Land your First Job

4 Steps to Prepare for your Job Search while you’re Still in College

As many recent graduates will tell you, it’s tough out there right now for your age group in the job market. Full-time jobs with benefits are very hard to come by, and most recent graduates will go several months to several years after graduating without ever finding a good job that fits them. If you don’t want to join the part-time recent grads who still live with their parents, it’s very important to prepare yourself for the job search a year or at least six months before you graduate. Here are some tips:

Suggested Reading: Finding a Job Fast Using a 30 / 60 / 90 Day Plan

1.     Take advantage of whatever career services your university offers.

Many students complain that their respective schools did not help them find employment upon graduation. While some of these complaints do have merit, it’s often the case that students never take it upon themselves to actually employ career services. The best time to go to career services is the semester before you graduate. Talk to a counselor who can help you find job listings pertinent to your interests and who can help you polish up your resume and interview skills.

2.     Look into post-graduate student job or research options that offer stipends or some form of pay.

As noted earlier, it’s really tough finding a good first job in this economy. Many students I know took another route by applying for research fellowships or other such opportunities available only to recent grads. For example, many students apply to programs like JET or Teach for America, which pays well, looks great on your resume when you’re finished, and gives you a leg up on nearly any kind of career afterwards.

3.     If you have time in your class schedule for non-required classes, take a class that can help you professionally.

It’s often the case that recent grads can list relevant courses they’ve taken on their resume if they don’t have much job experience. If you’ve majored in a subject that’s hard to match up with a career, like, say Latin or Medieval Studies, then be sure you take some non-required courses that could be useful in a job setting. Many universities offer practical classes like teach skills like basic computer programming and web design, public speaking, and business writing.

4.     Start out with requesting informational interviews well before graduation day.

The information interview, which is an interview that you set up with an industry expert, is never a ticket to a job. It’s just the start of networking and getting a feel for what you want to do in the future. Send some emails to professionals in your community, and ask if you can meet them for coffee to discuss the work they do. It’s a great way to meet new people and get your foot in the door before your actual job search begins.

Of course, no matter how early you begin your job search, it’s likely that you may still be looking well after graduation day. But the earlier you start, the better chances you have of being employed as soon as possible. Good luck!

Career Tip of the Day: 12 of the Best College Grad Job Search Links

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Good luck in your search,

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