Your final months of school: How to prep for the job market.

Posted on: August 11, 2014

As you reach the final 6 months or year of your academic career, you will likely be looking forward to the end of late night studying, quizzes, and assignments.  Though earning your degree means an end to schoolwork, it also marks the beginning of the challenging task of finding a job and starting your career.  During your final months as a student, it is very important to prepare for your job search and begin working proactively towards the next step in your career.  Here are a few tips for your final months to year of school to get you ready for the job market.


  1. Build a portfolio.  Many companies will want to see examples of your work in addition to your freshly earned degree.  Save assignments, projects, and papers relevant to your chosen career field to share with potential employers.  They will be excited to see real life applications of your studies as it shows them how you would perform as an employee.  If your coursework doesn’t directly apply to your future career, ask your professor to help you create a research project or independent study program that is applicable to a specific industry or job.


  2. Utilize the resources in JIU’s Career Services department.  The Total Professional Advantage 2.0 portal provides interactive career development workshops that prepare you to meet workplace challenges and culminate in a personal online portfolio showcasing your unique talents and accomplishments.  You will also have the opportunity to receive feedback from faculty and your advisor on your portfolio. In addition, TPA 2.0 provides job and internship listings, podcasts, career development videos, career articles, resume building tools, career guides, and job profiles.


  3. Attend career fairs and networking events.  Career fairs are a great way to get to know companies within your area and can help you find an organization that will be a good fit for your personality and skill set.  The greater your network, the greater your chance of finding that dream job!


  4. Apply for internships.  As a recent college graduate, it is often very difficult to land that first job because your professional experience is very limited.  Internships – paid or unpaid – can help you build your resume and professional experience.  Additionally, you may find that your unpaid internship turns into a job opportunity down the road!


The JIU Center for Career Services is available to support your career search and answer any questions you might have.  Remember, it is never too soon to start working towards that dream job, even if graduation is 12 months away!