can do to start preparing for those next steps long before you even graduate!
Minnesota School of Business staff and faculty are here to help you and prepare you for your future career. They offer advice to current students on what you can be doing now to set yourself apart from your competition, and position yourself for that winning career!
Here’s what they had to say:
Kofi Montzka, paralegal program chair:
You should start looking for a job at least a year before you graduate. In many fields you can get a job before you graduate. When you look for a job while you are still in school, you can get more help from your instructors and career services because you still see them almost daily.
Do well in your classes. If you do, your instructor may refer you for a job they hear about or you may need them to be a reference for you. Many employers contact me when they are looking to hire a paralegal. Always be professional, do your work to the best of your ability, and be on time to ensure you are the one referred for that potential job.
For programs that have internships, you can find an employer who is hiring. Contact them to offer your services for free during the internship and tell them that they can hire you at the end of your internship if you are a good fit. Tell them that it is a way to “try you out” before hiring you. This will put you ahead of the other candidates applying for jobs.
Sarah Lemm, veterinary technology program chair:
Networking is VERY important while you are still a student! Veterinary technician students can do this by getting involved with SCNAVTA, the Student Chapter of the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America. Students can also volunteer at humane societies or wildlife rehabilitation centers.
Seeking employment in a veterinary related position while still in school can be highly beneficial, both to facilitate your learning in school as well as gaining experience in the field prior to graduation. Even if someone is just working as a kennel assistant in a clinic setting and may not have the opportunity for advancement in that clinic, they now have a veterinary reference other than just instructors. This will assist them in getting the job they want after graduation.
Kristine McBride, dean of faculty:
Internships! That’s the KEY. That’s how I got my first job, because my internship turned into a job. Volunteering and working in your desired field are excellent options too!
Sarah Bowe, information technology instructor:
You need to differentiate yourself Get a great internship, volunteer somewhere, get a double major, go above and beyond in more than one way! With the economy the way it is, your potential employers aren’t looking through a few resumes- they have a stack! You need to think about what you can do (besides pink ink and perfumed paper like on Legally Blonde) to set yourself apart and make your resume the one that stands out among the many.
Melissa Young, director of career services:
Start by going the extra mile today. Arrive to class early so you are ready to go when class starts. Dress for success and make a good impression. Communicate effectively with your instructor and classmates to ensure you meet your course goals. Work on your professional documents, including your resume and cover letter now, so they are ready to go when your dream job is posted. Start taking steps to ensure you are making connections in your field, networking will take you places! Remember that you are in charge of your own success!
John Daley, information technology program chair:
One thing that I’ve observed from our students (doing mock interviews) is the need for the proper attitude for the interview, along with perspective of what should come before and after. Some students are surprised when I suggest that the purpose of a resume is not a job, it is a phone screen. In many cases, the purpose of a phone screen is to eliminate the candidate. Being aware of this will help the student pass this step and proceed to the in-person interview. Succeeding at the in-person interview sometimes means…another in-person interview! If successful, an offer should follow for employment. This is an opportunity the student should evaluate carefully (benefits, work hours, travel required, etc.) before accepting.
Even if it doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, getting the interview alone shows you were selected from your peers meaning you are on the right track. You also gain valuable interview experience which will only help you improve for the next one. You learn something (usually a great deal) about a company by interviewing, which is good information for the future and for other students
Jessica Hamre, admissions representative:
NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK! Marketing yourself is KEY to being successful.