/ Asked by August
I am currently attending a four-year college and will graduate next spring. I don't have a job lined up yet, but I'm told it is best to get this sorted out early in January or February. If you were to pick the top three things I should do when I get back to school what would they be?
Answered by John, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on Wednesday, December 11, 2013
It is important to first figure out what career paths interest you most and start researching companies and positions that are of interest to you. Many companies come back to campus in the spring semester for career fairs, information sessions, networking events, etc. so the next step would be to attend these events in order to network and learn what kind of positions they have available for graduating students. It would be beneficial to also set up time to speak with advisors within your Career Center, in addition to professors as well as peers that might be looking for a similar position after graduation to learn about the strategies they are taking to attain a job. The third and last step would be to being applying to positions of interest to you in addition to initiating and continuing relationships you make with recruiters throughout the semester from various companies.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until you are back on campus to get a jump start with the job search. Utilize the time you might have over your school break to start researching companies and jobs that are available to students graduating in the spring that best fits with your particular major and experiences. Aside from looking on your college career site, look on company websites for available positions as well as their social media pages. Many times, companies also post available positions on job sites that they know are frequented by students. You never know what you might find!
Also, there shouldn’t be pressure to have a job by January or February. You don’t want to have to settle on a job due to a pre-determined timeline just because it might be the first offer you receive. Long term, that isn’t fair to you or the company you end up accepting a job from. Sometimes it takes the length of the semester or longer to obtain a job that best aligns with your career goals, which is totally fine. Good luck!
Answered by Megan, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on Thursday, December 12, 2013
1. Narrow down companies of interest. Many companies do not know what positions they will have available for new grads until 60-90 days out, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until then to determine the type of company or position that you would like to land. Start thinking about what is important to you in a company: Perhaps you know that you want to work for a non-profit? Maybe you want a position that allows for a healthy work life balance? Make a list of your “must haves” and “nice to haves.” Then, begin to research companies and pull together a list of organizations that meet your needs to target when it comes time to start applying.
2. Perfect your resume. The job market for new graduates is highly competitive, which means recruiters can be highly selective and there is no room for error. Be sure your resume is current, grammatically correct and free of errors of any kind. If you have your resume up-to-date, you will be stress free and ready to apply the minute an opportunity presents itself.
3. Enjoy your last few months as a college student! It is definitely important to set yourself up for success, but once you have your ducks in a row, take some time to soak up the greatness of college. If your schedule allows, take a fun elective class, go on a road trip with friends or volunteer for an organization that is near and dear to your heart. Bottom line, don’t stress over finding your first job. You will find a job, in the meantime pat yourself on the back for all of your hard work and enjoy the ride!
Answered by Kelly, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on Thursday, December 12, 2013
Good for you for planning ahead and thinking of your future! If you have not yet done so, an internship or co-op is a great start. It provides you with hands on experience and skills you can’t get from the classroom. It also gives you networking opportunities. Networking is my #2 suggestion. Building your network and expanding your connections sheds light on opportunities that you may have otherwise missed. It’s more than searching on the internet for a job. It’s talking to the real employees and getting a feel for the culture. My final suggestion would be to take advantage of the events at your school. Attend career fairs, networking events, lectures, anything that exposes you to real employers. Start doing your research now on companies you are interested in. Be sure to update your resume and have someone from Career Services at your school to look over it with you. I’m sending you my early congratulations on your graduation!
Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on Monday, December 16, 2013
When you return from winter break I would suggest you meet with the career office to indentify which companies will be on campus interviewing strudents for the spring recruiting period. That generally takes place in February and March with offers following in the March/April time-frame.  The top three focus areas should be:

1. Ensure your resume is up to date including any internships you have had
2. Prepare for the interview, seperate yourself from the other students by explaining what types of organizations, clubs you have been involved with.  Having more than just classes and grades are critical to shine above other students
3. Do you homework on the companies you will be interviewing with.  Take the time to prep for your interview. The more you know about the company the better you will be.

Good luck!
Answered by Jillian, Hiring Expert at DuPont, on Tuesday, December 17, 2013
This is a great question and I think a lot of other soon to be grads are probably asking the same thing. My top three things to do when you get back to school would be the following:

1. Don’t wait to start the search until you get back to school. Do it now! A lot of our hiring takes place prior to the holiday break even for students that do not graduate until May or June of 2014. We make offers and hope for acceptances now so that we are all set for next year and we aren’t left scrambling.
2. Make sure all of your social media outlets are either up to date, because they are job networking sites, or are very private because they are social media sites. Make sure you test out your privacy settings just to be sure you know what people can see and you are comfortable with how much they can see. Then start your networking immediately. Make connections; start talking with people, post questions (like you have done here), interesting articles, etc. so your profile is active.
3. Look for career fairs, interview sessions or information sessions that are coming to your university or a location near you. Meeting an employer face to face at one of these events can be a great way to break down the barrier to secure an interview. Dress for success, have an updated and professional resume and make sure you visit every company that sounds interesting to you.
Best of luck to you!
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Hi there and congratulations! Graduating from college is a big accomplishment and a great start to kicking off your professional career. I also tip my hat to you that you are taking proactive steps to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. You have invested all this time in your education and you will need no less of an investment to figure out your next move.

To kick it off, let’s talk networking. Networking is a key ingredient to any successful job search and chances are good you are already a rock star at it. Who do you know? Friends, colleagues, faculty, peers at your internship (we’ll come back to this one), parents of your friends who work in lines of business that intrigue you…you name it and this is your network. Feeling a little light in the network department? It’s time to start talking to people you know about who you are and what you can do.
Which brings us nicely to part 2, what are the What/When/Where/Who elements of the job you seek? You can cast a wide net, but you are going to come back with a smorgasbord of possibilities that may not fit with your goals. So as much as the heat is on to find a job, take the time to figure out what you want, when you want it, where you will be working and who you will be working with. Find a good spot where you can learn about a business that truly interests you in a work culture that is a good fit for you. How will you know? Use that great network you’ve built to ask questions, do some information interviewing and spend time researching.

Last thought, so you didn’t line up an internship during the busy days of classes? No problem, there is still time. Internships are available post-graduation if you know where to look. Seek out Leadership Development Programs in your industry of choice. A lot of recruiting gets done for these types of programs in the fall, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a spot for you. It is time to get that foot in the door, so get out there and make some noise!

Good luck!
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