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Well you’ve just about survived the Fall semester, congratulations.  You are now free to participate in holiday festivities and Christmas shop until you drop.  As awesome as the holiday season is, all of the partying and shopping can leave you with a killer hangover and an empty wallet. I’ve been trying to come up with items to put on my Christmas list, and really the only thing I want is a job.  Finding a job as a college student is no easy feat, and often you are just left feeling depressed that nobody wants to hire you, and broke. Now, I am not a professional career advice expert, but I have been, and still mostly am, in the college job-hunting shoes.  If you want to try score a job or internship for either the spring semester or during your summer break, here is some advice:

1. Work on your resume

Your resume is a very important document, especially if you are looking for a job somewhere other than the mall.  Your resume is your one shot to let an employer know what you’ve accomplished so far, and what skills you would bring to the job.  One strategy that works well is to have a base resume, and then tailor that to specific jobs you want to apply to.  For example, if you are applying to an internship at a marketing company, you shouldn’t use the same objective as if you were applying for a waitressing job.  If you need some help perfecting your resume, check out these tips.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask a family member or professor to take a look at it for you.

2. Check your school’s career advice resources

Most colleges and Universities have Career Centers whose job it is to give students career advice and help them find jobs and internships.  Usually, these career centers also have online resources you can access even when you are off campus for winter break. You should be able to use these resources to find job listings, maybe for both on and off campus jobs, as well as information about specific services your school offers that you can utilize after break, like job fairs or counseling sessions.

3. Take advantage of online job posting sites

A great place to find jobs and internships you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of from just your school’s website or bulletin boards in the hallway is obviously the Internet.  There are so many job boards out there these days, it can be tricky to choose one you think is legitimate, especially because sometimes the jobs you find on Monster and Indeed can turn out to be scams. If you do use these sites, make sure you look into the companies before you apply, especially if they are asking for information you feel uncomfortable giving, like credit reports and background checks.  Be extra careful for marketing scams that tell you you’ll be able to make a lot of money, but leave out the fact that you would have to sell products door-to-door, like Vector marketing. Try sites like Internmatch and Monster College — just be careful.

4. Search on foot

If you aren’t picky about your job, and are just looking for a part-time job to make some extra cash, it can’t hurt to check your neighborhood for Help Wanted signs.  This can seem silly, but if you apply at enough places, it is only a matter of time before you get lucky, and get hired.  Put on your best smile, and just go for it!

5. Apply, apply, apply (and follow up!)

If you think you applied for enough jobs, you probably haven’t.  Some people suggest applying to 30-40 jobs at the same time to increase your chances of being hired.  If you have time to fill out that many applications and write 40 cover letters, by all means, go for it.  However many jobs you do apply to, also make sure to follow up with your potential employers.  If someone takes the time to interview you, you should take the time to send them a thank you note/email.

 6. Network

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, you should probably get one, as it has the potential to be a far more productive use of your social media hours than Facebook. Networking yourself well is critical, especially since there is so much competition on the job market.  Between going to job fairs and building contacts and references online, you can make yourself seem like an engaged and desirable future employee.

What career advice has worked for you?