Many startups will not start to hire new grads and interns until the upcoming winter/spring term.
That can actually work to your advantage at this time of year.
To get noticed, you have to stand out. Take advantage of the next couple of months (and over break) to further enhance your story and distinguish yourself from other candidates. Here are a few ideas to consider for doing so.
Extend Your Body of Work
Startups gravitate towards individuals that are passionate about building & doing things. Leverage any upcoming available bandwidth you may have to:
- Launch that side project (or two) that you’ve been thinking about. More ideas are in our workshop materials: link.
- Contribute to a local startup or non-profit in some capacity to gain additional experience. To find one, check with your Entrepreneurship Center or entrepreneurial/student group on campus.
- Take an online course (or two) in Coursera, Khan Academy, etc., to pick-up new skills or explore new areas.
- Investigate the possibility of extending a class project to work with a specific company or organization.
- Get involved with an open source software project. Here’s a great resource to find one: link.
- Experiment with social media for a student group or other organization you’re involved in.
Enhance Your Portfolio
Startups love to see what you can do. Be sure to show them. Use this time to either launch or enhance what you already have going:
- Developers – commit your project code to GitHub (where you can) and get into the practice of doing so on a regular basis going forward.
- Designers – your online portfolio needs to look as good as anything you’ll build for a company. Take this time to refine and polish it.
- Business, Engineering, Marketing & Other Majors – launch a personal blog that verbally & visually highlights the projects you’ve worked on (inside & outside the classroom), how you’ve approached them, and what you’ve learned (both good and bad).
Polish Your Resume
Highlight and accentuate your project & industry experiences. Talk about what you did, what you learned and the technologies you used. Include a link to your GitHub/online portfolio prominently in the contact section. If the format is uninspiring, consider revamping to a template that is easier on the eyes and better communicates your story. If you’re open to startups and more traditional companies, create different versions of your resume that appeal to both audiences.
Define What You’re Most Interested In
Take some time to reflect on what you’d like to do and the types of companies and roles that get you the most excited. Not only does this help identify which companies and positions you’d like to target, it will play a key role in personalizing your communications so your shared passion for the organization and/or opportunity comes across.
Network & Make Contact
Start reaching out to companies that currently have openings you’re interested in. To find these, refer to our workshop materials (link). Leverage your university Entrepreneurship Center and/or Career Services office for company and alumni contacts. If you’re graduating in the spring, consider utilizing early January or spring break to visit the location you’d like to be in to jumpstart conversations, get in front of opportunities, and build your local network.