Job Search Tools and Strategies
The Office of Career Services at Georgian Court University offers you a wide range of career resources that can take the guesswork out of pinpointing a career path, building a résumé, finding a job, cultivating a network, and securing employment.
These are just a few of the valuable resources we advise students to use.
- CareerLink: This hub is bustling with job opportunities. You can search for and apply to jobs and internships directly posted to the university site as well as a national job base. You can also search for campus employment and service-learning opportunities. Additionally, CareerLink offers advice on résumé writing, job hunting, interviewing, and negotiating job offers.
- What Can I Do with This Major?: Connect your major to a career. Identify career options and job search resources for your major
- Focus 2 Career: Gain valuable information about your career and life goals as well as links to job opportunities in your fields of interest. (Access code: Lions)
- Career Services Blackboard Organization Site: Enroll in our site to access valuable job-hunting resources as well as résumé and cover letter samples. To enroll: click the Organizations tab; search for Career Services; select Enroll from the dropdown menu next to Career Services.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH): View occupational profiles describing typical duties, work environments, required education and training, average salaries, and the job outlook.
- O*NET OnLine: Explore career fields and prospects.
A résumé and/or CV are chief marketing tools professionals need to succeed. These documents outline relevant experiences, pique employers’ interest, and hopefully lead to interviews—and ultimately, the job you want. They are screening tools for employers to decide whether they would like to learn more about you.
Résumé vs. CV: What’s the Difference?
A résumé is a concisely written teaser of your credentials and skills. They are more widely used in the United States. A CV, on the other hand, is a more thorough biography; in the United States, it is used for graduate/professional school as well as in the academic arena. Outside of the United States, a CV is the norm.
Once you have a document drafted, e-mail it to email@example.com or schedule a one-on-one appointment to have a career counselor review your draft and provide professional feedback.
What to Put on Your Résumé or CV
Your résumé should be organized into sections such as education, experience, activities, and skills. Adjust your section titles to fit your experience and work history. For example, if you have multiple student leadership experiences, create a section titled “Student Leadership.”
Target your résumé. Consider an objective, summary, or positioning statement to help employers understand where you fit in. If you choose not to include a statement, make sure you have a goal in mind, to ensure your résumé remains focused.
Résumé and CV Writing
Ultimately, a résumé is a marketing tool and the writing matters. The most effective résumés focus on the skills and knowledge you have gained through experiences through descriptive statements. When writing, begin your descriptive statements with action verbs and include the results of your efforts.
- Action Verbs (available through the Career Services Blackboard Organization site or pick up a Career Handbook)
Formatting Your Résumé or CV
You have about 15 seconds to grab an employer’s attention with your résumé, so make it easy to read. Take steps to be sure your résumé won’t be screened out by applicant tracking systems due to formatting issues.
- Sample Résumés and CVs (check out samples on the Career Services Blackboard Organization site or pick up a Career Handbook)
Cover letters introduce you and your qualifications to employers. They allow you to concisely “tell your story”—why you are qualified for a role—by focusing on how you will contribute to the organization; they also serve as a writing sample. When effective, a cover letter helps an employer understand why you are a good fit for their position. Unless you hand deliver a résumé or an employer explicitly states they don’t want a cover letter, cover letters should always accompany résumés.
Cover Letter Writing Tips
An effective cover letter:
- answers the question: “How will I help the organization meet their goals?”,
- links your accomplishments and skills to the job requirements,
- explains why the employer should care about the items in your résumé,
- lays out how and why you would make a difference at this organization,
- is unique to each position, and
- introduces and provides context to the résumé.
To write a cover letter:
- Include your address and the employer’s address in blocks at the top of the page (business letter format).
- When possible, address your letter to an individual within the organization. Obtain the position title and contact information from the job description or organization website or call the organization. If you cannot find the information, start your letter with “Dear Search Committee Chair.”
- Carefully review the job description. Identify the key skills and experiences the employer is seeking. Provide a persuasive argument as to how you meet those skills and experiences.
- Your cover letter should be no more than one page and will typically have three to four paragraphs.
Once you’re done putting together a draft, have it reviewed by career services and the Writing Center. You can e-mail your cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, or schedule a one-on-one appointment through GCU CareerLink.
Sample Cover Letter
Explain why you are applying to this particular position and this particular organization. What is interesting, exciting, or unique about the role or company? This could be their culture, size, location, mission, products, constituents, or projects. Why are these important to you? Provide the name of the position you are applying to within this paragraph. Optionally, you can mention who referred you to the job or internship.
How will you help this organization meet their goals through work in this position? In addition to addressing your experiences and skills, detail why they would matter for this position. Analyze the job description and be specific about how your skills/experiences connect to the position responsibilities. You can use the format: “I have had experience doing ABC, which would enable me to accomplish [these goals] in this position.”
Interest in the Employer Section
Including a description of why you would be interested in working for this specific employer conveys enthusiasm to the employer. Demonstrate knowledge of the organization that makes them appealing to you as either a statement in the self-marketing paragraph or as an additional paragraph. This information can come from networking or research sources.
Reiterate your interest in the position and thank the reader for their time and consideration. Close by signing your name (typed is fine).
There are several components of job searching that are integral to ensuring your job search is efficient and effective. From having a network in place to knowing where to find job opportunities, the Office of Career Services can support you in finding a job.
Creating a Network
Networking is the process of gathering and exchanging information with individuals to help focus your career planning. This skill helps you discover new opportunities and connect with people in your industry.
When you network, you intentionally develop relationships that can help you gain a greater understanding of a field, career path, or company. The relationships you develop may lead you to a connection that helps you identify job openings or leads to future career advancement.
To build your network:
- Contact everyone you know, including friends, family, coworkers, teachers, and professors. Describe what you are exploring/or the field that you are entering. Ask if they are able and willing to provide you with any advice or to refer you to anyone that they know who may have information or opportunities. Most people are willing to advise someone seeking to enter the field.
- Add contacts to a networking platform such as LinkedIn. Connect with alumni, other people in your field of interest, and/or people working for employers with whom you’d like to work.
- Join a professional organization. Most will allow you to join as a student at a waived or reduced membership fee.
- If possible, attend a professional meeting (regional or national) and introduce yourself to practicing professionals using your elevator pitch.
- Prepare a 15- to 30-second elevator pitch that describes who you are, what you do, what kind of position you’re seeking, and why you’re the best person to do it.
- Update and/or clean up your online profiles including those on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Conduct an informational interview. This is a networking interview where you reach out to professionals to learn about their career field and gain insights into your job search. Ask questions about their job and/or industry. Share your résumé and ask for feedback. Follow-up with a thank-you note.
- Attend a career fair. Check out 10 Keys to Success at Job and Career Fairs.
- For more information, check out Networking 101: Tips for College Students.
Searching for a Job Online
Check out these great resources to help you be most successful. Then begin setting up profiles that include your résumé and a link to any online portfolio.
- How to Search for a Job Online
- GCU CareerLink—Georgian Court’s job search website that offers opportunities (jobs and internships) specific to GCU students and alumni as well as regional, state, and national opportunities.
- The 10 Best Job Search Websites
Don’t forget to tap the “hidden job market.” That is, finding jobs before they are advertised or posted online (sometimes due to the employer’s desire to save money on advertising, or a preference for getting candidates through referrals).
The most successful interviews are two-way exchanges that allow the candidate to evaluate if they are a fit for the role while the employer determines the same. Preparing for an interview builds your confidence, reduces your chances of becoming flustered by unexpected questions, and enables you to explore different ways to show an employer why you’re the best person for the role.
Types of Interviews
- Screening interviews: Short in length, includes a set list of questions for all candidates.
- In-depth interviews: Typically on site, include multiple people from an organization, can be at least a half hour or longer, and may include a series of interview events with different staff members.
- Group interviews: When multiple candidates are interviewed at the same time by multiple people.
- Work sampling: Some interviews require candidates to submit an assignment.
- Virtual interviews: Be sure to connect your device and test your connectivity prior to the start of the interview. Dress as you would for an in-person interview.
Preparing for the Interview
- Complete the “Getting Ready for the Interview” worksheet (available on the Career Services Blackboard Organization site).
- Review the job description.
- Determine what type of interview you are having, including format and number of interviewers.
- Learn about the employer by reviewing their website, looking at relevant news clips, and reading industry updates on the company.
- Jot down notes on what you would like to accomplish during the interview.
- Re-examine your goals, strengths, and experiences.
- Devise responses to explain how you connect your strengths and abilities to the position.
- Prepare a response to the question “Why should I hire you?”.
- Provide specific examples that highlight your skills.
- Be ready to talk about your challenges or areas of growth.
- Note three to five things you would like the employer to know about you by the end of the interview.
- Create a list of questions to ask the employer.
- Practice interviewing. You can also rehearse answers at networking events and career fairs.
After an Interview
Following the interview, express your thanks and professionalism with a follow-up note. E-mail is typical and allows for immediate response (no more than 48 hours), though handwritten or typed notes sent via mail are also acceptable forms of communication. Your note should be professional, concise, genuine, and personalized. Check out the Career Services Blackboard Organization site for samples.