Getting started: Career tips for freshmen & sophomores

Are you a freshman or sophomore about to launch your career or internship search? Read on for things you should do now, to get on track and secure a job when you graduate.

If you’re a freshman or sophomore, you’ve probably been focused on your academics these past two years. The thought of getting an internship or first job seems way down the road. But, as you get ready to move into your junior year, it’s time to start thinking about the skill sets you need to get ready for a summer internship – which is key to landing a job after graduation.

This can be an overwhelming experience – especially if you’re just starting out. The biggest question I usually hear from students is – where do I start?  

Here’s a quick 5-step checklist to give you direction now, so you can be ready to start the fall semester off strong. 

 1. Get your resume together. I get a lot of questions on what recruiters and hiring managers wants to see on a resume. Check out my recent blog for details on how to distinguish yourself and set your resume apart.

 2. Have someone review your resume. It’s not just about catching typos… make sure you have the right content listed. Visit your career center and talk to a career coach to make sure you have the right mix of technical work, class assignments and personal projects listed. There’s a good chance your school is hosting corporate resume review or resume clinic on campus this fall – be sure to take advantage of those opportunities!

 3. Research companies. Do you have an ideal role or company in mind? Start with a list of companies you’re interested in and sort them into A, B and C categories. The A companies are your dream job, the B companies sound great, but may not be exactly your perfect fit, and the C companies are those you want to learn more about. Research their company website, LinkedIn page, and check out employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor.

 4. Practice with a mock interview. Be prepared to talk about projects you’ve worked on inside and outside the classroom and curriculum you’ve studied. Do you have a passion for engineering or a strong story around why you chose this path? Also, have questions ready for your interviewer. If you need inspiration, check out my blog on preparing for an interview, including more about using the STAR Method.

 5. Attend campus career events! Fall is the essential time of year when most career fairs, tech talks and recruiting infosessions take place, and you make connections with recruiters and companies. Career fairs can be intimidating – you’ll be face-forward as you meet a lot of people and need to make a good first impression quickly. If you’re nervous, that’s normal! Ease into the career fair. Don’t start by visiting your ‘A company’ booth. Start with a C company on your list and get comfortable with the types of questions they’ll ask, how to introduce yourself to work out your nerves. Then hit up your A and B companies.

Did you know: Don’t be worried when a company tells you to go apply online after you meet them at a career fair. This is a normal step in the process in order to ensure you’re in their system!

Still have questions, or want to suggest a topic for my next blog? Send me an email at universityrecruiting@ti.com