Career Services for Alumni
Employer and Job Research
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 Handshake and actively seek out your own opportunities.
Job Search Tips
- Use a combination of search tactics; you never know which one will get you hired.
- Network with professionals, alumni, fellow students, professors, and family members.
- Explore Handshake both for internships/jobs and for organizations in your field to approach directly.
- Be proactive! Target organizations and approach them directly. They may have internship and career opportunities that they are not advertising right now or you may be able to develop your own opportunity.
- Remember to 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.
- Stay organized! Keep track of all the internships and jobs you find/are interested in via an Excel document.
- Write a draft of your resume. See a career advisor for a critique.
- Apply to multiple organizations. Internships and jobs are competitive. Give yourself the best chance of succeeding.
- Be prepared for your interviews.
- Explore a variety of options and carefully evaluate the opportunities you find so you can pursue an internship or job that will provide you with the best experience.
- Attend the Internship and Engagement Expo and ESF Career Fairs!
Graduating Students and Recent Grads Still Looking For a Job
- Handshake is our job listing database. If you have not been using it - take advantage of it now. Continue to use your @SYR.edu 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 the career services advisor (in person or phone appointment) for tips to strengthen your job search strategy. 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 CareerSearch, Glassdoor and Internships.com.
- 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 Professional Organizations.
- 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.
- 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 ESF alumni – under the Network toolbar pick, select Find Alumni from the drop down. Join the ESF group and the ESF World Group.
- 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.
- Consider registering with an employment agency, if relevant for your field. 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.
- 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.
Inspired in part by: Syracuse University Career Services, Cornell Career Services, UC Berkeley Career Center, and RIT Career Services