College: The Best Time to Job Search! 8 Ways to Nail the College Job Search Process

career planning college job search graduate career advice Jan 12, 2021

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Yes, you’re busy. You’ve chugged your 5th cup of coffee to help finish your presentation, stay on top of your biology group (because ugh, group projects!), and study for midterms. How are you supposed to find time to invest in the college job search process—the networking, the branding, the everything?

 

But future you is really going to thank you for making the time. A Monster survey reports that over half of college grads (59%) thought it would take less than 1-2 months to find a job. (Been there, thought that).

 

Truth: It takes about 5 months to find a job—not a fun place to hang out!

 

You’re worth more than that. Lay your career foundation now, and you can cut down the time job searching and spend more time actually building your experience.

Why College is the BEST Time to Job Search

Business Insider says, “Nearly 50% of recruiters say referrals are the leading source of quality hires, and if you receive a referral, you're four times more likely to hear back from a recruiter.” And referrals come from networking, so prioritize networking!

 

Post-grad networking takes some extra initiative to reconnect with old professors, friends, and classmates. In college, you’re surrounded by people and resources in your field of interest, and it’s a lot easier to ask a professor to lunch after class than five years after you’ve graduated.

 

And the stakes are a bit lower now, too, since you’re not scrambling to get a job tomorrow, just learning more about your field. And if an informational interview doesn’t go too well, what can they do—fire you?

 

Still not sure how to start the college job search process? Keep reading for tips to make the transition into your next life stage as smooth as possible!

1. Set your priorities.

It’s hard to know where to start under the job search advice avalanche.

 

Don’t try to do everything—focus on the most important things. So for the sake of your career, sometimes, it might be okay to NOT ace that next test. (Blasphemy, I know! Don’t tell your professor we said that!)

 

We love our good students! Still, your future needs a healthy balance of academic performance and career relationships.

2. Build your confidence.

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Networking seems insurmountable for those of us who are very introverted or have low self-confidence. Sadly, the job market favors people who appear confident and outgoing. We can’t say that’s fair, but we will do our best to help you flourish in the environment you’re in.

 

College is a time of self-discovery. So consider seeking professional help for building confidence—you don’t need to have diagnosed health problems to benefit from seeing a therapist. If you have a mental health center on campus, take advantage of that while you’re still a student.

 

And it won’t just help your college job search process: it’ll help your work, relationships, and overall mental health. That’s a worthy investment!

3. Check out your college’s career center.

Some career centers care more about their job acquisition rates than your unique career journey. But great career centers are a fantastic prepaid resource! 

 

Potential employers reach out to college career centers all the time. Even if you’re not looking for a real job just yet, career centers can still connect you for informational interviews and help in planning, branding, and interviewing.

 

Want to step up your college career readiness game? Consider career coaching. It pays for itself in the time, sanity, and money you save from trying to figure out job hunting on your own. Throw in a great job searching community with that, and you’re well on your way to major career growth!

4. Get to know your professors!

Professors have all kinds of connections and opportunities in your field, and good professors will want to help you succeed in your career. They’ll also make great job references! So, try stopping by for office hours, taking them to lunch, or even just asking questions in class. 

 

And don’t limit yourself to professors in your major—any professor in a field you might be remotely interested in is fair game!

5. Ask your classmates about their career aspirations.

People love talking about themselves so a quick “How did you decide on this major?” may turn up connections you never expected.

 

Sure, your classmates may be just as lost in their college job search process as you are. But you can still research together and help each other out in the future.

 

You also never know if classmates do have a family or friend in their field, or if they’ve already done a lot of research. Most likely, they’d be happy to share what they’ve learned with you!

6. Join on-campus clubs and associations.

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College clubs separate the passionate people from those simply trying to get a degree. They also get contacted with additional opportunities and connections that the wider department may not have as much access to. Even just being on the email list can be helpful!

 

Club faculty advisors will also remember you better for participating in that club which is always helpful for building connections.

7. Be sure to mention that you’re a college student!

Forbes says, “Most people in the world really want to help others, and it’s even more special when a person gets to help a college student.”

 

Everybody starts with zero experience, and people who understand are eager to help you through that. So, mention you’re a college student while you still can! 

8. Keep trying.

Yes, there’ll be unanswered emails, awkward conversations, and dead ends, and they’ll feel gross.

 

But the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Start learning to network now while the stakes are lower and the resources are right at your fingertips.

Seize the day!

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Whether you’re graduating in a couple of years or next semester, anytime is a great time to start your college job search process and build career relationships. A little patience and passion in the right direction will land you the right job for sure.


Want more coaching, community, and advice for your college life stage? Check out Career Cram!

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