Plan B, or “What if I'm Not Hired/Accepted Straight Out of Carleton?”
Let's be realistic: it's entirely possible that you won't be offered a job or accepted to graduate school before spring of your senior year at Carleton. If that's the case, and you find yourself needing to move on to "Plan B," here is a strategy that divides a six month job search into three time stages, specifically designed for the graduating college senior:
- Getting Ready (mid-April through mid-June)
- Remote Searching (mid-June through mid-August)
- On the Ground (mid-August through mid-October)
- While on campus during the senior spring term, make time to utilize the job & internship resources that won’t be as easy to get to after you’ve “commenced.”
- Meet with career coaches to narrow in on what you will be searching for later, develop a concrete plan for the next two stages, and determine a geographic target zone.
- Fine-tune your résumé, get one solid cover letter under your belt, tap the alumni network, hold a practice interview, line up references, and talk with anyone on campus who can inform your plan. This is your back yard, so tap it while you’re in it.
- From home, or another friendly location away from campus, use those first few weeks after graduation, execute stage two of your plan, mostly prospecting and mining opportunities, and making whatever kinds of contacts you can from a distance.
- In this stage, you have two key options: apply for jobs as most new college graduates will also be doing, in the traditional approach, and/or use this time to set the table for stage three, initiating contacts on the premise that you will be on the ground in that geographic target zone very soon.
On the Ground (if necessary)
- With the preparatory and building-block work you did in the first two time stages, start knocking on doors, making calls, sending messages, and anything else you can do to get to the next step: face-to-face meetings with networking and job prospect contacts. Treat folks to coffee or tea, to breakfasts, or a quick lunch. Do informational interviewing. Ask for others you might contact, and/or, if they would introduce you to others.
- For morale more than income, find a part-time job during evenings and weekends, maybe in a restaurant or coffee shop near the “hub” where professionals do the work in which you are interested.
- Set goals for numbers of doors, calls, and messages you aspire to log each day.
- Look for one or two contacts that have their thumbs on the pulse of that field of work in that geographic area.
- Take it home with your fine-tuned interview skills.