You’ve heard it time and time again. You’re a senior this year? What are you going to do after you graduate? From parents and friends to people you meet on the street, it seems like everyone is asking you this question. And although you might have an idea about what field you want to go in, or what type of company you want to work for, there’s little guarantee that you’ll know for sure how to answer it. In order to start preparing for what lies ahead of you after graduation, here’s a senior year checklist to keep in mind when you go back to school for the final time.
- Make Career Services your best friend. If you want to worry less about your job search, visit career services as much as possible. They’re there to help you with everything from finding a job to perfecting your interview skills. Make sure to read about How to Use Career Services to Your Advantage for further tips.
- Research fields you’re interested in. Have an interest in finance but don’t know which job would be right for you? Senior year is the time to figure out what kinds of jobs are offered in each field, and which would be primarily geared towards your skill set. The best way to narrow things down is to talk to friends or family that hold different positions and ask them about their favorite (and least favorite) parts of their job.
- Keep in touch with alumni. It’s strange to look at your previously graduated friends as job connections, but the majority of people find a position based on who they know. Remember all those friends you had that already graduated? Don’t be afraid to reach out and see how they are! Work on re-connecting and building friendships with alumni throughout your senior year.
- Make new friends!You may think that after three years, it’s too late to make new friends. Wrong! There’s always potential to create new friendships and connections your senior year. The more friends you have, the more opportunities you may hear about down the road.
- Perfect your resume. As previously said, you can work with Career Services to make sure you have the perfect resume (or resumes) for the jobs you will be applying to later in the year. But another option is to run it by somebody already in the industry. Ask your parents if they know anyone in the field who can give you specific insight into what they search for in entry-level candidates.
- Have at least 1 professor you can ask for a recommendation. Many jobs will ask for a recommendation letter. By the end of your senior year, make sure there is at least one professor you are close enough with who knows your strengths and attributes and won’t hesitate to write a great recommendation for you.
- Have a writing sample ready for employers. Nobody wants to read that twenty page paper you wrote on the economics of Siberia. Although short writing assignments are unusual to come by after your sophomore year, employers are searching for a 1-2 page document highlighting your writing skills. If you wrote a piece in a previous internship or job, that might be a great starting point. If not, feel free to write a piece specifically geared for applications requesting a sample. And don’t forget to edit!
- Contact the company/companies you’ve had previous experience with. Reaching out to previous positions you’ve held during the summer will show that you are still interested in working for their company. Even if there aren’t any open positions, keeping in contact with them is also a great way to find another person to write you a letter of recommendation.
- Get involved. College is the easiest time to join a bunch of groups with people who are interested in the same things you are.See if there are any business groups on campus or clubs that might have connections in the field you’re looking to break into. Or just find an activity that you’re interested in and make some new friends! It doesn’t always have to be job-related.
- Have fun! Even if you haven’t quite come to terms with it yet, you’re a senior. It’s your last year of college and the real world is fast approaching. It’s going to be stressful and frustrating at times, but the best way to forget about that is to have some fun.
At OneWire, our goal is to not only help students find a job, but find one that you are truly excited about. Visit our site to create a free online profile to search and connect with over 450 top employers in the finance industry. For more career advice, check out our Career Resources page, featuring interviews with leading industry CEOs on how they made it to the top.