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Job Search Strategies

To market yourself effectively you need to know the skills, knowledge, attitudes and experiences sought by an employer. These attributes, along with your interest in the role and the field, are key components of your application materials and interviews.


Important Steps

Reflect.

Think about what you enjoy doing, what you've accomplished, what interests you and why. Remind yourself of your successes and the projects, classes and activities in which you've been most engaged and at your best.

Research a variety of fields and entry-level jobs. 

Browse our library, explore online resources for general and field-specific industry information and review job descriptions in Handshake.

Connect and talk with professionals who work in your field(s) of interest.

Most people enjoy talking about their work and offering advice to those starting out, and these connections will build your professional network. Smith alumnae can be an excellent source of advice and information (find them in the Alumnae Directory; a career adviser at the Lazarus Center can help you get started). Ask faculty, former supervisors, friends and family to suggest others with whom to talk. If you've seen an article about someone, read a bio on a website, heard someone of interest speak, or have read the work of someone whose work is of interest, email or write to request an informational interview.

Decide how you’d like to start your career.

Focus on planning your initial career steps after Smith, not your entire career. What issues, problems or settings do you want to engage with first? Careers take shape over time, and unplanned detours may lead to unexpectedly great opportunities. Many graduates find success and satisfaction in careers not directly related to their academic majors.

Choose a target location.

You may have first and second choices, but beyond these it may be difficult to search effectively in several geographic regions at the same time.

Ensure your online presence is professional.

Get your LinkedIn profile ready. Review your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc,) and remove compromising photos or videos, if necessary. Google your name. Employers and networking contacts will, too.

Apply to many opportunities.

You may be an exceptionally qualified candidate for a given opportunity, but there could be many other exceptionally qualified individuals applying for the same job. In today's competitive job market, sending 25 to 50 job applications is not unusual, and some applicants send significantly more. Note that applying to a job does not commit you to that job; it's simply your request to be interviewed for that position.

This Job Search Timetable (PDF) provides a suggested timeline for conducting your search.

Don’t let uncertainty keep you from taking action.

There are many ways to make progress on your job search. If it feels overwhelming, break your search into small steps and set goals that work for you. Schedule time for your job search each week, and (if helpful) enlist the people around you to keep you on track.

If you’re feeling stuck:

Meet with a career adviser at the Lazarus Center. Call 413-585-2582 to schedule a conversation.

 


Job Search Best Practices

Students are responsible for accurate representation of their academic records and experiences on their resumes and in an interview. The Lazarus Center for Career Development cannot knowingly send out incorrect information.

Candidates should sign up for interviews only when genuinely interested in the position. Interviewing “for practice” takes advantage of recruiters and limits opportunities for other students who may be sincerely interested in the opportunities being offered. It also alienates the employer.

Second interviews are usually held at the organization's home office; travel expenses are often paid by the organization. When invited for a second interview, candidates should discuss which costs the organization will cover. Typically, reimbursements are limited to travel, automobile rental (if required), room accommodations and meals.

Accepting an Offer

An accepted offer is a contractual agreement that is expected to be honored. After accepting an offer, candidates should withdraw from the interviewing process and notify other organizations with offers pending.