Job Hunting During College – It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint

Just like most things in life, the internship and job hunting process in college should be viewed and experienced as a journey, not a sprint.

Sadly, the reality is that most college students put off building their “foundation” until senior year, which translates to more work and stress on top of what’s already a jam-packed time of higher level classes, projects, interview prep, and interviews mixed with last parties, events, and trips with friends.

Add to that the pressure by parents who have invested upwards of six figures on higher education while spending next to nothing on career planning, resume and interview prep, and reputation management auditing, and you have a recipe for friction and frustration. Students need their parents to be their biggest supporters and cheerleaders, not their job search managers.

The good news is that a sound foundation can be built early and added to throughout the college experience just like building a house.  Let’s walk through 4 years.

Freshman Year:

  • Adjust to school

  • Focus on building new friendships/relationships

  • Build social profiles and grow your network

  • Begin career research – start following companies and industries of interest

  • Visit Career Center – apply for jobs or study abroad

Sophomore Year:

  • Refine social profiles, add to your network

  • Nurture relationships with professors

  • Research and get involved in clubs, service organizations …

  • Follow industries, companies, and people of interest on social media

  • Check the Career Center early – apply for job or study abroad

  • Reach out for informational interviews – try to have a minimum of 2 few interviewss ahead of time

Junior Year:

  • Create other social profiles if needed based on major and new platforms

  • Add to your network – people (professors, managers, peers) and recommendations

  • Join additional clubs or go deeper in existing ones (leadership position)

  • Refine industries, companies, and people to follow based on career interest

  • Schedule 2-3 informational interviews throughout the year

  • Visit Career Center early and often – most critical summer for internships

Senior Year:

  • Refine social profiles, continue to grow your network

  • Search for people within the network at specific companies that may be of interest and reach out

  • Actively engage on social platforms with companies and key influencers

  • Check in with the Career Center at the beginning of the year to understand key interview timeframe, resume deadlines, etc.

  • Create stories for key interview questions and practice, practice, practice

Throughout college, in addition to the steps above:

  • Manage online and offline reputation – audit it often

  • Continuously update your resume – print and online profiles

  • Look for service opportunities where skills can be built in addition to internship opportunities

 

As you can see, there’s much to be done and all activities can be done early.  Get off to a quick start so senior year is as stress-free as possible.

 

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