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.
You may want to work in your hometown for financial reasons,
but there are not always enough jobs in any one community
for everyone who wants to work there (for example, Monroe
County). 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.
Making the Most of What's on Campus
• 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 fall, winter and spring quarters. 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!
Following Up with Employers
-- It's Really Important!
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
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.)
Follow Up Call Script
After you send an employer your resume, it is very important to follow up with each of them. You may learn your status and perhaps nudge the process along.
Job Seeker: Hello, this is Nila Jensen calling for Susan McKain.
Secretary: Will Mrs. McKain know what your call is about?
Job Seeker: I'm following up on some correspondence. I believe she's expecting my call.
Secretary: All right. I'll see if she's here.
Susan McKain: Hello. This is Susan McKain.
Job Seeker: Hello Mrs. McKain. My name is Nila Jensen. I applied to the spring co-op position that you listed at the Office of Co-op and Career Services at RIT. I am studying Hotel Management and have two years of restaurant experience.
Susan McKain: Oh yes, I remember. I looked over your resume yesterday.
Job Seeker: I am seeking a co-op position with a hotel that has a quality customer service philosophy and reputation. From the literature I have read on the Johnson Hotels, it appears that my experience relates well to the kind of employees you look for. I am very good at dealing with people and, while working evenings, have still maintained a 3.5 GPA.
Susan McKain: That sounds good. We haven't started interviews yet, but we will be soon. When exactly are you available to begin working?
Job Seeker: Classes end the first week in March so I can begin work as soon as March 9. I'd like to meet with you to further discuss my qualifications for the position. Do you have a few minutes later in the week?
Susan McKain: Sure. How is Thursday at ten?
Job Seeker: That's fine with me. I'll see you then. Thank you!
MonsterTRAK: One of the most comprehensive job listing services. Job search strategies cover everything from "How to Research Employers" to "Designing Your Resume" to "Effectively Negotiating Salary Packages."
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.
College.wsj.com: Wall Street Journal's career site for college students. They offer hundreds of career articles along with a database of more than 30,000 jobs from many of the nation's top employers (including entry-level and internship positions).
JobHunters Bible.com: Supplement
to the best selling book "What Color Is Your Parachute?
A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers".
JobOptions: Top community sites,
diversity sites, newspaper sites, important association sites
- all are part of the JobOptions Network. A network of sites
where the aggregate traffic exceeds 80 million each month.
Job Searching on the Internet: Check
out links to other sites for your job searching online.
JobWeb: The Web site of the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The complete guide to the job search.
Monster.com: Offers a variety of job search tools including employers profiles, job listings, and job search articles.
MSN Careers: Microsoft's career
source for job search information and job searches.
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.
Wallace Library: Job Searching
Resources on the Internet: A selective listing of several
Internet sites, including career and employment service firms,
non-profit groups, databases or listings of job openings in
a variety of fields, employer profiles, articles and other
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.