It’s the time of year when prospective MBA students are looking towards leaving their current employers and transitioning back to the world of academics. Almost every reason a prospective MBA student has for applying to B-School comes down to career. Whether they want to dramatically change professions or the trajectory, MBA candidates seek to change something in their careers. As with any new initiative, people start out extremely motivated and ready to work. At the beginning of their programs, most MBAs aggressively nod their head at advice from their career coaches and promise to stay actively engaged in their job search. Naturally, this energy starts to wane after the grind of academics kicks into high gear. After students begin to realize the amount of time and energy their academic program requires, they start to prioritize their time which sometimes results in the job search being moved down the list. Some students move their job search down the list farther than others, but suffice it to say that job search energy will decrease to some degree within the first month or two of an MBA program.
Knowing the importance of a successful job search in addition to the importance of successful academics, consider implementing the following early to get ahead of the job search process:
- Connect with your career advisor (coach) this summer to begin identifying your goals, strengths and weaknesses in regards to your future career goals. Learn what areas in regards to your job search that will require coaching and refining, so you can spend less time making mistakes this fall. National Career Fairs and internship postings start popping up on the calendar very early; therefore, MBA candidates must be prepared to compete effectively in the market.
- Start writing your resume NOW! Refrain from taking your original resume and adding a few updates. Start from scratch and construct a targeted resume that presents your professional brand. Seek professional advice from your career coach and learn how to write a new resume that connects your past accomplishments and experiences with your future goals and the skills needed for success with a potential employer.
- Join the professional organization most respected in your field of study. Anyone returning to school for a career in human resources should join the local and national chapters of the Society for Human Resources Management. Be sure to not just stop at joining the organization and looking for the next national conference. Engage with other members. Contact the organization officers or board of directors and ask questions on how you can get involved. Look for ways to connect and learn from others in your chosen profession. Share information with other members through a LinkedIn group or Twitter. Show the membership that you are eager to learn and someone to meet. The best way to do this is to focus on being interested in others. Be interested in career paths, companies, and latest trends in HR, etc. Help others help you.
One of the worst things that a potential MBA student can do is wait until the last minute to start thinking about how to activate the search for an internship. The typical professional job search can take upwards of eight months. Waiting to start your job search until the time you begin your academics will most definitely ensure that one of the two will have to suffer. The best job search approach is one that is steadily active and involves great initiative. Start today by seeking ways you can kick start your job search before you arrive on campus and establish a activity rhythm that will sustain you during the busiest of times. Don’t miss the perfect opportunity due to poor planning.