July 7, 2010

Back to School Advice for College Seniors

If you are getting ready for the start of your senior year of college, this is an exciting and empowering time.

You have just one year left of college, and while the “real world” is right around the corner, you can still enjoy the cushy protection of your academic home for two more semesters. In the meantime, however, there is no small amount of work to be done to prepare yourself for graduation — and I’m not even talking about your senior thesis. I’m referring to making final decisions about graduate school or career choices.

We all hope that by next May the economy will be in a full recovery, but today those odds are looking rather long. If you wan to be sure you’re ready for life after graduation, check out these three back to school tips for college seniors:

It’s never to early to network.

Whether you are going for your dream job in engineering, or you haven’t gotten the faintest idea what you want to be when you grow up, networking is a great way to figure it out! Start by making a list of everyone you know who might be able to be helpful in your career exploration — from professors and past colleagues to job supervisors and even friends of the family! Draft an email to send to each one of these people, asking for face-to-face meeting or ‘virual’ help in figuring out your next steps. Before you know it, you may have networked your way into a job!

Review your resume.

Writing a resume can be a daunting task — especially since the job is never really done. A good resume is formatted well, written in active voice, focused on measurable success stories, and free of errors. A great resume is all those things, plus constantly tweaked each time it’s submitted speak so that it speaks to the specific needs of the job. If the thought of writing your resume freaks you out, come check out our advice on the JobMonkey, and seek out the competent, professional advice of your on-campus Career Planning Center. You might even find workshops or individual counseling sessions to help you perfect your resume.

Jump in with both feet.

I know that your senior year is a busy — and fun — time of your life, but here’s one more thing to put on your to do list: Finding an internship or volunteer placement that rounds out your academic know-how. If you really want to get a leg up on your competition, interning is a great way to build skills, make connections and discover what truly makes you tick.

How are you planning to make the most of your senior year?

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