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Senior Year Job Search Timeline

As Thanksgiving and Christmas Break approach, think about how you will spend your free time in addition to eating turkey, shopping for Christmas presents, and decorating the tree. These few weeks off before the final semester of your college career are really important. Read the following recommendations on how to productively spend the upcoming holiday breaks and the remainder of your college career. The more prepared you are, the more likely you will be to find a job before or soon after graduation.

Thanksgiving Break

Although this break is short, try to devote some time to job searching. Update your resume, create or update your LinkedIn profile, and write draft cover letters. You can customize your draft cover letter every time you apply to a job - this will save you time when you begin submitting applications in January. Research and take note of the hiring timelines for different industries and companies. Formulate a plan for the next few months based on these deadlines - you do not want to miss a job application deadline. Taking these small steps now will help you be more prepared for the future.

Christmas Break

Try to set up an informational interview or two. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about careers in a specific industry or company that interests you. Also, find several references who are willing to write letters of recommendation. These may include professors at the Mount, your boss at work, or a colleague. As you attend holiday gatherings, keep your eyes and ears open; you might meet someone who can help you get a job or you might hear about a potential job opportunity. Now is a good time to make sure that you have professional clothes and shoes to wear for job interviews. Also, find a professional portfolio that you can bring with you on job interviews. Consider buying an interview-only bag in which to keep your portfolio, notepad and pens, updated copies of your resume, business cards, and any other necessities. Also consider buying resume paper – this will make your resume stand out to the hiring manager.
 

January

Find a way to keep track of all your job applications – you can use a chart on Word or Excel, a notebook, an app on your phone, or a website. Stop by the Career Center and pick up one of their free job search charts. Whatever method you use, keep track of the company’s name, the hiring manager’s name and contact information, the position you applied for, the date you applied, the date of any follow-ups, and notes or results from these follow-ups. It is really important to stay organized during the job application process so that you can reference your recorded information when you receive a follow up phone call or email.
 

February

Follow companies you are interested in on social media to stay informed about their hiring process and deadlines. Attend events on campus that are geared towards seniors, especially the Career Fair, which will be held on Tuesday, February 13th from 3-5pm in Patriot Hall. Come professionally dressed and ready to deliver an elevator pitch and your resume to potential employers. Keep a close eye on hiring timelines and apply for jobs with early deadlines.
 

March/April

The majority of job interviews happen during March and April. If you want to prepare for an upcoming job interview, schedule a mock interview with the Career Center. A staff member will role play as your job interviewer and ask you questions about the company and position for which you are applying. This is a great way to practice and feel prepared for the actual job interview. Once you receive a job offer, let your network know that you have found a position and are no longer looking for employment. Make sure to thank everyone who helped you get the job.
 
This timeline is just an example of how you can prepare for your career during the last few months of college. You can certainly do a mock interview in January–in fact, this is strongly encouraged. Regardless of the order in which you perform these tasks, you will be paving the way for your future career. If you need assistance along the way, pop into the Career Center and meet with a staff member or attend one of their events. You won’t regret it!