Each job or internship search is unique, but they all require at least a few things in common. Career Advancement has compiled resources relevant to students and alumni of all fields of study. Wherever you are in your career planning process, these materials will help equip you with the tools you need to conduct a successful search.
Remember, you don’t have to do this on your own! Career Advancement is here to help. Schedule an appointment, call, or e-mail us whenever you need support.
Finding and Securing Job and Internship Opportunities
Finding a job or internship takes work. The earlier you start, the more likely you will find something exciting, interesting, and worthwhile. The process can be long, but the more you keep at it, the more you will learn how to identify opportunities that are a good match for your skills, interests, and values, which is a skill that will come in handy when you begin your full-time job search.
Here are the steps you should take:
1. Define your goals. Where do you want to be (geographically, professionally, etc.)? What skills do you want to acquire? What career field would you like to enter or test-drive to see if you like it?
If you need help setting these goals, make an appointment to see a Career Advancement counselor.
2. Plan to spend time each week on your search. Set attainable weekly and monthly goals, e.g., try to do 2-3 informational interviews a week to learn more about the field you’re exploring.
Check Chicago Career Connection and other websites for jobs and internships on a regular basis.
3. Network. It’s a good idea to meet and talk with as many people in your field as possible; you never know what opportunities you could discover through contacts!
4. Prepare and submit application materials. You may be asked to complete an application form or submit a resume, a cover letter, a transcript, a list of references, a letter of recommendation, essay answers to specific questions, or samples of your past work. Always submit exactly what is asked for and always send a cover letter unless it specifies otherwise.
5. Keep records and follow up. Many employers say that students who follow up on an application increase their chances of being interviewed. Employers want to know that you’re interested in them. After applying, call the employer (unless they specifically state not to call them). Find out if they’ve received your materials. State why you’re interested and what you believe you can do for them. Request an interview. It never hurts to ask. Typically, the best time to follow up is a week after you think they have received your application. If at all possible, don’t leave a message. Keep calling at different times until someone picks up.
6. Interview effectively. Practice! Practice! Practice! Interviewing itself is a skill, which we get better at the more we practice. Career Advancement offers you several ways to practice your interviewing skills:
- Practice Interviewers: Career Advancement has practice interviewers on staff to conduct mock interviews in person. To schedule a practice interview, call (773) 702-7040.
- Boot Camp: Career Advancement holds a mock interview boot camp for undergraduate and graduate students who are seeking full-time positions in financial services and consulting each Autumn Quarter. Students register on Chicago Career Connection.
7. Make the decision that’s right for you. There isn’t one best internship or job opportunity. Many of the benefits of an internship or job lie not in where you are working, but in what you do with your time there. This doesn’t mean you should accept any offer you receive. You’ll want to consider numerous factors, including location, housing options, cost of living, the work environment, your supervisor, your responsibilities, and more. Career Advancement counselors can help you make your decision on one offer, decide between multiple offers, or negotiate for additional decision-making time.
Social media can be a useful tool in your job search, but there are certain precautions you should take. Please review these handouts on managing your social media presence and using LinkedIn in your job search.
Please see this handout if you are interested in holding a job during the academic year.
For more advice on preparing application materials, check out our resume and interviewing toolkit.