The security that comes from getting an on-campus placement might be the greatest sense of relief a new college graduate can have. After all, getting your foot in the door is often the biggest hurdle to a long and successful career. However, not getting on-campus placement may end up being a blessing in disguise.
If you don’t get campus placement through a college institution, you still have several opportunities. Off-campus placement is competitive because they’re often better than the available on-campus placements. Marketing yourself is crucial to getting an off-campus placement.
In this article, I’ll be going over a variety of tricks to marketing yourself to companies so that you are still on the path to the career of your dreams. Getting an off-campus placement takes time and dedication, a clear sense of your personal brand, and the motivation to improve your skills to better suit the needs of a company. Let’s get started, shall we?
How To Get an Off-Campus Placement
While you don’t need to go full-on Instagram influencer for the following suggestions, it can be helpful to think like an influencer. The outward professional appearance you present to the world is critical to making a good impression and is one of the only things completely within your control.
Focus on the characteristics and skills you can bring to a company’s table and then work to make those traits seen.
The following are some of the best ways to get on a company’s radar.
Spend a Lot of Time Networking
Networking is a word that sends shivers down my spine and triggers my survival mode. We often have the image of schmoozy shoulder-rubbing at events with mediocre food and awkward name-tag introductions.
This isn’t the kind of networking you need to be engaging in, as this is not your grandfather’s networking world anymore. The best place to start your network is through social media and, in particular, keeping up a Linkedin presence online.
According to a survey of LinkedIn members, at least ⅓ of them reported that they received career opportunities just from light engagement through the platform.
From there, let your network start to grow organically. Attend events that you’re interested in and strike up conversations. Meet for coffee with people you meet, just to chat about life. These low-pressure meets and online engagement are how people network today.
Networking has progressed into something that’s way more palatable than the conventional image we have of it. Make it fun and make yourself known to the world you want to be a part of (source).
Be Sure To Have a Solid Resume
Keep your resume up to date and be able to talk about each and every single point on it. You want to be able to have that conversation with someone at a moment’s notice, now that you’re growing your network and meeting people who know people.
Despite the memes to the contrary, never lie or exaggerate your resume.
If you feel that you need to do this to get any attention, then it might be a good indication that you need to put in more work and training so that your resume can be a true reflection of your skills.
Getting your foot in the door by lying on your resume can ultimately shoot you in that foot. Not only will you be found out as not qualified for the job, but you have a reputation as a liar too. Avoid this at all costs.
Watch the Career Pages on Company Websites
Watching the career pages of the companies you’re interested in is extremely important. Send in your resume, post it on their hiring boards, fill out any applications they provide through their website.
However, you can also use this as a tool for your networking. Blindly throwing your resume at job postings yields very little fruit these days since the large majority of jobs are filled via networking or are internal hires (source).
If All Else Fails, Consider a Different Route
Sometimes, you might need to consider trying something like an internship or a lower-tiered opportunity that allows for upward mobility even if you didn’t get a campus placement.
It isn’t anyone’s first choice, since your education and skills are valuable. However, due to the competition for these placements, sometimes this is the method to stand out to a company and get your foot in their door.
If you’re in a situation where you need to start making income right away, make sure that the internship is able to cover your monthly expenses. Internships won’t pay as much as a full hire, but you’ll still be compensated.
The good news is that internships have gotten to be much better for those interning now than in previous years. Interns can even make really decent money while interning, which was definitely not always the case.
Balance your willingness to work your way up with knowing your worth as an educated, skilled job seeker. It’s one thing to start a few steps down to work your way up in a company that treats you well, but it’s another thing entirely for a company to exploit you for your inexperience.
However, as long as you’re being treated fairly, an internship can be a promising way to get a full-time career at a company that only hires after some amount of experience (source).
While you may feel somewhat devastated in not getting a campus placement, you still have an opportunity to do even better than if you had. As long as you’re willing to put in the extra work, get networking a real effort, and stay dedicated to the process, there’s no reason you can’t find yourself at a great company with a fulfilling career in the near future.