Published: Feb. 27, 2024
Picture of CU Boulder graduate

While it’s normal for the job search process to take months, there is still time for you to secure a job that aligns with your career goals before graduation. Career Services connects students to resources, workshops and career development advisors to help with the job search. Learn more about how to plan for life after college, find a job and graduate ready for your next step. 

Step 1: Develop a plan

The last semester in college can be busy, and finding a job adds to your workload. Make a plan with specific action items and deadlines to keep you on track. Include the essentials you’ll need in place when you start applying for jobs. For example, you could give yourself deadlines for creating online profiles, updating your resume or talking to people in your network about writing a recommendation letter. Getting organized will help maximize your time and resources. Plus, you will make a better impression with hiring managers. 

Step 2: Make a list of your experiences and skills

Before updating online profiles or drafting a resume, consider the vital information you’ll highlight. In today’s job market, there’s a disconnect between open positions and people with the skills and experience to fill those positions. If you can articulate how your skills and experiences match the job requirements, you may gain an advantage in the hiring process.  

  • Request a Skills Report to learn which skills are most in demand for the positions or industries of interest to you. Use the information to build a tailored list of skills for each type of job or industry. 
  • There are also general skills that all employers value, regardless of industry. Review these foundational skills and find ways to build them. 
  • Make a list of all relevant experience, including campus jobs, volunteer experiences, organization memberships and leadership positions. Also, list other activities like participation in sports and the arts because showing your involvement can demonstrate that you are well-rounded and offer diverse skills and perspectives. 

Step 3: Create or update online profiles

How you represent yourself on your professional profiles directly impacts your outcomes. We know it takes valuable time to create a great online profile. However, a well-developed profile helps build a positive professional reputation. Sloppy or incomplete profiles can give a negative impression to recruiters and hiring managers. 

Career Services has resources to guide you through the process and teach you how to develop an effective online presence. 

  • Handshake is the top way college students find jobs. Use these helpful steps to set up your profile
  • Your LinkedIn profile is vital to your job search. Not only can you establish a professional presence, but you can search for jobs and connect with CU alumni groups
  • Build an online portfolio using BuffsCreate to highlight your work and projects. 
  • Create a Forever Buffs Network profile to join the online community of fellow Buffs. 
  • Use the free photo booth in the Career Services office to get the perfect professional photo for your online profiles. 

Step 4: Customize your job search documents

Most job applications require a resume and cover letter. Learn how to write an effective resume and persuasive cover letter

  • Schedule an express appointment with a career development advisor to review your documents and ask questions. 
  • Attend programs and workshops on writing resumes and job searching to ask questions and get more tips. 
  • Upload your updated resume to your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles. 

Step 5: Reach out to your network

During your time at CU Boulder, you’ve likely built an extensive network through your area of study, internships, part-time jobs, organizations, activities, volunteer work and more.  

  • Reach out and share that you are graduating soon and looking for employment in May. Let them know you would love recommendations and referrals to open positions or job opportunities. 
  • Join the Forever Buffs 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.  
  • Use LinkedIn to connect with others, learn about different industries and join conversations related to your career interests. 

Step 6: Start your job search

Once you’ve created and updated your job search tools, it’s time to find open positions and apply. Remember to focus your search on jobs that interest you. You may have a sense of urgency if you want a job before graduation. Yet, you don’t want to end up in a position that isn’t a good fit.  

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

Step 7: Work on your interview skills 

You'll also want to prepare for in-person and virtual interviews as you search for jobs and share your resume. 

  • Use Interview Prep to practice answering commonly asked questions. You can create custom practice interviews by adding general questions or questions tied to specific roles or industries. This tool records your responses for viewing or sharing with others. 
  • Make an appointment with a career advisor to practice interviewing before your first interview with a potential employer. 
  • Follow our tips for mastering your interview and making a positive impression.