Preparing Students for the Job Search

Business communication instructors are in a perfect position to prepare students for the job search when they graduate. Below are ideas to bring into your classroom that will help students feel more able to tackle the onerous task of finding their first job.

Connect with your campus career resource center.Most campuses have dedicated staff to guide students about their future careers, offering testing services and other valuable resources. Ask a career counselor to visit your classroom to discuss finding internships, interviewing techniques, or networking.

Keep apprised of news items related to grads. Many media sources (including our own BizComBuzz) contain timely articles about what employers look for in new-hires, job statistics, or helpful hints for those actively seeking a job. Discussing these items with your students leads to active engagement with timely and relevant news that directly affects them.

Create a group project to clean up students’ social media. The importance of sanitizing social media is well documented, but students may not know how to attack the task. In a session similar to a peer edit, give students a list of items to remove from their social media accounts to guide them through the process. Working in small groups will help students see others’ accounts as models of what to eliminate and what to keep.

Practice networking techniques in class.Assign homework that requires researching the importance of networking. Then in class have students initiate conversations with one another in the “professional environment” of their classroom.

Share your stories. Students love to hear about their instructors’ life stories. Tell them about your job search, terrible interviews, or great work experiences. Then open up the conversation to the class so students can relate their own job search experiences.

Encourage participation in job fairs and professional organizations.Job fairs are a great experience whether or not the student lands a job—or even if the career fair does not focus on the student’s field. Just getting dressed for the part of looking for a job is beneficial. And professional organizations or clubs like Rotary are great spots for students to practice communication skills.

Emphasize the importance of research. Research is essential to the job search. Students should begin by researching fields of interest to them, learning about current and future opportunities in that arena. Once they have homed in on an industry, they should investigate specific companies for which they would like to work and become up-to-date on the firm’s latest developments.

The reality is that today’s students will likely be job searching for much of their lives. Giving them the tools they need to be successful in those searches can start right in your business communication classroom.

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