How to Job Search

You will have several jobs in your lifetime. Some jobs might be just for the paycheck. Other jobs are an important part of your career journey. Landing a great internship is also important to your career journey. Either way, the search process starts before you click that first “apply” button. 

The first step to finding the right position for you is to know yourself and your motivations.

  • Notice your strengths, personal characteristics, values, transferable skills, and other attributes that you might bring to your new job. Take a career assessment to get to know yourself better. 
  • Know what type of job or internship you want and why you want that position. What do you want to learn, contribute to or influence through your work?
  • Think about how this job search fits into your career development. Spend time getting to know yourself. Explore your possibilities to help you make decisions and set goals.
  • Share ideas about your job search with people close to you, mentors, advisors or a career coach. You never know who may have insights or resources to connect you to your next job.

Watch this video about the job and internship search process. Then check out the tips and resources for majors and careers exploration.

Prepare for the search

1.  Make a folder in a virtual storage space (i.e. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) to store your resumes, cover letters, saved position descriptions, and other job search materials. This way, you have all your materials organized in one centralized location. 

  • Current students can use the Google Drive associated with their “” email.
  • Graduating seniors and alumni can choose a virtual storage space that you will have access to for as long as you need it.

2. Design a job search log, database or document to track which jobs you have applied for, when you connect with your networking contacts, and know when to follow up. Include the name of the organization, contact person, method of application, date and status. Update this document every time you act on a job lead.

3. Create or update your resume or CV to highlight your relevant experiences, and reflect your personal identity/brand. 

  • Utilize our resume writing guide (PDF | Google doc) to include fundamental components in your resume.
  • Consider attending a monthly Rev Up Your Resume workshop.
  • Seek feedback on your resume before you send it to employers. Ask a friend, family member, or classmate. Offer to review your friends’ and classmates’ resumes. Establishing peer connections is important during your job search!
  • Attend a CEHD Career Services drop-in session for 15 minutes or schedule a one-hour appointment with a Career Services team member whenever you need support.

4. Write a tailored cover letter for any position that lists one as required or optional. 

  • Check out our cover letter resources to learn how to create cover letters that help you to stand out as a candidate.
  • Utilize our cover letter template to write your own.
  • Ask a friend, family member, classmate, your instructor, etc. to review your cover letter and provide feedback. You can also attend drop-in hours to receive timely feedback before submitting your application.

5. Create your introduction statement or “elevator speech” – a 20-30 second message to let an employer or new networking contact know your professional identity, your interest in a position/field and how your attributes can contribute to it.

6. Connect with your references and ask them for permission to be added to your reference list. Share your updated resume with your references so they can speak about your experiences with others.

7. Learn more about the interview process and start practicing with InterviewPrep.

8. Research and gather attire for interviews and networking (job fairs, social hours, meet and greets, etc.) opportunities.

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Connect and Apply for Jobs

1. Check out our resource pages for Finding an Internship and/or Job Search Sites.

2. Update your Handshake profile ( so employers know what opportunities you are looking for. Use Handshake to find on-campus career events or schedule an on-campus interview.

3. Consider your current networking plan. A strong network of connections is critical in any stage of your career. Networking doesn’t have to be scary! To learn about making connections and setting up informational interviews with employers and/or alumni, check out our Networking video and resources page.

4. Sign up for the Maroon and Gold Network to connect with alumni from CEHD and other UMN programs. Ask alumni how they started their careers or find out about the culture in a specific company or organization. 

5. Looking for a short-term opportunity to gain more experience? Consider applying for a micro-internship or career project through the Maroon & Gold Network or Parker-Dewey.

Celebrate and Monitor Your Progress

Look for big and small reasons to celebrate during the search process. Find opportunities to give yourself a round of applause or do a celebratory dance. Not only is it important to monitor your progress, it is essential to prioritize your emotional and mental energy. The search process may take longer than you anticipated. It often takes 3-9 months to find a job. Stay organized, energized, and keep moving forward!

Here are ways to monitor your progress:

  • Follow up with all employers and contacts by phone, email or social media platforms. Depending on how close you are with the contact, check in every few weeks or months.
  • Update your job search log with the status of your applications and networking activities at least once a week.
  • Celebrate the small victories along with the big ones! A call back, job interview, or offer are all reasons to celebrate.
  • Demonstrate flexibility in your job search and adapt your plan to take advantage of new opportunities.
  • Pay attention to your stress and anxiety levels. Keep note of your activities and adjust based on your energy.
  • Connect with friends, peers, and support systems when you are feeling overwhelmed. Also check in to support them in their search processes.

After reviewing all these tips and resources, are you still seeking one-on-one support? Don’t worry, CEHD Career Services is here for you! Attend a 15-minute drop-in appointment (just show up!), or schedule a 60-minute appointment with a Career Services team member anytime you need to talk about your career ideas.