Hello, College Seniors!  Spring break is ending, and now, only two months separate you from graduation. This time naturally brings many conflicting feelings. You’re excited to be so close to the finish line but nervous about upcoming exams and maybe apprehensive about what life will be like after college. Depending on your post-grad plans, there’s a good chance finding a job is on the list of things to do. While a lot is on your plate as you progress towards this amazing achievement, starting your job search early is crucial. The earlier you start, the better your chances of finding a job that aligns with your goals and aspirations. As stressful as that might be, we have created this guide to help you navigate this process more smoothly.

Step 1: Prepare

After two, four, or more years of college, you may have a clear idea of the career path you want to pursue, or you may be unsure — and that’s perfectly fine! Not everyone graduates with a concrete plan. But regardless of whether you have a specific goal, preparing for your job search is the first step.

  • Create a Resume – Although your professional experience may be limited, a strong educational resume can still help you stand out to prospective employers. Highlight courses you excelled in, extracurriculars, internships, and volunteer initiatives. These elements can speak to your transferable soft and hard skills, your values, and what you may bring to the table as an employee. Include your contact information, especially your phone number, email, and LinkedIn profile link. Here are some examples of early career resumes to give you an idea of where to start.
  • Build a Professional Social Media Presence – Once you have your resume in good shape, set up your professional social media profiles, like LinkedIn and Indeed, so they mimic the content on your resume. The more information you provide on these sites, the better the chance that a recruiter or hiring manager will find your profile in their search. Consider also asking professors, advisors, mentors, etc., for recommendations on LinkedIn to help give prospective employers a preview of what it’s like to work with you. For tips on how to elevate your LinkedIn profile, view our recent blog.


Step 2: Research

There is much to consider when embarking on a job search, particularly an early career search. Before you start applying to any open job you see posted, it’s important to have some direction. Looking for a job can often feel like a full-time job, and you still must focus on completing your final courses. Make your job search as efficient as possible by doing pre-application research.

  • Audit Yourself – It’s okay not to know what you want to do after college. It’s actually more important to know what you don’t want to do! There are questions you can ask yourself to gain an honest assessment of what types of jobs, companies, cultures, etc., you may thrive in. Think about remote work versus hybrid or on-site, as well as location if you’re open to moving. Here are some questions to get you started.
  • Company Research – Once you have an idea of where you want to take your career, you can start looking for companies that align with your values and goals. Visit company websites and social media. Use websites like Glassdoor and InHerSight to see reviews from current and former employees, salary ranges, and other resources. You can even find former employees on LinkedIn and contact them to gain their insight on the company.


Step 3: Apply

You’ve done the prep and the research, and now you’re ready to apply. There are just a few extra steps you should take to increase your chances of landing a job you love.

  • Cater Your Resume to the Job – I know you spent all that time perfecting your resume, but the extra effort is well worth it. Take a look at the job description, identify important keywords, and in your own words, tweak your resume to align. There are many benefits to doing so, and in this market, taking that extra step can make a difference. Just remember, only add to your resume if it is an honest reflection of you and your experience. Falsifying your resume is never a good idea!
  • Track Your Efforts – Create an Excel spreadsheet to track where you are at in your job search. Odds are, you’re going to be applying to several jobs. The more organized you are at keeping track, the better. This will eliminate the chance of you applying to a job more than once, keep critical information about the job in one place to prepare you for potential interviews and provide a resource for following up and staying connected to recruiters and hiring managers.
  • Network – As a college student, even if it’s only for a couple more months, you have access to a vast network and resources, and you should use as much of it as you can! Use your school’s Career Services and alumni groups to identify opportunities that may align with your career goals. Network with contacts from former internships, volunteer experiences, and professors. Attend job fairs and in-person network events. Any opportunity to meet someone new and network is a chance to get your foot in the door.

Graduation day is quickly approaching, and while you’re focusing on finishing the last of your exams and walking across that stage, your job search should be ramping up as well. Set yourself up for success by preparing for it, researching the right opportunities for your career path, and diligently applying for jobs that align with your values. Following these steps will take some of the pressure off and help you land your dream job.


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