Class of 2017: It’s Back to School and Back to Your Job Search

When you were a student, the fall was a time for fresh, new beginnings (think new backpack and sneakers!). As a recent graduate, you can still experience the excitement of “back to school” season. If you took time off this summer or haven’t connected with the right opportunity yet, the fall is the perfect time to reinvigorate or reboot your job search.

Here are a few “back to school” inspired tips and tools for your job search:

Prepare your “what I did this summer” story.

Think of this as a two-minute account of what you have been doing since graduation. Perhaps you took time off to travel, visited family or volunteered in your local community– whatever you did, weave it into a narrative to show how your summer experiences helped you learn more about yourself and prepared you for your next professional step. Wrap up this story by articulating the type of entry-level opportunity you are looking for and your key qualifications for the role.

Establish a schedule and get organized.

Be sure to carve out time every day to devote to your job search activities. Just like when you were in school, this means setting goals and getting organized. It also means having a plan. The LinkedIn Job Search Guide offers 38 pages of great advice that can help you develop a strategy and overcome common obstacles in your job search.

Gather the right “supplies.”

Start by updating your application toolbox with a refreshed resume, cover letters and LinkedIn profile. Keep up on the latest opportunities by searching online resources like Handshake and WayUp regularly and explore industry-specific sites as well. Be sure to check out the LinkedIn Job Search app as a way to supplement your search.

Do your homework.

Research organizations, industries and identify key alumni contacts using a variety of resources. Draw connections between the needs of the organization and your qualifications or interests. This pre-interview worksheet offers a framework for using your research to prepare for upcoming interviews.

Reconnect with fellow classmates and alumni.

Networking is the number one way to land a job! Keeping in contact with and expanding your network is one of the most important components of any job search. Now is the perfect time to reach out to former classmates and fellow alumni. Search the alumni directory and use LinkedIn’s alumni tool to find those you may have lost touch with. Join alumni groups on social media and participate in discussions. Attend alumni events on-campus and/or those happening in your region. Your classmates and fellow alumni can offer support, advice and perhaps, referrals.

Meet with a career adviser.

Members of our career advising team are ready to help by phone or Skype and in-person appointments. If you are near campus, you are welcome to attend our workshops and Meetup events. If you didn’t have a chance to attend one while in school, our Career & Life Vision workshop will be offered several times this fall and can help you proactively assess and reflect on your experiences and preferences in a way that will help you identify and align with meaningful opportunities.

While the average length of a post-graduation job search is about six months, finding a job doesn’t involve adhering to a specific timeline, however it does involve a significant investment of time, a strong commitment and a solid plan.

Remember, you don’t have to go it alone—we’re here to help! Even if there really isn’t such a thing as a fairy job mother, I’ll be sending you tips this fall to help keep your job search on-track. You can follow my posts here or on Twitter using #fairyjobmother. We look forward to hearing from you!

Any updates to share?

If you have recently accepted a position or made a decision about your next step– congratulations! Please let us know by updating your responses to the First Destinations Survey. Be sure to also let us know if you had conversations with alumni that helped shape your plans by updating that question as well. Thanks!

Evangeline “Eva” Kubu (@eva_kubu) is interim executive director of Career Services at Princeton University where she leads efforts to help prepare and empower all Princeton students and alumni as they pursue meaningful careers — she is also known as the #fairyjobmother.