Senior Steps: Job Search Timeline

Nancy Dudak

Career counselors in the Career Services Office receive many inquiries about the timing of the job search process. The following is a general timeline for senior year.

Please keep in mind that different careers and different industries operate on different hiring cycles. If you have any questions about your specific interests or strategies, make an appointment with a career counselor by calling x9-4060.

By this point you should have:

• Established one or a few career goals. If you are having trouble narrowing your focus, visit Career Services and speak with a counselor. Take an interest test if possible.

• Complete a polished, professional resume. Walk-in resume reviews are held daily in CSO from 1-3 p.m.

• Register with Experience online at This program allows you to post a resume to be a part of a web resume book, sign up for campus interviews and search job postings.

• Become familiar with the Campus Interview Program. Senior year is your one year of eligibility with this program. Know when to view company information, when to sign up for interviews and the policies.

• Have the appropriate wardrobe for interviews and professional activities.

Before the end of the semester:

• Know how to write cover letters and thank you notes.

• Visit Career Services to learn how to search the Alumni Directory. Contact alumni for advice and career information especially if your plans involve relocation.

• Do a practice interview if interviews are scheduled for the fall.

• Identify potential employers through CSO programs, web research, faculty and personal contacts. Be creative!

• Know the name of at least one professional association related to your field of interest. Join if it allows student membership.

• Attend company information sessions and career programs on campus.

Over winter break:

• Narrow your geographic focus if possible. Visit the area if time and budget permit. Gain an understanding of the employment market in that area.

• Talk to family and friends about your ideas. Enlist their help if appropriate.

• Attend local Career and Job Fairs.

Spring semester:

• Prepare for the longer, more intensive in-house interviews.

• Do a practice interview if you didn’t do this in the fall.

• Register with for additional opportunities. This is the college student/entry level portion of

• Check to see if you have the proper momentum going in your job search. Do you have a realistic list of potential employers? Are you in contact with them? Are you interviewing and receiving offers? If you don’t feel that you are being productive or efficient, meet with your career counselor.

• Ask at least two people (faculty, work supervisors, etc.) to serve as references for you if necessary.

• Continue to work with the Campus Interview Program.

• Attend off-campus Career Fairs whenever possible.

• Follow up all contacts and leads from fall semester.

Remember, timelines should be established personally and specific to industries and career areas. It’s important to note that not all seniors have jobs at graduation.

Typically only half of the class has firm offers, because many of you are seeking employment in fields where hiring is done on an as-needed basis.

This is not permission to postpone job search activity, but rather an attempt to relieve you of the pressure to have a job in May.

A job search consultant once said that “The best jobs don’t always go the best students, but to the best job seekers.”

For more information, visit Career Services in Corr Hall.