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Start Job Hunting Now

How soon should graduating seniors start job searching? Many professors on campus deem it a full-time job in of itself, but The Outlook staff feels that many students aren’t prepared for what awaits them after accepting their diploma.

Students don’t know where to start when it comes to job seeking. Who to talk to and where to look are common concerns among students. It can be overwhelming searching on an employment database site such as, when many of the job postings seem to require five to seven years of experience.

Thankfully, the University provides countless services on campus to guide students along with their career goals. However, many students are unaware of these services until crunch time creeps up on them towards the end of the semester.

First off, job searching can be much more efficient if students start as soon as possible.

The University’s Center for Student Success (CSS) acts as an integrated advising system that provides all students with career counseling services. These include everything from help with resume and cover letter writing to mock interviews, LinkedIn workshops, and job placement assistance. The advising program within CSS assists students narrow down career goals and matching up with perspective employers.

Assistant Dean for Career Services Will Hill said there are three important things students can do in the job market to increase their odds of success. “First, start your job search early. Rushing your job search at the last minute prior to graduation can lead to poor decisions and lost opportunities. Second, use the power of networking to get the word out that you are in the market and actively looking for a career. Use, go to job fairs, networking events or anywhere you can connect with potential connections. And third, make sure your resume, cover letter and interviewing skills are top notch. In this market even small mistakes are deal-breakers for employers. The staff in Career Services can help you plan your job search strategy, so include us in your plans.”

During the economically healthy 1990’s, there were more job offers than students. Hard to believe, right? Today, the case is sadly the opposite. Students have been told time and time again to make themselves stand out against the thousands of other students applying for the same jobs. It’s a given that many students feel unprepared for what life awaits after college. Skills learned in the classroom will most likely be completely different than skills applied while on a job. While classes at the University teach students the necessary material they will need to know in their respective field of study, some classes lack real life experiential material and application to future employment.

However, there is a class that prepares students for the looming job market. Career Search (LC300) is a one-credit class that meets once a week each semester. The course focuses on resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, researching perspective companies, and how to appropriately market oneself on the Internet. While this is a valuable asset, only a handful of students take advantage of the course. Perhaps registering for LC300 should be a mandatory course for all students because no other class teaches how to correctly write a thank you letter, the essential point of communication between an applicant and employer after an interview. The course also addresses how to network with professionals and how to dress and behave at a career fair. Students need all the help they can get, especially in pressing economic times.

While graduation may seem a long ways away, it is never too early to start looking for a job. Ideally, wouldn’t we all want to be accepting our diploma in January or May, knowing we have job offers awaiting us?

Here’s a sample step-by-step approach to start your hunt:

Step One: Figure out what you’re interested in doing after graduation. This will narrow down your job search and your focus. Clean up your online appearance to display a professional, responsible job candidate. Your name will undoubtedly be “Googled” before an employer even considers interviewing you. Make a LinkedIn profile to advertise yourself and connect with alumni and professionals. LinkedIn is essentially an online resume so utilize it!

Step Two: Meet with an advisor in your academic department or in the CSS. The faculty will guide you toward the right employment databases or even offer you the names of professionals to contact and network with. Resume building should also be addressed early on. It’s important to market yourself in the best way possible, but there is a standard format to do so.

Step Three: Apply to jobs and prepare for the nerve-wracking interview process. It’s especially important to practice common interview questions and answers and to research the companies before interviewing. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for a meeting with an employer. It’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. Conservatively, stain and wrinkle-free is the way to go. Most importantly, be patient, keep your options open, and maintain motivation.