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College graduation is just around the corner. That means the tough business of landing a job probably weighs heavily on your mind. 

There’s nothing more stressful when stepping out into the real world than the job search. It can be both disheartening and exhausting. But the good news is that if you get prepared and organized, you can land that dream job you’ve been hoping for. 

While amid your job search, here are some things to keep in mind. 

Use the resources at school

Many schools have career centers that offer students assistance with finding open positions and preparing for interviews. 

Make an appointment with a career advisor and talk about what it is you’re looking for. If you don’t know what you want, they might even be able to help you narrow some ideas down.

Beyond figuring out what you want to do, career advisor can review your resume, help you craft a great cover letter template, and prepare for interviews.

These are resources you won’t have once you’re done with school. So, take advantage of them while you’re there.

Land one last internship

Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door at a company you like and start working your way up. In fact, one of my first internships in college turned into one of my first real jobs.

I spent my internship working hard, showing up on time, offering to help out whenever I could, and building solid relationships with the hiring managers within the marketing department. 

My hard work paid off. When a role opened towards the end of the semester, they asked me if I wanted to put myself in the running for it. I went through the interview process with managers, who I already knew, and walked away with the job. 

If you can land an internship your last semester, you might be able to turn that into a full-time gig. 

Never underestimate networking

You’ve probably already heard this a million times — but networking is everything when it comes to job hunting. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you can get in front of someone that can shuffle your resume to the right person. 

The best place to start is with people you already know. Consider reaching out to contacts at past internships, professors, and coaches you have good relationships with or people from your community. Reach out to them as you begin your job search and schedule time to meet for a chat.

Ask if they have any advice to offer and how to put your best foot forward in the industry. Mention the types of positions you’re looking for, so they know to think of you. Or even ask where the best place to look for open roles is. 

Remember, your connections have a busy life as well, and they’re doing you a favor by helping out — do your best to fit into their schedule.

It doesn’t hurt to attend networking events as well. If you hear about something in your field, like a conference or meet up, go to it! You never know who you might meet.

Get started on LinkedIn

Build a professional profile, connect with people you know, and get ready to begin your job search. LinkedIn makes it possible for you to put your digital resume out there for everyone to see.

Make sure it looks professional and well written. Use a photo that makes sense for the platform. 

Tons of companies list their openings on LinkedIn and make it easy to apply. Sometimes with as few as two or three clicks. Once your profile is set up, get to work, and start applying. 

Make a list of companies you love

Got a dream company in mind? Make a list of all the companies you’d like to work for and make sure you check their openings whenever you’re searching. On LinkedIn, you can even set alerts for certain companies and positions, so you know when they post something new. 

If you don’t know about their openings, you might be missing out on great opportunities. Additionally, see what networking events their staff attend. Make it a point to go and connect with people at these events. Not only does it give you insight into whether you’ll really like the culture of the company, but it offers a potential foot in the door. 

Keep track of your applications

When you’re deep in the job search, it can be easy to lose track of the positions you’ve already applied to. Keep a running document of what companies you’ve applied to, the date you applied, and whether there was any follow-up. 

Spend time on your search

Unfortunately, for most college graduates, searching for a job is like having a part-time job. You should anticipate spending 10-15 hours a week applying to open roles. Why so much time?

Almost every application will ask for a cover letter, which needs to be customized to fit the role and the company. Others might have several required questions in addition to the cover letter. 

That’s not even counting the time it takes to search on all those job sites like Linkedin, Glassdoor, Indeed, etc.

Take the time you need for every application and put your best foot forward. 

Being polite and thoughtful gets you farther

Did you get a phone interview? Did they reach out via email for more information? Whatever next step you get to, always be thankful for it.

Hiring managers have a ton going on. On top of their jobs, they also need to fit in the hiring process, which can be as overwhelming for them as it is for you. 

Send a thank you note after an interview. Even a short one. Thank them for taking the time to follow-up if they send you an email.

Even be gracious if you get a rejection. Thank them for the time and tell them you’d still love to be considered should something open up in the future. 

Hiring managers love to see that you took the time to appreciate their time. It could push you to the next step in the process. 

Always follow-up if you can

Whether it’s connecting with someone online or sending a quick email, sometimes asking about the status of your application can put you back at the top of the list.

Obviously, you need to be careful with this one. Don’t send too many emails, and don’t be aggressive about it. Casually ask if the role is still open and where you stand in the application process.

It’s particularly important to follow-up if you’ve already had a phone or in-person interview with them. 

Have patience and keep your confidence

The job search can come with a lot of rejection and uncertainty — don’t let that get you down. Rely on your friends to lift you up and remind you that you’re not alone. We all go through this at some point in our lives. 

A rejection doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, it just means they went with someone else for reasons that made sense for their business. Try not to take it personally as much as you can.

Dust off any rejection and keep going. A great attitude is what it will take to impress the next hiring manager. So don’t give up! 

We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.