Successful Job Search Strategies    

Excerpts from “Ten Successful Job Search Strategies” published from (for entire article please visit:

Searching for a job is hard work. In fact, it can be the toughest “job” you’ll ever have. The key to job search success is to treat the entire process like a business. You are currently in the “job hunting” business. To stand head and shoulders above the rest of the job-seeking crowd, it’s important to lay out an effective strategy. By defining what you want and need, you’re on your way to getting it.

Jump-start your job search with these helpful job-hunting strategies:

  1. Know thyself.  Begin your career/job search by taking a thorough inventory of your interests, skills, accomplishments, experience, goals, and values. Make a detailed list.  But remember that the key to a successful job search is to recognize what makes you a unique candidate and to communicate this effectively, both verbally and in writing. You want to convince a prospective employer that your unique set of skills and virtues will make you the best candidate.
  2. Aim for the right target. Try to match your skills, interests, and values with the right career choice.  Conduct research to find companies, positions/projects and locations that suit you.  In choosing where to live consider the availability of jobs that fit your interests and then aggressively pursue those kinds of jobs.
  3. Be assertive and proactive. Don’t wait around for opportunity to come knocking on your door. While cold calling potential employers can be intimidating, it remains a powerful strategy.  It’s important to get through the door before your competition.
  4. Do some sleuthing. One key to breaking in is understanding the “hidden” job market. Many job openings exist only in the minds of directors, vice presidents, and other company bigwigs, long before the job is might be advertised in newspapers or on the Internet. If you can present yourself as the perfect candidate at this early stage, an employer may snap you up without looking elsewhere.
  5. Work the network.  Networking should be at the center of your job search strategy.  Get the word out to friends, fellow students, relatives and virtually anyone you encounter that you are actively looking for a job, and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for any opportunities.  Constantly look to expand your social and professional network by joining clubs (e.g. soccer, chess) and organizations, sign up for job search newsletters and e-mail blasts, and participate in Internet discussion boards.  LinkedIn, for instance, has become an essential tool in a professional’s career strategy.
  6. Say It Clearly.  When sending out resumes, catch prospective employers’ attention with a brief and concise cover letter that clearly spells out how your qualifications match the job requirements.  Connect the dots for the reader, and make it obvious why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. 
  7. Keep careful records.  Keeping track of the progress of your job search is important. Maintain a detailed record of all the jobs you have applied to, including communications, interviews, referrals, and follow-up actions. This will help you build a network of valuable contacts both for your current job search and for any future ones. 
  8. Be persistent.  Job hunting is hard work and there are times when you will be discouraged.  Just keep in mind that everyone has been through the same grind at one point. Try to keep a positive attitude, and look at your job hunt as an exciting challenge. Remember, it only takes one job.  Good luck!


The Hidden Job Market

Most jobs are secured through personal relationships.  Someone you know – a family member or a friend or a friend of a friend - tells you about a job and you get hired because of this kind of personal recommendation. So networking is usually the most effective tool in the job hunting process. Expanding your network by joining clubs and organizations, including connecting via the internet, can make network and your job opportunities explode exponentially.

It is estimated that 90% of jobs are never advertised because most employers prefer to hire based on personal connections rather than sift through resumes of strangers and interview people who are unknown quantities.

This is not to say that you should not look online and in print for advertised job opportunities.  You should not overlook any source of employment.  The mistake that job seekers frequently make is to “put all their eggs in one basket” – to limit their job search to one source, such as, a major jobs board like or or to one company or passively wait for a recruiter or someone else to find a job for them, instead of being proactive and multi-dimensional.


International Students:

Improve your written and verbal English if English is not your first language.  Communicating clearly and effectively over the phone, via email and in an in-person interview is probably the most important prerequisite for our students getting hired.  One side-benefit of networking is that it provides excellent opportunities to engage Americans in conversation.  Use every opportunity to read, write, hear and speak English.

Check with our international student advisor, Nancy Watkins, before you consider any employment opportunity.

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