Is a Remarkable STEM Job Your End Game?…Here’s Help

As I visit with STEM college students, I often find that their focus is mostly on the near term. In other words, they’re focused on the current semester, their classes, their projects and homework, and the grades that they hope to earn. How about you? 

STEM Graduation

What’s your end game for college? Why are you there (or headed there)? Is it to get great grades? To have fun and party a lot? Or are you taking the long view that college is really about kickstarting a remarkable career?

Leveraging Your College Investment

The bottom line is that if you’re looking to leverage your huge college investment (time and $), and your newfound knowledge, to secure multiple job offers (either intern or full-time) from top STEM employers, it will pay for you to take the College Recruiting Cycle very seriously…every semester you’re there.

To help you make this happen, I want to share three important WHY’s related to the “Cycle”, along with three ACTIONS TO TAKE immediately. Good luck. 

Note: If you’re a little unclear as to what the “College Recruiting Cycle” is? READ THIS now, and then THIS.)

Take the College Recruiting Cycle Seriously

WHY #1 – Winners Know the Rules

Like it or not, securing an internship or a full-time job is a competitive game. While I’m not a big fan of the game analogy, I do think it’s appropriate here because there are “rules” you must know and follow (and sometimes break) if you want to earn multiple top job offers while in college.

There’s no getting around the facts related to how the Recruiting Cycle is currently set up at most colleges. Taking your STEM job pursuit seriously means learning the in’s and out’s of the Recruiting Cycle and using that knowledge and experience to excel throughout the process.

WHY #2 – “Half-Assed” Is a Lousy Approach

Forgive the language here, but growing up I can remember my dad (BSEE/MSEE) telling me this:

It doesn’t pay to do anything half-assed. If you’re going to do something at all, then do it right.

In other words, if you’re going to participate in the College Recruiting Cycle, then take the attitude and approach of giving it the best that you have in you.

Begin getting ready today to “knock’em dead” during every Recruiting Cycle activity, such as the career fairs, the company info sessions, your interviews, and during your internships

WHY #3 – It’s More Fun

Finally, your STEM job pursuit during college will be a lot more fun, and far more successful, if you do your due diligence, your studying, and your practice beforehand.

Trust me on this one…fun at college is good, but fun plus multiple top job offers is far better.   


To Begin Preparing for the College Recruiting Cycle

ACTION #1 – Reflect and Learn

Invest some time today to reflect on your most recent Recruiting Cycle. Start by asking these questions:

  • What went well for you the last time?
  • What could have gone better?
  • What do you need to learn more about?
  • What specific skills should you work on?
  • What new actions should you take to get ready?
  • Who can help you to be better prepared for this Cycle?

Writing down your thoughts and answers to questions like these will position you nicely for ACTION #2.

ACTION #2 – Plan

Scratch out a plan on how you will navigate and master this semester’s Recruiting Cycle. As Stephen Covey wrote in his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Start with the end in mind”, by identifying the outcomes you’re seeking. Then identify the steps, actions and skills needed to reach those outcomes.

Warning: Don’t turn this planning activity into something so big that you don’t make it happen. It doesn’t have to be difficult or take a lot of time.

One of my favorite and simplest methods for doing big-picture planning is to create a mind map. I simply take a clean sheet of paper, a Sharpie, and start writing things down. I really like the visual nature, simplicity and connectedness of mind maps and flow diagrams.


ACTION #3 – Do Something Daily

Once your simple plan is mapped out, use it to build a calendar that has you working intentionally on at least one activity or skill everyday during the Recruiting Cycle.

For example, since the Career Fair always happens early during each semester (i.e., it’s the first “Door” you must successfully pass through), you’ll want to fill out the beginning semester days/weeks on your calendar with actions such as researching companies, prepping your resume, mastering your elevator speech, and others that are revealed HERE.

Gateway To Your First STEM Job & a Remarkable Career

Whether you’re seeking your first internship (like I was in 1979), or you’re a senior who’s ready to graduate and go to work full-time, successfully leveraging the Recruiting Cycle activities at your college or university is an absolute must. Why?

Because the Recruiting Cycle, your college career center staff who manage it, and the companies that participate in it, together form the gateway to kicking off your STEM career.

 Question: What Recruiting Cycle activity/skill will you go to work on first? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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