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Getting Ready for Game Day

— Find career success with our job search playbook.

Welcome to the New Year! Who doesn’t love the thrill of starting something new? All the excitement of a fresh challenge, a blank slate.

At Priority Candidates, we help college students develop their job search and career readiness. As the new year kicks off, some clients are starting new roles; some are kicking off the spring semester, while others are searching for new opportunities - internships and full-time positions.

Harness the energy of this exciting time. Position yourself for fun and successful experiences, no matter which game you are getting ready for - a new class, internship, or job.

No matter what is new for you, invest time before you get to the kickoff. Making a solid start for your unique opportunity is essential - we offer a plan that covers all types of “new” endeavors.

Prepare for Your Job Search

Clear the Playing Field

First, take care of the easy stuff. Clear out, organize, and file everything that you don’t need. You have stuff from your old job search or last semester, like folders, stale reminders on your calendar, old email junk, useless apps, and notifications getting in your way. Clear out your clutter - digital and otherwise - making space for important things to come.

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Understand Your Bigger Playbook

Before you get underway, research the organization, the course, or the club. Examine the industry, the field of study, or the national office of your activity. Who are the leaders in this area? What are the innovations or new areas of inquiry? If you have a reading list for your class, try to learn about the authors of the selections.

Plan for ways to learn more. If you are curious about the larger scope, you will cultivate an appreciation for what you are working on in the short term. Your research plan is akin to assigning yourself homework, which professionals routinely do. You will not be handed a syllabus for your work life after graduation. Start now to cultivate expertise in what you are interested in.

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Meet your Teammates

We Will Not Call This Networking

Learn about the backgrounds of the people you will meet along the new journey. These people might include your manager, professors, or peers in a club. Use all the tools such as LinkedIn, the news, and department or company websites. Find out where they worked, went to school, and the exciting things they do. You may have common bonds or can prepare questions to ask them as you develop rapport. They might have had jobs or internships that align with your personal goals.

Discover professors’ research focus. Does that niche spark your curiosity? They might have an exciting job outside your school if they are adjunct professors. Plan to ask if their company hires students or if they need help with their research work. Demonstrate interest in their work and plan to get to know them.

Learn about professional groups related to your planned career path. They might have local or campus chapters and offer special, low membership options for students. Plan to attend a meeting to learn more and meet experienced professionals.

By proactively reaching out to connect, you will build the foundation of your professional community. (We promised we wouldn’t call it networking.) These people might help with your career search, you might help them, or they may inspire you with ideas drawn from their career journeys.

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Check Your Stats

Research and planning should be part of your pact to do your absolute best. Block times on your calendar for a few weeks to ensure you execute your action plan. You will want to make steady progress. Incorporate all you learned about the material and commit to connecting with people.

Plan to check in for feedback and your level of engagement. Ask how you are doing with your manager at work or with your peers in your extracurricular activities. If you are feeling stalled or stuck, experience downtime, or have yet to make any meaningful contribution to your organization, seek guidance on addressing that.

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Win the Game

We want you to find career success. At Priority Candidates, a critical aspect of our work is to help clients build their confidence by telling meaningful stories about their many experiences. Leveraging this approach, you fuel your essential stories, developing a clear description of the before, during, and after for each experience.

Having a time before you begin, when you are on the threshold of a new experience, is a treasure, and you need to be thoughtful about taking advantage of that gift. Use your time wisely to explore what lies ahead and fully engage with the material and the people. You will grow and have exciting stories to share as you work on your job search.