Start Your Job Search before You Graduate

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As spring rolls around, students with traditional graduation dates typically have a lot to do to wrap up their degrees. Projects have to be completed, final exams need to be passed, and the idea of taking one eye off your studies and putting it on what happens after school can seem like a bad one. But given that many employers recruit in cycles, sometimes you have to start early. If you wait too long to begin your job search, you could end up stuck for a long time before a job offer finally comes around. While that’s not the end of the world, it pales in comparison to having a good job waiting for you when your degree is completed.

So it benefits the soon-to-be graduate to start their job search early. Hopefully you’ve already nailed down what you want to do and acquired some experience in your field. If you haven’t, start there. Get involved in relevant extracurricular activities and take advantage of the opportunity to canvass professors for tips on how to get into the industry while you still can. If you have no career experience, be aware that you might have to start out with an internship, potentially working for free, before you’ll be in contention for regular positions.

If you already have those ducks in a row, you can move on to networking. Start at your school’s career center, which may be able to put you in touch with alumni who have expressed interest in talking to students from their alma mater. From there, expand your networking search to include professors, friends and their parents, your own parents and their friends, and people you’ve met in your chosen field. You can also often get a discounted membership in a professional organization as a student.

Finally, get your social media in order. It may be painful to crank privacy settings to their highest and delete tags on unprofessional pictures, but doing so can mean the difference between a quick rejection and moving on to an interview. Make sure your accounts on professional networking websites like LinkedIn are complete and polished. Then move on to searching and applying for positions, knowing you’ve given yourself the best chance at success.

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