Finding a job out of college doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow these five tips to help hone your job search and find a position that you will love:
1. Join a Professional Association
Find a professional development group in the field you are interested in. These groups will help you connect to established professionals, professional development opportunities, and potential mentors. For example, the Mathematical Association of America has 29 regional sections for MAA members in the United States and Canada where undergraduate students can get in touch with mathematical professionals across industry, academia, and beyond.
Do this week: Use Google to search for a list of professional associations in your field of STEM, see how many come up. Review the benefit offerings and become a member of one that fits your career goals.
2. Ask for advice from a Professor or Mentor
Step one, talk to your professors, TA’s and mentors. Leverage the network you are building at your school to identify a professor or mentor at your university. Ask questions about their experience. Don’t forget the two best questions: Why? And Tell me more. Then ask about connections outside of the university to gain insight into the job market you are interested in. Tell them your ideas and ask for their recommendations.
Do this now: Email one professor and ask if they have time for you to drop in (be sure to confirm office hours). Schedule 30 minutes, use your time wisely and have your questions already written down. If you don’t have a professor or a mentor, look through your department’s faculty and identify one to reach out to in the next week.
3. Create a LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a great platform to list your skills and grow your professional network. Pro Tip: Create an account now, don't wait until you are looking for a job. Fill out your profile all the way. Make sure to list your previous jobs, internships, and organizations you are affiliated with. These things could give you an edge over another candidate applying for the same job. Link to your classmates and professors. The connections feature in LinkedIn helps you see what connections you have in common with businesses or employers you are interested in. Some of your connections may be able to help you get a foot in the door.
Do this month: If you haven’t already, start a LinkedIn profile. If you already have one, make sure it is up to date and has an appropriate profile picture. Make sure your description of yourself is accurate and everything is spelled correctly.
4. Visit Your College Career Center
Use your campus career center to have resumes and cover letters reviewed. Review services will help tailor your experience in a way that is suitable to your field. You can also use your career center to help connect to alumni in a similar field. Ask about upcoming job fairs in the area.
Do this today: Go to your university website and find out where your college career center is located. Don’t forget to make an appointment to meet with a counselor.
5. Use Multiple Job Board
Different jobs and opportunities are often listed on different job boards, so don’t limit your search to just one. Be sure to also use different word searches for jobs, rather than just searching for job openings for a “mathematician,” try “analyst” or “statistician”.
Do this weekly: Go to mathclassifieds.org and try typing in different word searches to see what kinds of job postings are currently published. Be sure to check back frequently as new jobs are posted every day. Also set up job alerts on each site, then opportunities will be sent right to your inbox.
Get more advice for your job search from our Career Resources content, and happy job hunting!