Job Search Tips and Job Timeline for New Grads

An employment timeline and job search tips for new college graduates.

Photo: Thinkstock

By Christopher Geno

New college grads tend to be first-time job seekers, so they need their own set of job search tips for effective job hunting. New graduates don’t have the same kind of experience as other job seekers, but there are still plenty of things they can do to make the job search process easier.

Ideally, your job search process begins before you’ve even graduated.

If you’re a new grad, follow this job timeline and take advantage of as many of these job search tips as you can to find a job with ease.

Job Timeline for New College Grads

6 Months Before Graduation

Ideally, your job search process begins before you’ve even graduated. Your last year of school will be busy, but try to find time to follow these job search tips during your last semester of college:

  • Figure out what kind of jobs or careers you’re interested in.
  • Figure out what jobs you are best suited for by identifying your strengths and job skills.
  • Start developing a resume and cover letter. Use a sample resume and cover letter as a template.
  • Attend any remaining career fairs your school sets up.
  • Take advantage of mock interviews or other job skill workshops provided.
  • Start finding jobs online and through friends, family, professors and colleagues.
  • Look for college work-study or internships in your prospective field.

It’s important to follow through with these job search tips as soon as possible. Career fairs and workshops provided by your school will be easily accessible, free or cheap, and will be attended by employers specifically looking for new graduates and young employees.

It’s also helpful to start looking for jobs right away and building your network of contacts. Even if you don’t find a job this early, you get a sense of the kind of jobs that are available, what skills they require, and who can help you find them.

3 Months Before Graduation

Begin to focus more time on applying and gathering what you will need for job seeking and interviewing.

  • Find references: Ask professors and old supervisors from high school jobs or college work-study.
  • Ask for letters of recommendation. Experienced job seekers don’t use them, but for new grads, a letter from a professor can prove to employers that you are hard working and trustworthy.
  • Apply to jobs and follow up all applications with emails or phone calls.
  • Schedule job interviews and follow up all interviews with thank you notes.
  • Continue to network
  • If a good job comes along, accept it!

At this point in the job search process, the best-case scenario is a job lined up for you right after you graduate. At the very least, you’ve given yourself great momentum and the skills and material necessary to find a job.

After Graduation

Even if you’ve already graduated, you can still use our job search tips to help you find a job.

  • Update your resume to reflect your new degree. You’ve earned it.
  • Make sure you have housing and income now that you’re out of school. Even if it means staying with your college restaurant job.
  • Continue to apply for jobs, schedule interviews and follow up on everything.

If you already graduated and haven’t done everything listed above, remember that it’s never too late to start. While these job search tips are especially relevant to new grads, all job seekers can expect increased success after taking these points to heart.


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