September 10, 2019
Senior year of college is stressful enough without the additional pressure of finding a job or impressive internship to start immediately after graduation. Between challenging classes, on-campus jobs, senior thesis research, and trying to savor fun moments with friends, you will probably find yourself pressed for time in every area of your life. As someone who struggled with this balance, I am here to offer some advice on how to best manage the job search while in school full time.
First, start applying early. Although I had applied to jobs and internships prior to senior year, I had no idea how to apply for jobs that required a bachelor’s degree. Suddenly there were so many more jobs that I could apply for and yet I had a difficult time determining what I was qualified for. The positions often had vague descriptions or were categorized as “entry level” but required three years of relevant experience. Figuring out how to sift through job listings to identify ones that are actually meant for recent college grads can take time to master. For that reason, it is best to start your job search as early as possible.
My second piece of advice is for those students who tend to prioritize schoolwork above all else. I know that an essay due tomorrow can feel far more pressing than applying for a job that would begin three months from now, but in order to truly make progress in your job search, you must treat it like a class. You would never just take a week off of classes and you should never take a week off of the job search. This doesn’t mean you have to apply to ten jobs every week, but do something, no matter how small, that will be beneficial to your job search. Update your resume, make an appointment at your school’s career center, or follow up on an application you already sent. These small steps can make a big difference over time. It can also be helpful to set aside a specific time every week, much like a class, to dedicate as career-building time. Every Tuesday morning for two hours I would work on the job search. Having this time marked in my calendar held me accountable and was sometimes even a pleasant break from my relentless schoolwork.
My final piece of advice centers around how to manage a job search. Although you are likely used to managing projects in school, beginning a project as large and long-term as a job search can be intimidating. The best way to handle this feeling of intimidation is with careful project management and organization. Trello and Excel can both be very useful during this process. For those who are not familiar with Trello, it is a web-based application for making to-do lists. When applying for multiple jobs at the same time, Trello can be great for managing each step and making sure that you don’t miss any important deadlines. Similarly, using an Excel spreadsheet is an efficient way to organize job applications. In the spreadsheet you can record the position title, link to the job description, contact information of anyone you had been in touch with, the date of when you applied, and application status. This makes it a lot easier to track when you should follow up on an application or re-access the job description should you get invited to interview.
Managing a job search while also trying to maintain the grades you need to obtain a job can be challenging. I hope these tips help you navigate the process more easily.
Mia Ratino, Talent Pool Intern, American Geophysical Union