Three Main Strategies for Finding A Job

Photo: Nicole Pasia

Are you looking for part-time work, a summer job, or are you nearing graduation and looking for a full-time job? It can be unclear how to get started. Lucky for you, we’ll share the three core strategies for a job search. These were developed and presented in a UW workshop detailing an approach to the job search, taught by Caitlin Goldbaum, career coach at the Career & Internship Center. The following is an outline of the strategies Goldbaum recommends for a successful job search.

1. Networking (the Most Effective Strategy!)

  • Getting hired through referrals from a friend, peer, colleague, etc.
  • This is the best strategy to get unstuck from a job search
  • Networking takes longer to get responses than job boards but has a higher payoff
  • 70 to 80% of jobs are filled via networking

Where to network:

  • At a career talk or career fair where you can meet recruiters who are looking to fill specific positions at a company.
  • At an informational interview, perhaps more accurately described as a “career conversation.” This is when you reach out to someone doing work you are interested in. At the interview, you’re not asking for a job, but instead asking questions about work environment, activities and advice. Most importantly, you’ll be building a personal connection with someone who may refer you for a job or tell you about opportunities down the road.
  • At informal industry or recreational events like Science on Tap, a trivia night, or the cycling team.
  • The UW Alumni LinkedIn tool

2. Using Job Boards

  • Identify the most appropriate job boards for the kind of work you are looking for (see below).
  • Identify keywords to use in your search on LinkedIn, look at the profiles of people in industries you are interested in to help you pull out keywords people use to describe their work and experiences.
  • Narrow down the keywords you’re using to just a few, targeted searches.
  • Set up searches so sites like Indeed will send a run-down of jobs that appeared in the week with certain keywords.
  • Visit a job board one to three times per week.
  • DO NOT log in to job boards every day.

Examples of Job Boards:

  • Handshake: a database internal to the UW that includes local, national and international organizations looking to hire UW grads.
  • an international job search site.
  • USA Jobs (government-specific).
  • Industry- and values-specific job boards, such as Idealist.
  • Professional associations often have job boards and postings.

3. Employer Sourcing

  • Build a list of companies you’re interested in. Use LinkedIn to identify companies that do similar work you may not have previously known about.
  • Attend events put on by these companies and follow them on LinkedIn.
  • Check their website directly for events and job postings.

General Job Search Tips

  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to each position you apply to.
  • Practice for interviews.
  • Tend toward doing fewer applications of higher quality than pumping out a dozen (or dozens) of applications in a week. For some people, two to three well-crafted applications in one week is best. Five to six applications is good for skilled writers.
  • Expect that it will take time, possibly 2 to 3 months (sometimes longer) to find a job. Be sure to keep networking during this time!

About the Husky Experience Toolkit

The Husky Experience Toolkit is designed to help you make the most of your time at UW, wherever you are in your university career. The articles address four interconnected dimensions of the Husky Experience: Know Yourself, Know the World, Make Your Way, and Weave it Together.