Get Ready for Graduation, Seniors!

Congratulations to everyone who is graduating within the next six months. This transition is scary and exciting at the same time. Embrace it. You're starting a new phase of the rest of your life, and you're finally going to start doing what you've been preparing for since you were young. Some of you were lucky enough to secure full time positions through on-campus recruiting -- congratulations! Others will likely hear from graduate schools in the upcoming months. Even though it's nice to have a plan, not everyone is lucky enough to have one.

If you're in a gray area, embrace it. You're young and smart, and you're about to try something challenging and new. You might be worried because you don't have anything lined up-- if you're feeling stressed, take a step back and reevaluate your perspective. Consider exploring rather than stressing. Be proactive, but don't beat yourself up.

January is a great time to start maneuvering towards that next step. You're almost done with school, and the next step really is around the corner. You should think about what you want to do. Do you want to take time off to travel, or do you want to start working immediately? Do you want to live at home or venture to a completely new area? Do you want to consider a fellowship, or do you want to consider working for a nonprofit. If you're thinking about a fellowship, it's not too late at all! You still have plenty of time to meet application deadlines. Check out some of these resources to start your search.

Talk to other recent graduates to assess their job hunting experiences. Learn from their mistakes, and use their expertise to learn and grow.  Even though many of these professionals are entry-level, their insight is extremely valuable. Yes, you should keep talking to established industry professionals, but remember to learn from your peers too.

It's helpful to start searching through job postings in the area where you'd like to live. See what the job market looks like and analyze changes over time. For many positions, it may be too early to start applying since companies post jobs on an as-needed basis. Unless the company has a recruiting program for undergraduates, you may have better luck if you look for open positions in May or June, so don't feel discouraged if you aren't hearing back from companies or nonprofits yet. If you are looking for jobs in another area, you may have better luck after you move. Frequently, companies will screen through out-of-area candidates, especially if they do not offer a relocation package. Consider getting a Google Voice number so that you can have a telephone number that matches the area where you would like to be.

Graduation is around the corner, but you shouldn't feel stressed. You should be proactive and realize that at the very least, now is a great time for brainstorming and exploring. Don't let the economy scare you from pursuing your goals.

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