How to Make Sure You Have a Job Waiting for You After Graduation

As graduation creeps closer, you probably have a lot on your mind.

You’ve accomplished a lot. You’ve made it through years of school, you’re probably preparing or currently taking a whole slew of finals, and you’re about to cross over the great divide into which you finally have your very own degree. Wow!

The thing is, many students are forced to look at graduation as their deadline—particularly if the job they currently hold is an on-campus position that ends once summer begins or does not allow for a non-student to hold. Finding a new job amidst the hubbub of the end of a semester and a massive life transition can feel like a lot to shoulder, and you want to be able to put your best foot forward when going to interviews, taking finals, and flipping the tassel on your hat at graduation.

In order to spread things out a bit and help with the stress that can pile up at the end of your college years, we’ve put together a little guide to help you make sure you have job waiting for you after Graduation Day.

1. Get an internship early

Some majors require an internship, while other programs don’t list a semester as an intern as a requirement. However, whether or not an internship is required for your graduation, you should definitely still get one. Spending time as an intern in the career field you’re hoping to head for is absolutely invaluable. You’ll get on-the-job experience, you’ll find out if you actually enjoy that type of work environment, and you’ll show future employers that you can handle a variety of different types of work all at once. Having an internship on your resume shows you’re committed, mindful, and willing to do whatever it takes to secure the career of your dreams. Hiring managers want people on their team with that kind of commitment.

And, by the way, a huge perk of getting an internship in college is the potential for two things:

a) It might be paid (not always, but sometimes)
b) You might get hired by that company after graduation

If you’re able to squeeze an internship in your sophomore or junior year, which is considered early by some institutions, you’ll get your foot in the door—way ahead of the other people vying for the position you have your eye on. Getting an internship early leaves you room to have more than one internship, and it gives you time to build relationships with your potential future employers.

2. Build your network

Does Aunt Sue want to hear all about your graduation plans? Did your old friend from middle school recently DM you on Instagram? Use all these opportunities to let people know you’re on the hunt for a specific type of job. The old adage is really true: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” You never know who might have a connection through a friend, relative, or acquaintance and would be willing to, at the very least, get you an informational interview with someone who might really have some pull in regards to hiring you.

Don’t be afraid to also reach out to people you don’t know. Are you following someone on Instagram who might be connected to someone in the field your interested in? Reach out to them! Does your friend know someone who has the job you want? Send them a quick email and see if they’d be willing to meet for a quick cup of coffee. Sometimes, learning what the day in the life of someone who actually has your job can really do wonders in pointing you in the right direction for your future career.

3. Have a long-term view

Don’t be discouraged if the actual job you want isn’t the one you end up with right out of college. Sometimes, it’s important that you simply get your foot in the door, and that might mean you have to take a job that is close to, but not quite the job you want. Focus on what you’re gaining in the meantime, though. You will probably learn a lot about the career field you hope to work in later on, you’ll gain business and communication skills, and you’ll have time to further develop relationships that could propel you toward the career of your dreams in the future.

Keep focused on your goal, ask for the Lord’s wisdom and guidance, and take things one day at a time. The path will become clear the more you walk.