Job search journey

Get comfortable with …. you!

The job search process starts before that first apply button. An essential step in the journey is getting more familiar with yourself. Your unique interests, skills, strengths, and experiences are like no other. How can you emphasize these attributes during the search process?

  • Start with your why. What is the bigger picture that you want to contribute to or influence?
  • List your top 10 strengths and personal characteristics.
  • List your top 5 work and personal values.
  • Identify and list the transferable skills you have developed and demonstrated in the past.
  • Create your introduction: a 20-30 second message to let the employer know your interest in a position/field and how your attributes can contribute to it.
  • Complete a career assessment to clarify your interests then meet with a career counselor to elaborate on connecting these with career opportunities.

Envision Your Career Journey

Envisioning what your career journey may encompass can help you stay energized and focused during the search process. Understand what is important for you and allow your career ambitions to guide the direction and decisions you make.

  • Identify specific financial, lifestyle, job, and overall career goals to give your job search plan a focus and direction. Then establish sequenced action and activities to support them.
  • Take inventory of your financial responsibilities and desires. How do the opportunities you are looking for align with these as well as match your experiences?
  • Investigate careers for your major and learn about specific areas of focus in job industries. (ei. within Human Resources there could be Training and Development, Talent Acquisition, Employee Wellness etc.)
  • Determine a geographic preference. If you have a specific location in mind, identify companies and organizations in those areas.
  • Research market trends in your industries for job demand and salary.
  • Learn about potential employers:
  • Develop a list of potential employers that align with your values, interests, and skills.

Prepare for the search

We are getting closer to the apply button! Most opportunities will be interested in written documents such as a resume, cover letter, and list of references. The preparation process may include some of the following:

  • Curate individualized resumes and cover letters for the positions you are applying for by using the position description and organization website.
  • Connect with references and ask them for permission to be added to your reference list.
  • Learn more about the interview process and start practicing with InterviewStream.
  • Research and gather attire for the interview and connection-making (job fairs, social hours, meet and greets etc.) process.
  • Conducting informational interviews to identify potential employers that interest you and explore opportunities that align with your talents, interests, and values.


There are many ways to find opportunities. Connections, listservs, professional associations etc. are all ways to learn about new opportunities. Job search engines are the most popular option, but can sometimes feel like an endless process. Use some of the tips below to narrow down results while keeping an open mind.

  • Let your support circles know you are seeking opportunities! They can connect you with opportunities or new connections.
  • Reach out to companies and organizations that you are interested in via email, phone, or virtual networking platforms.
  • Focus on the jobs’ description and qualifications. How do your unique attributes and experiences align with them?
  • Take inventory of the different job titles that may have similar qualifications and use them to find different opportunities.
  • Understand what you are willing to negotiate. Is it salary? Commute time? Work culture? Benefits? Work hours? Vacation time? Work tasks? Identify your work priorities.
  • Filter, filter filter. These can help you focus the search to match your experiences, career goals, and location preferences.
  • Respond to job posting and send your resume and cover letter to your connections for referrals. Check out our guide for virtual job searching.

Celebrate and Monitor your Progress

Big or small, there are many 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 monitor your emotional and mental energy. The process may take longer than you anticipated (3-9 months), so stay organized, energized, and keep moving forward!

  • Follow up with all employers contacts by phone, email or virtual networking platforms.
  • Keep a log. Include the name of the organization, contact person, method of application, date and status.
  • Celebrate the small victories along with the big ones! A call back, interview, or offer are all reasons to celebrate.
  • Demonstrate flexibility in your job search and adapt your plan to new job leads.
  • Connect with friends, peers, and support systems when you are feeling overwhelmed. Keep note of your pace and adjust based on your energy level.

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