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Undergraduate

5 Tips for Mastering the Job Hunt Before Graduating

Job hunting takes a lot of effort and planning, and South Dakota State University (SDState) has services right on campus to help students looking to find their first real-world jobs.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for this important part.

Start Early

Make sure to start preparing for the job hunt before graduation, not the day after. A good rule of thumb is to start a semester before graduation. It might take several applications to get a first interview, so don’t rely on just your first attempt.

Be Attractive to Employers

There are a few things employers look for beyond your GPA and achievements, even though those things may help you get a potential interview. According to Matt Tollefson, career coach at the Office of Career Development, you need to be aware of your personal and social skills as well. Employers look for critical thinking and problem-solving skills, teamwork, oral and written communication, work ethic and leadership.

Tailor Your Résumé and Practice Interviews

Stressing about completing your résumé or just need another set of eyes to take a look at it? Don’t stress—the Office of Career Development is here to help. The office provides reviews of résumés, cover letters and practice interviews and hosts several career fairs to help you find a great job. The Office of Career Development can be found in the Student Engagement suite in the University Student Union. To schedule an appointment, visit Handshake or stop at the front desk. The Office of Career Development posts walk-in hour sessions on its Facebook page.

Check in with Your Department

Don’t forget about your department resources. Faculty and staff in your department are likely in touch with several employers looking for graduates. Also, your academic advisor likely has industry-related connections that would be beneficial if you're navigating the job market. 

Be Conversational

Remember that an interview is a two-way street—for an employer and interviewee. While the employer gets to know you, it is also the perfect time for you to learn about the desired position and company. The interview gives you the opportunity to ensure the job is a good fit and has several benefits outside of salary. After a successful interview, make sure to stay in touch with your potential employer. Follow up with them, and let them know you're still interested.

“Be prepared and think of different scenarios that you might use to answer questions. You want to practice your answers, but not sound rehearsed.”

- Matt Tollefson, SDState Career Coach