As a result of a global pandemic in 2020 and the ensuing economic downturn, the job market looks a lot different today than it did a year or two ago. That trend could continue. The market is flooded with job seekers—some of whom have significant industry experience.
Current or prospective MBA students could be feeling apprehensive about what happens when they complete their degrees. What are the best ways to stand out in a crowded job market? And which jobs are best for MBA students?
Here are our top job searching tips for MBA students, updated for 2021.
Stay the Course and Finish Your Degree
Finishing your degree is an essential part of the job search strategy. Far too many students make it partway through a graduate program and give up for one reason or another. In a competitive job market, you need something to stand out from the crowd. If you don’t yet have industry accolades or an impressive work history, a quality MBA could be that thing that helps you to stand out.
Don’t Neglect Your Resume
Recruiters and hiring managers see a significant number of resumes each year. Simply put, if yours isn’t polished or has errors, your application for most professional positions will be passed over.
As you progress through your MBA program, continue to update your resume to reflect new experiences and skills. If you’re not confident in your writing ability, consider paying an editor or resume builder for a professional polish before applying for high-value jobs. It’s a small investment in your professional image, and it can go a long way.
Strategically Name Your Resume Document
In many hiring portals, the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will see is your resume document’s actual name, such as JoeSmith2020resume.pdf. Even this is an opportunity to communicate something about yourself. Remember to always check the spelling. Also, include “MBA” and the job or company you’re applying for. Sell yourself here, just like you do in your resume document.
Network Like Never Before
Networking is crucial. Meeting and connecting with others in the industry you are pursuing is important. Take advantage of the networking opportunities that come your way. Mixers, recruiting events, industry-specific affinity groups, trade shows or conferences— whatever opportunities exist, use them to meet people.
Create a LinkedIn Account
If you are searching for business-related jobs, maintaining a presence on LinkedIn is essential.
Polish your LinkedIn presence. Post about your accomplishments whenever feasible. If you have industry knowledge to share, publish on LinkedIn to begin creating the image you want to portray. Look for groups on LinkedIn connected to your career field or field of study, too.
When you find a position that genuinely interests you, investigate to see if you have first- or second-degree connections already working at that company. Reach out and leverage those connections wherever possible.
Start Earlier Than You Think
You can begin searching for a position as soon as you start your program. The recruitment funnel can sometimes be lengthy, and larger firms often have multiple similar positions coming open regularly.
Remember what we previously said about networking. Making a quality connection today with a recruiter at a company you love could set the stage for an easy application and hire in a year or two.
Remember What You Love
As you search, remember what you love to do. Where possible, prioritize positions that you are passionate about, not just the ones with the biggest starting salary. Loving what you do leads to success and often advancement.
Look for Recruiting Events
Recruiting events can be a fantastic job searching tool. Recruitment events cost money to host, so companies generally aren’t holding them unless they have a significant or time-sensitive need for new talent.
Recruitment events also offer you the chance to make an in-person impression with recruiters.
Leverage Your Alumni Network
Your undergraduate alma mater likely has an alumni network. The university from which you earn your MBA does, too. Get involved with alumni groups, especially business-related alumni groups, from both institutions. Then leverage those connections as you search for a job. Some alumni may be hiring, and their knowledge that you received the same quality education could give you a leg up.
Even if you haven’t completed your MBA, you’ve gained valuable skills and insights. Leverage your growth as you interact with others. This can help build your confidence for when you are hired for the role or position you’ve been preparing for.
Schedule Time to Search
As a busy MBA student, you’ve already scheduled time for many things: time for studying, time for class, time for work, time for family. Add in regular, scheduled time to search online job boards and social networks for job leads. Make it part of your routine. Schedule it like homework or gym time. For example, you could block out every Thursday from 9 pm to 10 pm as “job search hour.”
UTC’s MBA Program Offers Flexibility
Are you considering going back to school for your MBA? Or are you considering earning one directly after your undergraduate program? Whatever your situation, the MBA program in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga offers a valuable learning experience in a flexible format.
At UTC, you can earn an MBA 100% online or in a flexible/hybrid program format. Course offerings are flexible, built with the working professional in mind. Many students earn their MBA at UTC while continuing to work in their current jobs. If you prefer to complete your MBA faster, you could choose to step away from the workplace and pursue your MBA on a full-time basis.
With concentrations in Business Analytics, Healthcare Administration and Finance, UTC is meeting today’s students where they work—or where they plan to work. You can also earn a general business MBA, customizing your program with electives that suit your career field. Whatever your focus, you’ll earn an MBA with AACSB accreditation, something you can’t get anywhere else in the area. In addition, we offer Career Development support and coaching.