Sometimes, knowing where to start your job or internship search is the hardest part. We’re here to provide guidance and strategies through workshops and personal appointments, but here are some ways you can begin the process on your own.
Establish your geographic criteria.
Where do you want to live? Find the balance between being too broad (“I’ll go anywhere!”) and too narrow (“I’ll only consider jobs/internships in mid-Michigan.”) to increase your likelihood of a successful search.
Identify the types of positions that most interest you.
If you know this right away, great! If not, it’s time for some research. Write down a few keywords (politics, marketing, IT, writing…) and head to the Internet:
- Search engines can help you identify different companies or organizations that have jobs for people with your skill sets and interests. Don’t make your search too narrow: at this point, you just want ideas of position types for which you can search later. Write down job titles when you find them to begin compiling a list of possible opportunities.
- LinkedIn.com, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, is both a way to connect with people and a way to research potential career paths. If you are an active LinkedIn user, take advantage of the advanced search function to get ideas for potential positions. If you’d like to know more about using LinkedIn, visit our Networking page.
Take your lists and find opportunities that work for you.
With your geographic criteria and positions of interest established, it’s time for a more targeted search.
- Ask people in your network who are working where you’d like to live or doing what you’d like to do to help you identify opportunities. You’re not asking for a job – you’re simply getting ideas and continuing to make a positive impression by following up and demonstrating your ability to take initiative.
- Research the top employers (regardless of industry) in your geographic area of interest. Many large companies and organizations perform their supporting functions in-house. For example, a large manufacturing company doesn’t just run a plant: it also may have marketing/communication, information technology, accounting/finance, research, logistics, legal, and community engagement departments. Once you identify those employers, scour their Web sites for career opportunities. Even if they don’t have open positions, write their information down and check back regularly. See if you have any connections there and ask those people about the best ways to find out about openings. Or make a cold call and ask that same question – just be proactive!
- Check Handshake, where CSO staff members post new positions from a variety of sources almost every day. You can log in with your Alma College username and password up to a year after graduation. If you’re further out than that, just create a new account as an alumnus and CSO staff will approve you.
- Follow the CSO’s Career Development social media accounts (Alma College Student Affairs on Facebook and Alma College Professional Network on LinkedIn) for potential leads. You can also use social media to connect with interesting companies and organizations through their accounts. See if they have specific human resources or recruiting accounts and follow those, too. Don’t forget to interact in positive, appropriate ways. And make sure everything you post makes you an attractive candidate, too. For more on interacting with potential employers online, see the Personal Branding page.
- Search other job boards – but remember, many positions are never posted there and studies show that networking is one of the most important things you can do in your job or internship search.
Think of this like a major research project and remember, the CSO is here to help. Try some of the strategies we suggest and make an appointment if you get stuck. You can also attend one of our regularly-scheduled Job/Internship Search Workshops for a more in-depth discussion.