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Job Search Strategies


Getting Started

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 Career Services & Co-op 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.

Making the Most of What's on Campus

  • Advisement - Your Career Services Coordinator in the Office of Career Services & Co-op 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 Handshake.
  • Online Job Postings - You can view and apply to co-op and full-time job openings on RIT Handshake.
  • 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 Handshake.
  • Alumni Network - it can be very helpful to connect with RIT alumni. The Office of Career Services & Co-op is establishing a network of alumni willing to be contacted on a variety of job search topics.

Company Research

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.

Marketing Yourself

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. This is the standard way of promoting our marketing yourself as a candidate but there are other methods too.

Using social media is a must when promoting yourself to potential employers. Visit our Job Searching with Social Media and our Networking and LinkedIn pages for tips and advice.

Contacting a Company

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 Career Services & Co-op. 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 Career Services Coordinator for information you can't provide.

Phoning Employers

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.

Follow Up Call

Your goal -- to obtain an interview!

Two keys to successful follow-up calls:

  •  Planning what you want to discuss.
  • Organizing a strategy to steer the conversation toward those topics.

To prepare for a follow-up call, you should:

  • Prepare the opening statement you will use to introduce yourself.
  • List the key topics you want to discuss, such as highlights of your background.
  • List the information you have learned about the company through your research and contacts.

Have a copy of your resume in front of you for reference purposes.

  • 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.)

Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice

Please Note: we adhere to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice. Become familiar with them as you start to actively seek a job and start interviewing.

Tips For Graduating Students and Recent Grads Still Looking For A Job

If you’re still looking for a job, it’s important to take advantage of all available resources through the RIT Office of Co-op and Career Services and develop a comprehensive job search strategy. Here are some tips and resources you may find helpful. You have FREE lifetime access to our office’s services! (Even after you graduate). Many resources and connections to social media can be accessed through our site.

  • RIT Handshake is our job listing database. If you have not been using it - take advantage of it now. Continue to use your RIT computer account login for continued access. Make sure your search criteria is not too narrow. Using multiple sources is smart – but don’t ignore some of the most obvious, like Handshake! Have you uploaded your most recent resume? Use saved search option to set up a search agent that will email you with new postings.
  • 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.
  • Meet with your Career Services Coordinator (in person or phone appointment) for tips to strengthen your job search strategy. Your Career Services Coordinator is also a great source of job search resources and industry information specific to your career field. Get a job search diagnosis and move ahead with fresh focus. 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.
  • Use resources to identify prospective employers. Find job boards and professional organizations specific to your field on our web site -- general sites like Vault, CareerSearch, Glassdoor and that we subscribe to. There are also numerous major-specific lists to choose from. Here is a link to those Web Resources you may find helpful. Each of our career services coordinators has gather helpful sites for their majors, you can find a list of them on the right side of this page or Web Resources page.
  • Think positively. Devoted time to your job search; strategize, plan, set goals and keep good records.
  • Be flexible. Be willing to move and work in a different geographic location than you had planned; consider doing a different kind of work or working in a different industry other than what you believe would be ideal; if necessary, consider a lower starting salary than you had hoped for – at least to start with.
  • 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. For more info visit Using Professional Associations.
  • Network! Networking is a critical part of how most people find their first jobs, and in a competitive job market it becomes particularly important. Join professional organizations and take advantage of every opportunity to meet and interact with professionals in your fields of interest, extend your knowledge of preferred career fields, find out who is hiring and get personal referrals to hiring managers.

    Contacts are anyone you know - ANYONE. When first creating your list, don’t exclude those who aren't working in your field or due to thinking they may not know anyone of interest to you. You don’t know their network! Let your contacts know what you would like to pursue and ask if they know of anyone you could talk with related to your interests.

    RIT’s Alumni Relations Office also provides graduating students and alumni with free access to the Alumni Online Community, which includes the Tiger Locator database. The Tiger Locator allows you to browse and connect with over 100,000 alumni contacts. Use the Advanced Search feature to find alumni working at companies you’re interested in!

    LinkedIn is the online tool for professionals and a very productive way to identify employers, potential contacts, alumni groups, industry affinity groups, specific job opportunities (internships/co-op, entry-level, experienced) and much more. Like your resume, you should spend some time creating a very well-written LinkedIn profile and include links to an on-line version of your resume, your own blogs if appropriate (professional), and examples of your work. Connect with RIT alumni – under the Network toolbar pick, select Find Alumni from the drop down. Join the RIT Career Services group and RIT Alumni group. Visit our Networking & LinkedIn page for more advice on using LinkedIn!
  • 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. 
  • Register with at least one employment agency. Contract firms are doing more hiring these days -often times it is a good way to get your foot in 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. Check out Working with Search Firms for more info.
  • Be Optimistic and Persistent. Inquire about each of your applications within a few days with an email or phone call. Be proactive - position yourself as a candidate that “wants the job the most”. One of the biggest weaknesses to a job search is being passive – make it easy for a potential employer to connect with you, effort should be on your part. Employers respond to job seekers who make the extra effort to write follow-up thank you notes and continue to reconfirm interest.
  • 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.
  • 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 -- 585-475-2301.

GCCIS students, here you have access to a Tips for Graduating Students webinar created just for you.

Veteran Job Search Resources

Joining Forces, a White House initiative, ( ) 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 (, 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,

Other Resources 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 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 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.