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Graduating College Soon? Here’s What You Need to Know About Finding a Job

Thousands of college students are graduating this December, but you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to begin looking for a job. Generally, students should get serious about finding a job three to four months before graduation. This is because finding jobs you like and want to apply to can take time, and applying can also be time-consuming. It also may take a month or two to hear back from an employer and maybe another month to interview. The sooner you start this process, the better your chance of successfully landing a job before graduating.

Below are several job boards to help in your search:

  • LinkedIn: Perhaps the most widely used job board, LinkedIn hosts a plethora of jobs in all industries and locations. The search bar is your best friend: Be sure to use this feature to search for keywords describing the types of jobs you’re looking for. Once you find a job you’re interested in, check to see if you are connected to someone at the company on LinkedIn. If you are, you may be able to message them and ask for more information on the position and get some insider tips on what to include in your application. Equally as important, even if the cover letter is optional, ALWAYS include one. This will make you stand out from the competition and help the employer get to know you better.
  • Indeed: Similar to LinkedIn, Indeed is a top-rated job search tool. You can set up email reminders to send you alerts when jobs that match your search criteria are posted, so you can be the first to apply.
  • Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Job Listing: If you’re looking for employment with one of Michigan’s many nonprofits, consider signing up for the Michigan Nonprofit Association’s job search newsletter. Many other state services have similar newsletters you can subscribe to, including West Michigan Works! and Pure Michigan Talent Connect.
  • Let’s Detroit: Let’s Detroit hosts a job board on its website for employment opportunities in different industries in the region, especially in the automotive and high-tech fields.

Another critical component of the job search is networking. (Learn how to develop a professional network here.) Students are encouraged to join professional associations for the industry they wish to work in, such as the Public Relations Society of America, the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers, and the Michigan Nurses Association, among many others. (Find a professional association in your industry here.) Attend job fairs at your college or university, or find one hosted in the city or region you want to work in. Make a list of potential companies you want to work for and research whether these companies host their own job fairs or search their websites directly for job postings. You can also visit Let’s Detroit’s Grow Your Network page to see who you might know and reach out!

The power of leveraging your professional network cannot be understated. Check-in with previous internship directors or trusted professors. Let everyone know you are on the job hunt: You never know who may be able to provide you with a personal reference, which could get you one step closer to landing your dream job.

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