Finding a Job - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Finding a Job

The job search really begins as soon as you enter college – that's when you'll begin to focus on understanding the career you want and developing the skills you need to be successful at that job.

You can take steps for finding the right job each year you're in college. (If you didn't start as a freshman, don't panic – just look over the list and see what you can do now.)

Freshman Year

Start early to get ready for life after college.

  • Begin to explore careers at your college career center.
  • If you haven't done so yet, write your resume. Revise it as you accomplish more in college.
  • Join campus organizations and clubs related to your professional interests.
  • Look for work in your chosen career field during the school year and summer break.

Sophomore Year

Continue your plans and prepare for your future.

  • Declare your major if you now know what you want to do.
  • Talk to several employers in your career field so you understand it better. (Keep in contact with them for future job leads.)
  • Start to build a personal network of professors, professionals and other students who may be able to help you later (and who you may be able to help).
  • Continue to work in your chosen career field during the school year and summer break.

Junior Year

Now is the time to make sure you've got everything under control.

  • Make sure you have good relationships with professors and department heads in your major. They are:
    • Good people to use as references for jobs.
    • Often able to refer employers to promising students.
  • Run for office in student government or student groups to develop leadership experience.
  • Talk to more employers in your career field in informal settings.
  • Look for a summer job as close to your chosen career as possible.

Senior Year

Spend this year looking for a job and preparing for your career.

  • Focus any special classroom projects or essays on your major or profession.
  • Create a cover letter that you can adapt for various job opportunities.
  • Polish your resume and begin sending it out for interesting openings.
  • Keep talking to employers about your career choice.
  • See recruiters visiting your campus. Recruiter visits are great for:
    • Networking and establishing contacts.
    • Polishing interview skills.
  • Take advantage of career center programs, workshops and job fairs.

Job Search Strategies

Use these strategies to help you in your job search.

  • Use your personal network of friends and family to help you get your foot in the door.
  • Set up and use casual meetings to find out more about employers and jobs.
  • Become an intern (paid or unpaid) at a company you would like to work for.
  • Shadow a person in your chosen field to gain experience and develop contacts.
  • Tap into your school's or your program's alumni group for career advice.
  • Join professional organizations related to your chosen field.
  • Think about temping for a company. You can meet people in your field for future networking and possibly work into a full-time position.

 

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