So you have finally pulled together a decent looking resume. You have work experience, you are involved in a student organization, and you sometimes do volunteer work on the weekends. You may think you are pretty prepared now for the job search, and you can just spend the rest of your time focusing on school and having a good time.
Well, if you think so, you are wrong. Getting a job usually requires more than just putting together a nice resume and cover letter. To really get a step up, you also have to network and gather references. Luckily, if you have been building a relationship with some of your professors or the organizations you have worked for and volunteered at in the past, you should already have a few great resources that will be willing to help you out in the job search. References can write recommendations for you, or if they hear about a job that is in your field of interest they may suggest it to you or even take it a step further and suggest you for the job. I actually got my internship during college because a friend of my professors asked her if she had any students with the skills she was looking for, and my professor recommended me for it – I didn’t even know about it until my professor contacted me and asked if I would be interested.
If you really want to have a chance at a job, a great idea is to join a local chapter of the professional organization that best fits your interests. For example, if you want to go into advertising there is the American Advertising Federation, or for public relations there is the Public Relations Society of America. More than likely there should be a student organization related to the local chapter, and if it is active it will provide resources for internships, conferences, and projects that can help you network and build your resume.
I would highly encourage you to attend conferences if you can, especially if they are specifically related to your field of interest. It will be awkward at first since it could be hard to approach people, but if you go with a professor or other members of your organization you can be introduced to people who may help you get a job or internship. You can also meet people who will give you great advice on improving your resume and attend workshops and presentations with helpful tips about the industry you are considering entering in the future. The career center at your school should also provide business conferences and networking opportunities that can help you get used to networking so you can build up your skills and prepare for when you are on your own.