There are a variety of ways you can look for jobs. Each method has its pros and cons, and together, they can offer you many opportunities for finding your next job. Don't stick to just one method — try several that fit your personality and communication style. Jobs can be advertised or unadvertised. In the case of unadvertised it may feel like a case of "who you know," and to a degree, that's right, but it can also mean "who you can introduce yourself to."
Advertised or posted jobs or events — employers seeking candidates
Pros: This is as close as it gets to employers knocking on your door. If a job ad is being distributed by email, the employer is reaching out. These could be sent to, and come to you, through: Career and Professional Development, your academic department, advisors, clubs, you name it.
Cons: None, really. It's just a form of information and communication coming to you. Even if a particular job/career field is not of interest, use it to learn what is out there.
Pros: It's easy to publish your resume to Hokies4Hire and it lets employers find you. Also, many employers post jobs and you can apply for jobs that interest you. Some of those employers come to campus — a few hundred per year.
Cons: The On-Campus Interviewing Program has early deadlines and is competitive. Not every industry or type of job represented. According to the Post-Graduation Report, employed graduates report 800-1000 employers annually; that is twice the number who visit campus. The economy can sometimes affect the number of employers that are willing to spend the money and take the time to recruit on campus. Career and Professional Development can't make employers recruit on campus!
Pros: Most employers who have jobs and career opportunities will post those jobs on their own website. So if you know you are interested in the Peace Corps, CIA, Wells Fargo, NASA, a community agency, or the U.S. Forest Service, etc., look there!
Employers who can attract enough candidates by posting on their own site don't need to, and won't, spend the money to post on job boards online.
Cons: Obviously if you don't have a specific employer of interest, and/or want to look at other sources, this won't be your only search method.
Pros: There is a large number of sites and a great deal of information available to you online.You can view them any time/place your have Internet access.
Cons: Not every industry or type of job represented. Web-hunting is not about finding jobs instantly. You need patience to navigate a variety of sites and read listings. It can be overwhelming. How to start.
Pros: General online job boards might or might not include the jobs and industry you seek. Specialty sites fill that niche.
Cons: Just as with the general online job boards, not every industry or type of job is represented on boards catering to specific career fields or jobs.
Pros: Career and job fairs offer you convenient opportunities to speak with many employers at one time in one space. Many career and job fairs are scheduled on the Virginia Tech campus each year: each with different sponsors and focused toward specific majors / colleges / types of hiring.
If you research the employers in advance, and you can demonstrate that when you meet employers, you'll be better positioned to have a good experience.
Cons: May not be for the shy (or the mistakenly confident). You need to make a good impression in person and look prepared. Students who go to fairs without doing research in advance sometimes have a not-so-great experience. If you tend to be shy, we can work with you to improve your poise and confidence.
While there are many fairs, each one, with its own niche, is typically a once- or twice-per-year event — so don't miss the one(s) you need.
You're not necessarily learning about every opportunity in each organization — you are learning where the major hiring needs are.
Pros: Usually second in line to networking as the top source of job for employed grads, is having worked for the employer in the past through summer or part-time job, internship, volunteer work, co-op, etc. See the How employed grads found their jobs, by college slide (Source: Post-Graduation Report). Employers like to convert student employees to permanent employees when they graduate, and if you work for an employer, they know you and you know them; much less of a gamble that just knowing each other through an interview process.
Cons: None really, except that if you work for an employer while a student there is no guarantee they will offer you a job at graduation. And you might prefer to look for another employer for your post-graduation job. But the experience is valuable: about 1/3 of VT graduates wish they had gotten more career-related experience before graduating.
Unadvertised jobs — candidates seeking employers
Pros: Networking is usually the number-one method by which VT graduates, university-wide, found the job they accepted, as shown by this slide of how employed grads found their jobs, by college. It's real. It works. Many jobs are not advertised; networking is how you find them.
Cons: Not for the shy or "undermotivated". You need good interpersonal skills and good writing skills (but you need those to get hired anyway).
Pros: Great research sources for potential employers. Helpful if you are focusing on a particular industry. Web sites, phone books, and other print materials can be sources.
Cons: These are not job openings, but sources to find potential employers. You'll need to know the type of organizations with whom you could, or want to, work.
Sources for unadvertised jobs may include past employers or volunteer supervisors (your internship, summer job, field study, or co-op employer perhaps). Also, don't forget your prior coworkers or vendors and suppliers with whom you might have come into contact.
Pros: These people already know who you are.
Cons: People you know may not work, or know anyone who works, for the companies or in the industries in which you seek employment.
Pros: It never hurts to get your resume out where it can potentially be seen. If your credentials are in high demand, and there are an abundance of jobs that match, this can work.
Cons: This is a totally passive job search method. You wait to be called. If other job seekers take initiative to seek out the employers and apply for jobs, the employers don't need to come looking for you. Unless your credentials are rare and in high demand, you'll have to use more active job search methods.