The secret to balancing school and your senior year job search
Use these tips to land a job *and* an A.
Let’s face it: Juggling your college courses, social life, and a job search is stressful. You want to soak up your senior year and spend as much time with your friends as possible...but you also need to amp up your job search so you can pay those all too real, real world bills.
“Time management is key,” says Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, co-founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of Her Campus, a Boston-based media company for college students. If you’re really dedicated to finding a job, manage your time productively. That means putting in a little extra effort to get your homework done in advance.”
Monster spoke to experts to find out how to savor senior year, keep up your GPA, and have an answer to the question everyone’s been asking: “So what are you going to do after graduation?” (Because we know you’ve been asked that 1,001 times or more already.)
Work smarter not harder
Instead of treating job applications like your favorite Netflix show and dedicating endless hours each day to the task, focus on quality over quantity. Kaplan Lewis recommends blocking off just one hour every day to search for jobs and submit applications.
It’s okay if it takes an hour to customize your resume and cover letter for a job, even if you only send one application that day. It’s better to send one excellent application to one great-for-you gig than to send multiple so-so applications to a job that you’re “meh” about.
Also, create more time for your schoolwork and social life by automating anything that can be automated. “Set up keyword alerts on job boards so relevant jobs will be delivered to your inbox on a daily or weekly basis,” says Alyson Garrido, a California-based career coach. When you become a Monster member you can upload a resume to apply faster and get noticed by recruiters. You’ll also receive job alerts and listings and articles with advice from Monster career experts.
Use your social media feed as a job search tool. A company’s social media channels are great resources for researching the company’s culture and staying up to date on company news.
Get incredibly organized
Treat your job search like you treat homework and studying. Check if the companies you are applying to have deadlines and create self-imposed due dates for other applications.
“One strategy is to create a spreadsheet or a Google Doc that tracks key employers and their respective deadline dates,” says Kate Szumanski, director of professional development at Villanova University’s Office for Undergraduate Students Add columns for other key dates like the date you applied and the date of each interview round so you know when to follow up.
This way, you won’t waste time applying to the same jobs or duplicating work. When you need to balance job search and schoolwork, efficiency is key. Szumanski recommends adding deadlines into your online calendar so you get reminder notifications.
And Garrido suggests having a master draft of your resume ready so that you can quickly make a few tweaks to customize it for each job. “Having this important document ready to go will give you peace of mind,” she says.
Use your squad
You’ll never know that your best friend’s high school best friend’s cousin works at one of your dream companies, or that your favorite professor’s wife’s friend has your ideal career path, unless you share your job search goals with people. A little networking can go along way.
“Build a support system. Ask your friends and classmates to keep their ears open for any job opportunities so you can maximize your search,” says Kaplan Lewis. That way, it’s like you’re outsourcing your job search—while you take care of business back at school.
“Also, having encouragement from parents, friends, and even roommates will make the process a little sweeter at the end of the day knowing that you’re not alone in this,” Kaplan Lewis adds. You get by with a little help from your friends and you could end up finding a job too.