6 Strategies to Land a Job Before Graduation

Does it feel like all of your friends have jobs and you’re going on interview after interview but nothing seems to line up?  Getting frustrated, jealous and worried nothing will pan out before you graduate?  We get it - we’ve all been there! 

As a higher education administrator for over 12 years I have seen so many students going through these feelings of hurt, jealousy, depression, anxiety, anger and frustration during the job search process.   I want you to know that no matter how happy you are for your friends, it’s OK to be upset that you haven’t landed a job.  But let me let you in on a secret… it’s not OK to sit back and throw yourself a pity party.   Being jealous of your friends’ happiness will not land you a job or even get you closer towards finding one.  Instead, use these 6 strategies to push you forward to getting to the next stage in your life. 

Focus on you.

Often times, we are jealous of the fact that our friends have jobs but not jealous of the position itself.   Keep your goal in mind and try not to question your path.  This is about finding the first step in your career and everyone gets to that point in a different way.  Remember, graduation has not happened yet and you have plenty of time to find a job.

Use your resources. 

If you haven’t hit up your Career Services office for a resume and cover letter review now is the time to do it.  Ask for help to brush up on your interviewing skills.  Often times, they can even tape mock interviews and give you tips for what you might be missing.  They also have the inside scoop on new job postings or alternative sites to check out.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Many schools give you access to alumni contact information.  Check out profiles and reach out for informational interviews.  Alumni are a great resource and want to help out current students and recent graduates.  They were once in your shoes and know exactly what you’re going through.  You can also use this method for LinkedIn profiles.

Think outside the box.

Find an organization you are passionate about that aligns with your career interests and volunteer at their next event.  You never know what conversations you might strike up or what contacts you will make.  Sometimes it just takes one conversation to get your foot in the door. You can also contact someone you admire on social media and ask to connect.  You would be surprised how many people will get back to you and be open to a 15-minute phone call.

Dig deeper. 

Whether or not you’re stuck in an elevator, there will come a time where someone wants you to explain who you are, what you want to do professionally, and what you stand for in 30 seconds or less.   Take this time to craft your elevator pitch so you can flawlessly speak about your professional goals so when you’re in a situation at a volunteer event, or the awkward “tell me a little bit about yourself” question; you will have your answer ready to go.  Reaffirming what you want and being able to articulate it, will give you the extra boost to confidently answer some of those hard hitting questions.

Relive the memories.   

Take this opportunity to reminisce with friends about your college memories, then take down the photos that you wouldn’t want your mom to see and remove posts that could be controversial.  Employers do their research to get to know you a little better and you want to keep a professional online presence.   You also want to go into the interview with a clean slate and avoid any preconceived opinions about you based on your profiles.

Going through the job search process is not easy.  It can be a stressful time but don’t give up, think outside the box and know what you stand for.  You are not in this alone and reach out to the free resources that your campus offers and get more involved in your community. Small changes can make a big difference and can lead to your first full time position.

What is one “out of the box” strategy you have used that landed you an interview? 



Alissa Carpenter is a Career Discovery and Personal Development Coach and owner of Everything’s Not OK and That’s OK.  She coaches twenty somethings to thrive in both their personal and professional lives by identifying their strengths, navigating their weaknesses, creating strategic partnerships, narrowing down their purpose and implementing their passions.  You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and her blog.