With a few free weeks between the end of your summer internship and the start of business school, now is the time for second-year MBAs to get a jump on the full-time job search. Here are a few career-focused things you can do in your free time to prepare for the on-campus recruiting season:
Update your résumé
Evaluate what skills you have picked up at your internship and make sure to add them to your résumé. This is especially important for career changers, because new talents will prove to recruiters that you’re starting to learn a new industry or function, says Jim Kranzusch, executive director of MBA Career Services at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.
Ask your school’s career management center for a list of companies coming to campus in the fall and choose which ones you will be targeting, suggests Read McNamara, executive director of the Career Management Center at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Business. Then research the organizations and their leadership and reach out to alumni working there. If you can meet an alumnus on site, ask if he or she can get you in front of the recruiter who will be visiting the campus for an introduction, McNamara adds.
Eric Lovelin, MBA staffing consultant at Microsoft (MSFT) in Redmond, Wash., says he is impressed with students who contact him this time of year to schedule a coffee meeting to ask insightful questions about the business, prepare for his visit to campus, and share their own experiences.
Network with alumni and peers
In addition to reaching out to alumni at the companies you’re targeting, reconnect with your classmates, says Lovelin. Ask about their internships and prior experience to identify experiences and companies that might interest you. Then see if they can put you in contact with someone.
Practice interview skills
Scheller’s second-year students spend some time at the start of the school year participating in “real practice interviews.” Unlike in mock interviews, students choose a target company with an actual job opening and research it as though it’s the real thing, Kranzusch says. Then a career services staff member conducts an interview with the student as though it were for the actual job. If that’s not possible, traditional mock interviews work, too.
Sign up for national career fairs
If you are looking nationally for work, you are probably planning to attend career fairs like those sponsored by the National Black MBA Association or National Society of Hispanic MBAs, both of which are scheduled for early in the academic year. Getting acquainted with the companies that will be in attendance and scheduling interview slots early, says Kranzusch, can put you ahead of the pack.