A young woman holding a piece of paper in front of a laptopFor grad students planning to graduate in May or August, now is a great time to begin preparing for your job search. Here’s a checklist to get you started.

Know where to look for postings 

Handshake and LinkedIn are generally good starting points, but every field has its own niche posting locations. Explore internet forums and professional organization job boards, and sign up for any mailing lists that you may find. Widening your search can help you maximize your chances of finding your fit.

Have your base resume ready

Tailoring your resume for each job application is key. To make that process as quick and easy as possible, create a base resume with all of your experience, skills and accomplishments. This can help you save time and allow you to focus more on adapting your resume with language that will resonate with the hiring manager. Review these tips for writing a memorable resume

As you work on your resume, use VMock. This is an online resume-review tool that leverages data-science, machine learning and natural language processing to provide personalized feedback on your resume.

Know how to write a good cover letter

Cover letters aren’t always required for applications, but when they are, it’s important to write a great one. A great cover letter serves as a bridge between the posting and your resume, and provides a conversational and nuanced argument for why you would be great at the job you’re applying to. Here are some tips for writing an engaging cover letter

Have your list of references ready to go

Your application will likely require a list of 2-5 references who are ready to speak persuasively to the hiring manager about your relevant knowledge and abilities as well as your human skills, work ethic and professionalism. Talk to your references about your job search, the types of jobs you’ll be applying to, and the skills they’ll need to speak to as your job search commences. This will help you select the right references for every application. Remember that references are usually not checked until very late in the hiring process, so your references should not need to worry about being overwhelmed with calls!

For more job searching tips, attend the Industry Job Search Seminar Series for Graduate Students. If you have questions or concerns at any point in your search, reach out to Career Services. We have resources for every step in the job search process, and a career development advisor can give specific advice for your search, whether that’s ideas for networking or whether to include publications on your resume.