As spring graduation grows closer by the day, college students everywhere should be planning to kick their job search into gear. From internships to entry-level, a pre-graduation–and potentially first-time–job search may take far more effort, planning, and creative tact than most would expect.
With the current job climate, putting off your job search until the last minute just won’t cut it. In fact, the Associated Press reported that half of all recent graduates are jobless or underemployed–but how are you supposed to get hired before you’re handed your diploma?
Your last semester may be busy, but there are many things you can do to jump start your job search to ensure you’re hired before you graduate. Here’s how:
Build Your Network. This probably isn’t your first time hearing this: finding a job is all about who you know. All successful job searches have a professional network at their foundation, but networking as a first-time job seeker can cause a wide variety of emotions including anxiety, fear, and total confusion.
One way to fail-proof your pre-graduation job search is by building your network early on–and never stop. Create a list of every professional contact you have or want to have, be sure to include the following:
- Career counselors
- College and departmental alumni
- Connections you’ve made through your parents
- Previous bosses and colleagues
- A wish-list of industry experts within reach
All of these people could potentially get you hired if you go about building effective networking relationships with them. Let this list drive you forward as you network. Begin looking for ways to interact and build strong professional relationships with these individuals. And don’t stop there, plan to grow your network by actively attending networking events, setting up informational interviews, and even cold-emailing individuals within your industry.
Search Smarter. For many first-time job seekers, the most overwhelming part of actually landing a job is beginning the search. And with a plethora of ways to look for employment, it’s not surprising to find job seekers–first-time or seasoned–feeling as if they’ve bit off more than they can chew.
Plan and execute a smarter and more effective job search by focusing on job boards catering to your industry or specific niche. It’s easy to focus on big-name job boards, causing many job seekers to miss out on a variety of job opportunities which are only posted on job board sites dedicated to their specific industry. As another rule of thumb, keep a “quality tops quantity” mindset. Don’t apply blindly to numerous job listings, but instead only apply to those you are most qualified for while focusing on perfect your application materials to set you apart from your competition.