Planning for your future comes with its very own set of stress, but knowing when to start is key to ensuring success after graduation.


Graphic by: Jerason Dean


Every year, there are thousands of students who are making the transition from college students to young professionals.

With hope in their eyes, these students start to plan for their future and begin to market themselves in hopes of catching the perfect job.

The question is, when should a student begin to prep himself, or herself, for this transition?

An article on states students can begin looking before their senior year.

Applying is not necessary, but searching early gives you the opportunity to see what jobs are available in your field.

However, there are some professionals who believe that starting earlier can be even more beneficial.

“Begin your freshman year. Start building your resume and making the right connections,” said Sarah Marie Gibbs, Career Services Program support assistant.

Gibbs is someone who knows all too well the importance of preparing for the future.

After graduating from Missouri Baptist University, Gibbs entered the workforce with a degree in middle childhood education, but found herself in a very different position.

Gibbs was offered a part-time job for the summer, which eventually led to her full-time spot in Career Services.

This is a prime example of how important it is to keep your options open.

As a newbie to the professional workforce, confining yourself to one field can be detrimental.

In today’s society, there are a plethora of opportunities that may not be exactly what you went to school for.

So this means that a recent college grad should not necessarily try to shoot straight for the top, but rather, keep an open mind to all possibilities.

“Have realistic expectations, but don’t be afraid to apply for jobs a little above your qualifications,” said Gibbs.

Never sell yourself short and remember that you can never apply for too many jobs.

“I applied for hundreds,” said Jenny Gravatt, MBU communication specialist. “I just sent out my resume to anyone, even people that weren’t looking, and I only heard from a handful of companies.”

Do not expect to hear from everyone.

Gravatt applied to jobs in cities all over the country and only heard from a few.

Rest assured, this is to be expected from a college grad entering the workforce.

The key to finding success and generating a lot of feedback from potential jobs is all in the resume and portfolio.

Naturally, it is crucial that each person gearing up to take on their onslaught of applications has a resume that can stand on its own.

A resume is a potential employer’s first impression and making sure that it is filled with the right information is key.

Gibbs insists that there are three main components every resume must have: experience, easy read and specialization to each job.

Again we come to the question at hand, when should students nearing the end of their college career apply?

Once you have built the strongest resume and portfolio possible and have researched all of your opportunities it is time to start sending out resumes.

This usually happens about a semester before graduation, though starting a little before or a little after is not cause for concern.

What if a company says they are looking for someone immediately? Should someone avoid applying if they haven’t graduated yet?

Though there may not be a guarantee for success here apply away.

“They may get someone they think is great, but it doesn’t work out. I definitely say apply,” said Gibbs.

With the proper networking skills, strong resume and a good idea of when to start applying, each senior gearing up for graduation can put themselves at ease knowing they have strong

building blocks to starting off their career.

By Jerason Gines

Jerason Gines is Managing Editor for MBU Timeline. Gines is a junior majoring in Public Relations. He is a member of the men’s volleyball program and works as a student ambassador for Missouri Baptist University. After graduating, Gines would like to pursue a career as a magazine editor.