Posted January 20, 2014 by

Your Last Semester of School: 5 Ways to Make It Count

Smiling female college student in the library

Smiling female college student in the library. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Summary: Put just as much effort and energy into your last semester as you did into your first, and you’ll stand a better chance of landing a great job when you graduate.

The holidays are over, the New Year is well underway, and you’re launching into your spring semester with all your cylinders firing. But this isn’t an ordinary spring semester—it’s your last. Get ready for your last mid-terms, your last finals, and the last spring break you’ll experience as an undergraduate.

So what steps can you take to make the most of the months ahead? How can you prepare to jump into the job market with both feet as soon as you have your diploma in hand? Keep these tips in mind.

1. Avoid senioritis

If you’re tempted to blow off your final stretch of coursework because everyone around is slacking, think twice. Their destinies are different than yours, so don’t ruin your marathon time by slowing down on the last mile. Employers will be looking closely for candidates who have what it takes to finish strong. Besides, as long as you’re paying for these classes, you should be getting your money’s worth.

2. Search now, not later

You could start your job search after you graduate, if you choose—after all, you’ll have the rest of your life to think about your career. But if you start now, you’ll have more options and you’ll save yourself from some anxiety down the road. Start searching job boards just to see what’s out there, and begin drafting your resume and cover letter now, while you have plenty of time to edit and review them.

3. Visit job fairs

Job fairs can be a fantastic resource, one that may not be so widely available later on in your career. When you hear of one happening on campus, go. Dress neatly, take a few printed copies of your resume with you, and see what happens. At the very least, you can strike up conversations with company representatives and find out what qualities they’re looking for and what positions they have available.

4. Schedule informational interviews

Informational interviews are also an excellent resource for young people at the threshold of their working lives. Search your contacts list for anyone you might know who has some professional experience in your chosen field. Then reach out to this person and ask for a 10-minute face-to-face meeting in which you ask respectfully for advice. Meet at the person’s office, at a coffee shop, or over the phone if necessary, and come prepared with a short list of intelligent questions about the field. After your meeting ends, send the person a hand-written thank-you note.

5. Consider your other options

Of course, landing a professional job immediately after graduation is only one of countless options you’ll be facing soon. If you plan to travel or apply to graduate school, now is the time to think ahead and start gathering recommendations. College may have had its ups and downs, and you’ve probably never felt as independent as you have during the past four years…but these will fade in comparison to what lies ahead. Good luck!

LiveCareer (www.livecareer.com), home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Find LiveCareer on Youtube and visit LiveCareer’s Google+ page for even more tips and advice on all things career and resume-related.

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