Job Search Tips & Strategies
A search for a job is a job in itself. The time you dedicate to your search should be divided between networking and building new contacts, researching, sending out resumes/cover letters, and following up on leads. If self-marketing as an artist, this might also include sending query or pitch letters, bios, portfolio samples and website links, CDs, DVDs, and other related self promotion strategies depending on your field.
Know Who You Are and What You Are Looking For:
- Career counselors, through discussion and interest surveys, can help you determine what career fields truly interest you.
- Assess your relevant job skills, goals, and work values and you will be better equipped to develop a targeted job search strategy.
- Learn about different careers and career titles though resources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the O*NET.
- Keep track of all your positions applied to, contacts and leads in the manner which works best for you - Smart phone, Excel, Google Docs, or simply on paper.
- Be sure you list each contact date, so you will have a reminder of when you last made contact.
Do Your Research
- Know as much as possible about the organization to which you are applying.
- Research the organization's website and other resources to learn: who are they, what is their product, who are their customers and their competitors, their mission, current news/press releases, annual report, what type of employee are they looking for, etc.
- Some organizations have interview questions/tips on their website.
- Conduct Informational Interviews with people in the industry: friends/family, alumni mentors, professors, etc.
- Use the Career Development Center's Resource Library to look at a variety of job search books and employer directories.
- View the video What Employers Want from NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers)
Network, Network, Network
- Approximately 60% of job searchers find jobs through their network of contacts.
- Family, friends, professors, and acquaintances are the first source in any job search.
- As you contact professionals, they should become part of the network you create, and continue to develop.
- Conect with peers, alumni and professionals on LinkedIn and other professional networking sites to develop new leads. Follow up with those who assist you.
- See our Networking Strategies page for further tips and additional networking handouts.
On-line Job Search
- The on-line job search consists of large job search sites as well as industry specific websites.
- Start small (Purchase JobScore, Industry Specific Sites, Professional Association sites) and then progress to broader job search sites.
- Follow-up with a phone call or email if possible.
- Post your resume (get a critique from a career counselor) on Purchase JobScore so you will be ready to send it to interesting leads.
- The on-line job search is not just about job seekers searching for jobs but employers searching for information about job candidates.
- View our Job Seekers Tools For Success for more information on On-line Job Search and Networking Tools.
Professional Associations and LinkedIn Groups
- Associations are a great resource for job seekers in a specific industry and they often offer student membership discounts.
- Members can go to meetings, network with a variety of professionals in the field, gain access to vital industry information, career resources and job opportunities.
- Check out our "Exploring Major and Career Possibilities" pages for professional associations for multiple fields.
- Join LinkedIn groups related to your field of interest as well as the groups of organizations you are a part of.
Targeted Mailings and Emails
- Focused mailings can be a successful method of attracting attention for an employer that you have researched and feel would be a good fit for you.
- Send a specifically tailored cover letter and resume that allows the potential employer to see your strengths and how you will fit within the organization.
- Address all correspondence to an individual rather than "To whom it may concern¨, if you don't have a name, try to find out.
- Mass mailings are the LEAST effective way to search for a job, so be specific!
- Newspapers (regional and national) include job classifieds for various fields. Newspaper classifieds job postings are often also on their websites.
- Professional organization publications as well as industry specific publications often include job postings.
- Read the job description/qualifications carefully.
- If you feel you have 80% of the skills required in the job description, then go for the job. If you have some experience, but not quite what is asked for, though you have all of the skills required, go for it.
- Do not apply if a description is saying you “must” have a skill or experience that you do not have.
- Anticipating related employer needs can help to go a long way toward understanding how to best market yourself to certain jobs.
- Those students who are proactive and prepared will more likely have an easier time locating employment.
- Follow up, and follow up again - be persistent but professional in all your communications with potential employers.
- If you are not getting interviews, be sure to keep in touch, regroup and ask for help. If a strategy isn’t successful, you may need to reevaluate and plan accordingly.
- Be positive! Though it is a JOB to find a JOB... with a positive attitude, good plan, and a strong approach, you can be successful in landing one, even in a challenging job market.
The average college graduate will change jobs at least six times in his or her working life. Having the ability to move ahead and change is a skill that will grow stronger each time you go through the process.