Landing That First Job May Take Longer Than Expected

CDC Director Offers Job Hunting Advice and Checklist

Class of 2021 – Congratulations! 

You made it through the all-nighters of Final’s Week, the overpriced cup of coffee for a drop of motivation, and a Zoom-filled end to your college career. The Minnesota State Mankato faculty and staff are overwhelmed with pride for you! 

As you endure your final (or second-to-last) semester of extraordinary circumstances, it is time to begin your preparation to enter into your post-graduation life.

With the semester in full swing and as graduation grows closer, it is a good time to look towards the Career Development Center for guidance.

The Minnesota State Mankato Career Development Center offers a variety of resources to guide you in your career preparation. With the CDC resources and advice hand-in-hand, you gain help in organizing the final steps toward entering your professional career after college.


Pam Weller, director of the CDC, said the most common thing graduating seniors forget is the time invested in landing that first job fresh out of college

Pam Weller

“Sounds cliché, but it is important to remember that the job search is full-time job in itself,” Weller said. “It takes the average graduate three to six months to find a position, and sometimes longer depending on how broad your geographic reach is and what the job market is like.”

Weller offered added advice to those job searching during Covid.

“The pandemic has impacted the job market and employer hiring processes in numerous and unique ways,” Weller said. “From this perspective, my advice would include focusing on industries that have been less impacted by the pandemic. Don’t hold out for your ‘ideal job,’ rather consider short-term opportunities.”

She suggested getting comfortable interviewing by phone or video as well as looking more closely at remote work.

“If you have a job, keep it until you get a new one if you can,” Weller added, “and know that hiring processes may be slower than normal.”

Weller also stated that the best way to be prepared for graduation is through the CDC website and the University’s Handshake website. It includes CDC counselors, appointments, and resources to find jobs and internships.

Weller’s Pointers

For Graduating Seniors looking for jobs, Weller suggests:

Knowing what you are looking for and where you want to be geographically.


“What Can I do with this Major?”

Buzz File’s Employers by Major

Know yourself and what you have to offer to the employer—What are your top skills, strengths and areas of growth? 

CDC’s Job Search Handbook pages 3 & 4: Will you be career ready?

Career One Stop Skills Matcher

Quint Careers Transferrable Skills Worksheet

Identify your references. Be sure to ask them if they are willing to be a positive reference, provide them with a copy of your resume, and keep them updated on yoursearch! 

CDC’S Job Search Handbook page 51: Sample reference page

Resume, cover letter and LinkedIn. Make sure these are all updated and in tip-top shape! CDC’s Job Search Handbook pages 14-21 and samples on pages 30-49.

Have your resume reviewed by a Career Development Center staff member

Minnesota State Career Wise: Resumes

Social media. Three out of four recruiters check candidates’ social media profiles during the hiring process! Audit your online presence and use social media as a part of your job search. 

Social Media Do’s & Don’ts During the Job Search

Minnesota State Career Wise: Take your Network Online

Map out your network. 

CDC’s Job Search Handbook pages 11-12.

Bryn Mawr Career Development Networking Worksheet

How do I Create a Good LinkedIn Profile?

Put together a strategy and system for your job search

Minnesota State Career Wise: Search and Apply for Jobs.

Career One Stop: Plan your Job Search

Practice interviewing. Practice your responses to common questions OUT LOUD with a friend or family member or schedule a practice interview with CDC staff through Handshake. CDC Job Search Handbook pages 54-55.

Research salary ranges. Entry-level Salary Calculator for College Graduates National Association of Colleges & Employer

Career Resources During a Pandemic


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