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Start Your Pre-Graduation Job Search Now

Start Your Pre-Graduation Job Search Now

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

April 22, 2011

If you’re graduating this year, you’ve got more on your mind that finals and theses. You’re probably also entrenched in your first real job search. And if you’re not, you should be.

According to MarketWatch, 2011 year will be a better year for college graduates when it comes to finding work, but don’t expect to get a job right away. The unemployment rate is still hovering around 9%.

Last year, about 2.4 million students graduated with bachelor’s and associates degrees, according to National Center for Education Statistics and this year, many schools had record enrollments.

It can take applicants months of searching to land even an interview in this economy, let alone a job.

But don’t fret if you don’t land your dream job right away. For those who do find jobs, salaries will likely be lower than what graduates earned in a better economy. And for many, the jobs they wind up with will not be the jobs they envisioned themselves in when they pictured their first job.

For recent and expectant graduates, the best bet is to start looking early and be persistent. And remember, this is a starting point in your career. Even if it’s not what you wanted or expected, there’s no place to go but up.

Here, some practical ways and places to start your job search:

Networking should not be underrated in this economy. In fact, it’s how many people are finding jobs today. Your parents, the parents of your friends, professors, and people you meet through professional organizations can lead to jobs. If there’s a professional organization for your field, join it—if you do it before you graduate you can often get a student rate with is a fraction of the cost of a professional membership. These organizations often offer their members list serves and other resources with job listings. Also check out alumni associations. Websites like are also a valuable networking tool.

The Career Center
Every college has one. It’s in your school’s best interest to make sure as many of their students have jobs as possible. While they are not miracle workers, they may have leads on jobs that come from alumni and other organizations that have strong connections with your school.

Job Sites and offer users the ability to search through thousands of jobs, apply and sometimes even post a resume for free.

Internships can lead to jobs. If you’re having trouble finding a job, it can only help to take an internship. Not only will you get needed experience, but if you do a good job, your employer may ask you to stay on, or recommend you to colleagues who are hiring.

Head Hunters
It can’t hurt to send your resume out to some headhunters and get them searching for you as well. Headhunters will circulate your resume and attempt to place you in a job. They are paid by the company who hires you, so the service is free to you.

Temp Agencies
By definition, temp agencies place you in “temporary jobs”. And they are an excellent place to look if you need to start earning, but can’t find a full time job. But, there’s more to it. Sometimes companies will hire temp workers that really shine permanently. So, a temp job could be a foot in the door.