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Job Search Strategies

Job Search Tips

While there are many strategies for searching for a job, some methods may be more successful than others. To best increase you chances of obtaining a desirable position, try to incorporate several of these methods into your job search:

Method #1: Identify Current Job Vacancies

Want Ads/Advertisements

While most job seekers utilize this method, it has been found to be the least effective, leading to employment only about 10 % of the time. Such postings can be found in local newspapers or on website databases. Most companies now also post listings of openings on their websites (often under the 'Human Resources' or 'About Us' section). The CSC maintains its own Job & Internship Database updated daily with new postings from local, regional and national employers.

Employment Agencies/Placement Services/Online Services

Pay close attention to the fine print if you must sign a contract. Never pay a fee to find a job (with most employment agencies, the hiring employer will pay the fee). Be aware that by posting your resume online, your personal information may be viewable by anyone.

Professional Associations

Consider joining a professional association in your field; CSC staff and professors can help you locate relevant professional associations. Browse the periodicals, journals and newsletters produced by these associations for vacancy notices. Depending on the association, you may be able to attend conferences and other special events within your field.

Job Fairs/On-Campus Interviews

Attend local and regional job fairs.  Also employers host information tables and conduct interviews on campus throughout the year. Stay up to date with these opportunities by reading "Instant Messenger," our weekly newsletter.

Method #2: Target Unadvertised Openings

Send Resumes & Prospect Letters

Identify organizations of interest and inquire about potential openings in your field. For assistance in composing a prospect letter, read over the advice offered on our Cover Letter Tips page. If at all possible, obtain the name of a contact person to whom you may address the prospect letter.

Apply Directly to Employers

Research a company and determine the type of positions it offers. Based on this research, contact employers by phone, email, or in person. If applying in person, make sure to dress professionally in appropriate interview attire.

Fill out applications completely and legibly. When phoning employers, practice what you will say beforehand.

If you are contacting an employer by email, be sure to familiarize yourself with proper email etiquette.

Contact Executive Search Firms

While headhunters can be a useful resource for job seekers with extensive experience in a field, they are not typically used for entry-level positions.

Method #3: Get Creative


Start by developing a list of everyone you know (family, friends, relatives, friends of friends, and other social/community contacts), regardless of whether they currently work in your career field of interest. Inform everyone you know that you are engaged in a job search. Talk with the CSC staff members, who can provide names of human resource professionals, alumni, and departmental managers within your field of interest. Faculty members may also be able to provide this type of information.

Informational Interviewing

As contacts are acquired through networking, you do not want to ask these professionals for a job; ask instead for advice on entering the field. These brief in-person or phone discussions are often called informational interviews and provide the opportunity for you to learn more about the field. You may bring a resume to the informational interview, but wait to produce the resume until prompted by the professional. Be prepared with questions to ask about the field (including necessary training, education, job prospects and more). Make sure to send a thank you note after your meeting/conversation.

Get Your Foot in the Door

Consider accepting a part-time job, internship or volunteer position within a field or organization of interest. These types of positions can be wonderful opportunities for you to prove yourself to employers by broadening your experience and strengthening your credentials. Working with a temp agency can provide valuable part-time income and experience while you conduct a search for a full-time career position.

Additional Tips

  • Treat your job search as a job in and of itself. If you are unemployed, you should spend your "work day" on your job search. If employed, you should spend a part of each day on your search.
  • Make sure to follow-up on applications and interviews. You may call or write an employer several days after sending in an application to confirm its arrival and reiterate your interest in the organization. Always send thank you letters within 24-48 hours after a job or informational interview. You should also send a thank you letter to anyone who has provided you with job leads or contacts.
  • Secure a list of solid professional references. Always ask professors, employers and supervisors if they would be willing to serve as a reference. Provide them with a current draft of your resume so they will be better prepared to speak about all of your accomplishments.
  • Be organized. It may be helpful to create a chart or spreadsheet to track when and where you have submitted resumes and what follow-up action is needed.

Attend a "Job Search Strategies" or "Senior SOS" Session

These workshops are conducted each semester. Check our "Events" list for the next scheduled session. Althugh targeted toward prospective graduates, these sessions are open to ALL students in ALL majors.

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