Although a small percentage of soon-to-be college graduates will go into their senior year knowing that they have a job waiting for them in May, the majority of us will inevitably be stuck in the “senior year limbo” at one point or another. That limbo is second semester when it’s still too early to apply to jobs, but the prodding questions from friends and family have already begun. There’s not a more dreaded question for seniors than “What are your plans for after graduation?” when they don’t have an answer yet.
Luckily collegiettes, there are ways to quell the stress that comes from this helpless feeling. Below are tips, tricks and the best ways to keep busy and increase your chances of finding that perfect post-grad job.
One of the most valuable resources for soon-to-be-graduates is personal and professional contacts. Your boss from that internship two summers ago, your aunt who works in Manhattan, your Intro to Business professor—they’re all people who have connections that could help in your job search. “Circle back with all of your internship and professional contacts. Let them know you are graduating soon and that you’d love their advice,” advises Lauren Berger, CEO of InternQueen.com.
Send a quick check-in email to your old coworkers and employers letting them know that you’re graduating soon and ask that if they hear of any opportunities in the future, to keep you in mind. Another great resource for reconnecting is LinkedIn. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, set one up following HC’s tips (check out the links below!) and start expanding your online network of connections.
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Linkedin Etiquette
Using LinkedIn to Find Jobs or Internships
- Everything You Need to Know About How to Use LinkedIn
While you can’t control when or if you’ll have an interview with your dream company, you can set up informational interviews with industry insiders and professionals whom you admire. The purpose of an informational interview is “to ask advice and insight” explains Northeastern University’s Career Services. “All of this information can help you make appropriate career decisions, find information about specific opportunities, and market yourself more effectively when kicking off a job search.”
Doesn’t get much better than networking, speaking with industry professionals and gaining valuable insight, does it? The only obstacle is figuring out whom you’d like to reach out to. “There are many resources to find contacts—family, friends, neighbors, current and former employers, university professors and staff, social acquaintances, and online resources like LinkedIn,” says Laura Lane, Assistant Director of Career Services at UNC Chapel Hill. And although informational interviews are not for asking for a job, “80 percent of jobs are via word-of-mouth”—it never hurts to get your name out there!
Review Your Resume
“Make sure your resume is ready to go,” urges Lane. Although we all want to think that we’re experts at resume-writing, sometimes the best insight comes from having a new set of eyes look everything over. Most university career services offices hold workshops and one-on-one meetings to review students’ resumes and even invite employers in to hold resume workshops.
In addition to career services, utilize your network that you’ve built through reconnecting and informational interviews. Have someone within the industry that you’re applying to take a look at your resume as they’re the best source of insight into what recruiters in that particular industry look for.