Tips for Seniors

Donald Asher, author of How to Get a Job with Any Major, From College to Career, and Graduate Admissions Essays has assembled a list of tips for graduating seniors. Consider the following advice when planning your final undergraduate year of college.

  • First week of class, visit your career center and explore all support available to you that will make this transitional year a success; at the very least, get that final resume polish and pursue interview training from the career center.
  • Prepare in the first semester to get a career-launching job or post-graduation summer internship; plot out a year’s search activities with your career counselor.
  • First week of class, meet with professors about your graduate school plans, seek their advice, and identify potential authors of letters of recommendation.
  • In September and October, get all your non-med graduate school applications in (deadlines will vary, but apply at least 30 to 90 days early).
  • Schedule any GRE subject tests if you still need to. If grad schools on your list require a subject GRE test, register in September or October for the November sitting.
  • Continue to talk about your career goals with everyone you meet; continue to visit professionals in their workplaces.
  • Begin to systematically identify alumni who can give you career advice; learn how to conduct an effective information interview.
  • Build a networking list of professionals in your targeted field who can help you find a job.
  • No matter what your major, participate in the on-campus interview cycle if you’re interested in the industries that send recruiters to your campus.
  • Get by without a car; your grades will be higher.
  • Live on campus; your grades will be higher.

Summer after College

If you land a job before graduation:

  • If headed for business school, consider taking the GMAT during this summer and applying this fall to enter business school with one year of experience, the following fall to enter with two years’ experience, and so on.
  • Remember, every August for the rest of your life, ask yourself: "In one year, do I want to be in grad school?" Watch out for extensive lead time to get into a graduate program.

If you're admitted to graduate school, this is a "free" summer.

  • Pursue a service opportunity or some kind of big adventure.
  • Travel abroad.
  • Take any kind of wage job and rest your mind.
  • Work at an internship related to your academic interest.

If launching a career but without a job yet:

  • Use the Career Center to run a systematic search.
  • Find a post-baccalaureate internship or summer job in an industry or field that you would potentially like to pursue as a career.
  • Stay in touch with professors who may refer you to positions.
  • Try hard to find work you're interested in, even passionate about, that requires your college degree and your accumulated skills, and try hard not to freak out and settle for any income you can find.
  • Remember: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." --Confucius

From How to Get Any Job with Any Major, © 2004, used with permission.
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