Northeastern University

Resources for Graduating Students and Alums

Graduating soon?

1. Be sure to update your resume
  • Have it proofread by friends, career development, co-op employers, co-op
  • Remove high school
  • Make it no longer than one page. If you have "too much on it", create a master resume (just to keep track of everything) and consider making more than one version if you are applying to different types of employers (i.e. direct care, administrative, etc.)
  • Refer to my resume guide if it would help

    2. Attend Career Development seminars focused on graduating students (Senior Situation - or whatever the current monkier is)

    3. Get on Linkedin and other search boards Idealist, The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, NU Careers, etc.) and learn how to use it/them (attend Career Development seminars - they have 3 on Linkedin and many on other types of searching) - more info on Linkedin is below

    4. Follow the companies you are interested in on social media (Twitter, Linkedin, etc.) the more you know about what the company is doing and striving to achieve the better you can articulate how you can help i.e. get hired .

    5. Line up the people you want to use as references. Be sure to "cultivate" them well so they can do their best to help you. See this link for more help with that.

    6. Don't apply TOO SOON.

    Employers post openings and hope to interview and hire right away (i.e. if you are graduating in May - you shouldn't start apply to full time jobs until 6-8 weeks before you are available - unless they post them early....for a May start date.)

    Another caveat - if an employer has come to campus early to do "college recruiting" - to snag up the best before they graduate....then apply early.

    Now... Some general words of Wisdom....

    Northeastern prepares our students so well for the work world! Our seniors are always excited and have high expectations. We know they can succeed. They have already. But finding a job after college is still hard. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • You have gained amazing experience and insight into what you do or do NOT want to do.

    Our students can gain up to 18 months of amazing professional work experience. It is tranformative and now you want to do "better than you did on your co-ops".

    You can, and will, do well in your next jobs. But please know that although 18 months is amazing and it helps you "beat out" your "right out of school" competition, it is not enough to make you qualified for jobs that require 3 to 5 years of experience. You can apply to a few to see if it is possible, but it is likely you need to gain more entry level experience before you can move up.

  • It is better to do a focused search, and apply to 20 jobs really well, rather than 100 jobs - but without as much research, etc.

    Employers want staff who are enthusiastic about working for them, "get what they do" and can "solve their problems". If you apply to too many places, you won't be able to keep track, or get excited about each job. ....If you are not excited about them,.....why would they be excited about you? p>

  • Cover letters are VERY important!

    If an employer doesn't like your cover letter or senses that it is a "form" letter, your resume will go into the "no" pile right away. See this blog from Tina Mello, in the Career Development office. So true!

    See my web page on cover letters for help.

  • Don't apply to too many jobs at one place.

    I recently talked to an alum who was applying through large systems to jobs in hospitals. She was only allowed to upload 4 cover letters, so she made them very generic (because she wanted to apply to more than 4 jobs). She wasn't getting calls.

    I told her to focus only on the # of jobs that she was allowed to upload cover letters for (i.e. write 4 amazing cover letters). Then she got calls. If you apply to too many jobs at one place they no longer believe you care about the jobs... they just think you are desperate for ANY job.

    The more focused you are in your search and cover letters, the better off you will be. Good luck!

  • Don't get overlooked....Don't rely soley on Idealist, Monster, Higherculture, Linkedin, etc. postings when applying.

    Some companies post openings in so many places - that they are not all really, "up to date". So if you find a listing you love, go to the company's website and see if you can find the posting, the supervisor's name, title, etc. Be informed and "do your homework".

    A recent alum told me that she followed this advice. She had applied to a job through an alternate site. But then she went to the company website and also applied there. She got the job and later heard that they got so many applicants through their own site that they never even looked at the ones from other sites.

  • You have "paid your dues with co-op", so now you want those "high salaries". You deserve it.....right?

    Yes, in theory you deserve it. But don't pass up amazing opportunities based only on a salary. Some places have loads of room for movement. You can get promotions and raises in a short period of time. You need to prove yourself to each employer. If you care about what they do and what you will learn, sometimes a smaller salary is worth a job that you love!

  • Use Linkedin to help you search and advertise yourself well.

    Searching outside of the co-op database is different. You are competing with everyone and you need to work even harder to make sure you stand out. Create a great profile. Use your networks. Be sure to learn how the employers you are interested in recruit (is it word of mouth? Through referrals? Through web-portals? or do they seek people out based on Linkedin?)

    This knowledge can help you formulate a better approach and make your life much easier. Career Services does wonderful events and workshops! Take advantage! Learn more! They help alums as well!

  • Here is some great feedback that job searchers should read: from the point of view of a hiring manager. - (resume and interviewing) help

    More helpful links


    Career Development Office Events - including NU Cause events - a student favorite!!


  • Links to preparation (resume and interviewing) help

  • Links to succeeding at work

  • Handling Job Offers Well - PDF