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Managing the Job Search as a Busy College Student

Grace Crane, C'20
Career Center Intern

As a college student, I know all too well the seemingly overwhelming task of applying for jobs while simultaneously working toward my degree. Searching and applying for jobs can feel like a college course in itself; there is plenty of reading, research, note-taking, and preparation that occurs throughout the process. But don’t let hunting for jobs bog you down during the semester. The key to managing the job search, while also maintaining a busy academic schedule, is to stay organized. Here are some tips to help you manage your time wisely and get your career search started on the right foot.

Begin by organizing your desk space. Make sure that you have adequate lighting and a quiet environment to help you stay focused. Then, create a filing system that includes a log to keep track of your job or internship leads. Whenever you send an email, make a business phone call, or send in a résumé and cover letter, record that information with the date and the name of the receiver. Next time you visit the Career Center, be sure to grab a pre-made follow-up log sheet to record that important information and help you stay organized.

I also recommend investing in a professional notebook where you can write down contact information, job leads or career-related notes. Keep this notebook with you at all times, and record any new ideas or company information that you may come across throughout your day. You should also buy a calendar or weekly planner to mark down deadlines, important events and appointments; keep all of these items on one calendar, whether they are personal or job-related, for easy scheduling. You don’t want to overbook yourself!

Once you’ve organized your office space and own a planner, create a schedule dedicated to your search. Map out an overview of your schedule and determine a timeline that works best for you. If the search becomes too daunting, and you feel immobilized by the fear of a never-ending job hunt, devote at least one action to career preparation every day. However, if you have the time, I advise that you try incorporating the “Rule of Three” in your everyday routine. Three of anything should never be too overwhelming, as there is always a clear beginning, middle and end. This rule recommends that you break down your search by sectioning your tasks into small groups of threes.

For example, say one day that you plan to make three phone calls to inquire about job openings. Make one call in the morning, one at lunch and one in afternoon. This could also go for sending résumés or emails, and calling your connections to discuss any job or networking opportunities. If you do this every workday for just one month, you will have contacted 60 people!

Another great way to alleviate some of the career-seeking stress is to continuously do your research. Start by identifying your top three fields and positions of interest. Stay up-to-date on any current trends or major news stories occurring in these industries or companies by reading the news at least once a day. Following the current events of your desired career field can prove to employers that you are truly invested and knowledgeable of the field.  As a bonus, knowledge of the industry can act as great fodder for impressive interview conversation.

Career Center professionals are here to help you manage the stress of applying to jobs, and to provide you with the best possible resources for career preparation. If you would like assistance with your career planning, make an appointment with the Career Center online at or by emailing We look forward to working with you!

Grace Crane, C'20
Career Center Intern