Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Career Advice with Maggie: College students searching for a job!

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Every other week, Maggie Mistal our radio channel's career consultant AND host of "Making a Living," will answer all your burning job and career related questions! To ask Maggie a question, email her at coaching@maggiemistal.com or ask your question in the comments section below. Also, tune in to her show, today at 4:00 pm ET on Sirius 112 and XM 157.

Hi Maggie,

I'm a junior business major in college and I'm really concerned about finding a job when I graduate from school. Can you give me some tips on how I can start preparing myself now so that I'm not scrambling for a job after I finish school?

Undergrad Sierra

job

You're smart to get started early Sierra. For experienced job seekers the average job search takes 4.5 months. To best prepare for landing a job, put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes. Their biggest problem is finding qualified candidates who can hit the ground running. (Read more in this recent study.) As a college student, you need to gain experience and the best way to do that - an internship!

While in college I did an internship during my junior year, forgoing the spring semester to spend "busy-season" working full-time at accounting firm Arthur Andersen. It was a challenge to focus on interviewing and working full-time while my friends enjoyed a laid-back college lifestyle. It was an intense experience but I secured a job for when I graduated.

READ MORE AFTER JUMP

Check with your academic advisor and career services to find out what internships are available in your major. Pay attention to internship application deadlines, proofread your submission and prepare for the interview with a videotaped mock interview. Learn more tips in my video on how to ace a job interview.

Kelsey Nixon, a Food Network Chef and recent guest on Making a Living, got her start with an internship at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO). Kelsey created a food media major while in college to combine her interests in journalism and cooking. She found an MSO internship posted on CareerBuilder.com, applied and landed an internship with the television division. It helped that Kelsey had already done over 100 episodes of her own TV food show while on campus. It may have been low budget, she says, but it demonstrated her interest in the field and differentiated her from other candidates.

Like Kelsey, find ways to showcase your interests and talents while still in school by designing your own special project. Mirror real-life experience with a small business or pro bono project. Approach non-profits or businesses and set up mentorships with local leaders. You'll gain experience and connections that will differentiate you.

Doing an internship is a great way to gain experience and demonstrate to a potential employer that you can get the job done. You'll also learn what a day in the life is really like in a career you're considering. For more tips, check out Lindsey Pollak's book, "Getting From"College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World," (one of her tips is from yours truly)!

Submit your career questions on my career advice website and tune into Making a Living every Wednesday at 4 pm EST!

Image courtesy of On the U.

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