Most college seniors are crazy busy: working on a capstone project, mopping up requirements and squeezing in one more internship.
Unfortunately, there’s one other thing to take care of now: It’s not too early to start looking for a job.
“It is critical that students prepare ahead of time, especially in a tough economy,” says Nick Schaefer, director of career services at Gwynedd-Mercy College. “New graduates are having more trouble than ever before in landing full-time jobs related to their field.”
There are several elements to an effective job search, Schaefer explains. One of the most important is networking. “Networking is time consuming and needs to begin earlier than later,” Schaefer emphasizes.
In order to network effectively, you’ll need to do some groundwork:
1. Put together your résumé and cover letter.
2. Talk to the people you’d like to serve as references and get full contact information, including their correct titles. You’re not only getting permission to use them as references, you’re letting them know that you’re actively looking in case they hear of a job you’d be a good fit for.
3. If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, create a profile. Look for appropriate groups to join, including professional groups, industry groups and alumni from your school.
“Yes, the job market is tough but there are still jobs out there,” Schaefer says. “If you wait too long, you are making it extra tough on yourself.”