The Ultimate Job Search Checklist for Soon-to-be Grads

checklistWe’re locked deeply into winter, and yet spring will soon, well, spring… and many college students will have only days remaining in their college career.

Right about then, the question turns from “Will I ever get my degree?” to “What am I going to do with that degree?” Let’s start warming up your job search now, and get you an answer before you graduate!

One big challenge: creating your own energy and momentum. This simply isn’t taught in school… you must self-learn – the sooner the better. Consider this checklist to get you thinking about what goes into a successful job search today… and start making progress now, ahead of your career competition.

1. Set Up a Schedule

Job searching is now your full time job, even if you have a part time or summer job. Identify what time you will spend each day to focus on your career search. Block a time and a distraction-free space to do so. Think of it as Career Development – Independent Study!

2. Self-Assess

How much did you do in college on the job search? If not much, you need to take a look at where you are, and where you want to go. What are you interested in doing, what kinds of companies do you want to work for? What skills, interests and strengths do you offer? Look at some of the many career investigation resources out there to identify what you are drawn to and how you might be a fit for employers.

3. Develop Key Messages

These are all the important talking points you want to share with others about what you bring to the table. Who are you? What’s the value proposition you offer? What is the compelling reason an employer should hire you? Before you jump into writing resumes and cover letters you need to have a clear grasp of your core messages. This will make it easier to create, revise, and customize your resumes and cover letters going forward – you won’t be reinventing the wheel each time.

4. Develop Marketing Material

Craft your resume, cover letter basics, your LinkedIn profile, and interview storytelling. Maybe you will start a blog or other social media identities to present yourself. Pull together work product or examples that provide evidence of past accomplishments.

5. Develop Your Strategy

Who are the organizations you’re interested in working for; the people you want to network with? How will you connect with them? Identify the web sites, social media tools, and personal relationships you’ll use to find your ideal employer in your search. Have a daily list of whom you’ll contact, the intention for connecting, what you’ll say, and how you’ll follow up.

6. Find a Tribe

Social accountability goes a long way to keeping you engaged and productive in a job search. Join a group of alums, other young professionals, or a job seekers group to update others on your goals and progress. They’ll help you stay focused and feel supported. Plus, you might meet some cool people.

7. Join Up

Associations or other groups in your area of career interest have regular meetings that allow you to easily network. I have met with and mentored a number of young professionals this way.

8. Follow Up

With every conversation, meeting, and informational interview, follow up and let people know what happened. Send thank you notes at every opportunity to let others know you appreciate their help.

As your job search progresses you’ll learn more, and continue to hone your content and presentation along the way.

If it makes sense for you, and it may, get professional help to chart your career search course, develop a strong resume and other materials, and then get to it.

Once the summer and graduation arrives, you’ll feel so good to have done the work over the past several months, and you’ll be able to look back on the progress you made. You may even have the job of your dreams by then!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!



Lea McLeodAbout the Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her on Twitter and her blog:



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