Sue Montgomery Potrait

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Start Your Job Search While Still in College

Published by Sue Montgomery on

Start Your Job Search By Year Two


Don’t wait until you’re ready to graduate before starting your job search for that first “real” job. Beat the rush and start the job search years earlier, about the time the freshman newness is off and you’ve begun life as a sophomore.

  • Research the kinds of jobs and industries you’re interested in.
  • Start lining up professors to write you letters of recommendation.
  • Look for internships, paid and unpaid, through your school and on your own.
  • Network with your friends, your parents’ friends, family, fellow students, and all the other people you know.
  • Attend every school-sponsored and community job fair. Talk to local job-services agencies. Practice interviewing.

Get your feet on solid ground so you can begin running ahead of the pack on graduation day. Make it your goal to have that first great job by the time you get your degree. After graduation, you’ll just be one of the numbers.

Write Your Resume

When you write your resume, don’t look at it as one-size-fits-all and don’t think of it as a one-time effort. Think of it as a work in progress. Make sure your resume is geared toward the specific company and type of job you’re applying for. And keep adding to it as you learn more, gain more experience, and become more focused on your goals.

Research online job search boards to find announcements for the kinds of jobs you’re targeting. Then make it a point to have the right keywords (from those descriptions) in your resume and the right formatting so it makes it past Applicant Tracking Systems. This means not getting too cute with lots of shading, tables and charts, and other graphics that can trip these resume scanners.

Make your resume a reflection of you; not just your work history. You may have had leadership roles in school, volunteered for community support groups, or been the president of a student professional organization.

job search before graduating

Any or all of these activities could show you are an achiever, you can lead others, you have a lot of energy, you can work with people of diversity, and you can learn from others. Including this kind of experience along with hard facts about job-related tasks and your GPA could give you an edge over other graduates (and applicants).

Sue Montgomery PotraitSue Montgomery is founder and president of Resume Plus ( She is a professional resume writer and career coach who markets people for the jobs they want. Contact Sue directly at 937-254-5627 or email