Starting your Job Search
I. What are you searching for? First, ask yourself what you are passionate about? What types of activities energize you? Look for clues from past work experience. If you need assistance in clarifying or confirming your goal, contact the Career Center for assistance.
Next, do a little digging. To explore fields you think are interesting, go to O*Net > Find Occupations. If you are unsure of your career interests, come to the Career Center for help.
II. Identify your network.
Experts estimate that as many as 80% of jobs are never posted to the public. Your job search will be more successful if you mobilize your contacts on your behalf. To get started, use our Networking Tips.
Do some background work:
- Make sure your résumé is up-to-date and ready to share (come to the Career Center for a Résumé Guide and a critique).
- Begin to develop a cover letter for the field you are seeking that you will tailor for each specific job. For detailed, step-by-step intructions on writing an effective cover letter, and for sample letters, download the Career Center's Cover Letter Guide.
- Practice a short (1-2 minute) summary, or "elevator pitch," describing the job you hope to find.
- Make a priority list of the people above with phone numbers or email addresses. Start by calling people with whom you’re comfortable. Do some research before you call so you can call to mind things that are important to them.
When you call:
- Be ready to chat for a minute to build rapport, then tell your contact that you’re seeking their advice as you look for a job, giving your elevator pitch.
- Ask them if they’d be willing to share their expertise as you look for a position;
- Ask them to suggest people whom you might contact about openings;
- Request their permission to use their names when contacting those whom they had suggested.
- Follow-up on their advice.
- Send them a thank you note.
- Ask for a specific length of time (15 - 20 minutes, typically). Stay in that time limit.
- Keep a careful log of contacts.
III. Come to the Career Center for networking leads, job openings, and interviews:
- Ask for alumni leads in your field and for assistance in contacting them.
- Request a list of activities students in your major have pursued within 7 months of graduation.
- Log onto NACElink. (If you need help with username or password, contact the Career Center.)
- Watch for openings in the bi-weekly Career Currents: Hot Off the Press.
- Sign up for on-campus interviewing.
- Brush up your interview skills (download or pick up our guide, The Art of Interviewing) and schedule a mock interview.
- Many organizations ask for a résumé and cover letter as their application form. Ask for a critique in the Career Center so that you are ready to apply.
IV. Check out these very useful web sites
Our links are sorted by field and location to streamline your search, and including special sections for governmental jobs and classified ads.
V. Attend Career Center career fairs (watch Career Currents for information):
- Indiana Means Business – Indianapolis, IN
- Spotlight Career Fair – Lexington, KY
- Collegiate Career Expo – Indianapolis, IN
- Teacher Candidate Interview Day – Indianapolis, IN, for newly qualified teachers only
VI. Don't forget to check out our summer Job Search Tips!