Graduation is coming up and you still don’t have a job? Many students wait until they graduate to start looking for a job. But is this the best idea? Nope! 

You know why? Because it can take months to find a job. So, it’s important to start early! But we also get it. If this is your first time applying for a job, it’s a lot of work that’s incredibly easy to procrastinate on. 

But since you’re here, we think you know it’s time to take your job search seriously. Good job! And you’re in the right place because, in this blog post, we’ve compiled the information and resources to help you every step of the way! 

Here’s a preview of what you’ll learn: 

  • The best time to start applying for jobs as a senior year student
  • What you need to submit impressive job applications 
  • Where and how to look for job openings 
  • The 6 essential steps to applying for a job 
  • 7 job search tips specifically for students 

Let’s get started! 

When to Start Applying for Jobs

Here’s an unfortunate truth for every one of your peers that’s going to wait until the last minute to find a job: the average job search takes around five to six months

Is everyone’s job search timeline going to be the same? Of course not. But starting at least six months before your expected graduation date gives you time to land a job that is a good fit for you. 

Because do you know what will happen to your classmates that wait until a few months before or after graduation? Well, they’re more likely to take the first job that comes along, even if it’s not the best fit. Don’t let that happen to you! 

What You Need to Apply for Jobs

The hiring and application process at companies will vary. But, for the most part, the things employers ask for are the same no matter the position or industry. 

Most likely, you’ll need to have a resume, cover letter, and references. Let’s look at each of those things now and point you to a resource that shows you how to create it like a pro.


A resume is a 1-2 page document that lists your work experience, skills, and education. It’s one of the most important parts of your job application. But it’s also one of the easiest to get wrong – especially if you don’t know how to format your resume for applicant tracking systems (ATS). 

What’s an applicant tracking system? Basically, it’s a software used by hiring teams to weed out applicants that probably aren’t a good fit for the job. The software does that by scanning your resume looking for keywords related to the required skills and experience for the job. 

If your resume doesn’t include enough of the right keywords, your application can get rejected before it even gets seen by human eyes! 

The solution? Watch the video below with tips on how to format your resume for applicant tracking systems. You can also use a resume scanner tool that scans your resume and shows you how to improve it so that it makes it past the software.

Of course, you also want to write a resume that appeals to humans, not just software. So, for tips on that, check out this guide on how to write a student resume.

Cover Letter

A cover letter is a document that you send with your resume when you apply for a job. In your cover letter, you should explain why you are interested in the job and why you would be a good fit for the position.

Some people will tell you that cover letters are no longer necessary or that no one reads them. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need to write one. Some employers still ask for them. And they use them to make a first impression of you.

So, don’t throw out the idea of writing a cover letter! Instead, take the time to write a good one that – even if skimmed – makes it clear why you’re worth bringing in for an interview. 

Here’s an excellent guide on how to write a cover letter that stands out.


When you apply for a job, you may be asked to provide the contact information for one to three references. References are people that can speak to your work ethic and skills. Generally, your references will come from coworkers, teachers, or past employers.

Not every job will ask for references. But, for the ones that do, you want to know beforehand who you can trust to provide the best references. 

To figure out who to ask and how to prep that person so they can give the best reference possible, check out this informative guide on how to get the best employment references.

Where to Look for Entry-Level Jobs

Unless you already have substantial work experience, you’re likely looking at entry-level jobs as a soon to be graduate. 

Entry-level jobs are usually found on online job boards. These websites allow you to search for jobs based on your location, skills, educational background, and more. You can also find entry-level jobs by searching the websites of companies you’re interested in.

Job Boards

There are many different job boards out there. But here are a few of the best ones: 


JobGet is an online job board and marketplace app that aims to cut down on the time you have to spend searching for a job. On JobGet, employers and job seekers can instant message each other, schedule meetings, and set up video interviews within minutes.


LinkedIn is the world’s most popular social media platform for professionals and job searchers. On LinkedIn, you can create a profile that can serve as your virtual resume, connect with recruiters and hiring managers, network with people who have your dream job, and search for jobs on the platform’s job board. 


Indeed is one of the most popular job boards worldwide. The platform pulls job ads from a variety of different sources, including company websites and recruiting agencies. All of this gives Indeed users one of the most comprehensive lists of available jobs. 

Company Websites

You can also find jobs by searching the “careers” pages of company websites. This is a great way to find jobs that may not be advertised on online job boards. For example, if you wanted to find jobs at Amazon, you can see every job that they’re currently hiring for here

If you take this approach to look for jobs, just be sure to go through all of the job requirements before applying. Many company websites don’t allow you to filter your search for entry-level jobs. 

How to Apply for Jobs As a Student 

Everyone’s job search is different. But, typically, you’ll follow a similar set of steps as your peers when beginning the process of finding and applying for jobs. Usually, it goes something like this…

Step 1 – Search for jobs that fit your skills and interests  

The best way to start your job search is by figuring out what kind of jobs you’re interested in. But you’re not alone if you’re not exactly sure what type of job that is. 

So, what can you do? Consider taking a career aptitude test. What’s that? A career aptitude test is basically a quiz that asks you questions about your work preferences and personality. Based on your answers, the test generates a list of potential jobs and different industries that you might enjoy. 

There are many ​​different online career aptitude tests. Here are a few of the most popular ones that you can take for free: 

Step 2 – Research the companies before you apply

Before applying for a job, do your research into the company. Why? Because you’re going to spend a lot of time at your job working with the same people every day. So, you want to make sure that it’s a job you’ll like! 

Here are some questions to think about when researching companies: 

  • Company Values. What are the company’s core values? Do they align with your values? Do you support the decisions and statements they’ve made on important issues? 
  • Company Culture. Are employees encouraged to have work-life balance? Will there be opportunities for you to grow in this company? 
  • Employee Satisfaction. Have current and former employees enjoyed working at this company? How long do people tend to work there? 
  • Employee Benefits. Does the employer offer employee benefits that are important to your well-being and professional growth like flexible work schedules or tuition reimbursement programs

You can find some, but not all, of this information directly on the company’s website. So, we recommend also doing things like checking out employee reviews on Glassdoor and reaching out directly to former or current employees on LinkedIn. 

Here’s a helpful guide that shares more information on how to research companies before you apply

Step 3 – Tailor your resume and cover letter to fit the company

For every job you apply to, your resume and cover letter should be tailored to fit the company and job position. This is how you show you’re the perfect candidate.

Yes, that means more work for you. But it also means a higher chance of getting an interview! According to one study, 61% of hiring managers and recruiters said that a customized resume is the best way to boost your chances of getting a job offer.  

In your resume, you should highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to the job you are applying for. And in your cover letter, you should explain why you are interested in the company and which of your past experiences prove you can handle the core job responsibilities.

Here’s a helpful video that walks you through 3 easy steps to tailor your resume.

Step 4 – Submit your job applications 

When you’re ready to submit a job application, it’s important to follow the application instructions carefully. Some jobs may require you to submit a resume and cover letter, while others may just require you to fill out an online application. 

It’s also important to note the deadlines for applications. Some jobs may have rolling deadlines, while others have a fixed deadline for when they’ll stop accepting new applications. 

Step 5 – Follow up on your applications 

After you apply, give it some time. The length of the hiring process can vary based on the company. But you can typically follow up after a week or two.

A good way to follow up is to send an email. In your message, you should remind the employer of who you are and why you’re a good fit for the position.

Unfortunately, it’s also not uncommon for companies to “ghost” you and never reply to your job application. So, if you don’t get a response after following up once or twice, just let that one go. You’re better off redirecting your focus to your other job applications. 

Step 6 – Prepare for interviews

If the hiring manager likes your resume and cover letter, they may contact you to arrange an in-person interview or a phone interview. And, this is a big deal. So, don’t try to wing the interview process. This is your future career on the line! Treat developing your interview skills seriously. 

That means preparing enough so that you’re able to talk about your experience in a way that is both confident and humble, having thoughtful responses to common interview questions, and preparing a smart list of questions to ask at the end of the interview

One of the best ways to approach interview preparation is to do even more research into the company and the position. Here’s a helpful video on how to research companies before you have your interview.

7 Job Search Tips for Students 

Want to further boost your chances of getting hired before graduation? Here are 7 job search tips that will help do just that! 

# 1 Make sure your social media profiles are presentable 

These days, a lot of employers will research an applicant online before even inviting them in for an interview. That means that you need to make sure your social media profiles are appropriate and presentable. Anything that you wouldn’t want potential employers to see – take it down or make it private!

#2 Use LinkedIn and other social media strategically  

LinkedIn can be a powerful tool when looking for a job. But, you have to know how to use it correctly. That means making sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and showcases your best work experience, connecting with the right people, and being active on the platform. Here’s a really good list of tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

The same goes for Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and really any social media platform. If you want to use them to help you get a job, you can! For example, you can do things like actively connect with people that work at the companies you want to work for, create content relevant to your target job’s audience, and show off your professional skills. 

#3 Ask your friends, classmates, teachers, and family about job opportunities 

Sometimes open jobs are not posted on job boards or company websites. And this is why networking can be extremely important. Part of your network is the people you already know, like friends and family. 

These people can be a great resource when you’re trying to get a job. They might know someone who’s hiring or they might be able to put in a good word for you. 

But, you have to ask them for help! Just because they know you’re looking for a job doesn’t mean they’ll think to reach out to you when some job opening or great opportunity comes up. 

#4 Conduct informational interviews 

Another way to use the people you know to help you find a job is by asking for informational interviews. What are those? Basically, they’re just conversations with people who are already working in the position or company that you want to work at. 

And these conversations can be extremely valuable! By meeting with these people for informational interviews, you can get advice on what it’s like to work at a specific company, how to prepare for an interview, and what the hiring process is like.

Here’s a step-by-step video tutorial to find the right people to ask for informational interviews: 

#5 Don’t limit yourself to jobs directly related to your major

Your major in college doesn’t determine your career path. In fact, most people end up working in a field that is completely unrelated to their degree.

So, don’t limit yourself when you’re job searching. If you’re interested in a certain company or organization, apply even if they’re not hiring for your specific major. You never know unless you try!

#6 Apply to interesting jobs even if you’re not 100% qualified

If a job posting sounds interesting to you, don’t be afraid to apply even if you’re not 100% qualified. Many employers are looking for people that are passionate and eager to learn. So, if you have the majority of the qualifications and you’re willing to learn the rest, go for it!

If you’re not 100% qualified, the key is to demonstrate that you have the ability and willingness to learn new things quickly. If you’re already enrolled in classes or taking online courses related to the position, be sure to mention any new skills or experience on your application or resume.

#7 Take advantage of your school’s career center and resources  

You don’t have to do everything on your own. You can get help from a career counselor at your school’s career center, reach out to the alumni association, and attend on-campus job fairs. Many schools and libraries also offer free access to online job databases and resources.

In other words, take advantage of all the help that’s available to you! These career services and resources can make a big difference. They are also great starting points if you’ve never applied for a job before.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to land a job before graduation, it’s time to start looking for jobs that suit your interests and skills.

Start by browsing job boards like JobGet and looking for openings that match your qualifications. Then, begin applying to jobs and networking with people in your desired career field.

Just don’t wait until the last minute. Start your job search today. When graduation comes around, you’ll be glad you did!