With under 90 days until graduation, I am still having trouble grasping that my college career is coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday I was sending in college applications and visiting schools. It is a little nerve-wracking that I don’t know what I’ll be doing career wise in a few short months, but I am excited nonetheless. Job searching can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Today, I am going to share with you five tips that you can do now to avoid stress later.
Before jumping in however, let me just say that the best thing you can do is not stress over the future. Be proactive, but don’t constantly panic if you don’t have your future completely planned out.
Internships are significant for a number of reasons: they add to your resumé, provide you with real world experience, and connect you to professionals in your intended field. Look for potential internships at career fairs, and online. If you’re having trouble, reach out to your advisor or a career advisor at your school. If your field is not big on internships, look for research opportunities instead. Research can be just as, or even more, beneficial for your resumé, especially if you plan on going to grad school.
Your advisor can be an invaluable resource, if you let them. It is important to form a connection with them early in your collegiate career, so that you are comfortable reaching out to them in the future. I made an appointment with my advisor each semester when scheduling classes. This not only allowed me to get comfortable meeting with her, but also relieved stress about taking the right classes and staying on track to graduate. I highly suggest meeting with your advisor at least once a semester. By the time senior year rolled around, I felt really comfortable consulting my advisor about my job search. She read over my resumé, and I trusted her to provide me with genuine advice.
LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for your career (and internship) search if you take advantage of it. Create a profile early in your collegiate career, and and frequently update it. Particularly, adding connections is important. If you wait until senior year, you may not have as many “connections” as you would if you’d been growing your page throughout your time in college. There are several resources out there about LinkedIn, and a simple Google search will provide you with hundreds, if not thousands, of guides.
Additionally, it is just as important to create a paper resumé early, and frequently update it. Be sure to also have it checked by your schools career services department or advisors. You never know when you may need a copy of your resumé!
Attend Career Fairs and Networking Events
Putting yourself out there at a career fair or networking event can be really intimidating. It is essential to get comfortable going to these events early, so that when senior year rolls around, you’re confident and ready. Even if you aren’t sure of exactly what you want to do post graduation, it doesn’t hurt to look at the options a career fair offers! You never know what connections you could possibly make at these events. Also, make sure you have a least one business formal and business casual outfit. These do not have to be extravagant or expensive, but are essential for career fairs, networking events, and job interviews. If you’re looking for more information on appropriate dress, consult your school’s career services or Google.
Most college students don’t have an extensive amount of work experience, and so skills and activities are a big part of their resumés. Get involved with clubs and organizations that relate to both your hobbies and intended field. Employers want to see a well-rounded candidate who spend their time in school doing more than studying. Joining a club is also a great way to make friends and network. Personally, I am really passionate about community service, so I participated in a few service clubs during my time at Ohio State. I intend to go into public service, and I am able to use my experiences volunteering during job interviews to show my interest. Holding a leadership position in a club is also a great way to show leadership and managerial skills on job applications.
Long gone are the days of working at one company for your entire career after graduating, and job searching is more competitive than ever. It is essential to be versatile and willing to adapt in today’s ever-changing world. Additionally, it is important to start preparing early in your collegiate career to avoid stress later.