As graduates of the class of 2013 face a very competitive job market, future graduates need to take the time to prepare for the job hunt while still in school. It may be a long and tiresome process, but acquiring the skills and making the connections to land a job right out of school will save you a lot of stress come graduation.

Bill Bergman, an adjunct marketing professor at the University of Richmond, advises students to begin the process during the fall semester of sophomore year. You’ll want to get involved in some type of learning program that will get you acquainted with internships and introduce you to the job hunt. By spring semester, you should be thinking about a summer internship and have a resume ready.

Creating a Linkedin profile and connecting with local professionals is a great way to display your initiative early on and land internships.

Bergman says the junior summer internship is critical, so don’t take it lightly. You should pull out all the stops in order to land the best internship available as early as possible.

Come senior year, landing interviews should be a top priority; so take advantage of your school’s career placement services. And there’s no shame in using your parents’ contacts who have jobs in your desired field to get a foot in the door.

If you don’t end up with a job by graduation, the skills you’ve acquired will, at the very least, make you more prepared than others for the post-graduation job hunt.

A Year-By-Year Guide To Job Hunting During College | Forbes

Related: Job Hunting – 3 Ways to Make a Great First Impression

Image: Samuel Mann