Your preparation for a career begins during your freshman year in college. That’s when you’ll start the development of your resume. It’s also when you’ll start marking contacts you may be able to use in your job search.
One of the important steps in your career preparation is the development of a career notebook. Your notebook should contain the following items:
- Your resume
- A cover letter
- A collection of business cards
- A spread sheet showing organizations and contacts
Your notebook should contain multiple copies of your resume on good resume paper. The notebook should also contain a backup flash drive or disk with your resume. This should help you from having to redo your resume if you lose the main electronic copy.
You should also have a generic version of your cover letter and copies of your cover letter that you have sent to different organizations. Keeping these on file will help you should you have follow up contact from the organization.
During your college years, you will meet a number of people and receive their business cards. Whenever you go to a career fair, ask for business cards. You will also get business cards from those you meet at various campus events and when you go out at night. Go to a local business office products store and get a set of plastic sheets for storing business cards. These business cards can be very helpful as you pursue internships and permanent jobs.
The final thing you will have in your career notebook will be a spread sheet showing information you have contacted for a potential job. This information includes:
- Organization name
- Contact name in the organization
- Email address/ phone number for the contact
- Any action you have taken with the organization (e.g. applied online, interviewed)
- Follow up action – a date when you should follow up
The career notebook can be one of your most important assets in your career development. Think of each entry as a “bank account” that you are accumulating to obtain a future job..