When Should College Seniors Start Their Job Search?

May 07, 2012

Many college seniors lack the necessary work experience to land a job right after graduation. In addition, they face a difficult job market with strong competition. Therefore, college seniors should start their job searches as soon as possible in order to maximize opportunities. The following steps can help you prepare for the job market.

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Sell Yourself

It's never too early to create your resume. This document is your work life on paper, and it's an effective way to advertise your strengths and expertise. You should update your resume every time you join a new club, receive an award or obtain new skills. While you may not have much job experience to report now, you can mention organizations you've joined or important job skills you possess.

Network

It's important to make connections with professionals in your chosen field as early as your freshman year. Every major has affiliated organizations and clubs that you can join on campus as well as off campus. Joining such organizations can help you meet individuals already employed in your field. As you network with these professionals, you may learn of new job positions or gain references and mentors for future jobs.

Get an Internship

Some students don't like the idea of working for free. However, internships are an excellent way to gain work experience in your field; experience is an important addition to your resume and can give you an edge on the competition. Internships also allow you to test the waters of a specific industry or sector to see if it's for you. If you end up liking your internship, you might even secure a position with the company or organization after graduation.

Visit Your Campus Career Center

Visit your school's career center as early as possible. Career counselors can provide tips on writing an effective resume and how to interview for a job. If your school doesn't have a career center, search the web for tips on proper interview attire, cover letter formatting, resume content, common interview questions, and other info that can help you succeed.

Job Search

It's a good idea to begin your job search early in your senior year. This doesn't mean you need to apply for jobs yet, but you'll get an idea of what jobs align with your skills, experience, and interests. Additionally, if you see a position open at a company you're just dying to work for, sending out a letter-of-interest e-mail might help you secure a position that starts after graduation.

Start Applying!

It's wise not to start applying for jobs until almost the end of your senior year. You don't want to apply for a job, get an offer, and then realize it doesn't fit your school schedule. There are jobs that allow you to request a start date, which can be right after graduation. There are also jobs that consist of a lengthy interviewing and hiring process. Therefore, you can begin applying for jobs knowing you might need to attend multiple interviews, which may require scheduling flexibility.

Remember, the best professional characteristic you can possess is confidence. Once you know what kind of job you'd like, learn everything you can about it, and know how you can be a valuable asset for any organization.

If you're ready to start honing your skills, get job interview advice.


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