Making It Happen

Job Search Strategies

Landing a job that works for you as much as for the employer rarely results from walking a straight path. There are as many routes as there are variables. The more you diversify your approach, the better your chances of shaking hands over a satisfying offer.

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Networking

Networking is connecting with people who can give you tips, advice, and contacts related to your job search. Experience has shown that professional networking provides a rich source of career leads and information about unadvertised opportunities. The more people you talk with, the more connected you’ll be, and the more likely word will echo back to you about potential openings. Check out our Networking section.

BU Alumni

The Career Advisory Network (CAN), operated and maintained by the BU Alumni Association, allows you to contact alums who have volunteered to speak to students about their careers. Please remember this is an informational and networking opportunity only, not a green light to ask for work. Get started by accessing CAN through BUAA’s website. You should also join the BUAA’s LinkedIn group for more opportunities to connect with alums.

Campus Recruiting

From internships and job postings to employer networking events to career expos, don’t miss out on these campus opportunities.
Campus Recruiting

Social Networking

Online social networking can increase your opportunities of networking and finding a job. Sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook let you follow organizations you’re interested in and establish connections with thought leaders in related industries and fields.

Some organizations use social networks to post opportunities and recruit potential employees. There are many sites to choose from. Ask around, see what your friends and family use, and check out the ones we recommend.

Learn more about networking virtually.

Job Boards

There are generally two ways you can use these sites: search for jobs or post your resume in the hopes that employers find you. On the latter, some notes of caution. Thousands of other hopefuls are applying to the same jobs and your chances decrease rapidly with the popularity of the board. Second, you don’t know anything about an employer who contacts you as a result of finding your resume. Some people are contacted by headhunters or agents who then want a fee to connect you with jobs.

Be careful about applying to jobs or employers that aren’t clearly identified. Make sure the organization is legitimate. If you’re asked to disclose information before they’re willing to give you any, be wary. Never give out your Social Security number or other personal information over these sites. If you choose to use one of these job boards, don’t make it your only job-search avenue.

Many professional associations also have job lists, usually available to members only, but most associations have discounted student rates. These job lists can be a good source if you are looking for a very specific type of position or career field.

Organization Websites

Bookmark the HR or employment sections of websites of organizations that appeal to you. Many have separate sections for college students or recent graduates. Explore their websites thoroughly and check back often. If an opportunity comes up, you’ll be able to assess how you and the position might fit and tailor your resume and cover letter accordingly.

Staying Current

Know what’s happening within the industry or field in which you’re seeking employment. Be aware of mergers, bankruptcies, new ventures, relocations, up-and-coming competitors, new products, regulations, CEOs, and even scandals. You’ll be able to converse knowledgeably during an interview, but also perhaps anticipate openings.

Newspaper Ads

It shouldn’t be your primary method, but newspapers are another possible source for job listings. Traditionally, the Sunday edition has been the go-to destination for Help Wanted ads in print and, in many cases, online. But don’t discount weekday issues. When searching locally, check out all your area papers, including the smaller, community weeklies. If you’re looking for work in another city, bookmark the websites for its major papers and regularly scan their “Help Wanted” sections. When responding to an ad, be sure the first line of your cover letter includes the job name and posting number, if any, as well as where you saw the job listed, and on what date.

Agencies/Headhunters

Agencies come in two basic types: those that charge and those that don’t. We strongly advise you not to pay for job placement or headhunting services. There are plenty of good ones that can help you find work without sending a bill. They make their fees from the employers. In addition to general employment agencies, check out those that specialize in a particular field of interest such as finance, science, education, technology, etc.

Generally, the agency interviews and screens you, checks your references, then sends you to interviews at compatible employers. You don’t have to go on any that don’t appeal to you. But if you’re undecided, it’s not a bad idea to check out the opportunity firsthand.

If you’re considering temporary employment as a way to explore careers, agencies can be a good choice. Sign up with one or two. Keep in mind, however, that employment agencies generally command a large finder’s fee from organizations if they hire temporary workers within a certain time period, so this may not be your best or quickest route to a permanent position.

Word to the Wise: An agency’s client is the employer, not you. Its goal is to fill the employer’s positions, not find you a job. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use agencies. They can be a great resource.