Searching for a job or graduate school is a personal process and it is different for each individual. There is not one technique that is guaranteed to land you a job or get you into graduate school. What is important is that you find out what works best for you. Below are some of the most important things to consider when you are ready to begin the process.
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The first step is to narrow your search as best as you can. Spend some time thinking about geographic location, what your skills and interests are and how you can apply them, what industry you want to work in, and what type of corporate culture is important to you. The more you define this list, the easier your job search becomes.
One good starting point is to make a list of 5-10 organizations that you think you would like to work for. Spend time researching their websites, reading annual reports, connecting on social media sites like LinkedIn, and actively working on meeting people within the organization. The more you get to know an organization, the more you will know if it is a good fit or not. This list can change over time as you learn more about what is important to you.
The seemingly endless amount of job search resources available can be overwhelming when searching for a job. Below is a list of what we feel are the best starting points:
- Use the resources available to you as a Wright State student! View our current job postings through Career Services.
- Visit websites of the organizations you are interested in. Almost all companies will have current openings listed under a Careers tab or a similar link somewhere on their page.
- Check with your network connections! Ask friends, family, faculty, and staff if they are aware of any current job openings that might be a good fit. Receiving a high recommendation from someone in your network can greatly improve your chances.
- Check professional organizations. Not only do they provide career opportunities, oftentimes they offer other industry-specific tips as well.
- Consider a job aggregator. These websites search the web and pool together thousands of current opportunities. You can then filter based on geographic location, experience, salary, etc. A couple of the most popular aggregators are Indeed and SimplyHired.
What is realistic? Having an idea of starting salary is important as you move through the hiring process. Be informed and ready when the time comes to discuss pay. The Educate To Career Salary Calculator is a great tool to help you get started. Here you will be able to look up average starting salary estimates based on career field, geographic location, education level, and experience.
Video by CareerSpots
Networking while you are in school is important. Often when a job opens, hiring managers look to their network to fill the position. In fact, an 80 percent of positions are filled without any employer advertising. That means if you are relying on job postings alone, you are only seeing 20 percent of what is available. Networking is a way you can build your network and find those positions.
Networking is when you interact with other people to exchange information, build relationships, and develop contacts, especially to further your career. You might be intimidated by the process or feel that networking is useless because you do not know the "right" people, but everyone has a network. We are here to help you use your network effectively to make the difference when searching for a job.
- Speak with your friends and family—Talk about their work and what you are interested in. This small and simple step could lead to an introduction with someone in the field.
- Talk to classmates and join student organizations—This is a great way to build and strengthen relationships. Your fellow classmates could help you land a job down the road.
- Meet with your professors and other university staff—Many of your professors and advisors have worked in different industries and business for a long time and can offer a wealth of both information and professional contacts.
- Attend on-campus workshops, info sessions, and career events—Meet employers face-to-face and share your resume. When employers are looking to hire, they are more likely to reach out to someone they have met before.
- Join professional organizations—Every major has a professional organization that provides networking opportunities, continuing education, and relevant industry news updates to its members. Many times they offer free or reduced rates for students.
- Take advantage of social media—Stay connected to companies and professionals through sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Many alumni prefer to be contacted through email. Do background research to understand who they are and what they have accomplished in the workplace. Outline what you want to learn or to gain before you send an email. Your initial email should be brief and contain the following information:
- How you found them (alumni network, a referral from a counselor, etc.).
- Your school and (expected) year of graduation.
- Your current status (career exploration, industry research, job search).
- What you are asking them for (e.g., information about their organization, industry tips, or job search techniques).
- How you would like to gain that information (an in-person informational interview, a phone meeting—at their convenience).
- Indicate how you will follow-up.
- A suggested time and place for an informational interview (at the alumni's convenience).
- Do not attach your resume to your initial email. Bring it with you when you meet with alumni, and ask for industry-specific feedback on it.
- Follow up with a thank you note after your meeting or phone conversation with the alumni.
How to Find Alumni
- Contact your Wright State University Alumni Relations Office. Our Wright State Alumni Association is happy to connect you with alumni and resources.
- LinkedIn Alumni Group: More than 7,000 alumni, students, and friends are members of the Wright State University Alumni Association LinkedIn group. The world’s largest professional network. LinkedIn connects you to trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.
Maintaining a professional image, both in-person or on social media, is extremely important. Dress appropriately when you know you will be meeting and interacting with professionals or possible future employers. The appropriate dress may be different depending on what type of event you are attending or who the company is. Make sure you ask someone beforehand who may know how you should dress before an event or interaction. If you still are unsure, remember that it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can strengthen your connection with future employers and improve visibility. This can include liking or sharing relevant industry news, following employers of interest, connecting with hiring managers, or updating it with previous work experience. However, remember to maintain a positive, professional image when you post. Always use a professional photo and make sure to never post anything that could be damaging to your professional reputation.
Videos by CareerSpots
Interested in graduate education? This timeline can help provide a timeline of things to consider and plan for during your undergraduate education.
- Begin to identify your career goals using the resources and staff of Career Services.
- Develop relationships and seek experiences with faculty and other Wright State University personnel who can help you define your interests and strengthen your application.
- Record your accomplishments and experiences in a journal and portfolio and collect samples of your work for a graduate school portfolio.
Junior Year (Fall)
- Establish criteria for identifying graduate programs and schools using the resources and staff of Wright State and Career Services.
- Develop relationships and seek experiences with faculty and other Wright State personnel who can help you define your interests and strengthen your application.
Junior Year (Spring)
- Begin to acquire letters of reference (three to five are typically expected).
- Record your accomplishments and experiences in a journal or portfolio and collect samples of your work for a graduate school portfolio.
- Seek national scholarships and financial aid.
- Register and prepare for admissions tests, if applicable.
Junior/Senior Year (Summer)
- Take the admissions tests if required. Make sure you check dates and deadlines.
- Request and review catalogs and websites.
- Begin drafting your admissions essay.
- Visit campuses and meet with students and faculty.
- Manage your time to meet application deadlines.
Senior Year (Fall)
- Organize, prepare, and complete application packages. Review and collect letters of references, critique admission essays with Wright State Career Services resources and faculty.
- Requests transcripts from the registrar.
- Make sure to keep copies of all application materials and then submit them.
Senior Year (Spring)
- Contact all schools to confirm receipt of application materials and the status of the application.
- Keep references up to date on the status of your application.
- Visit all programs of acceptance and evaluate offers.
- Notify all accepted and rejected schools.
Senior Year (Summer)
- Take courses that will either give you a head start in your graduate program or will allow you to satisfy academic deficiencies.
- Share your success. Keep in touch with and thank everyone who provided support, encouragement, and assistance.
- Enjoy your success and your summer.
Researching and Ranking Graduate Schools
Please note that there is no one definitive source for ranking programs and schools; determine the criteria that are used and then compare with your own personal criteria