It’s March and you know what that means: graduation season is nearly upon us! College seniors around the country are preparing to close the undergrad chapter and transition into the professional world.
With May quickly approaching, you may be panicking about the next steps to take. If you’re like me and have a full class load plus an internship, the thought of adding in job hunting can nearly send you to an early grave.
Not to worry though. Here is a list of items to do over the next couple months to smoothly transition from college grad to career professional.
One of the first places to look is your alumni network. Former students from your university are always seeking bright graduates from their alma mater to collaborate with in the professional sector. Sending a quick e-mail to introduce yourself can get you on the radar of someone in your field. Check out this article for tips on how to find fellow alumni.
Another resource for upcoming graduates is the campus career services office. The staff is there for the sole purpose of helping you land a job after graduation. They can assist with everything from mock interviews to searching a job database tailored to your career interests.
If you’ve been neglecting your LinkedIn profile most of your college years, now is a good time to spice it up. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to attract employers and you want to be sure your page makes a good impression. Are you a soon-to-be grad who doesn’t have a LinkedIn page? EmpowerU Career Coaching, LLC offers LinkedIn profile creation to help you stand out in the competitive job market. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tailor Your Resume
As tempting as it may be to send the same resume to every job you find…don’t. Resumes are not one-size-fits-all, and most hiring managers can spot a generic one from a mile away. You don’t want to get passed up for an opportunity because you took the path of least resistance.
When you are applying for jobs, remember to tailor your experience to each position. For example, if you have administrative experience and a digital media background, you’ll want to create separate resumes with detailed information for both.
Tailoring your resume can be time consuming, but luckily you can get professional help with that too. EmpowerU also provides resume writing services to highlight your professional experience. Even if you don’t have an extensive work history, the staff is skilled in creating meaningful content to get your resume noticed.
When you’re a broke college student, paying a professional to list your work experience may sound crazy. Keep in mind, a polished resume can yield a lucrative return on investment, if done properly.
Set Aside Time for Job Hunting
With the rigorous class schedule that comes with being a full-time student, making time to look for jobs can seem impossible. We’ve all heard a variation of the phrase: “Looking for a job is a full-time job.”
You can get a head start without overwhelming yourself. Schedule one hour a week to look for jobs you’re interested in, and another hour sending out your resume and cover letter. Let’s say you apply to 3 jobs a week starting this week. For those of us graduating mid-to-late May, this will result in 24-30 resumes sent to potential employers. I’m no math major, but 24 potential opportunities beat 0 any day! Read more information here about job searching while you’re still in school.
Get Letters of Recommendation
Now is the best time to reach out for professional references and letters of recommendation. Contact professors or your direct supervisor if you have an internship. You can never have too many people to vouch for your work ethic and professionalism, so don’t be shy.
The months leading up to graduation are nerve-wrecking. If I had a dollar for every person who asked what my plans are after I get my degree, I wouldn’t need a job. Well…not really, but you get the point.
Even with proper planning, finding the right job takes time. It’s great to be proactive in your job search but it’s important to take a breather between final classes and sending out resumes.
Go to a movie with friends, grab your (de)caffeinated beverage of choice, or take a quick nap during downtime. Time is one thing you can’t get back, so enjoy the last of your college days.