How College Seniors Can Prepare for Their Job Search

Find out how Thomas Ward, an executive director of career development, helps his graduates get hired.

By Ashley Henshaw | February 17, 2017

Building your resume through internships and community service can make finding a job a little easier.
Photo: Thinkstock

As college seniors near their graduation date, the search to find a job intensifies. As a college grad, they’ll finally have the degree they need to land a position. To learn how students should make the most of their job search, we spoke with Thomas J. Ward, Jr., Executive Director of the Center for Career Development at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. Read his insider tips for getting a head start on your job hunt.

The students who are getting hired are leveraging their internship experiences by gaining practical work experience.

What are some of the unique challenges that students face with today's competitive job market?

Thomas J. Ward, Jr: “In this highly competitive market, it is imperative that students participate in experiential learning or ‘learning by doing’ experiences. Not only do students need to excel in the classroom and engage in the various experiential learning opportunities such as internships, study abroad, community service and research projects, but students need to be instructed on how to ‘package’ and market these experiences and learned skill sets to prospective employers in an effective and professional manner.”

When should college students start using career planning services at school?

TW: “It is never too early for students to begin their career preparation. Students certainly do not need to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives in their freshman year, but they should start thinking about three things:

  • What am I am good at?
  • What do I like to do?
  • What are the opportunities associated with these?

“At Adelphi University, The Center for Career Development has made a concerted effort to engage students early in their academic careers. In fact, even before students set foot in their first class, our office presents at new student orientation and informs them about our programs and services. A Four-Year Career Plan has been instituted. This plan provides students with stepping stones to promote career awareness, make professional connections, and gain a competitive advantage. We help students in executing this plan by providing workshops on career-related topics such as resume/cover letter writing, interviewing skills, internship exploration, campus employment and job search techniques.”

Internships are a great way to learn new skills and gain professional contacts.
Photo: Thinkstock

What on-campus resources can a student utilize to prepare for their job search?

TW: “Students should work closely with their Career Services and Alumni Relations Offices. They should also seek to build enriching relationships with faculty in their desired fields and key administrators on campus. For example, if a student is interested in sports management, they should seek employment at the University's Athletic Department. By working in a department related to their career interests, they are more likely to build productive mentoring relationships and secure professional references.

“Our office facilitates many programs designed to bring students, alumni, and employers together through career fairs, alumni networking events, a Leadership Certificate Program, employer information presentations and our campus recruitment program.”

What steps can students take to increase their chances of getting a job after graduation?

TW: “The students who are getting hired are leveraging their internship experiences by gaining practical work experience, acquiring industry specific skill sets, making a positive impact in the organization and establishing professional contacts.”

Use these tips to increase your chances of landing a great job after graduation. To learn more about how to reach your career goals, check out Campus Explorer’s Career Information Guide.

Quick Tips

  • Get to know your college’s career center. Utilize their resources and tools – for example, you can ask them for tips on how to improve your resume.
  • Make connections with alumni and professors. These individuals are some of the best resources for internship and job opportunities, and they can provide solid career advice in your field.
  • Work on building your resume. Become involved with campus organizations, get an internship, learn a new skill, etc.

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