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Job and Internship Search Tips and Resources

Recruiter and student at job fair

 Searching for a job or internship can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. The following information and resources can help you develop a plan, including developing an impressive resume and cover letter and expanding your professional network. Also, visiting the KCCD and meeting with your Career Advisor can help you create an effective search plan.

Developing a Job and Internship Search Plan 

The following steps can help you develop a job and internship search plan.

CareerSource - Kogod CareerSource is a portal for business students. This portal provides access to career exploration and assessment tools, workshops and skill building opportunities, internship and job postings, regular networking events-on and off campus, and on campus interviews. Learn more about CareerSource.

The following tools are particularly useful to find positions, but should be accessed through CareerSource rather than their web address to receive premium benefits through KCCD's subscriptions:

  • CareerShift - Find companies within a specific industry/region or locate contact information for current employees for informational interviews.
  • GoingGlobal - Access country guides and resources if you are seeking opportunities outside the U.S. There is also a comprehensive list of U.S. employers who have hired H-IB status international students.
  • Vault's Career Insider - Get comprehensive industry guides and in-depth company information that is crucial to identifying companies of interest and preparing for interviews.
  • InterviewStream - Sharpen your interview skills through this mock interview software that includes hundreds of sample questions.

And don't forget to network on LinkedIn . LinkedIn has over 450 million members worldwide and is growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you with trusted contacts and provides you the opportunity to network with professionals around the globe. Additionally, you can search for jobs, research companies, and learn more about various professionals industries and entities.

Here are a few basic tips for staying organized during your search.

  • Bring your resume to the KCCD for a Peer Consultant or Career Advisor to review.
  • Contact two to three professionals who are willing to serve as references. Tell them you are beginning your search.
  • Maintain an Excel or Word document that notes the following information about each position of interest: Position, company, how/where you identified position, contact information, application deadline date, application submission date, application follow-up date (if necessary), interview date(s), thank you note sent date.
  • After meeting with your Career Management Advisor to identify your industries of interest, create a target company list to frame your search.
  • If balancing multiple interviews, create separate paper or electronic files and internet tabs to information on individual companies.
  • Always check and re-check that you are addressing cover letters properly, sending emails to the correct person and sending a detailed, professional thank you note.
  • Keep your search focused. Being successful in your search it is not about the number of applications you submit, it is about identifying a good position and being an educated and prepared candidate. Better to send 5 "warm" applications where you have networked within the company than 100 applications through a clearinghouse site like Monster.

Create a plan with your advisor that works for you. Below are a few sample elements to a job search plan:

  • Join social networking sites like LinkedIn to connect and network with professionals.
  • Practice interviewing using InterviewStream and then with a mock interview at the KCCD.
  • Talk with Kogod and AU faculty to learn more about different business industries and companies.
  • Develop an elevator pitch to use at career fairs or networking events.
  • Leverage your internship into a fulltime position or make connections as an intern that will help you in your fulltime job search.


Networking

Networking is, simply put, the building of mutually beneficial professional relationships. From a career development perspective, networking has numerous benefits - from exploring various careers to connecting to employers with potential job or internship opportunities. In today's challenging economic environment, networking is not optional; it is essential to your success.

Networking is not asking someone for a job. Remember, the key to networking is building a relationship that is mutually beneficial and can be relied on throughout your entire career. Therefore, utilize networking as an opportunity to listen to what a professional has to say. Consider what you can offer a prospective employer versus what the employer has to offer you. Making an initial contact is not enough; you need to stay connected to your network and keep them updated when you complete internships, take a new job, or read an article that could benefit a particular contact.

 

An informational interview is an interview used to obtain information from a professional about a given occupation or field of interest to you. Informational interviews are an excellent resource for helping you better understand the ins and outs of careers of interest to you through someone who is working the field. Possible topics that can be covered in an informational interview include:

  • Typical Day
  • Scope of Responsibility
  • Career Path
  • Skills/Experience Required
  • Work/Life Balance

At the conclusion of your informational interview, be sure to thank the professional for his or her time. If you have found the information helpful and would like to build further connections in the field, it is wise to ask your contact if he/she could suggest two or three additional people to talk to in an effort to continue to enhance your understanding of the field. It is highly suggested that you send a thank you note to the professional after the informational interview.

LinkedIn is a professional networking website with over 450 million users in 200 countries worldwide. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for connecting with individuals in a field of interest to you. Essentially, the site serves as a "roadmap" to not only help you understand your direct professional connections, but also to shed insight into your indirect or "2nd degree" connections. A 2nd degree connection is someone who knows someone that you know. Using this approach, LinkedIn has the ability to connect you with individuals you may not have had the opportunity to meet.

LinkedIn is also an excellent way to connect with Kogod alumni through the Kogod School of Business group. The group provides an avenue to connect via a discussion board or by directly sending a message to alumni of interest to you.



Guidelines to a Great Resume

Use these resources and suggestions to better improve your resume and cover letter.

A resumé, literally translates to "summary" in French. In fact, it is a brief summary of your experiences and qualifications, as they relate to a position and employer you are applying to. On the other hand, a CV - or Curriculum Vitae - is Latin for "life course", meaning the sum of your life experiences. In the United States, and in many Western countries, a resume is the standard document you present to prospective employers.

Why a resume?

An employer who has to fill an internship or full time job has a problem. It is likely that the company is understaffed and is operating outside of its comfort zone. The posted job description articulates the company's needs in the form of a new employee who will be the answer to this problem. Your resume should clearly identify you as the solution to their problem in a clear and concise manner.

Where to begin?
Considering that most resumes should be no more than a page, the onus is on you to keep the content easy to read and pertinent to the employer you are trying to impress. With this in mind, consider what kind of information your future employer will want to find on your resume. What experiences do you need to highlight? What skills do they need you to possess? What do they need to know about your education?

General Formatting

  • A resume should be in Garamond, Times New Roman, or Arial fonts in a 10 to 12 point size.
  • The general layout from top to bottom is: Name, Contact information, Education, Experience, Activities, Skills.
  • Dates should be right-justified as opposed to right-aligned. Avoid tabbing or spacing dates, as those who review resumes frequently will notice.
  • Your resume should be no longer than one page.
  • Note that most recruiters and hiring managers spend about eight seconds on average looking at a resume. This means that they will scan your resume and only glean a small amount of information from it before they make a decision to hold on to it or not.
  • Your resume should be easy to navigate and have the most pertinent information about you at the top. In most cases, that will be your education, whereas if you have already worked in the field you are applying to, you may want to put your experience first.

A cover letter is your chance to sell the employer on how your skills and experiences make you the best candidate for the job. A well written cover letter can be a determining factor in a recruiter's decision to pursue you as a candidate.

What you need to know...

  • 90% of cover letters sound exactly the same. The first paragraph is an introduction to you and how you heard about the position. The second and third a monologue about how wonderful you are, and the final paragraph a conclusion with an invitation to contact you.
  • The above mentioned cover letter often is actually a template that job seekers use and change around a few words depending on the employer they are approaching. Recruiters can detect when they are receiving a template rather than a letter and will quickly dismiss the applicant's candidacy when they do.
  • To avoid being part of the majority that never gets their resume read, consider making your second paragraph an explanation of how you share common values with the company, or why you want to work at that company, independently of the job you are applying for. Note that this is not an invitation for you to regurgitate what's on the company's "About Us" page. You must demonstrate that you know how you fit in at the company.
  • Additionally, your third paragraph should make a case for how you meet or exceed the major requirements of the job description. Feel free to back up what you are saying with examples of quantitative and qualitative successes, both professionally and academically.

Questions?

Kogod Center for Career Development
Phone: (202) 885-1908
Email: kccd@american.edu

Hours: Monday - Friday,
9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Drop In Advising with a Peer Consultant:
Monday - Friday
from 1 p.m.–4 p.m.
Evening Hours by Appointment
Monday - Thursday

Mailing Address:
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

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