This year at Hiram will be the big finale. The last hurrah. The home stretch. Senior year. And I’m freaking out. It’s not just because I know I’m gonna be a mess at the end of the year because I’ll miss it so much, and not because of all the challenging work I’ll have to do to get there. It’s because I’m nervous about the real world and the fact that my future is more up-in-the-air than it’s ever been. My whole life up until this point has just been moving from one school to another; even college was easier to fathom because I knew with certainty that I was going to end up in one of two places, Akron or Hiram. Now I can go just about anywhere, which some say is an enviable position to be in, but which I’ve been tearing myself apart trying to figure out. That’s why I’ve recently been job hunting to a point that some would call excessive. I can’t exactly apply to these jobs after all, not with a year left of college to do first. But there are several things that I can do, and that all of you other college seniors can do as well.

1. Set up a LinkedIn account and start looking up entry level jobs in your field!

I just go a LinkedIn recently and I love it because you can connect with people and companies and also search for jobs. I like this site in particular because they keep tabs on when job listings are expiring and have links to the companies’ websites (because it’s often best to apply to jobs through an employer’s legit websites rather than through a third party). Looking for jobs this way also gets you acquainted with the terminology of the entry level positions you’ll be going for. For example, I would love to become an editor someday, but many editing positions are at the mid or senior level. Copyediting, though, is something that you can jump right into in order to get the experience needed to move up in the field. I didn’t know this before I started looking stuff up!

2. Start networking if you haven’t already!

Through my Admission Office job as a tour guide this summer, I’ve met a great deal of interesting people who gave me stellar advice on how to prepare for applying to my first biggie-girl job (aka, anything that pays above minimum wage). Plus, I’ve found that having an insider to help you out is extremely valuable. I got my first job because my mom used to work there and my Admission job because I asked my counselor if there were any openings. And don’t feel bad about using other people to get you in! You can’t do everything on your own, and it’s good to know when and how to ask for a boost.

3. Talk to your Career Office once school starts back up!

Or now even, because I’m sure somebody’s hanging out in there during summer hours (and they’ll probably be way less busy than during the school year). I’ve found Hiram’s Career and Academic Development Office to be a great help for every step of the job/internship search. They can show you the best websites to start looking, help you polish up your resume, and even do mock interviews with you to help you figure out what you’re doing right and what could use improvement. At least, that’s what they do at our office (because they’re rockstars). They can also give you some ideas on how to get the much sought after experience that employers are looking for (because, you know, schooling doesn’t count). You can then look for internships, volunteering opportunities, or skills to learn in whatever free time you have (like Photoshop) in order to have a well-rounded resume by the time you can actually start applying to full time jobs. You’ll also gain a better perspective about what you’re passionate about and what positions can fulfill those passions and utilize all the awesome skills you’ve honed!

Of course there’s plenty of other things you can do as well, such as what’s listed in this article from Mic.com. I feel that these three things are a good starting point, though. Hopefully I can satisfy myself with them for now so that I can stop living with my head a year in the future!