Many a college senior job search has not even begun until the spring semester of their senior year. However, that may put you behind the eight ball (metaphorically speaking), depending on the type of job you are looking for. Many companies in industries such as investment banking, consulting and accounting are known to be early recruiters, and many of them like to hire from their intern ranks. So, if this is your chosen job path, start your search early….like junior-year-early.
Seniors should not throw in the towel. There are still a ton of job opportunities. Many smaller companies and employers who are looking for people skilled in communications, advertising, marketing, PR, social media, design and publishing tend to start recruiting much later. In addition, many graduates start out in “junior roles,” (junior copywriter, HR assistant, editorial assistant, social media specialist). Those job vacancies are usually filled whenever needed.
So what to do if you have not locked in that job offer?
What should you do if you find yourself graduating in a few weeks and you still do not have a job offer? Here are 3 things that you can do now to kick your job search into gear.
- Start networking – in every way possible.
- Online– If you have not created a LinkedIn profile – do so now. Facebook is not enough. And speaking of Facebook…if you have one, clean it up. Recruiters may “check you out” on Facebook, but they are not actively looking for you on Facebook. And that is a key difference. 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. If you find a job you are interested in, use LinkedIn to see if you know anyone, or if any of your connections know of anyone at that company. It is a key way to use online networking to land an interview.
- Offline – Networking does not mean sitting at a computer screen using social media. (NOTE: Snapchat is not considered online networking). You have to get out there and meet people. Look for industry groups that might have a chapter on your campus; talk to your friends, your roommates, your classmates. You will honestly be surprised at who someone might know.
- Find a mentor – Having a career mentor in college is probably one of the most important things a student can do to pave the way to career success…hands down. In a survey from StudentAdvisor.com, 70% of college students claimed to have a mentor. This is a fantastic statistic, but if you dig a little deeper, it turns that that 37% state that this mentor is a parent and only 17% listed a career person. It is great to turn to those who we are the most comfortable with for advice and guidance; however, relatives and family friends may not always be the best choice. An effective mentor is someone who listens, is an advocate for the student in terms of career, AND is working in that field. This probably negates family and friends, who really should remain as part of your support system. So go find a mentor. Talk to administrators, the people at your career center, your professors and let them know that you are looking for a mentor. The key is to ask. If you don’t ask, no one can help. Think about this….career expectations and norms of behavior are different depending on industry, geography and job role. 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.
- Use your school’s career center – Only about a quarter of college students have received job help or career assistance from their school’s career services office. This is a mistake. You have a huge resource right on campus 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. In addition, the career center works with employers (many local, many national) to hold interviews – actual, real-life interviews. So, step inside your school’s career center. If you don’t, you are throwing away one of the best job search tools available out there.
Just not ready to start your job search?
Not everyone is. There are many decisions to make….find a job 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, freelance, internships or even volunteering.
If you have just graduated and put all your efforts into campus activities, you may 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. You can search through our job database and apply for any position you feel would be a good fit. In addition, locate your local office where our talented and experienced staffing managers can assist you in your job search.