Getting Ready for
The Workplace

Finding the right job after college is another transition- and a challenge in tough economic times. Still, your college degree will be helpful. Combine your education with a solid job-hunting plan, and you will start your career.

While still in school, consider these steps:

  • Choose a field of study that will lead to a job and consider where you want to live. Do you want to live on your reservation or pueblo? If so, what kinds of jobs are available there-health care worker, teacher, engineering technician? Tribal leaders may be able to offer ideas about future jobs.
  • If possible, try to find an internship or a part-time job in your field while you are still in school. Your work experience will give you an advantage over others applying for the same job after you graduate.
  • Read trade and professional journals in your field to learn about future job openings. Also, search the Internet and talk with your professors about careers.
  • Attend professional national or regional conferences in your field. Students often are invited to attend for free or at little charge. You also may be able to volunteer at the event and get in for free. Try to find someone in the career you want to pursue who is willing to mentor you give you advice and support as you navigate your way toward your new career.
  • Ask help from professional associations that are aligned with the careers you are considering. These types of associations are nonprofit organizations that further a specific profession. These associations often have Web sites that include forums where you can post questions and interact with people in that field. Try to develop a relationship with someone who can help you in your chosen career.
  • Take part in extracurricular activities or volunteer your time in a community service program that may help you get a job later. For example, if your goal is to be a journalist, join the campus newspaper or radio staff.

Getting Ready for the Workplace

While still in school, consider these steps:

  • Start thinking about how much money you will need to learn on a yearly basis. The spending plan "expense" worksheet will help you clarify your upcoming expenses. Read newspapers from the area in which you want to live and find out the average cost of rent. Also, don't forget about any student loans you took out-you will begin paying on those soon after you graduate. Having a realistic financial baseline can help you during salary negotiations.
  • If you'll be participating in a national service organization or becoming part of the military after graduation, know what you'll be earning. This will be a set-or "fixed" amount and careful expense planning will be necessary.
  • Take advantage of what services your college provides. Many colleges help graduating seniors with job counseling, resume writing, and placement services.
  • Attend any "career fairs" hosted by your college. With a career fair, major employers come to your campus to talk with-and possibly interview-students. Make sure you have several copies of your resume to hand out.
  • Start networking. Let friends and relatives know that you'll be graduating soon and will be looking for work in a particular field. Many employers feel more comfortable hiring someone who comes to them by way of a recommendation.
  • Consider working with job placement organizations. Just make sure the service is one where the employer pays the cost-and not you! Another option is to use the placement centers run by your state, county, or city.