10 Things College Seniors Should Do Before Starting Your Job Search

Applying for jobs with no preparation can leave you scrambling to get everything together when it's time to send in an application. Cut down on the stress and up your chances for success by taking these ten steps to prepare.

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By Sarah Wright

1. Polish Your Resume

Though it's a good idea to tailor your resume to each job you apply to, you should have an all-purpose resume ready to go before you start applying for jobs. It's important to have something that's in a polished format that you can make quick changes to as need be.

2. Find the Best Sources for Job Postings

Craigslist isn't always the best place to look for job postings. There might be services that cater more directly to the field you're interested in. Do some research so you can cast the widest - and most targeted - net.

3. Get a Little Help from Your Friends

If you know exactly what job you want, let your friends know. They might know someone - a family friend or relative, for example - who's already established in your field of interest.

4. Secure Good References

You should know who your references will be well before you're asked for them. Similarly, you should know that they're your references well before a prospective employer gets in touch.

5. Make Connections

Knowing established professionals in your field of interest is a great way to get inside information that can lead to the best job for you.

6. Decide Your Worth

Some job applications ask applicants how much they'd like to be paid. You should have some idea of how to respond to this question, even if the answer is 'negotiable.' Above all, be realistic when thinking about this. You may feel entitled to $50,000 a year, but your experience and abilities may not warrant it.

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7. Plug in to Social Networks

Setting up professional social networking profiles for yourself through services like LinkedIn is a great way to establish a positive online presence. This is also not a bad way to dip a toe into the networking pool.

8. Scrub Existing Social Networking Profiles

These days, you can assume that applying for a job will result in someone Googling you, so you might want to make sure the results of such a search will make you seem like an employable adult, rather than an obnoxious kid.

9. Read Some Cover Letter Samples

A cover letter can often mean the difference between no response and an interview request. It can't hurt to look up examples of standard cover letter formats and practice making your own.

10. Be Confident

Confidence is a huge facet of getting a good job. The application process is about selling yourself and making the best choice for you - you aren't simpering around begging for crumbs. Put your chin up and know that you're well-prepared for what you're about to do.

If your job search will be your first after graduating from college, there are some additional steps you may want to take.

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