Congratulations to all the college seniors who are just a few short weeks away from graduating! I know it can be hard to focus on the job hunt with finals approaching, papers to write, and presentations to prepare for.
However, before you start celebrating your final semester, it’s time to start searching for your first step in your career. If you want to have a great job lined up before you even graduate, follow these five steps.
Start early (and be proactive)
This is the first (and most important) step in landing a great job right out of school. You’ve heard the expression “the early bird gets the worm.” This couldn’t be more relevant for students hitting the job market. The longer you wait to begin your job hunt, the more opportunities you’ll miss out on.
The recruiting and interviewing processes are often lengthy and convoluted, so you want to make sure you get a jump start on the competition. Hiring managers typically start the recruiting process early because there are multiple rounds of interviews before a decision is made.
If you start early, you will have plenty of time to review job descriptions, apply for multiple jobs, interview, and evaluate offers, all before those pesky finals and papers start clogging up your schedule.
Work on that resume
To ensure you are at the top of the stack of applicants, you need to create a tailored resume for every job you apply to. Now, that doesn’t mean your resume should be completely different for each job, but you should customize it with keywords and skills that are relevant to the job.
To get started, you should create a generic resume. Add your education, work experience, achievements, and all the other great things about yourself. Head over to your career center on campus and have a career coach take a look at it to ensure everything is formatted correctly. After you have your resume template completed, you can add specific keywords and details that will help you get past Application Tracking Systems (ATS).
By having a template of your resume completed before you start your post-college job hunt, you will be ready at a moment’s notice to apply for any job you come across. After all, being prepared is half the battle!
I am sure most of you already have a LinkedIn profile. However, you need to optimize your profile to grab the attention of recruiter and hiring managers. You need to ensure your profile is completely filled out and optimized with specific keywords for your industry.
A good headline will contain relevant keywords to help your profile be more discoverable. For example, a good headline for a college senior seeking a marketing job would be “A marketing professional seeking new opportunities.”
You also need to become an active member on LinkedIn. Join groups and participate in discussions. Publish articles directly on LinkedIn about experiences you’ve had at your internship or interesting discoveries from a research paper. By being active on LinkedIn, you’re more likely to find job opportunities and you show recruiters that you’re knowledgeable in your field.
In all honesty, you probably won’t land your dream job right out of college. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t land a great job that will lead you on the right path!
Don’t hesitate to apply for numerous jobs. The more you apply, the more experience you gain in the recruiting process. Your first job is your chance to explore a new field and grow as a professional; don’t be discouraged to apply to a bunch of different jobs! And if all else fails, if you get a job offer that you’re not sold on, it’s perfectly okay to kindly decline it and keep hunting.
Partner with a recruiter
If you really want to gain exposure to numerous job opportunities, partner with a recruiter! Recruiters will help you through the interviewing process and increase your odds of getting hired.
Don’t be afraid to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn. This is a great networking opportunity! Recruiters love connecting with prospective candidates and most are happy to share career advice with you.
If they don’t have something for you now, they likely will before you graduate. And guess what? They’ll remember you a will reach out to you when they have an opportunity that is a great fit!
Good luck and happy hunting!