person walking down stairsIt’s never too early to prepare for your job or internship search! And starting your search early can lead to many benefits.

Different industries often follow different hiring timelines. If you’re interested in consulting, accounting, finance and engineering, these companies tend to recruit and hire in the fall—even if the job or internship doesn’t start until May. Companies in marketing, operations, creative fields, government, education and nonprofits are more likely to hire as needed. If you are looking for a summer internship or job in these industries, you’ll want to start applying in early spring. 

Starting your job or internship search now will help you feel more confident. You’ll also be able to act quickly when you find something exciting. Here are a few ways to jump-start your search this fall.

Plan to attend career fairs

Connect with employers at career fairs this fall. These events offer a chance to virtually network and meet recruiters who are hiring.

Review the schedule of upcoming career fairs and mark your calendar for the ones you’re interested in attending. You can sign up to attend career fairs on Handshake and review the list of employers who will be attending. 

Students who have complete Handshake profiles have a better chance of meeting one-on-one with employers at virtual fairs. Review these steps to complete your Handshake profile, and make sure it’s on the public setting so employers can view it.

Set up saved searches 

Your Handshake account is useful for finding internship and entry-level job postings. And your LinkedIn profile can help you build your network and find opportunities throughout your professional career. Having a completed profile on both platforms makes you more likely to attract recruiters.

To get a jump-start on finding an internship or job, set up saved searches on both Handshake and LinkedIn. You’ll receive emails when positions are posted that meet your search criteria.

Work on your application materials

When you find an internship or job posting that interests you, you’ll want to act quickly. It can help to create a template resume and cover letter with all of your experience, skills and accomplishments. These core documents will serve as your starting points as you tailor your experience and examples for each application. This can help you save time and focus more on adapting your documents rather than starting from scratch each time. 

As you update your resume for different applications, use VMock to get feedback and make improvements. This free online resume-review tool leverages data science, machine learning and natural language processing to provide personalized feedback on your resume. Feedback is based on criteria gathered from employers and global best practices.

Connect with others

You may feel like you don’t have a professional network yet, but most students do. Your network includes previous employers, supervisors, advisors, professors, family friends—anyone who has supported your career growth in the past. This is a great time to reconnect and see if they know of any upcoming opportunities. 

You can also spend time building professional relationships with others in your field of interest. 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.

Dive in!

Job and internship searching can feel intimidating, but it’s important to just get started! Sometimes we may talk ourselves out of applying if we don’t think we meet all the qualifications listed on the description. If you’re interested in a position and think you can do it well, apply—even if you don’t meet every single item on the list. Most employers will interview candidates if they meet most of their criteria.

It can take some time to find an internship or job that’s right for you. Stay patient and persistent, and know that Career Services is here to help you every step of the way.

For more tips, check out weekly programs and workshops from Career Services. These free workshops will share best practices for resumes, preparing for career fairs and more.