Virginia Tech® home

Tips for Your Job Search

Your individual job search strategy needs to be tailored to your individual situation. The following tips are good guidelines for everyone, whether seeking an internship, co-op, or post-grad job, whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student. Throughout your job search, we are here to assist you through advising.

Understand the types of jobs that would be a fit for your skills, qualifications, and interests, and the settings and industries where you can find those jobs. 29% of VT grads said they wished they had learned more earlier about career options.

Even if you are pursuing multiple options, keep your job search efforts targeted when you communicate with employers.

If you tell an employer you are seeking any job, with any type of employer, doing anything, you will not be successful, because employers are seeking focus.

Researching employers can help you focus.

If you need career exploration, see what can I do with my major? and info about careers and the job market.

If you limit your job search to just one method, you limit your options. Not every kind of job or industry is represented in every job search method. 

That means at the beginning of your final year if you're completing your degree, and it means in fall if you're looking for a summer internship.

Some employers look for hires and recruit many months in advance of the anticipated work-start date.

Don't delay because you don't feel ready. The search process is a learning journey. 23% of VT grads said they wished they had started their job search earlier.

If you don't start early, don't stress over this. Just start where you are and move forward. 

  • Talk to faculty in your department.
  • Talk to students who will graduate, or have graduated, ahead of you.
  • Talk to members of your professional associations and student chapters of professional organizations.
  • See how employed VT grads found first jobs. The source for many graduates is networking.

Some academic departments and colleges post career and job information, including internships, field studies, and post-grad jobs, for their students. Have you visited yours? Some departments and colleges email career-related information to students. It's a gift, so appreciate it. 24% of VT graduates said they wished they had asked professors and advisors for advice earlier and more than they did.

Some students have a major that equals a job title. Many don't. Learn to think about occupations, career fields, industries, and kinds of employers, including businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. Research careers and industries. 29% of VT grads said they wished they had learned more earlier about career options.

Websites and publications of career-related student and professional orgs may have career advice and job listings.

This is the number one or two source for new VT grads to find jobs. Talk to everyone you know about your job search, ask for advice and ideas, follow up on suggestions, and send everyone a note of thanks for their time.

Finding jobs and having job search skills are two different things. You need both. If you have success finding jobs to which to apply, but are missing essential job search skills, you undermine your opportunity for success. You will be judged and evaluated on all your actions in a job search: phone use, email, hard copy correspondence, resume, your online presence, your interviewing skills, handshake, dining etiquette and more. Know the skills before you start contacting employers.

If you're targeting a particular geographic location, watch for job postings and business development news in that region's media outlets, economic development agencies, chamber of commerce, etc. Learn what's going on with local businesses, non-profits, and local government agencies. Where there is growth, there are jobs. Not all jobs are advertised, so learn where growth is happening.

A job search is hard work. Sometimes it can seem like others have an easier time finding jobs, but that perception can be deceiving. Work and effort are part of the process. Your motivation and attitude are the keys to your success. Think of it as a 3-credit class where you want to earn an A grade. It's worth that to you.