College Students… Act Now to Beat Your Job Search Competition

A good job.

It’s why we’re in college, and why we spend countless hours writing papers, studying, making flashcards, and experiencing life. 

But there are many of us college students with the same goal… and that makes the job market very competitive. So what you do now sets you apart from your job search competition – like the points outlined below – and dramatically improves your chance of a job upon graduation…

Write a Killer Resume with a Cover Letter 

The purpose of a cover letter is to give the recruiter a reason to read your resume. Your cover letter should connect you to the company/job, while your resume should demonstrate your skills and professional experience. Don’t just have a generic resume and cover letter. Tailor one specifically for each position or company you’re applying for and use keywords from the job description.

How can you build your resume while in college? Here are some tips:

  • Get involved: Getting involved in student organizations is a great way to show employers that you not only can get good grades, but you also can balance responsibilities outside of schoolwork. You’ll demonstrate skills beyond your classroom experience—teamwork, organization, planning, presenting, etc.
  • Take leadership positions in organizations! This gives you real-world leadership experience you can talk about in an interview, and apply to any leadership roles you obtain during your career. Practice makes perfect, so practice leading!
  • Study Abroad! There are tons of study abroad opportunities, and having international experience sets you above your competition who don’t! 
  • Do internships early!  Not only do internships give you REAL experience in the workplace and professional connections, internships provide opportunities to try out a job or career direction you think you’d enjoy. If you like your internship, that’s great! If you don’t like your internship, it’s an opportunity to reevaluate your options and try other directions before entering the workforce. Plus, interning helps you…
  • Build your professional network. As you move into job searching, nothing may be more important than your network.

Practice Interviewing

Practice makes perfect. So, practice interviewing using available lists of typical interview questionsWrite up answers to these questions and become comfortable answering them! The more you practice, the more natural you will feel in an interview. Practice your responses in front of a mirror, in front of your friends… just PRACTICE. 

Research Companies Where You Want to Work

Make a list of the companies where you would most like to work. Do your research on each so when you have the opportunity to talk to them you’ll already know what they’re all about – and why you want to work for them! Recruiters would much rather hire candidates who show sincere interest in working for their company specifically and who can articulate the reasons why… than those who apply just because it’s a company with an internship available.

When you graduate you’ll be looking for jobs – with your peers as competition in a difficult economy. Take the steps shown here now – while still in school – and put yourself above many of your fellow applicants.



About the Author: Angela Petrie is a student at Purdue University studying Communication with a focus in Public Relations and Advertising, expected to graduate in May 2014. Along with YouTern, she currently interns at the Center for Career Opportunities at Purdue and volunteers as a Team Supervisor for Boiler Gold Rush (one of the country’s top new-student orientation programs). Connect with Angela on Twitter, LinkedIn, or view her online professional portfolio.



This entry was posted in College, Job Search and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.