Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

For college students, this time of year is associated with what seems like endless elevator pitches and handshakes. We’re gearing up for the summer and pulling out all the stops in hopes of landing employment opportunities and paving our careers. While it’s an exciting time, it can also be intimidating and overwhelming. But have no fear! Here are a few pieces of advice that I’ve found helpful in my job-searching experience:

  • Know what you want.

Are you looking for an internship? A research opportunity? Would you like to work at a startup or at a bigger company? To answer these seemingly endless questions, it might be helpful to make a “wish list” for your ideal internship and narrow down your search respectively. This way you’ll have a better sense of what you’re looking for, and you’ll also be able to prioritize what you think you want out of your experience.

  • Look everywhere.

Don’t limit your search to just one place. Check listings with your university, your school within the university and on social media. Sites like LinkedIn and Internships.com tailor search results according to your online profile, and USC has an extensive online career portal with hundreds of opportunities. In addition to looking online, checking with different mentors and peers can prove helpful — if a professor or colleague refers you somewhere, you’ll have the added bonus of a recommendation.

  • Manage your time.

Applying to jobs is a time-consuming process, and application season often falls during the peak of the semester. Chances are, you’ll be juggling midterms and other academic commitments in addition to taking interviews and sending in resumes. Start your search early and pace yourself so you don’t end up compromising your time in either concentration. If you find yourself swamped with a list of cover letters to write, make a list of deadlines and try to send in one application per week. Make sure to keep track of all your applications and follow up if necessary.

  • Be patient.

The right job won’t always come immediately. Sometimes it takes a few experiences to really figure out what you want in the long term, and that’s completely okay. Consider your experience level and your skills when applying to different opportunities, and focus on constant improvement. Think of it as an investment in the long term — doing the grunt work early on will build your resume, expand your network and give you more and more options as you progress in your career. Always strive to do your best, and the opportunities will come.

Do you have any helpful tips for job searching? Let me know in the comments!

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