Globally, MBA Apps See Increase

This MBA Professor Breaks Down How You’ll Get Your Next Job

Nowadays, career switching is the common thing.

It’s so common that by the time you’re 32, you’ll have switched jobs four times, according to a CNN Money report.

But how exactly do you make the switch? And how do you best prepare yourself now so that the transition can be easier later?

Kimberly A. Whitler, a contributor at Forbes and assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, recently offered three steps students should take now to prepare for their next job.

Build Relationships With Recruiters

Whitler says creating relationships with executive recruiters is the gateway to jobs.

“Once you graduate, the way in which you will look for a job changes,” she writes. “At some level of management, you find jobs through executive recruiting (ER) agencies.”

And the best way to get your foot in the door is to start building a network of executive recruiters.

“To be prepared to look for a job, you need to have cultivated a number (target 5+) of relationships with different ERs from different firms,” Whitler writes. “When you want to start looking for a job, you will need to call these ERs up and they will ideally know you, and will have watched you progress in your career.”

How do you build a network with executive recruiters? For one, it takes time. Getting ahead of the game and building your network early can make strides once you start looking for another job.

Whitler suggests reaching out to your own network of friends and professionals from graduate school.

“A recruiter from Company Y will call your friend and say that they are looking to hire a Brand Manager for Coke (for example),” Whitler writes. “They will then ask your friend if they are interested. Your friend will say yes or no and then the recruiter will ask for a reference: ‘Do you know of anybody who might be a good fit for this job?’”

This is when your friend will put the recruiter in touch with you.

Another important note is to remember that it takes time to build a relationship with a recruiter. And that means, offering to help a recruiter when they reach out to you, even if you aren’t interested.

“If a recruiter contacts you about a position you aren’t interested in, suggest other professionals you know who might,” a guide by the Wall Street Journal states. “Chances are you’ll curry favor with both parties as a result.

Make Sure Your Resume Is Ready

Whitler’s next piece of advice is to ensure that your resume is ready and in “executive-style format.”

“Ask alumni who have been out for 3-5 years (and ideally have switched jobs) for an example of their resumes (or of a good resume),” she writes. “Convert your ‘school’ resume into one like theirs so you like more like an executive and less like an MBA candidate. Do this ASAP – don’t contact a recruiter until you have this done. It becomes your calling card.”

Continue Building Your Personal and Executive Recruiting Networks

Lastly, Whitler suggests students to continuously build both their personal and executive recruiting networks.

Ideally, she says, students should identify at least 10 people they’d like to stay in contact with in the long-run.

“Come up with a plan to make this happen,” Whitler writes. “If you don’t, years will go by and you will have lost your network. Be purposeful. Keep in contact with a variety of different people – you never know where life will lead.”

Sources: Forbes, CNN Money, Wall Street Journal