Cailyn McCutcheon, Account Executive
For students, the fall semester of senior year can be a time of football games, bonfires and enjoying much needed connection with friends. For communications majors like myself, the fall semester also includes the dreaded job search anxiety as classmates in business, engineering and technology majors are securing full-time positions while the communications positions are far from opening. If you’re like me, I can’t sit still and just let another friend that has graduated, tell me to wait until March or April to start applying to jobs. Here are some of my tips for what you can be doing now to benefit you when applying to jobs later.
Find out what didn’t work, and why.
We’re the go-getters, the overachievers, the “I applied to 25 internships last summer.” However, for some of those internships, your application was off, your qualifications were inadequate or the interview didn’t go just right. I advise using this time to review what internships you applied for in the past and reflecting on what possibly went wrong. I suggest making an excel spreadsheet listing the companies you have applied for, when you applied and if you did or did not hear back. Include any other details about the process that might sway you to apply again or perhaps decide to delete that company from your list all together.
Schedule an appointment with an advisor – even though you know what they’re going to say.
Career advisors are going to advise that you’re early, but that’s okay. It’s better to be early than late. Start talking to your advisor now, letting them know your interests and your past experiences. I suggest at least one appointment with an advisor in the fall semester and one appointment in the spring semester. Building a genuine bond with a career advisor is only going to help him or her learn who you are and what type of position might suit you best. I can infer that no advisor will be overly inclined to help a student visiting for the first time in April.
Start talking. Start networking.
Once you have acknowledged and accepted that most jobs you are finding are looking for December graduates or alumni, or interns for the summer, reach out to your connections anyway. Now is the time to connect with a friend from your major that landed an incredible job and find out how they did it. Go on LinkedIn and stalk the people holding the titles you want and ask if they would like to chat for 20-30 minutes on the phone about how they came into their roles. If you live close to the office, invite them to grab a coffee. These informal conversations are highly beneficial, so when that job application does go live, you already know more about the company than other applicants and the company might already know about you.
Putting in the work now will only pay off in the spring!