How to Use Your Senior Year to Prepare for a Job
The final year in college is more than just a farewell party to your youth; it’s also a great time to prep for the next phase of your life. After many years of hard work, you need to use that final year to plan for a smooth transition from college to work.
Work or Grad School?
First off, it’s crucial that you get the work vs. grad school debate out of the way. A lot of final year students find themselves undecided on whether to seek employment or pursue further education after undergrad.
Although transitioning directly to grad school allows you to further your education, getting employed brings with it even more advantages. These include a much-needed break from formal training setting, money (salary), and most importantly is on-the-job experience. Even better, your company may choose to pay for your graduate work!
Preparing for Entry-Level Employment
The following are several expert tips to help you prepare for the work environment during your final year;
- Maximize Your Electives
Experts recommend writing a thesis on every subject that intrigues you. Working on multiple theses will give you the chance to connect with several professors, thus create relationships that can be instrumental in landing employment or getting accepted to a grad school. Aside from writing theses, consider learning a new language, completing an independent study, and exploring a new subject.
- Participate in extracurricular activities
Even if you’ve devoted to your energy to your sorority or fraternity up to this point, in the senior year, consider breaking out of your comfort zone to participate in a co-curricular activity. The reason is simple – life after college is unpredictable. For instance, sometimes it takes a bit of time to get a job. Participating in non-academic activities can help you prepare for the unknowns that lie ahead and conditions you to be versatile and adaptable. Options to consider here include joining a book club, writing for the school newspaper, and running for a student office.
- Take up an internship
Internships are vital when it comes to acquiring on-the-job skills. They expose you to the expectations and norms of the work world. With the number of students taking on internships increasing each year, you don’t want fall into the candidate pool that hasn’t gained valuable experience through an internship. Be prepared to make a few sacrifices, though. Often, you’ll spend your evenings working rather than resting.
As with internships, volunteering during the last year in college can help you get hands-on, practical experience. Common volunteer opportunities for aviation students include working with Angel Flight to help those that need medical attention and helping rescue animals find a home via Pilots N Paws. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Women in Aviation (WIA), and Aviation Museums are other organizations that offer thousands of aviation-related internship opportunities every year.
- Prepare for job applications
There are two things here. First, you need to prepare your resume. Preparing a well written resume that effectively depicts your skills, experience and attributes is an evolution not a one-time even. Sure, that the resume includes details of your education and experiences you have accumulated that make you a great candidate for entry-level work. Secondly, learn the best practices of how to interview. Things, like dressing the part, showing up on time, and shaking hands properly, are sometimes taken lightly but are critical in nailing an interview. Also, learn how to answer common interview questions and hone your communication skills.
The above tips will put you in a great position when making the transition from college to work. Don't hesitate to seek additional work-life and career advice from your mentors and peers.