Entering your last semester of college is exciting, but can also be nerve-wracking with the pressure of finding a job after graduation.  If you are feeling these uneasy thoughts, you are not alone. According to a recent study, 24% of college students report feeling stressed with the idea of landing a job after graduation.

With the right tips and practices, job seeking in your last semester can be less stressful. Read below for some best practices of job searching when you are in your last semester of college.

Prepare Your Resume

The first thing you should do when starting your job search is to create or revise your resume. Your resume gives hiring managers a high-level overview of your experiences and abilities to see if you match the type of job they are hiring for. Without a resume, most hiring managers will not consider your application and move on to the next candidate.

Make sure your resume includes these sections:

Also, consider having a peer or professor to read over your resume before you submit it to job applications. This can be useful to make sure there is correct grammar, accurate/relevant information, ideal formatting and more.

Having a clean and standout resume can give you the extra edge when it comes to job searching while still in college. Check out our blog, Anatomy of a Resume to learn more about making the most of each section.

Use University Resources

While universities are a great place to learn new things and study for your future career, they also have career services departments that specialize in helping college students prepare and find their first job out of college. These departments employ full-time staff whose role is to provide opportunities and resources to guide you to career success following graduation.

Here are some of the services career centers offer:

While these services are extremely helpful in job searching, there is only a fraction of college students utilizing these services. Gallup found that only 20% of college students utilize their school’s career center for job searching advice or services.

Most colleges also host a variety of different career fairs throughout the semester to allow students to have the opportunity to meet with potential companies and hiring managers. These career fairs can be general or specific to a type of major or field of study.

Consider utilizing one of these services from your university’s career center to give yourself an extra step ahead of others that are not taking advantage of these perks.

Start Searching Early

When job searching, it is typically better to start earlier than later. If you start searching too late into your last semester, you can find yourself at graduation without a position lined up.

After you revise your resume and figure out the type of role you would like, start searching on online job boards and network with others in your desired field. Searching early will give you a better understanding of the types of companies that are hiring for your desired role, an idea of your field’s salary outlook and if there is chance you may have to relocate for work.

The exact time to start finding a position can depend on the industry or role you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for a job in accounting, you could potentially receive a job offer a whole year before you even graduate due to the nature of the industry. But for a more creative role, like marketing or communications, employers will likely consider graduates who will be able to start in a month or two from the job posting date due to an immediate demand in these services.

It is a best practice to start looking at job openings during your second-to-last semester of college to research potential career paths. Then, start applying to relevant jobs at the beginning of your last semester. In addition to job searching, consider reaching out to professionals in your network that you may have met at professional events or previous internships. These individuals may have connections that can help you find different opportunities than what you are search for online.

Apply to Multiple Postings

While there are many job openings for soon-to-be graduates, it is important to apply to more than one job opening to cast a wide net. Many of the job openings you apply for may have hundreds of different candidates who are your competition. Beyond that, your chances of getting an interview for the position may be low even if you match every qualification in the job posting. For example, Zippia found that it takes around 21 to 80 different job applications to get a single job offer due to the many applications that a business can receive. With this in mind, only applying to a handful of jobs may not be the best decision when job searching in your final year of college.Also, it is important to keep your mind open to different types of roles. For example, if you are a mechanical engineering major, look at roles for mechanical engineers, civil engineers and construction engineers due to the overlaps of these types of industries.

Landing your dream job directly after college can be difficult. Consider each opportunity as a stepping stone to obtaining your dream job later. Simply getting experience in a field of work can be extremely valuable to growing your career. Just like many other things, dream jobs can take time to achieve.

Expect Rejection

When applying for jobs, rejection is almost inevitable. Being fresh out of college gives you a lot of advantages, but also can bring you disadvantages, like lack of experience. Many times, when you apply for a job, you may be competing with professionals who already have had a couple of years of work under their belt.

With so much competition in the job market, you may be faced with rejected applications or not being moved into the next round of an interview process. This should not be taken personally since almost every professional has gone through this at some point in their career. When you get a rejection, reflect on the reasons you didn’t move forward, and move onto the next opportunity.

The job market is also always changing. When the economy is facing more hardship, an increase in rejected jobs could follow. While the state of the market can be overwhelming and anxiety inducing, there is still a positive outlook for college graduates. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring for the class of 2022 college graduates was up 31.6% from previous years.

While finding a job before graduation may be preferable, all hope should not be lost if you graduate without a job offer in-hand. Being patient in the hiring process is essential to keeping your stress low and can also be key to finding the best job after graduation.

Looking for an entry-level STEM job? Check out STEMHUNTER, a job board made specifically for STEM professionals.

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