Job searching can be an overwhelming process, one that requires an investment of time and effort. However, developing a strategy, creating a timeline and organizing your search are keys to your future success and will make the process more manageable (and less stressful).
Before starting your job search, we encourage you to:
Attend a Small Group Job Search workshop or webinar to learn about the resources that are available to you as you go through the job search process.
Workshops and Webinars
Click below to check upcoming Resume Workshops
Watch the recorded Webinars in the Career Management module of the CareerX E-mini Course.
The Job Search Process
The job search process can be broken down into the following three steps:
- Inventory your qualifications
- Prepare for your search
- Search for positions and apply
1. Inventory your qualifications
Whether you are searching for an internship, a co-op or a job, your first task is to “own” your qualifications. Taking this step will not only help you to strengthen your resume, but will give you a head start in crafting stories about your experiences that you will be able to use in future interviews.
Think about what you learned, gained, and contributed because of your participation in these activities.
Qualifications include (but are not limited to):
- Skills (technical, lab, language, etc.),
- Competencies (also known as transferable skills such as communication, leadership, collaboration, etc.)
- Previous experience or background knowledge in a particular industry
- Global experience
TIP: Use your master resume (explained in the Resume Guide) to help you remember everything you have done.
Now that you know what you have to offer, you can focus more on the types of roles you want to target. Keep in mind that different organizations might have different titles for similar roles. When you are starting to search, make sure you include other variations of the titles.
TIP: You must meet 100% of the required qualifications and 80% of the desired qualifications.
2. Prepare for the Search
Advanced preparation will help you stay on track and in control of the job search process.
Schedule time each week for job searching activities. Look at your week ahead and make a commitment to yourself to use the time you set aside for job searching activities.
TIP: Find an organizational tool that works for you to keep track of your job searching activities
- Microsoft Excel has a Job Search template you can modify for your needs.
- There are a number of online tools and apps you can use as well (ex. Job Jibber, Trello, Job Hero Kanban). Many of these tools are free and using them will keep you on track.
You are now ready to start searching. Your goal is to develop a target* list of 20-30 companies. Your tool will help you keep track of the organization and any correspondence you might have with potential employers and contacts.
*A target list is a list of companies and positions in which the seeker is interested in working and learning more about.
Use these resources to help you get started with your list.
- Career Guides on the Employer Engagement and Career Design website
If you need assistance with this step, please stop by the Career Studio or schedule an appointment with a member of the Employer Engagement and Career Design team.
TIP: Are you an international student? Check out our resources for international students and look at the calendar to register for an International Small Group Job Search workshop and get specific strategies for your job search.
TIP: If you are looking for an internship, check out our Internships page for additional resources to help you with your search.
3. Search for Positions and Apply
After you have generated your list of employers, there are additional factors to consider before you click “Apply”.
There are three strategies to job searching:
- Using search engines to apply on-line (Indirect Search)
This approach tends to be many seekers' first attempt at job search. Job seekers search job boards and employment websites for positions based on key words and “apply” through these sites. They can be general search sites like SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com or industry specific, such as HireCulture.org, Idealist.org or Dice.com.
TIP: Northeastern students should always start their job search with NUcareers.
Although the act of sending your resume feels like you are taking action and being productive, sending an untailored resume without first taking time for additional research will prevent you from standing apart from your competition.
Fewer than 10% of job seekers are hired using the Indirect Search method.
- Strategic Searching and Application (Direct Search)
Job seekers search specific company websites for positions. Taking this step allows you to focus your search on your “ideal” companies. Researching targeted employers also allows you to take time to tailor your cover letter and resume for the specific role and company (making you a stronger applicant than someone using the Indirect method).
Fewer than 20% of job seeker are hired using the Direct Search method alone.
- Leveraging Connections (Networking)
Networking is vital for a job seeker’s success. Taking the time to learn about the employers that interest you will help you stand out in your job search and will demonstrate your focus to the employer. This method takes time and effort, but you will be making professional connections that will prove to be valuable as you progress in your career. Taking this step will allow you to meet people who work in the companies you are targeting. They will be the first to know if a position might be opening up in the near future. Making a connection to someone on the “inside” will give you insights into what the employer might be looking for in a candidate
70%-80% of all positions are filled by networking.
To learn more about how to incorporate connecting with other professionals and networking into your job search, read the networking and informational interviewing guides
Tips and Resources
Once you’ve formulated your strategy and have an idea of how you’re going to approach your job search, take advantage of the resources at your fingertips and most importantly use your network.
- Use Job Search Resourcesthat Northeastern provides to all students and alumni including NUcareers, Career Guides, Going Global and Going USA, to name a few.
- Find job leads using NUcareers.
- Check the company sites that you identified on your target list frequently.
- Network! 80% of jobs are found through networking contacts. Use the Northeastern Alumni Directory to find alumni connections.
- Read the Networkingand LinkedIn Guides for more tips on how to create your networking strategy!
- Attend LinkedIn workshops to better understand how to utilize this tool in your job search.
- Check out other social media and branding workshops and help develop a positive online brand to make you more attractive to employers. Check out our calendarfor details on upcoming workshops.
- Still feeling stuck? Job searching takes time - read Avoiding the Pitfalls of Online Job Applicationsby a scientist turned recruiter.
Take Advantage of Employers on Campus:
- Check out the On-Campus Recruiting calendar through NUcareers
- Attend Career Fairs
- Attend eventsincluding, Career Conversations, ResuMakeover, Networking Nights, and Panels
Not sure about your job target or need help figuring out your options? We can help. Schedule to meet one-on-one with a career counselor through my.northeastern.edu.
Have a quick question or need a quick review? Take advantage of our Career Studio.
Important to Remember: Be Alert. Be Aware.
What is a Scam?
Click the screenshot below for a brief message from NUPD!
The great majority of employers are honest, but for those employers who are not, be aware of these security tips:
Never pay a recruiter or an employer for a job
Never supply a bank account, social security, credit card, or deposit a check and forward it on from your account.
If the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is (examples, “no experience necessary” “earn money fast”)
When you are in doubt, ask a career counselor in Employer Engagement and Career Design or Google the company name with the word “scam.”