woman working on a laptopGraduation may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about life after CU. It can often take 6-9 months to find a job, so this is a great time to start your search. 

Here are some tips to help you plan for life after college, find jobs and graduate with confidence.

Search strategically

Start exploring full-time positions that align with your interests. Find job postings on Handshake, LinkedIn and Indeed. Set up saved searches on these sites to learn about new postings that match your criteria. You can also check industry-specific sites like Built In Colorado, Work In Sports and Conservation Job Board

If you aren’t sure where to start, use FirstHand to explore. FirstHand is an online resource that helps CU Boulder students learn what it's really like to work within an industry, company or profession, and how to position yourself to start, advance or change your career. It also offers other features like resume templates, company reviews and more.

Different industries often follow different hiring timelines. If you’re pursuing a career in consulting, accounting, finance and engineering, take note that they often recruit and hire in the fall, even if you’re graduating in May. Companies in marketing, operations, creative fields, government, education and nonprofits are more likely to hire as needed. If you are graduating in May, start applying for these industries in early spring. Connect with recruiters at career fairs and events to learn about hiring timelines. For more job searching tips, attend workshops and group advising sessions this semester.

Build skills

No matter what job you pursue, continuously hone your skills and build new ones. Technology continues to advance, and the world of work is changing. Some jobs are becoming automated and new jobs are created frequently.

To know which skills are most in demand for the positions or industries you’re interested in, request a Skills Report. This can help you build tailored skills and prepare for the demands of your specific field. There are also general skills that all employers value, regardless of industry. Review these foundational skills and find ways to build skills on campus.

Consider a part-time internship or other practical experience this semester. Professional experiences of any kind are a useful way to explore interests, build new skills and expand your network. All of which will help with securing full-time employment upon graduation. It’s also fairly common for a part-time job or internship to turn into full-time employment later on. 

Use your network

Spend time building professional relationships with others in your field of interest. These folks can help you learn about the field, introduce you to those who are hiring or keep you posted with new opportunities. 

Join the ForeverBuffs Network to start connecting with CU Boulder alumni. They can help with resume feedback and interview preparation. And some may be open to informational interviews or mentoring. You can also use LinkedIn to connect with others, learn about different industries, and join conversations related to your career interests.

This is also a great time to reconnect with those already in your network. This includes previous employers, supervisors, advisors, professors, family friends—anyone who has supported your career growth in the past and who might know of opportunities. Reach out and share that you are graduating soon and looking for employment in May.

For more opportunities to network this year, check out career fairs and events.

Update your application materials

Whether you’re updating your resume with new skills or working on your first resume, VMock is a CU Boulder tool that can help. Use VMock to get personalized feedback on your resume and make improvements. 

Career development advisors are also here to provide feedback. Attend weekly programs and workshops on resumes and job searching to ask questions and get more tips. 

Once your resume is updated, upload it to your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles. Make sure your profile is on the public setting so recruiters and employers can view it. VMock’s Aspire tool can also evaluate your LinkedIn profile and offer tips to make it stronger.

Buff up your interview skills

As you search for jobs and share your resume, you’ll also want to prepare for interviews. Use InterviewStream to practice answering commonly asked questions. You can create custom interviews and request general questions or interview questions tied to specific roles or industries. This tool records your responses for you to view or share with someone else to view and provide feedback. Remember, practice makes perfect!

As you begin your search, career development advisors are here to help. Learn more about getting started with Career Services.