Finding Your Way Through the Job Search
Searching for a job can be challenging, confusing, and time consuming. Gathering tools and information on how to conduct a successful job search is key in obtaining employment.
Best Ways to Find a Job
- Ask for job leads from family members, friends, people in the community, and your career center.
- Do extensive homework on yourself. Explore your personal values, interests, favorite and best skills, and where you would like to utilize those skills.
- Use a directory or online resource to identify the employers/companies that you are interested in within a desired location. Then, call up the employers listed in that field, to ask if they are hiring for the type of position you are seeking.
- Try to visit the employers/companies that interest you, whether they are known to have a vacancy or not.
Insider Tip: Consider obtaining an internship, doing volunteer work, participating in job shadowing or conducting an informational interview with those companies/employers that interest you. These are all activities that can potentially lead to future employment.
Top Places Employers Find New Hires
- On-Campus Interviews: Check out the On-Campus Interviewing tab in Jobs4Cats (Handshake)
- Company Internship Program
- Employee Referrals
- Company Co-op Program: Paid work sessions that involve projects or assignments that are closely related to a student's area of study
- Career/Job Fairs
- Faculty Contacts
- Online Job Postings: Found on individual company websites and Jobs4Cats (Handshake)
- Student Clubs/Organizations: Visit the Student Involvement website to find the right organization for you
What Not to Do in a Job Search
- Make a mistake on your resume. Employers typically get hundreds of resumes for each position they list and perfection counts.
- Limit your job search by only applying to positions that meet your exact criteria.
- Send out resumes at random. Resumes should be tailored to each position you apply for.
- Only search for jobs online. Be sure to be proactive by using both online and offline job searching techniques.
- Contradict yourself. If you are interviewing with several people make sure you keep your story straight. Telling one interviewer one thing and another something else is a good way not to get the job.
- Insult or speak poorly of a former employer.
- Show that you are desperate for ANY job. You want employers to believe that you want the job because it’s a good opportunity and you can be an asset to the company.
- Give up! Even when the job market is tough you must keep motivated by having a positive and determined attitude.
The Job Search Checklist
Get Started Early
- Looking for a job can potentially take many months and lots of time!
- Not sure what you want to do or how to get there? Set up an appointment with a career counselor/educator.
- Stay committed to the job search.
- Determine a timeline for your job search.
- Make daily, weekly, and monthly plans/goals, committing a set amount of time per day to devote to the job search.
- Keep a running to-do list and prioritize it!
- Set up a filing system for contacts, articles, and ideas.
- Follow-up and keep records by documenting all interviews, thank-you notes sent, referrals made and follow-ups.
- Narrow down your search and only apply to those positions in which you are really qualified and interested in.
Get a Target
- Target employers and companies that match your skill sets and related field of interest. Then do extensive research on their company.
- Identify preferences in work type, industry, environment, geographical location, compensation, etc.
- Research careers and employment trends. Helpful resources include the Planning Job Choices Magazine by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and the American Business Journal, both available in Career Services.
- Stay current. Read trade publications, comment on industry blogs and stay on top of any emerging technologies or policies that may affect your career path.
- Set up an appropriate email address (i.e. john.smith@ xyz.com and NOT email@example.com)
- Make sure that your voicemail is appropriate and professional.
- Examine your profiles on social media sites. Ask yourself: Is the content appropriate... are the pictures appropriate?
- Develop an "Elevator Speech." This should be a two-minute statement that can be told to an interviewer or potential employer. The "Elevator Speech" should include your background, your accomplishments, why you want to work at XYZ company and your future goals.
- Join professional social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, to build a network and create contacts.
- Network! Talk to friends, family, and people in the community.
- Make an appointment with a professor in your field of interest.
- Apply for internships or do volunteer work especially in those companies/departments, for which you are interested in working.
- Consider temporary work. There are temp agencies that can help you get short-term work, in places that need your skills.
- Check job sites daily and set up alerts. These include Jobs4Cats (Handshake), LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.
- Set up informational interviews (refer to our Informational Interview Guide) with employers/organizations by phone or e-mail to request an appointment to get insider information on your field of interest and your contact's career path.