Navigating the Job Search as a College Student

As a college student, you learn to juggle many parts of life pretty quickly. The to-do list gets long when you factor in classes, homework assignments, any part-time jobs, clubs or campus groups, and keeping up with friends and family.

Preparing for your internship or job search? That’s something you want to be proactive with, so it doesn’t get lost among everything else you have to juggle!

Speaking from my experience, looking for a summer internship or full-time job can be stressful, especially when you’re balancing your search with everything that goes into finishing the semester strong. I wanted to put together a few tips that helped me in the past.

Make it a Marathon, Not a Race

Rather than taking a weekend to apply to a batch of jobs, set up a schedule that fits in your life, that’s sustainable for YOU. Maybe it’s carving out an hour every Saturday morning, or 15 minutes after dinner during the week to apply for roles. We all know life gets in the way, so having an intentional schedule for your job hunt can be helpful to stay on track without burning yourself out.

Tap into Your Network

Who do you know? Whether it’s connecting with others on LinkedIn, going to that on-campus club event, or discussing your interests with a coworker at a part-time job, simply showing up (physically or virtually!) and being open to learn from and connect with others will be a huge advantage. Maybe one person doesn’t have any current job openings, but they could know two who do! And especially in the City of Good Neighbors, these connections are sure to come back around in the future.

Don’t Undersell Yourself

“But I don’t think I have enough experience to apply.” Well, apply anyway! Sometimes students and early career candidates have this narrative in their heads when scrolling job boards. Sure, some positions will require a specific skill set or years of experience, but if your education and internships are aligned with the job responsibilities, it never hurts to apply for these “stretch” roles. Maybe it won’t pan out this time around (or maybe it will!) but you won’t know unless you’re open to trying. And to piggy back off of the value of networking, maybe this role doesn’t work out, but the recruiter/company now has your information and can reach back out if a job that’s more suitable for you opens up.

Show Yourself Some Grace

It’s okay and normal to feel overwhelmed during your search. Between applying to jobs, classes, extracurriculars, part-time jobs among dozens of other possible things, you’ve got a lot on your plate! Don’t forget to be kind and patient with yourself and take time to decompress when you need. When you’re feeling discouraged or need a break – check in with yourself and see what you need. Is it spending time on that hobby you love that’s been a bit neglected during the search, checking in with your support system, reading/learning something new? Remember to keep doing all of the things you love during your search. Sometimes these help spark other connections or creativity in your search efforts.

Utilize Your School’s Resources

Feeling stuck? Hit a wall? Don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you’re a current student, book a conversation with your career services office. I can’t overstate how awesome these folks are at having exploratory conversations and just adding a new perspective for you to consider. If you’re an alum, ask your university what their policy is on appointments with graduated students!

Whether you’re in the home stretch of your degree, looking for your first internship, or anywhere in between – keep going! You got this.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you navigate your technology job search, our Lighthouse technology talent managers can connect you with best-fit opportunities and offer helpful advice along the way. Head to our jobs site to see our current open roles or sign up for job alerts.


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