Preparing for the Field


With graduation just around the corner, many students are starting to think about life after college. Are you feeling prepared for that next step into your career? Whether you graduate in a few weeks or a year, here is some advice from NAU’s Career Services team that can help you start preparing for life after graduation.

Develop a strong resume

Your resume is your first impression with a potential employer. That is why it’s essential to develop a strong resume that quickly portrays your strengths and potential to employers. Focus on the positive experiences, training and skills you have received. Here are some other great tips for resume writing:

  • Check, double check and triple check your contact information is correct
  • Include your email as contact information (make sure it’s appropriate)
  • Leave white space
  • Two pages maximum (unless you’re applying for an executive position, keep it short and simple)
  • Limit 3-5 bullet points on what you did at each job
  • Use active words when describing your duties and accomplishments (i.e. accomplished, programmed, informed).
  • Proofread!

If you lack experience, start looking at volunteer opportunities and internships in your field of study. These experiences convey strong initiative and also help you develop your skills.

While it is essential to make a great impression with that resume, there are some other skills you may need to have sharpened before hitting the job market. Two of the most intimidating parts of the job search for many people are networking and interviewing. Don’t be scared! With a little practice you can master both of these essential skills.

Networking seems simple in definition but complex in delivery. But networking has become a crucial part of the job process. According to a survey conducted by the Department of Labor, networking accounts for at least 69% of all annual hires. That could be a great advantage for a college graduate, so start talking! Look for people at work, school, even the grocery store or daycare center. Challenge yourself to start introducing yourself to new people and discuss with them your plans after graduation and the many skills you have acquired along the way.

Interviews are what you’re looking for! You’ve already made an impression with your resume, now you need to continue to build your credibility and display your skills in the interview. Here are some best practices to get you started.

  1. Practice makes perfect!Find common interview questions online and practice with a friend answering questions. The more comfortable you are speaking about yourself and your skills the better.
  2. Dress to impress. Always look your best when arriving to any interview—this is an important detail to many employers.
  3. Speak appropriately, but honestly.
  4. Never bad mouth your previous jobs or employers in an interview. 
  5. Always arrive 10-15 minutes early. This is an important first impression to a potential employer—being punctual to an interview could make or break a hiring decision.
  6. Be positive!Remember to focus on your strengths and have action items you are already working on to help you improve your weaknesses.

Contact Career Services

You have a great resource right at your fingertips! NAU’s Career Services teams are available to help with everything from resume writing, mock interviews, to job search tips and advice. So what are you waiting for?! Contact them today to start brushing up on your job search skills before graduation.

Keep Dreaming BIG!

Yes this is important! You wouldn’t have made it this far without goals to work toward. So keep dreaming big! You may not get the dream job you want right away, but keep working hard towards your dreams and be proud of the ones you have already achieved along the way.

“My experience at NAU gave me the jump start, skill sets and confidence to continue a career and academic journey I never imagined,” said 2005 graduate, Michael Smith. “Dream Big…. It really works.”

Contributions by Kristin Marthaler, East Regional Career Services Director and Rachel Hammer, Midwest Regional Career Services Director

Published May 2013


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