Success in the job search does not happen by accident.
Recently we talked about the “sweet spots” in the job market for Class of 2013 business school grads, highlighting employer demand for new hires, strong salaries, and the fact that 60 percent of the graduating class landed a job offer before graduation day. To get those results, two-thirds of this year’s MBA and master’s graduates were engaged in their job search throughout the school year, going to great effort to get themselves “job ready.” Here’s what you can learn from them.
1. Develop Skills Outside the Classroom
Extracurricular activities can enhance your learning experience, your job-readiness, and your ability to secure good employment outcomes, especially when they help you build networks with other students, faculty, mentors, and business professionals. Past survey findings show that students who engage in extracurricular activities during their programs have greater success rates in landing early job offers before graduation. For example, 68 percent of class of 2013 grads who took part in leadership programs and 67 percent involved in academic competitions received a job offer before graduating. Engagement in other activities, such as student government, volunteer and mentoring programs, and community service projects, also were found to boost graduates’ chances for receiving job offers.
2. Use Proven Job Search Strategies
Online search engines and social media are popular tools for conducting job searches, but traditional methods, like internships or work projects and using resources available through career services offices were the two search methods that yielded the greatest number of job offers overall for the class of 2013.
Internships offer experience and a great way to get in touch with key hiring decision-makers in your preferred industry. In fact, 64 percent of recent graduates who completed an internship attributed their job offer to their internship.
Another 64 percent of class of 2013 job seekers reported finding their jobs through their career services offices, which host numerous events for students to connect with potential employers. With two-thirds (67%) of employers we recently surveyed planning to make on-campus recruiting visits this year, it makes sense to be involved in these events.
3. Polish Your Résumé
A hiring manager’s first impression of your résumé can be crucial to securing an interview. Think of your résumé as your main calling card and be sure it is both customized and compelling enough to grab an employer’s attention. The key elements recruiters tell us they look for in your résumé include your track record or proven ability to perform (92 percent) and your technical and/or quantitative skills (75 percent).
4. Show Your Balance
Interviews provide opportunities to demonstrate your soft skills along with technical knowledge. The skills that most employers want in new hires, and the ones that graduates said were the most critical to landing a job offer, involve a blend of business knowledge, strategic and integrated reasoning skills, and soft skills to enhance interpersonal relations.
Aside from core business skills, the top attributes that will get you hired are your interpersonal skills and a demonstration of your capacity to learn, your capacity to motive yourself and others, and your proven ability to lead. So be sure to have some examples!
5. Ready Yourself Now!
Take time to revisit and renew some of the New Year’s career resolutions we offered for jump starting your job search. And check out the Reflect™ Self-Assessment and Development tool and other online interactive tools that can help guide your professional development and enhance the skills that admissions directors and employers want most.