Even though I'm still a little while away from graduating I've started thinking more about getting a job. My focus this year is to have a job next year, and you have to sow your seeds before you can harvest them, right? For me, that means working on networking and establishing relationships now, while I'm not looking for a job, in order to have those contacts available when I am job searching later on.
One thing I've found is that people in industry are generally very receptive to students, or at least people in my field are. My theory is that students are less threatening; especially in today's economy, people who have jobs are used to being asked for help by people who don't have jobs. Students in the middle of their program generally aren't asking for jobs, so there isn't as much pressure involved in talking to them. I've taken advantage of this numerous times already, talking to people in my field about various projects I'm doing. It's made my projects more relevant and contributed toward that all-important networking, getting my name out there as someone who takes initiative and has the drive to succeed.
Recently I've had another reason to think about employment more closely. Last week I was notified that the Society for Technical Communication selected me for their Sigma Tau Chi Award, which honors students with the potential to distinguish themselves in the technical communication profession. I'm told only a few students are selected each year. Besides being a great boost for my resume, receiving the award (or being inducted into the honor society, as it's also put) helps affirm the direction I ultimately want to take into leadership roles when I return to the working world.