Are you a freshman/sophomore/junior in college looking for an internship to boost your resume? Or maybe you’re like me – a senior in college and the impending doom of the “real world” is looming above your head. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but still. The college job search process can be intimidating – it’s so hard to find a place to start!
Regardless of where you are in school, there are a ton of things you can do to make yourself ready for job hunt season. Here’s a list of five little things you might want to try if you’re embarking on a college job search journey:
1. Revamp your resume!
No matter what job you’re applying for, you’re going to need to submit a resume. As a result, this is the perfect place to start if you’re prepping to apply for jobs!
Take a good hard look at your resume, and make sure it’s up-to-date. Did you complete a cool project last semester? Or maybe you accomplished something new at your on-campus job? Add those things to your resume! This is also a great time to update the template you’re using to make sure you’re happy with the way it looks. There are tons of templates available on Etsy, or you can get creative and make your own!
Once you make your updates, send your resume over to a trusted colleague for review. Whenever I update my resume, I normally send it to my mom and a couple friends to get their comments. Peer review is a great way to quality-check and make sure your resume is in tip-top shape!
2. Learn a new skill
This tip is definitely easier said than done, but it can truly change the game for you! In your free time, try picking up a new skill. Knowing a coding language is likely to help you in your college job search no matter what field you’re in, but there are tons of other things you can learn! SEO, CAD, Microsoft Excel…the world is your oyster. You don’t even have to pay for a tutorial – there are TONS of free resources available on Pinterest and YouTube!
Adding skills can truly elevate your resume and make you a better candidate for any job you want. Bonus points if it’s directly related to your major/intended job!
3. Network, network, network!
I honestly can’t stress enough the importance of networking. Now, more than ever, is the best time to strengthen your network! You never know which of your old classmates has the hook-up to an internship, or which of your professors can introduce you to a hiring manager at your dream company.
If you’re getting ready to jump into the college job search game, spend time reaching out to the people in your existing network. Grab coffee with some of your old high school pals, or ask one of your freshman-year profs if you can drop into their office hours. You want to be the go-to person if any opportunity pops up, and the best way to do that is to make sure you’re at the front of their mind! Now, if you’re looking to expand your network…
4. Get active on LinkedIn
I wrote a post late last year about starting your LinkedIn profile, and once you get your profile all squared away, start sending messages to people! It is definitely intimidating at first, but all you need to do is take the plunge. The worst thing someone could do is not respond, right? Look at the companies that you want to work for, and see if you can pinpoint any LinkedIn members that are currently in a position similar to what you want. Ask them if they have any advice for you or where to start, and more often than not they will be more than willing to help!
However, it’s still important to proofread every message you send! I cannot express enough how embarrassing it is to look at a message and see a typo after it’s sent. Don’t be like me guys – check your messages!
5. Make a game plan for your college job search!
Finally, once you’ve brushed up on all these things, start laying out a game plan for your college job search. Scour the internet for companies that you would like to work for – the best places to start are LinkedIn or your career services website, but Indeed and Monster are great for this as well! See if there are any positions open, and then the only thing left for you to do is APPLY!
I like to put things in a spreadsheet (we LOVE Excel), but good ol’ fashioned pen and paper will work just fine. Make a list of every position you are going to apply to, and track the applications you send out. This will help you stay super organized throughout the process, and you won’t ever worry about responding to the right email about the wrong job!
I am by no means a job search expert, but I hope these tips help you get a little bit of footing & find a place to start. My last tip is to remember that we’re all in this together! Regardless of what job you’re trying to pursue, you’re not alone in your struggle. You got this!