10 Steps to Job Search Success

Students who successfully complete post-baccalaureate searches follow a series of strategic actions.  Those who set clear and realistic goals; who articulate objectives in effective ways, and who are assertive and communicative, willing to act strategically and interact with others do succeed. Internship and job search success involves following the steps below and seeking assistance and support of others, especially the guidance of Career Center professionals!  They are trained to coach you step by step.


1. SET AND ARTICULATE GOALS. Know and say what you want to do next! You do not have to set and state lifelong goals, but you should express immediate and short-term options to implement action plans. And, you can have multiple and varied goals. pResearch (research before job search or graduate school search) is the key to goal setting! Don’t fear focus. Research, articulate, and then take behavioral action steps towards goals. Clear goals are expressed using field, function and firm descriptions for internships or post commencement jobs. A number of websites provide information, and facilitate self-assessment and exploration required of goal setting. Of course, Career Center counselors are prepared to guide you through this critical stage. Call or visit the office to schedule an appointment.  We encourage you investigate the following page dedicated to exploring academic/professional interests and career fields. Monster.com offers some helpful self-assessment tools. Other helpful sites include Vault.com and…..

2. DEVELOP DOCUMENTATION. Draft, finalize, then use resumes, cover letters, follow up correspondence, applications, recommendations, portfolios and other materials which project goals and qualifications. We do strongly recommend the UofResume format for oUR students. This “targeted” variation on the HBS Resume best presents your background and goals, as well as academic, experiential and co-curricular assets.  While some may question whether it is strategically sound to have resumes share common visual qualities, the success of students who use the UofResume reveals that this style is truly effective.  Having a Career Center counselor critique your documents is the best way for these professionals assess and facilitate goal setting and strategy implementation, while they enhance documents needed for success. Copies of sample resumes and cover letters are available via …. To have your resume or cover letter critiqued schedule an appointment, and send a copy of your draft as an MSWord.doc to your counselor.  Counselors will review documents, identify where you are in the ten-step process, and facilitate your progress to next steps.  And, targeted resumes that reflect goals are truly best!

3. IDENTIFY A “HIT LIST” OF POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS, GRADUATE PROGRAMS, FELLOWSHIPS AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES. Use printed and on-line resources to develop a list of persons, places, organizations and schools to contact. The three Ps of job search include Postings, Places, and People. Comprehensive efforts include communication with all three. This step involves identification of places, organizations where you wish to intern or work. Utilize Handshake, CareerShift, Vault.com, general job posting websites, as well as printed resources available in the Career Center’s Goldberg Library to begin this process. All students are strongly encouraged to regularly update their Handshake profile, and to upload various targeted resumes to the Handshake system and to publish resumes in field specific resume books.  Career Center counselors can teach you how to accomplish these efforts.  It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to complete this step without clear goals, so you might have to return to the first step before you complete this one.

4. ESTABLISH AND USE A “NETWORK.” Remember, the three Ps are Postings, Places and People.  Networking is the “people focused” step.  It involves identifying and contacting friends, family members, faculty, and, most importantly, Rochester alumni(ae) who might offer consideration, referrals, and advice. Networking is a critical part of pResearch (research before internship and job search) as well as post-baccalaureate employment and internship search efforts. Also, “internetworking” now means using the www for varied activities. Networking is done to explore career options and set goals (via “information conversations” or “shadowing experiences”), and to conduct active internship and job search efforts. Know your goals and act accordingly, honestly seeking information when establishing goals, and consideration and referrals when seeking a job. Be sure to make use of the Career Advisory Network, located in the Career Center’s Goldman Library.  Resources such as CareerShift and LinkedIn (For a how-to-use LinkedIn handout, click here) are amazing tools. Please discuss with a Career Center Counselor how to maximize your effectiveness and appropriately use these powerful web resources.  Strategic and goal-focused networking can be extremely effective, but over-generalized and “shot gun” approaches can diminish your potential for success.

5. RESPOND TO POSTED AND PUBLICIZED OPPORTUNITIES. While the first of our three Ps is “postings,” you cannot limit your efforts to these efforts.  But, you must maximize your potential to be successful using this approach.  Locate and use job postings, printed and electronic want ads, employment agencies, job fairs, as well as on-campus recruiting and resume collections. Don’t depend on postings, including those on Handshake, our www-driven resources, but how you respond will impact success! Be effective implementing proactive and reactive efforts. Again, do have a Career Center counselor critique documents used when responding to postings, and allow this person to coach you step-by-step through reactive and proactive efforts.  And, do refer to URL for posting sites and Career Center publications to identify general as well as field specific posting sites.

6. CALL FIRST, THEN FAX OR E-MAIL AND, FINALLY, MAIL RESUMES, COVER LETTERS, AND SUPPORTING MATERIALS TO POSTINGS, PLACES, AND PEOPLE; AS WELL AS PROGRAMS (TEACH FOR AMERICA, UNIVERSITY OF DREAMS, CITY YEAR, etc. ) ON YOUR HIT LIST AND IN YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK. Contact as many places and inform as many people as possible, as often as possible, about your goals.  Seek consideration, referrals, and support regularly, and often. Take first steps, and then keep the flow of communications persistent, yet appropriate. Attach a resume to initial correspondence as well as follow up e-mail or fax notes. Work effectively by phone, e-mail, or in person with all involved in your efforts; particularly with you Career Center professional.

7. FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP. Communicate with potential employers, internship sites, and network members by fax and e-mail, or by phone. Career Center counselors are trained to inspire appropriate and effective follow up actions.   They are effective “job search coaches,” who can motivate you step by step towards success.  Follow up is often the most critical, yet too often the most forgotten of the ten steps.

8. INTERVIEW. Communicate motivations and, most importantly, qualifications by phone and in-person. Always prepare prior to these special “conversations with a purpose.” Again, Career Center counselors are prepared to coach you through this critical stage; ideally, in person via appointments and role-play interviews. Do communicate with them regarding general interview advice, and strategies specific to your circumstances. See our Interviewing site for sample interview questions and tips are available for downloading in a pdf format. You can also investigate wetfeet.com or vault.com for additional interviewing information.

9. TAKE CLASSES, VOLUNTEER, OBTAIN INTERNSHIPS OR PART-TIME JOBS. Successful post-baccalaureate job seekers and internship candidates continue skills building by taking classes in goal-related areas or by finding part-time paid or volunteer experiences. Each experience will enhance your chances of obtaining your goals. This is often the most effective step, yet least taken. One course or two or three could become your springboard to success, as can a post-baccalaureate internship. Check your local area colleges and universities for courses of interest!  Discuss the idea of a “post baccalaureate internship” and a “one course at a time” strategy with a Career Center counselor.  For some candidates, and some fields, these are most effective and logical  goals.

10. RECEIVE OFFERS AND ACCEPT ONE. Conduct post-offer analysis after you have received employment or graduate program admissions offers. Don’t delay earlier undertakings while prematurely trying to make hypothetical “what if” decisions. Career Center Counselors are trained to assist you with this last step as well. Please share your circumstances and ask for personalized assistance. Remember that Career Center Counselors can help you with the salary negotiation and offer process. To begin investigating this topic, check websites like: salary.com, The Salary Calculator, Monster Salary Center and vault.com.  And, never accept and then later renege on an offer.  You can, and should, ask for the appropriate amount of time to collect information and make this very important decision.