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Tips for Students Applying to Post-Grad Jobs

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Okay seniors, are you feeling the senioritis yet? I know I am, and it’s been rough the last couple of weeks.

There are job fairs to attend, homework to do and the most time-consuming thing of all — applying for jobs.

Applying for jobs is basically a full-time job in itself. You have to dedicate so much time per week to make sure your resume is correct, write cover letters and look for job listings close to what you want to do.

If you’re just starting this job-hunting process or if you’re at a point where nothing is working out for you and you feel stuck, I have some advice for you.

I haven’t found a job yet, but I’ve learned a lot about what and what not to do in the last month from many different outlets.

Resume tips

Don’t go online and make your resume on different websites because many times, you have to pay to use the service, or you have to pay to download it.

I find the resume templates on Microsoft Word and Google Docs work just fine. After I paid for over 10 different resume builders online, I finally decided to use the basic resume template on Microsoft Word. I found it the easiest to put all of my information in, and it was the best looking.

Once you have all of your information in, have a parent, roommate, friend or professor look over it for mistakes. Then, make sure you have specific keywords in it that match the kinds of jobs you’re applying for.

Also, when you list bullet points under each of your sections, make sure you use verbs to showcase what you did. For example, use words like “managed,” “assisted” or “directed.”

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to take advantage of Penn State’s resources. Since I’m in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, there’s a career services office we visit for help with pretty much anything.

I went and sat down with Bob Martin, who is the assistant dean for internships and career placement, and we had a 90-minute session about my resume and how to look for a job.

I took a lot of notes from our meeting, and I still pull them out to look at all of the pointers. So, if your academic college offers career services, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Most importantly, your resume should be one page. Keep it as concise as possible, and don’t put your information in a large font.

Cover letter

I hate cover letters, I really do. However, there’s a point to them. I just can’t stand having to write a cover letter for every application.

However, I learned a trick: You have to tell a story. You have to draw them in. You have to make it interesting.

Long story short, I want to work in the airline industry as a social media specialist because I simply love traveling and airplanes.

This is what I started my cover letter with. I started with a childhood story and how it turned into a passion for this industry, as well as how it aligns with what I’m involved in at school. It’s as simple as that.

Like your resume, make sure your cover letter is one page. You only need about three paragraphs for your cover letter and a top section for your contact information.


This is crucial to the job application process. While some places don’t require you to have a portfolio, it can put you ahead of a lot of applicants if you provide one.

Put everything you can into one, whether it’s a physical or digital copy. I created a digital portfolio on my Canva account because it’s free, and you can customize it any way you want.

I added all of the relevant classes I took related to the job I want, relevant projects I completed, internships, clubs, news stories I wrote and a study abroad trip I’m going on over spring break.

Also, make sure it’s polished and professional-looking before you give it to an interviewer. Again, this can put you ahead of the game because it showcases a lot more that you can’t fit in during an interview.

job searching

Job scams are on the rise, so you have to be careful with what websites you’re using to apply for jobs.

My first recommendation is to apply directly on a company’s website. That’s one of the safest options because the link can usually be found on the homepage.

LinkedIn is another good way to apply for jobs, and you can message recruiters directly. It’s also easy to apply for jobs because most of the time, you just have to upload your resume.

Personally, I don’t like Glassdoor and Indeed, so I stay away from those. I’ve applied for multiple jobs through them before, and I never heard back from the companies.

Google does a good job of listing jobs related to the keywords you type in, so that’s another option. Monster is a good website to use, too.

Just be on the lookout for job scams, and make sure there aren’t any weird questions asked. Check for reviews, and look up online if certain websites have been tracked for scams.

take it all in

Lastly, just try to get through this process in the best way you can. This is what you make out of it. You have to push through this process, no matter how tedious or annoying it can be.

It’s supposed to be tiring and stressful. You might not get an interview for most jobs you apply for. You might have to apply for over 30 jobs. You might get a lot of “no’s.” It’s okay. I promise.

This is what the second semester of senior year is like, so remember to make time for the good moments, too. You got this.

I am a senior at Penn State University majoring in digital and print journalism with a minor in digital media trends and analytics.