You’ve survived three and a half years of meal plans, dorm living and less-than-awesome roommates. Due dates, research papers, mid-terms and professor “feedback.” Late-nights-out followed by very-early-mornings-up. You’re almost a college grad! Yay, you!After all of your hard work, it can be really easy to coast your way to the finish-line. We hate to break it to you, but the “real world” is coming – ready or not. And those horror stories you’ve heard about unemployed college grads living at home and working at The Gap? They’re not just stories.Don’t be that guy (or gal). Read on to find out how to prepare for your last semester of college:
1. Make a company short-list.
Name 5-10 companies you’d die to work for and 5-10 company values you seek. Start your job search here and use this list to realign your search when you suffer an application-binge two months into your search (it happens to the best of us).
2. Revise (or start!) your cover letter and resume.
Use this job search checklist to figure out where/how to start or improve.
3. Manage (or get!) LinkedIn.
If you’re not LinkedIn yet (in your 8th college semester!), you need to stop what you’re doing and find a computer NOW (or download their mobile app). Then, start creating the best social profile you’ve ever made, and remember these 3 LinkedIn essentials too.
4. Network, network and then network some more.
We know, we know. “Network” should be a bad word. But it’s a very necessary evil of the professional world – we’re sure you’ve already heard that 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. So, put on a smile and hit the (professional!) networking scene, online and off.
5. Actually GO TO CAREER SERVICES.
You know, it’s that place where you can go – THAT’S PAID FOR BY YOUR TUITION! – where you can get real, live, in-person career advice and feedback from people who know what they’re talking about.
6. Verify references.
Carefully consider and select your references, then prepare them for future reference checks. Take it from us: it’ll work in your favor if your references aren’t caught off-guard when a potential employer calls.
7. Get an internship.
Thirty-seven percent of students reported that internships are one of the most effective job search resources, according to Experience.com. And we’d bet 100% of them would report that they really did learn something.
8. Party like it’s 1990-the-last-time-you-can-get-away-with-acting-like-a-college-kid.
We promise, it hurts more now. And it’s definitely not so cute.
9. Job search!
It’s never too early to start your job search. If you go on a few interviews, but the company needs to move faster than May, you’ll have some practice and experience under your belt. If you’re the perfect fit, they’ll wait for you!
Start searching for college grad jobs and entry-level positions on Jobs2Careers, or use one of these job search tools, created specifically for job seekers like you: CareerRookie,Experience.com, AfterCollege and CollegeRecruiter.
Congratulations on graduating – it’s no easy feat! You’re better prepared than you may think, but a little more groundwork never hurt. Use this time to live it up and get ahead.