Gathering of college seniorsBy Christiane Soto,

Historically, college seniors did not start their hard-core job search until the spring semester of their senior year….and by historically, I mean 2-3 years ago.  However, that has changed.  Employers are now coming to campuses early.  By last fall, employers had already completed 68% of their college recruiting effort for the 2012-2013 school year.

This early push seems to be a by-product of the much-talked-about skills shortage.  Recruiters are showing up on campus early to try and snatch the best and brightest.

What if you have not locked in that job offer? 

What should you do if you find yourself having not even started because you thought there is still plenty of time? Here are 3 things that you can do to present yourself in the best way possible:

1)      Start networking – this includes both online and offline.

  1. Online If you have not created a LinkedIn profile – do so now.  Facebook may not be enough; recruiters may “check you out” on Facebook (once they have found you) but they are not actively looking for you on Facebook.  Linkedin is still (by far) the #1 online recruiting platform. So get on LinkedIn, connect with as many people as you can, leverage their connections, and make it as easy as possible for recruiters to find you.    According to , 95% of college students have Facebook accounts, but only about 1/3 have a LinkedIn profile.  Can you think of a better way to stand out from the online college-job-search crowd?
  2. Offline –  Networking does not mean sitting at a computer screen and using Facebook, or Twitter or even Google Talk to communicate with others.  Get out there and meet people.  Look for industry groups that might have a chapter on your campus; you will be surprised at how many you find.

2)      Find a mentor –  In the same survey from StudentAdvisor .com, 70% of college students claimed to have a mentor.  This is a fantastic statistic, but when you look a little closer it turns that that 37% state that this mentor is a parent and only 17% listed a current/former employer.  Many of us do turn to those we are the most comfortable with for advice and guidance; however, relatives and family friends may not always be the best choice.  Think about this….career expectations and norms of behavior are different depending on industry, geography and job role.  You need to find a mentor who works in the same field that you would like to work in.  This is where networking comes into play.  Put yourself out there and search for people and companies (via your newly created LinkedIn profile, perhaps?) that line up the best with your career goals and aspirations.  It may take some work, and it may take some time, but if you can find a cooperative mentor, your job search will be much, much easier.

3)      Use your school’s career services office – Only 29% of college students have received job help or career assistance from their school’s career services office.  This is a mistake; because right on campus you have a huge resource to help you develop and implement your job search strategy.  Here you can get help with resume development and cover letter writing, job interview preparation, access to alumni (think mentors!) through leadership workshops and networking dinners, and even free business cards.

Just not ready?

Not everyone is.  There are many decisions to be made….job search or graduate school?  Relocate or stay in the area? Gap year or begin work? There are a lot of options available while you decide on your future.  These include temporary work and other short-term work experiences, internships or even volunteering.

Want to get some real-life work experience under your belt?  Temporary work may be the ticket to your success.  It doesn’t take much to get started.  Simply register with Snelling in to start the process today.  You can search through our job database and apply for any best-fit position;  in addition you can locate your local office where our talented and experienced staffing managers can assist you in your job search.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.