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5 Tips To Help You Prepare For The After-College Job Search!

Written by Kate Anne Trott. Published: May 06 2024


Realizing you’re in your last semester of college and haven’t begun your job search can be a frightening experience. We have all been there, and I can promise you that it isn’t as scary as it seems. Scrolling through online jobs and seeing the “5+ years of experience required” and panicking is something we have all had to deal with.


With graduation season upon us, now is the time to start thinking about the process to prepare for the after-college job search. Even if you are currently a junior and your starting your senior year this fall, this is the perfect time to get your experience in order, build your resume, and seek out the help you need to prepare for your life outside of college. Just remember, the pressure you feel right now will subside and very few people get their dream job right after college.


1. Resume Building

One of the best things you can do while you still have some time before graduation is resume building. Start by searching for internship opportunities either online or near you. School comes first, so don’t choose an internship opportunity that could compromise your ability to succeed in your last semester or more of courses. There are many internship opportunities that hire students and work with you and your hectic college student responsibilities.


Volunteer work, similar to interning, is a perfect resume builder as well. Whether it is at a local animal shelter, soup kitchen, or deciding on a mission trip for winter or spring break, it truly doesn’t matter what you volunteer for as long as you’re learning valuable skills that you can add to your growing resume.


If you have a semester of college or more left, it's not too late to join a club or organization. Or, if you’re already in an organization or club, try to earn a leadership position that will grab an employer's attention. Sororities and fraternities usually have an executive board that you can apply or run for, and it never hurts to try and get involved.


2. Resume Services

If you are planning to apply for jobs via any online services like Indeed or LinkedIn, many employers use an ATS, an applicant tracking system, that scans through all the resumes that it receives and scores them on things like keywords and structure. It can be frustrating to bypass this type of system on your own and create a resume that will be able to take you to the top of the list of resumes.


It’s much easier to work with a resume service that is made to help you create the perfect resume. Certain jobs require specific types of resumes, and trying to figure all of it out on your own just won’t usually work. Sites like My Perfect Resume, TopResume, or Resume Writer Direct cost a very little amount of money and work to give you a resume that's perfect for any type of job you might be searching for. Most importantly, these services help you get to the front of all the resumes and get you an audience with an employer.


3. Campus Resources

If you’re still in school, please do not forsake campus resources. Almost every university has resources and outreach programs specifically designed to guide upcoming and recent graduates towards success in the job hunt. Career fairs are no joke; attending these can point you in the right direction and might pique your interest in something you never thought of before.


Along with the professional resume writing services above, most universities have counselors that you can meet with to work through your resume and help you put one together. Even if you have one done professionally, still meet with a counselor to see if there's anything you might be able to improve on or add.


Campus resources might even have potential internship or volunteer opportunities to look out for. Starting with a university job helped me specifically by building up my resume and finding a career that I wanted to pursue in the future. Never discount campus resources because they are designed to set you up for success, and not taking advantage of them is truly a mistake.


4. Interview Practice

It might sound silly to sit in front of the mirror and practice interviewing for positions, but interviewing is a difficult skill to master. Nerves can build and you can start to fumble your words or miss important information from an interviewer. The best way to calm your nerves for an interview is to be well-rehearsed. You can practice by yourself, go to a mock interview hosted by your university, or even practice with your friends.


One thing I did that was very beneficial was consulting with a family member who is responsible for the hiring process at her position. She gave me beneficial insight into the hiring process and what questions and answers that interviewers were looking for from an ideal candidate. From there, I was able to sit down and write out a list of questions and topics that I wanted to ask and discuss during my interviews.


5. Shopping

Never underestimate the power of shopping. It can fix practically everything, including making sure you’re ready for your next big step after college. How you present yourself is everything in an interview and while you're on the job hunt. First impressions are a huge deal, and a person's clothes are often the first thing that we notice.


Make sure you’re dressing appropriately for interviews. It may be difficult to figure out what you need to wear, but with the internet, the answer is right in front of you. Look up how you should be dressing depending on what role you’re looking for. Gather ideas but make sure to fit your own personality in a modest and appropriate way; it can help you stand out when it comes down to your time to shine.


Good luck to the Class of 2024 and beyond!