When beginning a job search, there are many things to think about and prepare. If you are unsure of the career direction you would like to go, meeting with a Career Counselor in Career Development may help you focus your search. Determining a few specifics about your goals and criteria for future job prospects will help you find opportunities that are more relevant to your major and career field.
Job and Internship Search Steps
- What are your career values and how do you want them to be fulfilled in your future position? (Flexible schedule, advancement opportunities, professional growth, and an attractive wage)
- In what environment would you like to work? (Corporate, small business, educational, non-profit, healthcare, government, etc.)
- What population are you interested in working with or serving? (Children/youth, business people, educators, lawyers, healthcare providers, artists, etc.)
- What topics are you excited to explore? (Marketing/advertising, sports and fitness, education, art, social justice, environmentalism, etc.)
- Resume: Have you had your resume reviewed by someone in Career Development? What has or has not been working? Does the top third of the page grab the reader’s attention?
- Cover Letter: Have you created one? Are you “showing” not “telling?”
- Did you know over 70% of people find their jobs through networking? Professional networking is a great way to learn about possible careers in your field, gain industry specific advice and learn about possible opportunities not listed online. Many positions are never even advertised online and are communicated through professional networks / word of mouth.
- Become familiar with professional associations in your field and practice your elevator speech for when you attend events.
- Communicate to family and friends you are seeking new opportunities!
-Know what you are looking for (types of internships, job titles, career areas)
-Find out what it will take to get these jobs. Get this info by talking to people who are doing what you want to do
-Find the right people to connect with by:
1. Asking your classmates, professors, friends, relatives, friends of friends
2. Using your social networks (e. g.LinkedIn and Facebook) – give them some idea of the career area you are seeking, e.g.
-Develop an introduction:
1. “Do you know anyone who would know anything about ____ or someone who works in ____?”
2. Once you find the right people, say, “I got your name from ____ and they thought you could help me. My goal is to work in (their career area and/or company). I am looking for some advice.”
3. Briefly give your background – around 30 seconds – major, graduation date, key qualifications.
Entry level example: “I am graduating in May with a degree in ____. While in college I worked 20 hours per week
while going to school full-time. I am active in ____ organization and have worked as a ____ for the past two years
where I developed strong communication skills assisting hundreds of customers.”
Experienced candidate example: “I recently graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul with a degree in ____. For
the past 10 years, I have worked in the ____ industry as a ____, _____, and _____. Some of my key contributions
and accomplishments have been ____. Through these experiences, I have developed ____ skills. I am looking to
transition to ____. What can I do to make that happen?”
-If you were me and you wanted to have a job in this career field waiting for you when you graduated, what would you do
-What positions would they be targeting? What level of positions someone with your background would have the best
chance of getting?
-Where would you look/what would you do to find openings for these positions?
-What companies/organizations would you target?
-What websites would you use and professional organizations you would join?
-Where else would you look?
-Who would you talk to? How would you find them? What would you say?
-Be sure to thank them for their help at the end of your conversation AND send them a hand written or email thank you note
within the next day or two.
- Informational interviews provide the opportunity for you to interview someone in a job or working at a company you would like to work for.
- Develop a list of the top 25 companies you would like to work for (these do not necessarily need to be entry level positions).
- Ask how the person got to this point in their career, what advice they may share, and any additional areas they think you should explore or individuals they think you should speak to.
- There are many online job boards you can utilize to search. These sites are broken up into location, area, and many general job sites. A few are listed below:
- CareerConnections is Concordia University, St. Paul’s online job board.
- If you’re interested in staying close to home, Minnesota has many job boards to explore including the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits, government job boards and more specific job sites for specific career fields.
- National job boards: Indeed, Monster and Monster College, CareerBuilder, Simply Hired, and Career Rookie
- Utilized social media, including LinkedIn, to search for open positions (see the LinkedIn handout for more information).
- Search company websites. Most organizations have career or employment sections in which you can search for open positions. They may choose to post only to their website and not to all job boards, especially if they have smaller budgets or are short on time.
- Beware: Not all job search engines are reliable. Make sure position descriptions include dates that are up-to-date, don’t share personal information that may jeopardize your identity. A good way to check if the site is reputable is to see if you know of anyone else who has used the site or run a web search to find reviews of the site.
A powerful database for researching companies and industries. This should be one of your first stops when gathering information. Access is granted through the CSP Library.
The Riley Guide
If you are looking for anything related to career and job search, including something specific or unusual, The Riley Guide probably has it. Very comprehensive site.
Research industries, careers, companies, and more.
Top 100 employers for entry level positions.
Research information on jobs, companies, salaries, and employee reviews.
Research employers by major.
- Internships: Just because a position may not be titled “Internship” doesn’t mean it can’t be turned into one. Depending on the type of work and the employer’s preference, a part-time or volunteer opportunity may be able to turn into an internship.
- Full-Time Jobs: Not all jobs are posted! Sometimes employers have very little time to post an open position to a job board, or even their website. If you’re interested in an organization but they do not have a position posted, reach out to them with a letter of inquiry and a resume. In this letter (very similar to a cover letter) you can state your interest and though there is not a position posted, you have certain experiences and skills you feel would benefit the company. You never know, they may have just the right position waiting for you!
- Create a job search folder on your computer to save all applications and position descriptions. Copy and paste position descriptions into a word document to save (once a job expires online, it is usually removed from the website). Also keep a job search log or journal to track applications you have submitted.
- Call a week after you apply and ask if they received all of the appropriate materials (do not call if it states “No calls, please” anywhere on the application).
- Prepare for the interview stage (you can do this before you even get a call for an interview!).
- Do not mass email your resume. Tailor your resume for each position to which you apply.
- Don’t rely solely on the internet! Use your network.
- Don’t state salary preferences on job applications prior to performing research.
- Don’t get discouraged. Job searches take lots of time and require patience and attention to detail. If you begin to get discouraged, don’t allow this to make you impatient and apply for any/all jobs you see. This may result in errors and applications for jobs you don’t truly want or are not truly qualified for.
Job and Internship Search Resources
Concordia University, St. Paul participates in numerous job fairs throughout the year. Please view the job fairs we participate in here.
-MN Workforce Center – www.minnesotaworks.net
-Search engine sites such as www.indeed.com and www.simplyhired.com
-Biology – www.biologyjobs.com
-Criminal Justice – www.justice.gov/careers/careers.html
-Criminal Justice- http://www.criminaljustice.com/careers/
-Education – www1.stcloudstate.edu/joblistings/edpost/
-English – http://www.startribunecompany.com/158
-Exercise Science – http://www.jobtarget.com/c/search_results.cfm?site_id=267
-History – http://www.historians.org/jobs
-Human Resources – www.tchra.org
-Marketing – www.mnama.org
-Mathematics – http://jobs.amstat.org/jobseekers
-Psychology – www.apa.org/careers
-Public Relations – www.prsa.org
-Sports Management- Sportsminneapolis.org