9 Ways to Prep for the Job Search (While in College)

9 Ways to Prepare for the Job Search While in College - Tips for Job Searching - Job Search Tips in College - ew & pt

As many of you know, I’m a senior in college which means that A.) Yay! I’m almost done with college and B.) Oh my GOD! I have to be a real adult with a real job and school is over forever. It’s a very tense time and a delicate balance of panic and excitement…but mostly panic. One of the pressing matters on hand in college is, of course, finding a job. Job searching in college is incredibly stressful because, unlike finding an internship, you have to try to find something that’ll last more than a few months. You also need to up the ante a little bit when it comes to resumes, recommendations and using connections.

It’s a lot to do and it’s very draining, which means starting early is going to really pay off. Your future, post-grad self will definitely thank you. Here are some ways to kick off the job search while you’re still in college.

1. Confirm References

At this point, you should have a few people in mind that would be happy to recommend you for a job. This probably includes supervisors, bosses, previous bosses, professors or even coaches. Be sure to ask (or follow up) to see if they would be (or still are) comfortable with you listing them as a reference. Also, ensure you have their updated information (usually e-mail and/or phone number) to list in applications.

Bonus? If you’ve got someone who said they’d be a reference for you in the past but you haven’t spoken to that person in a while, asking if they’d still be a reference can be a way to start a conversation and get back in touch.

2. Try Changing Position/Title Names

This one won’t always apply, but when it comes to certain clubs you’re in or positions you hold, it may be possible and fairly beneficial. Recently, I petitioned to have my board position title renamed in a club I’ve been in since I was a freshman. I ran social media and worked with other clubs and my title of “Campus Connections Officer” was changed “Marketing Chair.” To me, it sounds a lot clearer and professional. I still do the same things I did before, but the title is better for my resume and offers the person reading it a clearer idea of the experience I gained and what exactly I did in that position.

So, think about the clubs you’re in or the jobs you have and consider asking your boss or supervisor if there may be a way to revise the name of that title. If it’s a one-of-a-kind job or a seriously outdated title, it may certainly be easier to adjust it.

3. Catch up with Your Network

Whether you’ve got your references nailed down or not, remember to keep in touch with your network. Sending personalized e-mails to your old boss or previous co-workers just to check in or grab coffee could never hurt. Whether they can currently further you on your job hunt or not, it’s important to keep your network strong and to stay up to date with what’s going on with them while keeping them up to date on you.

4. Make a List of Goal Companies/Positions

I mention this all of the time in all of my blog posts about careers and internships, but it’s still so damn relevant. When you’re stuck in the job searching process, this list can help you create some leads or inspiration. Think of companies you admire, companies where you have connections and positions you might like to have.

These are the companies and positions you can use during your hunt and these are the websites’ career pages you can check. This list will prevent you from not starting the job hunt because you don’t know where to start.

5. Adjust, Fix & Improve Your Resume

This is another one I mention often when it comes to job searching, but it’s forever relevant. Get a bunch of people, even if it’s just your roommate or boyfriend, to look at your resume and provide some feedback. Even better? Head to your college’s career services and have a professional review it. It might even be helpful to ask people who’ve hired you previously if there was anything concerning or particularly great in your resume.

Ensure there are no mistakes and ensure you’re emphasizing the right things. Remember, you can adapt your resume for each position you apply for, especially if it’s longer than one page and you have to make it fit into one by cutting out certain duties and internships.

6. Let Everyone Know You’re Looking

As annoying as they may be, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates about how you’re currently on the hunt for a job can be incredibly helpful. You never know, maybe your Uncle will share your post and his friend from college turns out to have job openings at his company. Include a few details about what you’re looking for and a bit about your experience. It couldn’t hurt.

7. Take on Something New

The last thing you may feel like tacking onto your busy schedule is another project, but it can be a great experience or even just something relevant to talk about in your cover letter. For example, if you seek a career in event planning, why not help your club plan an upcoming charity walk? Maybe if you’re a Public Relations major you could reach out to local businesses and see if they would be interested in free PR assistance for their grand opening or new line. Projects aside, even just giving back and doing community service to work on could be fun and beneficial. Even if there are no opportunities, it doesn’t hurt to create your own. Don’t overload yourself, but don’t let the job searching stop you from pursuing other things.

8. Clean & Update Social Media

This is another point I often mention because it’s often overlooked. Whether your accounts or private or not, ensure they represent you well. If you’re in the Communication field or are applying to things where social media is crucial and part of the job, work extra hard on your social media. It’s probably easier to gain a Social Media Manager job when you display knowledge and use of Twitter versus if you haven’t tweeted in years.

9. Consider Internships

While the goal is to get a job, internships can be invaluable in getting to that point. Look into internships that you can apply for post-grad. You likely qualify for a lot of paid internships and, in fact, some of them are specifically looking for recent graduates. At Her Conference, a lot of panelists who currently have m dream jobs said they got an internship post-grad and it later led to a job. Keep an open mind!

What are some of your job search tips or plans?

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