Alumni Career Services: Alumni Job Search Strategies

Steps for an Effective Job Search

  1. Reflect and Assess – Start with Your Values, Interests, Personality Type, and Skills
     - Tip 1: Take career assessments to help you reflect and assess your interests
     - Tip 2: Ask people you trust to share what they believe your strengths are
  2. Network and Explore Industries & Careers
     - Tip 1: Conduct informational interviews with people who share your interests
     - Tip 2: Utilize LinkedIn to join groups and network with professionals
  3. Tailor Each Resume and Cover Letter
     - Tip 1: Before you write your resume, highlight all the key skills and qualifications that are in the job description and tailor your language accordingly
     - Tip 2: Try to avoid using templates found online
  4. Work with a Career Coach to Practice Interview Skills
     - Tip 1: Utilize our interview preparation packet for alumni
     - Tip 2: Schedule a mock interview on Handshake early

Featured Webinars

How to Pass the 30 Second Resume Test

Topics: Resumes, Job Search

How to Stand Out in Your Job Search

Topics: Job Search

Job Boards to Use Other Than Handshake

General Job Search

Non-profit Job Search

Government Job Search

Frequently Asked Questions: Job Search Strategies

When should I begin my job search?

We generally suggest beginning your job search at least 6 months in advance of when you would like to start working. With that said, industries differ on their hiring timelines. For instance, accounting and consulting firms tend to hire new graduates up to 9 months in advance, while public relations firms post new graduate opportunities only when they have immediate openings. So, we recommend conducting informational interviews with professionals in the industries you’re interested in to better understand the hiring and job search timeline.

How do I use Handshake for an alumni job search?

  1. Click on the "Jobs" tab
  2. Underneath the search bars, click on "Filters." A menu will appear directly beneath
  3. For Job Type, select "Job" and "Full-Time"
  4. Select the checkbox next to "Paid roles only"
  5. Click the little blue down arrow next to "All employer preferences match" (NOT the checkbox)
  6. Select the checkbox next to "School Year: Alumni"
  7. Feel free to add other filters that match with your specific job-search, such as Industry or Job Function. Please note that sometimes choosing too many filters will fail to pull results. If this happens, simply go back to your filters and select one to remove.
  8. You can save these filter settings by clicking the blue "Create Search Alert" button to the right of the job postings

How do I know which job titles to search for?

Since many job seekers use online search engines to find opportunities, it’s important to use good search terms. One good resource is LinkedIn. Click on “Find Alumni” on UGA’s LinkedIn page and search for alumni who are working in your industry/company of choice or who graduated with your major. Review their profiles and note their job titles to add to your list of search terms. Another resource that can help you get an idea of the entry-level roles that recent graduates have accepted is the Career Center’s What Can I Do With A Major In page. Make a note of the job titles and use them as search terms.

What is the best way to structure a job search?

Use whatever organizational strategies that have worked best for you in the past, like creating spreadsheets, setting goals, and making lists. Do be sure to set aside time every week (or even every day!) for your job search so that you stay on track. Remember, this is a marathon – not a sprint.

I have no idea what I want to do – where should I start?

Call the Career Center or arrange an appointment on Handshake with our Alumni Career Services team to help you narrow down your options or to think of some new options. They can help you explore your values, skills, and interests, and identify potential opportunities that fit.

How do I evaluate if a potential opportunity is right for me?

Be sure to thoroughly evaluate the organization’s mission, goals, and culture and compare them to yours. Review the job description in detail to understand the day-to-day activities of the position. Most importantly, ask detailed questions in your interview to learn more about the role and how well you fit. Remember, interviews are not just about the company evaluating you – you are also evaluating the company and the job to make sure it’s the right opportunity for you.

I’ve seen positions that I know I could perform well, but I don’t meet all the qualifications. Should I apply anyway?

Yes! Think of the job’s qualifications as the organization’s wish list for the perfect candidate. Of course, the perfect candidate often does not exist, and organizations are often happy to consider candidates who meet most, but not all, of the listed qualifications. You can even reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager to learn more about which of those qualifications are “must-haves” vs. “nice-to-haves.”

How long should I wait before following up after an interview?

Send a thank-you note immediately after the interview then wait until after the deadline for filling the job has passed before following up again. After a week or so, send a brief email to let the hiring manager know of your continued interest in the role, and follow up once or twice more after 7-10 days. If you still have not heard back at that point, it’s time to let the opportunity go and move on.

I’ve applied to at least 15 jobs online over the past two weeks and haven’t had an interview or even a call back. Am I doing something wrong?

Not necessarily. Many employers receive hundreds of applicants for a single job posting, so it may take several weeks to get a response. And, often employers only respond to the small percentage of applicants who are offered interviews. That said, be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to the roles for which you are applying and try to make personal connections to follow up on your application. Keep in mind that the most successful job searches include networking, so be sure to balance your time applying online with making personal connections offline.