For college students brand new to the job market and even returning students looking for improved employment, a little guidance goes a long way. But where to start? Learn what college students have identified as their biggest job hunt concerns, and try these tips for preparing your students to tackle them.
If you’re starting from the top with your freshmen students, it might be a good idea to give a brief overview of the job market, providing hints to set them up for success in their junior and senior year. Creating a portfolio and professional online profile is a great place to start.
If you have slightly more experienced students, they may know quite well what the hardest element of job hunting is for them. We asked hundreds of college students: “Which portion of the job hunt process do you worry about the most?”
According to 38% of respondents, the number-one concern for college students is “the job interview” itself.
Behind this, 18% are most concerned with writing their resume, 15% worry most about searching for jobs, and 12% are most concerned about networking. Finally, 9% are most worried about the 1st day of work, and 8% worry most about writing a cover letter.
On top of perfecting your resume and other application materials, we all know that the interview process is an extremely important step to getting hired. If you’re lucky enough to get your foot in the door, your interviews make or break your success. Fortunately, there are a number of sure-fire ways to help your students improve their interview skills.
If your classes are either directly related to college/career success or are senior-level courses, it may be easier to work in more straight-forward practice techniques. With your students’ fields of study in mind, draft up several interview-style questions and have your students interview each other in the classroom. For students studying software engineering, for example, provide the type of challenging questions they might encounter in a technical screening. Encourage them to reflect on their experiences and what they struggled with the most.
Public speaking is many people’s number-one fear, in general. Add in the nervousness that an interview can bring, and it may seem nearly impossible to put a coherent sentence together. A great exercise for all types of students is to practice public speaking. Keep it focused to your lesson, if you so choose, with a presentation demonstrating concept mastery. Have them try to present with as few notes as possible and be prepared to ask them a number of follow-up questions.
An added challenge and invaluable practice for students is to try talking about themselves as well. While it may sound simple, many people find it very difficult to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Have students introduce themselves to a partner, detailing their career aspirations and why they think they’d excel at that path.
For even more ideas, visit our post, “Tips for Students: Overcoming Your Fears of Public Speaking.”
What tips do you have for getting students prepared for the job market and future interviews? Share your ideas below.