Job Search Strategies
Looking for a job is a job itself. Your search will be an effective one if you have a goal in mind, stay organized, incorporate a variety of methods and follow up. Consider all of your options - apply to positions listed on the Office of Co-op & Career Services Web site and actively seek out your own opportunities. Your job search is not complete unless you identify and contact employers on your own which can mean doing research and targeting companies that are doing the kind of work you wish to do.
Stay open and flexible. Don't narrow your job search so much that you miss out on opportunities. Try to consider the merits of each opportunity before you react to its location and don't let concerns about housing limit your job search. If you plan to move to a particular geographic area upon graduation, it may be difficult to conduct a serious job search long-distance. Consider a trip to the area and let potential employers know that you will be in their area and perhaps you can arrange to meet to discuss your qualifications during that time.
• Advisement - Your program coordinator in the Office of Co-op & Career Services can help you prepare for a job search and work with you to develop a personal job search plan. Check the Staff & Advisors page to find out who can help you during your job search.
• On-campus Interviews - Employers come on campus to recruit for co-op and full-time openings. If you meet the employer's qualifications, you can submit your resume for consideration online. If you aren't a perfect match, you can contact them to see if they would consider speaking with you during their visit to RIT. Sign up for co-op and full-time interviews on RIT Job Zone.
• Online Job Postings - You can view and apply to co-op and full-time job openings on RIT Job Zone.
• Career Fairs - There are a number of campus and local job fairs that are publicized through the career services office. Go to our Career Fair page for information about our office- sponsored career fairs!
• Employer Information Sessions - Employers conducting on-campus interviews often give presentations about their companies and openings. These are open to everyone and are a nice opportunity to talk with a company representative. Information can be accessed through RIT Job Zone.
• Alumni Network - it can be very helpful to connect with RIT alumni. The Office of Co-op & Career Services is establishing a network of alumni willing to be contacted on a variety of job search topics.
In order to uncover potential openings that match up with your qualifications, it is important to do some research. Use a variety of resources when researching companies and don't fall into the trap of targeting only high profile organizations or obvious industries. Your dream job may be with a company you never heard of - until you did that valuable research.
Now you have identified the organization you would like to approach about the possibility of a job - you need to be ready with a great resume and cover letter. You will use this documentation to convince potential employers that you are worth consideration.
We generally suggest that you send a company your resume and cover letter before telephoning or visiting. Your goal is to develop enough interest to get a personal interview. Catching the company off guard on the phone or in person may generate an impulsive "No Thanks". If you think the employer is not familiar with RIT and/or the co-op program, get a "program marketing piece" for your major in the reception area of the Office of Co-op & Career Services. This provides a brief description of RIT and the particular academic program and can be sent with your resume. Also, suggest to the company that they call or write your program coordinator for information you can't provide.
Calling employers that you don't know is going to be an important part of your job search, but few people are comfortable picking up the phone and calling strangers. You must prepare and be persistent. Business people are busy, and even your father's best friend may not respond to repeated phone calls. Stay with it!
Accept that you will start out a little shaky, with a degree of uncertainty, on your initial calls. That's normal! As you progress, you will begin to develop your own technique. After each call, analyze what you said and what the reply was -- what worked and what didn't work.
Telephone Technique Tips
• Never be anything but extra nice to office staff. They have incredible power over the information and the people who get through to decision-makers. You want them as allies not enemies.
• Do not take a lack of a return call personally, and do not mistake it for a lack of interest.
• Leave a detailed message with the secretary or voice mail if you don't get through.
• If after several calls you haven't gotten a return call, ask the secretary for advice. (Example: "I've been calling Ms. Jones for several days, and I haven't been able to get her attention. Do you have any suggestions for me about how I might be more effective in trying to reach her?)
• Try calling early in the morning and late in the day when managers may pick up incoming calls themselves.
• Be direct. Put a smile in your voice, and speak as if you expect to be put through. ("Good morning. Is Ms. Jones in? This is Ed Smith calling.)
• If you have mailed a letter stating that you will contact Ms. Jones, you can say in all honesty, "Yes, she is expecting my call."
• If the secretary asks you what your call is regarding...say, "I sent her a letter earlier in the week, and I am calling to follow up."
• You will not succeed on every attempt and you should not expect to!
Employers who list positions with the Office of Co-op and Career Services are busy and usually get a significant number of students applying for each position. Therefore, it is often simply not enough to apply electronically or mail your resume, and wait for an employer to contact you. In order to be successful, you must follow up with each employer who receives your resume. This crucial step in the job search process could mean the difference between success and failure in your search!
As a rule, if you haven't received a response to your letter and resume within ten business days after the deadline date, you should follow-up with a telephone call. Most managers appreciate a follow-up call as it shows a sincere and continued interest in their company. Keep in mind that the hiring process in large organizations can be lengthy. During this process, if a manager really wants you, he or she may be concerned that you've lost interest. So, it's a good idea to let the company know that you are still a candidate. Telephone follow-up will also give you an opportunity to personalize your candidacy, generate an interest in your qualifications, and get you the interview!
How often you should call is a two-sided coin. If you call too many times, you can be labeled a pest, and this will work against you. If you don't call back often enough, another more aggressive candidate may beat you. If you really want the job, and you think you have a chance, call up to two or three times. If the manager doesn't seem interested (some people have trouble saying no), then don't waste your time.
Your goal -- to obtain an interview!
Two keys to successful follow-up calls:
1. Planning what you want to discuss.
2. Organizing a strategy to steer the conversation toward those topics.
To prepare for a follow-up call, you should:
1. Prepare the opening statement you will use to introduce yourself.
2. List the key topics you want to discuss, such as highlights of your background.
3. List the information you have learned about the company through your research and contacts.
4. Have a copy of your resume in front of you for reference purposes.
5. Anticipate the employer's possible responses and prepare specific replies for each.
Make your call to the person to whom you sent your resume.
After making follow-up calls, write down the results you obtained and your reactions to the conversation. (Refer to sample follow up script at the end of this handout.)
1. RIT Job Zone is our job listing database. If you have not been using it - take advantage of it now. Set up a search agent that will email you when a new full-time job or on-campus interview opportunity is added. Before you leave campus, set up an alumni account so that you can continue to access Job Zone after graduation. http://www.rit.edu/emcs/oce/alumni-job-zone-registration
2. Follow up with all companies where your application is pending. If a company has your resume, and you have not heard from them, give them a follow up call or e-mail. If you have interviewed with a company, touch base with them to check your status and offer to answer any questions they may have.
3. Double check your resume and cover letter - have us review them, perhaps there is room for improvement, especially as you transition from student to new grad.
4. Use resources to identify prospective employers. One of the best sources of company information is CareerSearch -- a link to this site can be found on the main Job Zone page. Here is a link to additional web resources you may find helpful http://www.rit.edu/emcs/oce/students/web-based-tools.
Each of our program coordinators has gather helpful sites for their majors, you can find a list of them on the right side of this page.
5. Think positively. Devoted time to your job search; strategize, plan, set goals and keep good records.
6. Be flexible. There are jobs, but in tightening economic times they are more of a challenge to find; flexibility (location, salary) is more critical.
7. Become active in professional organizations. Start establishing contacts; volunteer your time; ask about job search services or job databases that may be available to members.
8. Network! Begin to establish a chain of people who can help in your job search - friends, faculty, and relatives. Step up informational interviews.
9. Consider the "hot" geographic areas. Review articles to identify areas with the most potential for your field. Read news from that area, use the web to identify employers/opportunities geographically. Contact a chamber of commerce for list of industries or employment fairs.
10. Register with at least one employment agency. Contract firms are doing more hiring these days -often times it is a good way to get the foot your the door. It should cost you nothing and does not take much effort on your part. But ask questions about how their agency works and what your obligation will be.
11. Be persistent. Following up with employers is where many job seekers fall short.
12. Fake it - even if you are not feeling very confident, it is important to project a positive attitude. You have to believe you are the best person for the job before you can convince others that you are. Be prepared going into an interview. Preparation will alleviate some of your nervousness and you will appear more relaxed and confident.
13. Don’t give up. Everyone knows that the economy is not great right now – but that doesn’t mean that you should postpone looking for a job until it improves. Jobs are out there you just need to be more flexible and work harder to get one.
Good luck! And please don't hesitate to ask for help.
Joining Forces, a White House initiative, (joiningforces.gov ) is devoted to supporting U.S. veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life. Joining Forces is dedicated to connecting our servicemen and women, veterans and military spouses with the resources they need to find jobs at home.
Networking is one of the most effective ways of finding job opportunities. MentorVet (www.mentorvet.org), a new web-based program that matches student veterans on U.S. campuses with mentors from industry, launched this week. With support from a Boeing Company grant and deep involvement by Boeing Company volunteers as mentors,
Careers.wsj.com: A site for executive, managerial and professional jobs. Content comes from the powerful editorial resources of The Wall Street Journal as well as from the careers.wsj.com editorial team. Includes daily updates of critical news, features and trends.
College Grad Job Hunter: A compilation of unique techniques, tactics, methods, tips and approaches specifically designed for the entry level job market from one of the best-selling career books on the market.
JobHunters Bible.com: Supplement to the best selling book "What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers".
Quintessential Careers: This site is designed to provide as much information and resources as possible for job seekers. While this site has all types of resources and links, its main focus is on helping the new college grad find employment.
Wet Feet Press: Unique and useful information for job seekers. Through this site you can also order Insider guides on leading companies and industries, prepared exclusively for job seekers.