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As a college student, you may be anxious and stressed about your career prospects after graduation. While the labor market and economy in general has improved in many areas of the country in recent years, the unemployment rate in some states remains high. This means that more applicants continue to compete for the same jobs, and it also means that employees can be more selective about who they hire for their positions. Some college students have graduated with a great GPA but have been unable to find a job in their field. As such, you may find yourself looking for career advice for students that can help you to better position yourself for success when searching for your first job after graduation. Thankfully, there are a few steps that you can take to improve your level of success in your job search before you even leave school.

Ways You Can Get A Head Start On Your Career

Volunteer Your Time

There are many college graduates who spend all of their time studying and earning a high GPA while in college; however, they do not consider what their resumés will look like after they graduate. Many will graduate from college with few or no extracurricular activities that are relevant to the position they may want to apply for. To make yourself more competitive in the job hunt, begin your search for volunteer opportunities at organizations that are relevant to your field. For example, an individual with a degree in social work may volunteer as a youth summer camp advisor.

Search for Internships

If you have not already done so, visit your department’s advising office to inquire about internship opportunities that may be available to you. You may find paid or unpaid internship opportunities, but the most important factor to consider is the level of experience they provide to you. Ideally, the experience should be relevant to your career goals. As a college intern, it may be unrealistic to expect to sit in on major corporate shareholder meetings, but on the other hand, you may want to opt for an internship that allows you to gain more worldly experience than working in a mail room would provide to you. Keep in mind that a secondary perk associated with an internship is that you can establish professional contacts in your industry. These can be used as professional references, and you may even be able to use your connections to locate job opportunities after you graduate. Many internships require school credit to qualify, so college students should take advantage of these opportunities before leaving school.

Get Real-Life Work Experience

Internships available through your college are one option, but you can also consider exploring part-time positions in companies in your field as well. Depending on your school schedule, you may only be able to work part-time hours. However, you can search for jobs that allow you to assist professionals in your field in some way or that help you to get your feet in the door at a company that you are interested in working with after you graduate. If you can’t find a job related to your field, consider getting a part-time job on or near campus just to gain work experience. One recent report from US News supports the idea that working a small number of hours while in college are “more likely than other students to persist and earn degrees.”

By implementing some of these tips, you may be able to find a great job in your field after you graduate.