With the fall quarter finally over, and nothing but free time during this first week of winter break, I’ve started seriously thinking about the coming conclusion of my college career – graduation. And, more importantly, what I’m going to do with myself once I turn my tassel and remove my robe. Interestingly enough, all this thinking about the future is sending me straight into flashback mode, as I remember what it was like the last time I was faced with a similar decision-making dilemma. Of course, after high school graduation there was a clear path laid out for me, and the only major decision I had to make was which college I wanted to commit to for the next four years. Now it’s not that easy. For the first time in my life I get to decide what I want to do, where I want to do it, and who I want to do it with, without any prescribed parameters or required responsibilities. It’s thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.

Fortunately, I have some time before I’m forced to leave the hallowed halls of UCSB. But, with every passing day, the tiny panicked voice in the back of my head gets just a little bit louder, as it reminds me in no uncertain terms that whether I like it or not, the real world is right around the corner. That’s why I’ve decided to spend a hefty chunk of my winter break researching, resume-building, and reaching out to anyone and everyone whose business card has ever graced the inside of my wallet. And that’s why I’ve compiled the following list of resources expressly designed to aid in the process of picking out what exactly I want to do next and how exactly I plan to pull it off. Here’ hoping some of my fellow soon-to-be-alumni find it useful. And, if nothing else, I can guarantee that nothing helps hush those panicked voices quite like some proactive, if not productive, pointing and clicking.

Obviously, the site to see is UCSB’s very own College and Career Services. Sure, they can be patronizing, and their website has more than enough random stuff to distract you and suck what precious winter break web surfing time you have to spare, but some of the site’s highlights are definitely worth double clicking on. Their GauchoLink service allows you to search a huge database of employers who come to UCSB specifically seeking eager young graduates to get their coffee, walk their dogs, and run their errands. (By which I mean develop meaningful careers with companies who care about nurturing new talent in their respective industry.)

Either way, there are a lot of listings, tons of information to peruse, and even a place to upload your resume for employers to check out on their own. And, in order to get your resume into tip-top shape, try running it through the online resume review service, where a real career services representative will essentially copy-edit your resume for spelling and grammar mistakes. Both services are available under the “Job Search” tab, located on the site’s front page.

If you’re yearning for something beyond the boundaries of UCSB’s servers – and you’re specifically looking for a way to make ends meet – there are a whole bunch of sites specifically designed to provide job listings to the twenty-something set. Check out getthatgig.com, which has mostly internship listings, but every once in a while will post a real job offer or two. Monster.com has job listings and a new feature called “Monster Mobile,” which allows you to access the site from your smartphone – perfect if, like me, you’re anal and possess a Blackberry or similar device. Sites like collegegrad.com have entry level job listings, as do jobweb.com, simplyhired.com, and campuscareercenter.com. And, of course, there’s always craigslist.orga veritable Mecca for all things online, and the perfect place to find up-to-the-minute job openings.

If picking the right path is scarier than securing the right place to send your resume, there are also a few options to help sort out which jobs make the most sense for you. In 2006, Forbes magazine published a list of the best first jobs for recent graduates. The financial advice blog, getrichslowly.org has an excellent article about making the most of your first few post-graduation gigs. Plus, experience.com has a whole host of advice about how to pick and procure the perfect post-college position.

And, if all else fails, there are plenty of perfectly entertaining YouTube videos to make you feel better about the whole job search thing. Make sure to checkout three of my favorite clips here, here, and here for lots of laughter-inducing moments that might make you forget the fact that the real world is approaching faster than you can say “student loan bills.”


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