The Career Development and Advising Center reveals the unknowns of the job search process and prepares you with a step-by-step process to help you organize, manage and succeed in your search for the ideal job.

The typical job search takes 6-9 months, and an investment in preparation, instead of jumping in, creates a process that results in greater success.

Begin by asking, “What am I actually looking for in a job or career?”

Job Search Steps

Know yourself and what you have to offer a company

  • Take the Focus 2 Career Assessment to explore your interests, personality, values and skills sets to guide your career choice and job search.
  • List all your transferrable skills gained from previous work and projects.

Define desired job tasks and determine job targets

  • Determine where you want to work and your geographic targets.
  • Create your list of desired work tasks. Maybe, for example, you like to organize schedules, develop and manage projects, or communicate with a variety of vendors.

Create goals and build a schedule

SMART goals are ideal:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Create a job search schedule. Following is an example:

  • Monday: search
  • Tuesday: research
  • Wednesday: apply
  • Thursday: networking
  • Friday: follow-up
  • … repeat

Create resume and cover letter

Create and/or update your resume and cover letter. Refer to the Career Development and Advising Center resume examples specific to your major and concentration.

Initiate search and applications

  • Search weekly for positions, and apply based on the application instructions: ClawLink, powered by Handshake
  • Attend campus career fairs – available in both spring and fall semesters – to talk with employers about part-time and full-time opportunities and get information from visiting universities about graduate school.

Prepare for interviews

Practice for upcoming interviews whether for a job or graduate school with the online tool Big Interview. Create a free account, learn how to build your interview stories, answer questions and record yourself during an online interview.

Build professional references

You should have three to five professional references from the following:

  • Former and/or current supervisors
  • Colleagues and/or direct reports
  • Former customers/clients
  • Former professors
  • Contacts from volunteer work or student organizations

Before listing someone as a reference, ask that person’s permission.

Follow-up appropriately

  • Present yourself professionally by creating a professional voicemail greeting and using a professional email address (student or personal).
  • Send thank you letters or emails within 24 hours.

Stay focused and monitor progress

Develop a spreadsheet or tracking tool to document and manage your progress. 

Collect the following information:

  • Company name
  • Web address
  • Contact name
  • Contact phone
  • Contact email
  • Date applied
  • Application deadline
  • Application summary
  • Interview date
  • Follow-up
  • Notes
  • Status

Evaluation and negotiate offers

Obtain salary information, using Glassdoor, and calculate your salary using the salary calculator.

Additional Resources