Ah…senior year. The dog days for college students. The home stretch. The final countdown. Yes, that last phrase is admittedly stolen from an epic rock anthem. But it certainly fits with both the feel and intention behind our other colloquialisms. Especially when it comes to the final days of your college education.
Your last year at the hallowed halls of education will no doubt contain numerous exams, events, and reason for celebrations. But the event also marks your transition from a student to the workforce. And savvy college students know a secret:
Waiting until they’ve returned from their post-graduation vacation to start a job search will leave them well behind their competition.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a handy timeline for maximizing your post-graduation chances. Not to mention eventually scoring the job of your dreams.
Sure, we may have started this advice column off by talking about your senior year. But in truth, there’s a great deal that can be done prior to your commencement season. Stuff that will help lineup job prospects even before graduation.
Most colleges and universities offer various for-credit courses that allow you to get hands-on training. You work at select jobs while earning credits towards your degree Additionally, summers are great for picking up internships that pull double duty by letting you test out the career waters. They also allow potential employers to evaluate whether you’d be a post-graduation fit. The trick is to keep these positions relevant to your chosen, or likely, career field.
Senior Year: 9 Months Before Graduation
In the first few weeks back on campus after your junior/senior year break, be sure to visit your campus’ career center. Here you’ll find valuable information for your post-grad job search. Dates for career fairs, on-campus interviews, and recruiting drives will all be planned through this centralized resource. Fill out a few forms and insert an email and mailing address. Once you’re on the list, they’ll keep you up to date on the latest and greatest.
Bonus Tip: Your senior year is typically less packed with core courses. This make it a great time to bolster your resume with relevant and impressive volunteer or extracurricular activities.
Senior Year: 6 Months Before Graduation
Around the time the weather starts changing, many potential employers will be lining up their on-campus interviews. They are also reserving their spots for career or recruiting fairs. In advance of these events, compile a list of attendees. Do your due diligence by researching open positions, the recruitment process and any company specifics such as locations and corporate culture. This data will have you ready when they accept your application and you score an interview.
Bonus Tip: It’s never too early for college students to have a professional resume. Ask a trusted professor or a member of your career counseling team to give yours a once-over.
Senior Year: 4 Months Before Graduation
Around the time you’ll be returning from winter break, most employers will start conducting their on-campus interviews. Prep for these events by applying for as many applicable listings as possible. You should also take this time to get your interview wardrobe and other necessities in order. Treat on-campus interviews as you would post-graduation. Show up prepared and professional and with plenty of background info on your prospective employer. Even if you don’t land one of the limited number of available positions, the interviews will be great preparation and will help strengthen your real-world interview skills.
Bonus Tip: College students have a great opportunity to collect professional references. Professors, mentors, and contacts from your college internship or work-study positions all make great points of contact to talk up your skills.
After Graduation and Beyond
If you haven’t managed to line up a job before graduation, don’t worry. The majority of college students will still need to start their career hunt in earnest post cap and gown ceremonies. If you’ve participated in mock interviews or on-campus interviewing opportunities you’ll have a leg up on the competition and will have an extra boost of confidence come interview day. Entry level interviewing and hiring is cyclical so it’s important to apply early and often and not delay in sending those forms out post-graduation.
Bonus Tip: Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean those college resources are now out of reach. Your college’s rankings change according to employment statistic. This means they have a vested interest in seeing you succeed out in the real world. So keep in touch with your career center. After all, they are a great source for networking functions and alumni job openings, and post-graduation programs. They are also yet another source of potential internship and job prospects.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.