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Pickens Technical College emphasizes careers after graduation for its students. Every course you take here immerses you in the job you want, giving you not only the skills to perform when the checks start coming in, but also a way to connect with potential employers in the area. The PTC Career Services office helps students make connections with local businesses and leaders so that when they graduate, they’ll have a head start on a great career.

Graduation is still three months away, but it’s a good time to prepare. Here are a few steps to get you from graduation to a day job in no time. Remember that it’s a good idea to start a few of these steps long before you graduate to give yourself the best chance of success.

Never Too Early to Network

Some people would much rather have coffee by themselves than try to network or navigate certain social circles, but, whether you enjoy awkwardly talking to strangers or acquaintances in the hopes they may have a job opening for you in the future or not, it’s crucial to finding a job, especially in the low-unemployment world of metro Denver.

Luke Vernon, who operates the job-finding company Luke’s Circle in Boulder, was quoted in the Denver Post, saying: “If you’re a job seeker, spend 75 percent of your time meeting people, taking people out to coffee, and navigating social and professional networks. Most job seekers spend 75 percent looking on job boards. That’s backward.”

So put on your smile and your slacks and start taking people out to coffee. With social media and other forms of communication, it’s becoming much more commonplace for potential job seekers to reach out to workers at a particular company. Start with entry-level workers—they’ll be eager to share their knowledge of the industry and the company with you right off the bat. Even a simple coffee date can stick in someone’s mind. When a position opens at a company, it helps to know people in the building who can put in a good word and tell you how and when to apply. Start this process before you graduate.

Applying Smart

When it comes time to apply for a job, you should have a resume ready to go. Look at simple, easy resume templates online and make sure your writing is clear and succinct.

As an experienced job-seeker, I like to compile all my experience at previous positions, my skills, and my education into one long resume, which I call the ‘master resume.’ When I find a position I’d like to apply to, I edit the ‘master resume’ down to one page, only presenting the experience and skills relevant to the position. Draw up a ‘master resume’ today, make it perfect, and you’ll have a good start when you graduate.

Practice a few cover letters if you think you’ll need to do them for your dream job. Look at advertisements for positions in your field long before you apply to see what you’ll need when the time comes.

Preparing for Interviews

If you’re lucky enough to get a callback and a summons for an interview, research the company, its products or services, the leaders of the company, their brand statement or mission—gather all the information you can about the company and the things or services it sells. Write down a few questions to ask your interviewers, and check out other resources like Glassdoor to read reviews and get tips about how to interview with the company.