Career Building

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Going from backpack to briefcase

After years of hard work, you’re finally ready to graduate from college. What an exciting time – no more final exams, no more all-night cram sessions, no more homework.

It’s an accomplishment worth celebrating... but what happens next?

The next great adventure of life is about to begin. Get ready to put down your backpack and take your first step into the world of adulthood. It’s time to start a career.

Figuring out where to start can be difficult, and you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to prepare. Follow these seven tips to help make sure you’re ready for the job hunt.

Perfect your resume.

Everyone needs a professional, well-developed resume. Before you submit it to any job application, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your resume paint a picture of who you are?

  • Is it specific and quantifiable?

  • Have you tailored it to the job you’re applying for?

  • Have you proofread it?

  • Has someone else taken a second look?

Build a cover letter.

Take your resume to the next level by pairing it with an attention-grabbing cover letter. Every cover letter should be unique, but you can save time by using a personalized template and tweak it for each application.

Practice interviewing skills.

Never go into an interview unprepared. While you don’t know exactly which questions will be asked, it’s a good guess that you’ll be asked situational ones like “tell me about a time you had to overcome a challenge”. Pick out a few significant accomplishments from your resume that display the transferable skills they are looking for in a candidate. To answer the question, use the STAR method – describe the Situation, the Task, the Action you took, and close with the Results you achieved.

Attend campus career fairs.

Career fairs give you the opportunity to meet companies face to face instead of just being represented by a piece of paper. Don’t just show up – do your research beforehand! Find out which companies will be there and what positions are available.

Leverage your career center.

Your college career center is a go-to resource. They provide services such as resume reviews, mock interviews, etiquette dinners, and more. With recruiter contacts at hundreds of companies, they can also help connect you with companies.

Get involved.

There are tons of opportunities outside the classroom to get experience, make connections, and build your personal brand. Student organizations, for example, are a great resume builder that help you meet professionals outside of a career fair environment.


Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. You never know who you meet that could help land your first job opportunity. For example, professors often have companies reach out to them for student referrals, and it never hurts to ask them if they have any contacts at your dream company.

With proper planning and a strategic approach, transitioning from backpack to briefcase can be a breeze!

We’ve given you the tips to succeed – now put them into action. At Bankers Life, we’re seeking talented individuals who want a challenging and rewarding career. Visit our Careers page to get a head start on the competition.