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Job Search

Job Search Steps & Strategies for Post-Graduate Employment

  1. Identify your goals & objectives.
    Be realistic, you really can't "do anything".  Think about your interests, abilities, skills, goals and values in order to focus on the types of positions best suited to you.  If you are unsure of your objectives, contact the Career Center for an appointment to explore these areas.
  2. Use a variety of methods in searching for job opportunities.
    • Networking:  The #1 way to go about finding a job, because approximately 80% of all job openings are never  advertised.
    • Direct Contact:  Market yourself to organizations, even if no vacancies are posted.  However, a job opening probably won't exist the first time you contact an employer.  The purpose of the direct contact approach is to find our how to learn of jobs when they DO become available or uncover "hidden" opportunities that might never be advertised.  To use this strategy:

      Identify organizations and companies of interest, using a variety of resources, including telephone directories, Chamber of Commerce directories, internet research, friends/family/acquaintances.

      Contact the appropriate person in the company or the company’s Human Resources Department. Have a script ready of what you want to ask. For example, “ My name is Jane Doe. I am a recent graduate of the College of Charleston, and I am seeking a position in laboratory research. How do you go about listing your job vacancies when they occur?” Also, ask to whom you should address a letter of interest and/or resume so that you may send a written follow-up to your inquiry. In your letter, demonstrate your knowledge of the company, the ways in which your skills would be an asset, and the reasons why you are interested in working with the company.
    • CougarJobLink (found under the "Student Services" tab in MyCharleston) Access all job opportunities listed with the Career Center.
    • Career/Job Fairs.  The Career Center hosts Career Fairs each fall and spring semester. Attending these events allows you to talk directly with potential employers.  Check the Career Center's homepage for updated information on upcoming Career Fairs.
    • Internet Resources.  While a useful resource, but should not be your only job search method. Here are some Helpful Web Links compiled by the Career Center to help you in your job search.
    • Staffing/Employment Agencies.  Can be very helpful, particularly if you are moving to a new area. The Career Center maintains a handout listing the staffing agencies in the Charleston area
  3. Write a resume focusing on your job/career objectives, and highlighting the knowledge, skills and abilities you possess for the specific job/career area to which you are applying.
  4. Select your references and ask them if they would be able to provide you with a positive reference. Prepare your reference page (only send if you are asked to do so by an employer.  However, you should take your reference page to interviews in case you are asked for a list of references at that time).
  5. Learn how to write cover letters and other job search correspondence.
    Remember to write thank-you letters to send after your interviews.
  6. Develop strong interview skills.
    Participate in a videotaped practice interview with a Career Center staff member.
  7. Research organizations of interest and salary statistics for your career/job of interest, as well as for your geographic area of preference.
  8. Establish a time line.
    It takes an average of 3-6 months to conduct a successful job search, so advance planning is essential!
  9. Set goals and be willing to committ some time each week for your job search.
    Keep accurate records of your contacts and the results.
  10. Follow up and keep in touch with employers over time.
    Understand that a job search takes time.  Be persistent and patient.