You may be spending the majority of your time working on your senior thesis during your last year of college, but you want to make sure you are investing a lot of energy in finding a job after college. You never know how long it might take you to find that job, but one thing you can be sure of is that the earlier you start preparing, the easier it will be to find a job. If you don’t already have a strong internship, then you might not have your foot in any doors just yet, but there are plenty of ways you can leverage yourself if you play your cards right during your senior year. Here is how to reduce the amount of time you spend looking for your first job after college graduation.

Start Your Search Early

The earlier you start your job search, the better. Once you know what you will be focusing on in your senior thesis, you should know exactly what kind of work you want to be doing upon graduation. You want to look for a range of different jobs, using a number of different job hunting platforms, and you should be open to a range of wage offers. You won’t really know what your degree is worth until you get out there on the job hunt, so you don’t want to make any false assumptions.

Talk to Your Professors

You should be working closely with at least one professor or two by the time you are in your senior year, and now is a good time to ask them if they know anyone who is hiring in the field that you’re studying. If so, you want to ask if they are willing to give you a good reference, but before you ask for that, you want to know if there’s anything you can do between now and the time that you apply to improve your eligibility.

Start Putting Your Portfolio Together

Depending on the type of job you are applying for, you are probably going to need some kind of portfolio to show your interviewer. If this is the case, then you should be pulling together examples of all the best work that you did in college and finding a creative way to present it all. Remember that you want to present yourself as the innovative and fresh, new perspective that the company has been looking for.

Go to College Career Fairs

College career fairs are a great way to start shaking hands with potential employers, and they’re also a great way to start practicing your interviewing skills. It’s normal to feel nervous the first few times that you start talking about yourself to a potential employer, so the more times you do it, the easier it will get. However, if you go to UAB Online, you are going to need to go to a career fair at your closest college campus.

Get Your Applications in Early

The earlier you get your job applications in, the better. This is the easiest way to send the message that you’re a go-getter, without having to say it out loud. The reason why you should be spending most of your senior year researching jobs is so that by the time the companies you want to work for start accepting applications, yours will be on the top of everyone’s stack.