Getting Started with Your Search
It is true that it takes work to find work. However, if you practice a variety of both reactive and proactive search methods, stay organized, and stay motivated it will all be worth it. You can begin proactive methods sooner to make connections in your industry and set yourself up for a favorable application process. You can also use them at the same time as reactive strategies to optimize your time and effort.
As a current graduate student, you may find yourself already employed but looking to leverage your advanced degree at your current company or into a new opportunity. Each student’s situation is different but for some this could mean keeping a low profile during the search. Proactive methods will still be essential in this process but may require a deeper strategy or plan of execution.
Reactive Methods – Online Searches & Resources
Online Job & Internship Search Resources
When it comes to using online resources, general job boards are helpful but you should also find ways to narrow your search tools by things like location, industry, or job function. This way your search is more tailored to what you want. These tools are also helpful in doing broader research on a company so you have more insight into salary, organizational structure, and company culture.
- Handshake is the one-stop career management system for WCU students and alumni
- Search Sites grouped by Career Communities
Proactive Methods – Build Connections & Identifying Opportunities
Your search methods must include ways connect with others, identify the hidden job market, and build your brand. This way you are not just reacting to what is posted online but proactively putting yourself in the job market to be discovered. Examples of proactive methods include:
- Focus on Relationships: Leverage your network and stay connected to mentors and colleagues to get direct referrals and introductions.
- Target Employers: Research companies that interest you. Identify your connections and reach out to current employees or the decision makers of the organization.
- Ask for information, not a job: Find someone who inspires you and ask for a short information interview in-person, over the phone, or via e-mail.
- Build an online presence: LinkedIn is an easy place to start your brand and opens the door for employers to seek you out.
If you are currently employed while attending graduate school, it is important to reflect on your current position and future opportunities. If you are looking to stay at the company but make a change in your role, identify the right people to talk to about a transition. Know what you want and be prepared to show your value so that they understand why your plan is a good move for the company.
It takes time to find opportunities
While there is no set period that applies to every person, on average you should plan on 3 months of active engagement in your job hunt before an opportunity turns into an offer. Below are a few common steps you will experience during your search; you can see where the time can start to accumulate!
- Preparing and completing application materials
- Screening Interview (often virtual or over the phone)
- Getting offered an in-person interview (could be one of several rounds)
- Wait while other candidates are interviewed and company discusses applicants
- Receive a verbal offer
- Negotiations before accepting
Staying organized will help you feel more accomplished while assuring you are being timely in every step of the search process. Start by setting both short- and long-term goals to stay on track. Utilize technology and your favorite apps to set reminders and check-ins on your progress. Check out the document below to help you get started.
Organizing your search will help you stay motivated! Don’t be afraid to share your goals with us who can support and encourage you throughout the process.
Offers & Negotiations
This final step of your search may seem like the easiest; however, it is important to take time and evaluate the offer before making a decision.
Many individuals are looking to grow within their company and that is what has brought them to pursuing a graduate degree. It is a great idea to talk with your employer to see how your continued education could impact your current employment contract, be leveraged into an advanced role, or possibly be finically covered by the company.
Here are a few key elements to remember during any negotiation:
- Ask for time to consider the offer. It is completely acceptable to ask for at least 24 hours.
- Use that time to evaluate and prepare questions or negotiations
- Research average salaries and know your worth
- Remember to consider all benefits (time off, retirement package, insurance, etc.) not just wage or salary
- Think outside the box, you may be surprised about what is negotiable (start date, bonuses, work schedule, etc.)
- Get the final offer in writing and accept it in writing
Remember you are in the driver's seat, the organization wants you to join their team and are often expecting negotiations.
One last thing to remember, not every job you interview for will be the right fit for you and that is okay! You can professionally decline and offer without damaging your connections or future opportunities.
Rights and Responsibilities
As a job or internship seeker, it is very important that you know your rights as well as your responsibilities. You are responsible for information related to various aspects of your search through the Career Development Center services and any external resources.
Rights And Responsibilities For Job Seekers, Employers, And Career Centers
Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination