The summer has officially begun its retirement to the ever-approaching fall season once more, as students welcome a familiar return to the routine of being on campus. As you prepare to take on the academic year, ensure that you take the necessary steps in order to further your success beyond the classroom and stay on track for the development of your ensuing career.
So, how do you begin to unlock your career potential this fall?
1. Log-In to Handshake and begin the internship search. The best way to further your career development involves gaining more experience in the field you seek to enter upon graduation. In finding and securing an internship through Handshake, you’re building your resume while simultaneously acquiring the skills and connections you need to pave the way for your future career success. Your Handshake account provides you with the ability to start the search for internships, co-ops and jobs, find on-campus employment, build up your profile and online presence, connect with employers, and even book an appointment with your career advisor to assist you in the career development process!
2. Prepare for the upcoming fall career events organized by the O’Brien Center for Career Development. The O’Brien Center for Career Development organizes a multitude of career events on-campus throughout the fall and subsequent semesters, including the Fall Internship and Job Fair, Liberal Arts Career Night, Accounting and Finance Networking Breakfasts, Human Development Panel, Ask an Employer: Engineering and many more. Career events on-campus allow you to increase your personal network connections and broaden your professional skills. By creating meaningful connections at career events, you increase your chances of receiving a response from potential employers as well as expand your opportunities to land a job, internship, or co-op experience. Career events additionally serve as the ideal occasion to practice presenting yourself and voicing your skills in a professional and confident manner, while giving you the chance to perfect your “professional pitch” when networking. Check out the full list of events on Handshake or under the “Events” tab on our website.
3. Create or update your LinkedIn account to network with industry professionals and build your professional brand. It’s no secret that social media plays an essential role in the development of your professional network and brand. LinkedIn exists as a leading platform for creating and maintaining your online connections; therefore, you should prioritize the upkeep of your profile’s appearance and activity to sustain your online presence. LinkedIn further allows you to learn from the behaviors of others in your network to adopt in your own professional etiquette, as well as to show off your accomplishments to potential employers. To find out more on why your LinkedIn account is so crucial to your career success and how to best utilize the platform, check out our 8 Easy Do’s and Dont’s of LinkedIn to Help You Enhance Your Professional Brand.
4. Commit to finding and securing an internship for this year. Internships aid students in building their professional skills, social capital, and networking opportunities to best prepare them for success in the working world. Securing an internship during your academic career even increases your security for landing a job as a graduating senior. In fact, over 74% of companies prefer to hire candidates who have had an internship or co-op during their college experience. Moreover, you earn the chance to improve your professionalism and communication skills to impress your future employers and increase your attractiveness as a potential employee. A NACE survey reported that almost four-fifths of students who landed an experiential learning opportunity felt their professionalism and work ethic was incredibly improved by their internship or co-op. Furthermore, 75% of students felt their experiential learning opportunity positively affected their collaboration, written, and oral communication skills. Check out the fall and spring experiential learning opportunities today on Handshake!
5. Apply to the Professional Development Retreat. The O’Brien Center for Career Development annually organizes the Professional Development Retreat, an exclusive 2-day career initiative for juniors and seniors to connect with top industry professionals in all fields and well-connected Merrimack alumni in the heart of Boston, hosted at the Hotel Commonwealth. The Professional Development Retreat aims to provide you with the opportunity to build your emotional intelligence and “soft skills” such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, critical observation, and adaptability. Applications open Monday, August 26th and close on Sunday, October 6. Don’t miss out on this opportunity of a lifetime!
The beginning of the academic year envelopes you with opportunities to begin anew and take on the growth of your career path with even greater vigor than in previous semesters. As the fall season welcomes a transformation, begin your fall semester with the intent to transform your career potential into your career success. Everything you need to succeed beyond your academic career this semester is available for you to hit the ground running this fall. Don’t forget to stop by the O’Brien Center for Career Development to assist and support you in your career success!
Written by: Kerry Reynolds, Class of 2021