Job Searching in Your Final Semester of College

todayMarch 23, 2023 47 1 5

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By Amaya Lewis
Culture Assistant

As graduation nears and my journey at Texas State makes its way to an end, there has been a lot of reflection and preparation for life as a fully working adult.

Going from high school straight into college, you gain more freedom than you had previously while living under the watchful eyes of your family, though it somehow feels like a trial period before starting your life as a full-fledged adult. You had spent all your life as a student, so entering college only adds a little more independence to a life you already are familiar with.

However, unlike senior year of high school, and unless you plan to get a master’s degree next, there’s no additional trial period after you graduate college and begin making your way into the workforce; that can be a little intimidating.

Starting from the beginning of winter break, I began updating my LinkedIn, resume and embarking on the early stages of job hunting, feeling the pressure on whether the experiences I’ve gained at college have granted me the necessary skills to be successful at the job I intend to pursue.

Practicing proper interview skills and spending endless hours scrolling on LinkedIn and job posting boards to see what out there fits both my interests and skillset has become a part of my daily routine.

So, for those who may be currently experiencing this or soon to be entering their final year at Texas State, I’m hoping to share some insight on what I’ve learned so far, along with a realistic, personalized aspect from someone still struggling to figure this adult thing out.

Don’t delay your job search

College can be stressful in addition to maintaining work, extracurricular activities and a healthy social life. Because of that, it can feel nerve-racking to begin the job search and even easier to put it off. Though, if there’s anything I’ve learned from job hunting, start your search as early as possible! Whether you have tons of experience or none, landing a job isn’t always going to happen instantaneously and, unfortunately, it can take up to several months.

As such, even if you feel like your resume isn’t strong enough yet and you want to build more experiences first, you feel overwhelmed by job searching so you put it off, or you simply are procrastinating because you don’t know when you should start, go ahead and begin that job search! It will save you a lot of stress once your graduation nears.

Rejection happens

As with most things in life, goals, unfortunately, do not always go as planned, especially in the job market. While I don’t want to scare you or make you feel discouraged, the reality is that you will experience more rejection than not in the initial stages of your job search. I have been applying to jobs since December and have received mostly no responses and several rejections, which can lead to feeling sad and more worried each time.

However, something to remember is that everyone starts somewhere! Whether you have a stacked resume with an assortment of skills or not, lots of people are also applying for the same jobs as you, so be patient! Just as I am still very hopeful to receive news from a job in the future, it will happen for you, too, as there are still plenty of jobs out there that would be happy to have and work with you where you’re at experience-wise.

Don’t wait too long to design and update your resume or cover letter

There are tons of resume and cover letter templates out there, yet it can be hard to pick the right one both personally and for the type of jobs you are applying for. For instance, some jobs prefer colorful designs on their applicants’ resumes/cover letters, whereas others want black and white only. Some companies prefer a resume to be written in chronological order, while others favor functional or combination design.

Either way, don’t get so caught up deciding on the templates and figuring out how to make your resume or cover letter to the point that you avoid doing it in general. If you need help, there are plenty of websites online like Zety and Myperfectresume that help you find templates and fill in your information, so make sure you have several resumes ready to go that are crafted for the specific jobs you’re applying for to make applying go quicker.

Don’t set your expectations too high for your first job

When I first began my job search, I was applying for mid to senior-level positions with extensive benefits simply because I thought the description of the job fit within what I could do and what I was passionate about doing.

However, I failed to consider the fact that even if I want to do something and I feel I built up my skills in college for it, that doesn’t equate to me actually being ready for the job to where I’m able to fairly compete with the 200+ applicants that probably have extensive experience and skills in comparison.

Most of us don’t have enough experience beyond entry-level, so don’t let unrealistic expectations be the thing that keeps you from applying to jobs you’re more qualified for and likely to get. You gaining that entry-level experience can help you either progress higher within the company you’re working for or gain knowledge for the jobs that are currently out of reach.

Always keep trying to learn more skills even while applying for jobs

This one can be started early in your college career, but for those that spent the first few years of their undergraduate degree simply focused on having fun and/or just making sure they have good grades, use your junior and senior year to start building skills that you want for your career or can be transmissible.

Even in my final semester of college, I’m still looking into different writing techniques, communication strategies and anything I feel would help me in my specific career search. It’s never too late to learn something new even while, in your job search during that final semester, it can feel like that.

Keep a portfolio of your work

A lot of employers will ask to see your work to know what you can do. In my case, I just created a section on my resume to include a link to my notable projects, which I found is very helpful as opposed to having to attach your work piece by piece in separate attachment files.

If your work was published somewhere, include a link to that website. There’s also the option of creating a website purely dedicated to being a portfolio for your work. I would recommend Wix, SquareSpace, or WordPress as a few options.

Final Takeaways

To finish off, as stated earlier, be patient! Keep track of your applications, update your resume and cover letters specifically for the jobs you’re applying for, create a LinkedIn account and try to network and build connections there. Most importantly, remember you’re young. Things won’t always initially go as planned the first time; I have to remind my perfectionist self that every day. But it will work out!

Job searching in the last semester can be very intimidating, as is starting a life completely away from the comfort of school we’re familiar with. But good things are only yet to come and there’s so much to be hopeful for, so don’t get discouraged! From a fellow job searcher and graduating senior, we’re going to be okay.

Written by: Hannah Walls

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