05/27/2015 by Ryan Graf |

5 Tips for Job-Seeking College Seniors

As the Associate Director of Recruitment at Carney, Sandoe & Associates, one of the best parts of my job is running our college recruiting program

silhouttes of graduates throwing their caps

I have the privilege of working with some of the greatest colleges and universities across the nation and through those connections get to meet future graduates who go on to do big things in their careers. In my conversations with these impressive students, I can’t help but think back to my first job search and reflect on the stress I felt trying to determine what job I wanted after school, what steps I needed to take in order to find that great company and convince it to hire me, and how to navigate the stress of the post-grad unknown. In order to help you start to think about the sometimes daunting first job search, I’ve come up with the top five tips I’d give to myself as a college senior way back when at Holy Cross (wait, I graduated 9 years ago?! Ugh.):

1. Use Your College/University Career Services Office As A Resource

These guys are the experts. It is the career office’s job to help you find the right job, so make sure you have a great relationship with your school’s career counselor. Each year, at every school, these offices hold career advice panels, host one-on-one counseling conversations, and engage with employers to bring them on campus to meet you. Use these experts to your advantage at every turn – they know the employment market and process like the back of their hands and will do everything they can to get you to the right spot to launch your career.

2. Talk To People Who Know You And Your Strengths/Interests:

When I started considering what industry and role would be the best fit for me, I found it most helpful to sit down with my close friends and family (thanks for all the help, Dad!) to discuss what I liked doing and how it might apply to my future work plans. I can think back to one particular friend’s sage advice: to think long and hard about the skills I would rank as my top three for what I’d done in my four years at college, then try to envision using those skills at the companies I had targeted as potential employers. Friends and family can provide you with great feedback and act as a sounding board throughout the process.

3. Put Together A Great Resume

Your resume should be an ever-evolving, changing, and growing document that should be specialized and constructed differently for each job to which you apply.  But the first step you need to take in order to get yourself out there in the job market is to have a document that can serve as a base to market yourself. Get those leadership experiences listed out in detail; highlight the athletic accomplishes you’re proud of; explain the academic thrills in which you’ve partaken; inventory the work experiences you are excited to share with your potential employer. Having these items written down somewhere will allow you to tweak wording and shuffle experiences for the second you see that job posting you know you’d love to learn more about.

4. Prepare To Interview

Interviews can absolutely be stressful and difficult conversations, but you can’t let that scare you away. As long as you spend some time thinking about the job you are interviewing for (I’d recommend printing out the job description and bringing it with you to the interview) and how your skills and experiences would benefit your prospective company, you will be ready to speak intelligently about why you want the job. Make sure you do your research as well. You should know the company you are applying for, understand what their product is, and get ready to ask some inquisitive and thought-provoking questions of your interviewer. A great connection during an interview can go a long way.

5. Be Yourself!

Throughout your search, be true to who you are. The only way you will end up in the right job for you is if you are honest with yourself about your interests and experiences. Then, those genuine passions will shine when speaking with employers. Know what makes you happy, what challenges you’ve enjoyed overcoming, and what types of environments stimulate you best, and communicate these points throughout your search. When I interview someone who is clearly ecstatic about their future working with kids, I can feel that thrill and it truly is infectious.

While your first job search can be stressful, recognize that you have so many resources at your disposal. Ask the right questions, be very self-aware and prepare – you will find the right job!

Thinking of working in an independent, private, charter, or boarding school?  It’s not too late–apply for CS&A candidacy now!

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