Welcome to Fall 2012!

Welcome to fall 2012! Leaves are changing, the schoolwork has only just started to pile up, and the dining halls have already rolled out the pumpkin pie. Moreover, ‘tis the season to plan ahead. Consider this:

Imagine you’re a professor opening up your email. You start daydreaming about how you have more papers to grade than dollars of U.S. debt. Suddenly, you click on an email from one of your students: “Urgent: Recommendation Letter due Tomorrow.”

Talk about nightmare and a half. So, why not start thinking about jobs, internships, and graduate school now? “I wish I did” will be “Thank mercy, I already did!” Here’s five steps to get you off to a productive start.

Step 1: Find your big picture direction, find your groove. What makes you tick? What are your strengths? Are there specific issues that you want to see resolved by the time you’re 40? What can you do to achieve this? Do some self-searching here or here. Find your big picture direction through programs like Breakout Trips, Princeternships, or study abroad!

Step 2: Research jobs, internships, and fellowships now. That’s it, click on TigerTracks, go to UCAN, and attend info sessions and career fairs. Easier said than done? Here’s a secret: Google Calendar. I cannot stress this enough. Pencil in important dates, and you’ll get pop-ups to remind you the day before something is due, or ten minutes before an info session.

Step 3: Refine your resume. If you’re writing your resume go to Career Service’s page here. If you’re refining it, WetFeet gives you the insider tips here. And if you’re tired of spending your Saturday nights alone, sleepless, and toiling over your “Experience” section, save your loneliness for your love life and sign up to meet with a career counselor here. An extra pair of eyes will help you get a lot done in a short amount of time. More importantly, your social life will thank you.

Step 4: Fill in the missing pieces. You’re president of every student group on campus. But have you engaged in service? If not go here. You’ve taken Chinese for three years, but have you traveled abroad? If not, check this and this out. You’ve had a steady summer job—but have you held a job that will provide you with a professional recommendation? Go here. You’re doing great in your major, but have you applied for awards that will show your credibility? Just think: your marketability is like a Monet jigsaw puzzle—you might look great with the pieces you have, but a complete picture will look even better to employers and application boards.

Step 5: Relax! You’re almost there. And then check out some interview tips while you’re at it. To stay “chill” in the interview, get some practice. Career Services offers mock interviews. Come with your resume and a description of the jobs you may be interested in.