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4 Ways to Prepare for Employment

It’s graduation season, and that means millions of graduates are about to enter ‘the real world’. So to help the transition, I’ve gathered a few useful sources for budding young professionals.

1. Extracurricular Education:

As you’re sorting through job ads, you may find that the positions you’re looking for require skills you don’t yet have. Sometimes a course isn’t offered at your school, or you may prefer a more informal learning environment. Luckily, there are plenty of skills you can learn online without worrying about prerequisites.

Codecademy will teach the complete novice programing and web design for free! HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Lynda.com provides video tutorials for pretty much every computer program you can think of, but you do have to pay for a subscription.

2. Social Networking:

Many employers look for people with social networking skills. Knowing how to use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pintrest, etc puts you ahead of the curve with some older employees who are unfamiliar with this new phenomenon. This doesn’t just mean knowing how to post a picture or tweet about a sandwich you had, but knowing how to use these media as marketing tools.

Also consider starting a blog, and update it consistently (that’s why I have this blog). This shows employers dedication to your craft, and that you can maintain a project punctually and consistently.

3. Finding Internships:

As I said in my post about graduate school, I find internships to be an extremely important college experience, and I found InternMatch to be the best database for finding one.

It will help you find internships and in a particular industry, and you can narrow results by location, field, paid vs. unpaid, and summer/fall/winter/spring internships.

It also has a good-looking and easy-to-use interface. It functions as an online community where employers can find you based on your interests, it includes tips on resume and cover letter writing, and it will update you if internships pop up in your chosen field.

4. Portfolio Advice:

Putting together a portfolio is a necessity for any creative person. Whether it means getting hired, applying to school, or just building a showcase, having a portfolio to show off you’re work is essential.

These are the sites I found most helpful when putting together my own portfolio:

I also suggest wandering around the Web and looking at what sorts of portfolios others in your field have produced. How do they format their about page? What forms of contact do they allow? What sorts of social networking are included (or not included)?

You’ll want to consider what level of professionalism your portfolio conveys and what skills you portray. Remember that a portfolio is not about you, but about what you can offer the viewer.