6 ways college seniors should take advantage of career services
July 26, 2016
You have arrived—it’s your senior year of college. Woo hoo! You have one year to complete of your collegiate journey. You should definitely celebrate. After you celebrate, prepare yourself for a year of job search and career preparation. While your senior year will definitely be fun, it’s also hard work. You’re in the home stretch before beginning your first full-time, entry-level job. And that means you need to take full advantage of the help provided to you by career services employees on campus. This short video, hosted by College Recruiter’s Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, lists six ways to take advantage of career services to make the most of your senior year so you can land a great job upon graduation.
If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.
In no particular order, don’t neglect any of these important to-do’s your senior year, and seek the assistance of career services staff along the way.
1. Apply for grad school.
If you’re remotely interested in attending graduate school within the next five years, take grad school entrance exams and be sure to check out deadlines for applications for financial aid, assistantships, and other forms of financial aid at the grad schools of your choice. There’s nothing worse than missing a deadline and having to wait a semester or entire year to reapply. Be diligent and keep deadlines marked on a calendar you actually monitor regularly.
2. Apply for jobs.
Begin applying for entry-level jobs unless you’re definitely applying for graduate school and don’t plan on working at all. When should you apply? It depends on the career field and employer, but a good rule of thumb is to begin applying about six months prior to graduation. As long as your resume clearly states your expected date of graduation, employers will understand that you won’t be available to start working until after graduation.
The hiring process takes time. The interview process takes time. It takes employers longer than you’d like to review resumes! Don’t wait until three weeks before graduation to start searching for jobs and then feel disappointed when you have only landed one job interview by July.
3. Get your resume/cover letter in shape.
Ensure that your resume and cover letter are in great shape. These documents will open doors for interviews for you. Clearly list on your resume your expected date of graduation. Ensure that you’ve listed all work experience (internships, job shadowing, part-time work experience, and volunteer experience). Ask your career services professionals to review your resume at least once. Utilize the free resume editing tool on our website. Take these steps and then start applying for jobs.
4. Attend career fairs and follow up afterward.
Definitely attend all career fairs—not just the one on your campus but others as well. Career services staff know about these opportunities. Ask them!
Continue great networking practices. Send invitations to LinkedIn and Twitter after career fairs and thank you cards after interviews. If someone in your network shares a job lead with you, thank them personally and return the favor in the future if you’re able. Following up with employers/recruiters is a huge step you can’t afford to skip in the hiring process.
5. Sign up for on-campus interview opportunities.
These events are key because they provide you with opportunities to network directly with employers without ever leaving campus. It doesn’t get much easier than that. But by all means, do NOT miss your interview or show up late. Arrive about 10 minutes early wearing a suit or other appropriate interview attire. Check with career services to see if they’re hosting an upcoming interview preparation workshop. For that matter, sign up for as many career services events as you can. You’re in the final hours, people. You can’t afford to reject assistance!
6. Career services are free in college–take advantage of this while you can.
Remember that once you graduate, unless your career services office extends services to alumni as well, you will no longer have access to free career services. You’ll have to hire a career coach or consultant, and that comes at a price—a rather high price in some cases.
“As a college student, you have access to so many free career-related resources and events. You will never have this type of access to [free] career services and support at any other time in your career. Take this opportunity and use it,” encourages Grace Whiting, Career Advisor at Roosevelt University.
Indulge yourself in career services and enjoy your senior year!