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How to Make Summer Meaningful in the Age of COVID — Advice from a Former Stanford InterviewerShari Bender
In what remains of the academic year, graduating college seniors have a lot to do. Careful planning will ease the transition from campus to the professional world. You can help them break the tasks down into three main categories.
Hopefully, your student has taken steps to prepare for the post-college professional world by visiting the campus career center, applying for and working at internships in fields of interest, and networking at jobs and college activities.
Here's how they can use the last few weeks to strengthen the work they’ve already done.
Note: During the pandemic, many college students are connecting with campus career resources virtually. Career advisors are still available to help them with their job search!
Spring career fairs: Your student should research companies beforehand and have a target list when attending a fair (whether in person or online). Since these are prospective employers, your student should be able to clearly articulate their career objectives (the “elevator pitch”).
Informational interviews: Students can use these interviews with mentors or potential employers to determine which career path or company is a good fit. Informational interviews also communicate that your student has taken the initiative to become familiar with a company’s work environment and hiring policies.
Job postings: Your student should continue to review job postings for careers of interest. Postings give an idea of what companies are looking for in a candidate and help your student tailor their resume appropriately. Click here for 6 Ways to Help Your Student Navigate the COVID Job Market >
Craft an impressive resume and order business cards: The resume is the first impression and therefore deserves special attention. Your student can search for examples online, talk to the career center and ask mentors for help.
They should customize their resume and cover letters for every position they apply for. A business card is good to have at career fairs and networking events. They’re simple and affordable to create at online printing sites such as VistaPrint and Moo.
The time is now to make profitable connections both online and off and prepare to market themselves to potential employers. Encourage your student to:
Continue to build their network. Alumni are an excellent source of network connections so your student should attend alumni-sponsored events. At any career-related opportunity, they can collect business cards and keep a list of contacts with notes on the conversations. These contacts could develop into future job prospects. LinkedIn is another way to connect with alumni who work in fields of interest to your student.
Join professional organizations. The career center, professors and alumni can help your student figure out which organizations best suit their career goals.
Advance their job search via social media. If your student doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, it’s time to create one. They can use the profile to tell their story and make as many alumni and professional connections as possible.
While they’re online, your student should delete any questionable posts or photos from their social media accounts and keep things clean going forward.
Life after college brings adult responsibilities like paychecks, student loans and budgeting. Before or immediately after graduation, your student should:
Help them look at loan repayment options. The six-month grace period after graduation will fly by. It’s important that they build loan payments into their budget. Research how deferment and forbearance options work, but encourage them to be smart and at least pay the interest.
Your student can look at their credit history for free online at any credit reporting agency. They will need a good history to rent an apartment, buy a car, and often to secure a job. They may need your guidance to understand how to clear up any discrepancies and begin building good credit.
Your student’s checking and savings accounts may change after graduation when they are no longer eligible for student rates and amenities. Compare banks and look for those offering low or no-fee account options.
Before your student can graduate, they must take care of institutional business.
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