Imagine that graduation day has come and gone. Your college buddy has been accepted to law school and your best friend is traveling around the world. You, on the other hand, are spending the summer doing laundry for your on-again, off-again roommates — your parents.
You dread the daily chorus, “So when are you going to get a job?” as they demand proof of your job search progress. And even though you’ve spent the last few weeks sending out resumes, your favorite Fortune 500 company still hasn’t offered you a job.
If you haven’t already begun the process of looking for a job, you could end up in this very scenario. “A number of students expect to graduate and immediately be offered a secure, high-paying job with a well-known employer,” says Janet Jones, manager of internship services at Rutgers University Career Services in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “They sit and wait, thinking a job is going to come to them,” she says.
However, only a few actually receive immediate offers. Perhaps this reality check inspires 20% of nearly 1.2 million graduates of four-year colleges and universities to head straight to graduate and professional schools each year. Still, many students choose not to delay this inevitable adulthood rite-of-passage, and begin their search long before the pomp and circumstance.
Tangala Ash was an early bird. “I wanted to get job hunting out of the way because I didn’t want to be stressed later,” says Ash, a 1997 graduate of Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. “I got started in the beginning of my senior year. I took advantage of every service and opportunity provided on campus, from the career center to on-campus job fairs.”
Three months before graduation, she landed a job as an analyst with Andersen Consulting in Denver.
Getting a job after college doesn’t have to be torture. In fact, it can be virtually painless if you prepare early and exercise time management diligently. By combining that with the following tips, you can increase your chances of finding work soon.
Tip #1: Focus on your studies and career.
Most of your college activities should support your postgraduate plans. You should major in your career field, but you can minor in an unrelated area. Get involved with campus organizations connected with your career choice.
“Major-specific clubs are an excellent way to network with people who could be your future colleagues,” says Ash, a Zeta Phi Beta soror and member of Phi Beta Lambda, an honors business organization.
She advises students to strike a balance between academics and extracurricular activities. “Don’t become so involved with campus activities that your grades suffer,” says Ash, who maintained a 3.2 G.P.A. in her information systems major. .BI.-Tip #2: Do your homework.
Jones recommends that college students begin researching careers of interest in their freshman year. However, if you haven’t been to your campus career center yet, don’t worry-it’s not too late to get started.
Familiarize yourself with the available resources. Inquire about various career related workshops and find out when recruiting companies will be on