Job Search Strategies

Begin by asking yourself:

  • What do I want to do?
  • Where do I want do do it?
  • Who can provide me with advice and assistance?
  • What skills have I developed through my internships, classes, involvement, service, and part-time jobs?

A Spring 2017 SYE class developed a great ePortfolio tool to help with the transition from college to career; check it out here.

What do I need to know about networking and why is it important?

Career networking involves developing mutually beneficial relationships with people who can assist you as you research your career, make decisions about various career options, and search for a job. Developing networking skills is extremely important, not only for the short-term, but because networking will be a life-long pursuit. Networking in the work place will always be an essential part of every professional life because cultivating contacts and building relationships are the keys to success in almost every job.

What you get from career networking:
People in your network can offer you valuable insider advice and information about a particular career, company or industry, give you job leads or introduce you to others so that you can expand your network, gaining even more information. Studies show that 70% of all jobs are found through some type of networking.

What you give when you are networking:
In general, people are flattered to be asked for assistance and advice. It makes them feel important and people enjoy talking about their work. Almost everyone welcomes the chance to help a young professional get started or assist someone who is making a career change. You may also be able to share current information obtained from your career research and academic work as well as pertinent contact names.

How do you "do" networking?

Some networking is spontaneous and unplanned. You simply need to adopt the mind set to take advantage of any serendipitous opportunities you encounter when you are in job search/research mode. Ask questions, tell people what you are interested in, collect contact information, and schedule future meeting times if appropriate.

Other networking is much more strategic. You can start by making lists of people you know. Most people can create an initial list of at least 25 to 100 people. Don’t forget that Otterbein alumni can be great resources as well; contact SSCD for names in your field of interest.

Before you begin contacting people, be sure of your goal. Your goal may be to solicit information about a career field or a specialization within that field, or to learn about a particular organization. This type of information gathering is usually called an “information interview.” Decide who might be able to help you meet your goals best and contact them in a systematic way. You can phone or e-mail them, or you may seek them out in person. Develop a short “script” to introduce yourself and become familiar with this script so you can communicate it easily and concisely whenever needed. Also develop lists of questions you want to ask. Sample introductory scripts and information interview questions can be found in SSCD.

Sample introduction

For students:

“Hi, Mr. Jones. My name is Jane Smith and I am a classmate of your son. He suggested that I give you a call.”

“I am considering health administration as a career and I’m trying to learn more about the field and the type of opportunities that are available. Doug told me you work for Ohio Health and have a lot of experience in the area of hospital marketing.”

“I’d like to sit down with you and talk at your convenience to get your advice. Would you be willing to talk with me?”

For alumni:

“Hi, Mr. Jones. My name is Jane Smith and I am a friend of Frank Baker. He suggested that I give you a call.”

“I am thinking about a career change to health administration and am researching the field to learn about the type of opportunities that are available. Frank told me you work for Ohio Health and have a lot of experience in the area of hospital marketing.”

Caution: Be prepared to ask your questions when you call; they may want to talk to you immediately on the phone. More detailed information about information interviewing is available on the Interviewing section of this site.

Another goal may be to solicit help in finding a job. If this is your goal, make sure to present yourself well from the start. Begin by talking to friends, acquaintances, relatives and former colleagues. Tell them you are looking for a job and need their help. Be as clear as possible about what you are looking for and what skills and qualifications you have. Ask them for job leads, for someone else who might have job leads, or someone who knows someone who might have job leads. Sometimes you can simply ask if they know someone who knows a lot of people. Contact these referrals and ask the same questions.

For each original contact, you can potentially extend your network of acquaintances by dozens of people. Eventually, one of these people will hire you or refer you to someone who will. If used thoroughly, networking may be the only job search technique you’ll ever need.

Career Fairs

Each Fall, in late October or early November, Otterbein partners with Capital and Ohio Dominican Universities to coordinate the Collegiate Career Fair. Nearly 50 organizations and graduate programs attend to discuss their internship, full-time, and graduate program opportunities.

The Peer-To-Peer Internship Fair is a terrific opportunity for Otterbein students to learn from their peers about the internship search process, experiences gained, and key takeaways. Held in the fall semester, students considering an internship are highly encouraged to attend.

Each February, Otterbein students participate in CareerFest, a job and internship fair sponsored by the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC). Over 100 employers – businesses, corporations, non-profit groups and government agencies come to discuss permanent employment and internship opportunities. Many employers and students engage in follow-up interviews.

Also, in February, Student Success & Career Development and the Center for Community Engagement collaborate for the annual Non-Profit Job & Internship Fair. Nearly 30 organizations visit campus to discuss their available job and internship opportunities.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Career Fair

You’ve got plenty of copies of your resume, you’ve practiced your handshake, and your interview outfit is pressed. Now what? Here are a few pointers gleaned from recruiters who attend career fairs.

  • These are great networking opportunities, be professional, poised and polished! Wear the most professional outfit you own.
  • Research participating organizations before the event. Know what they do, some key initiatives, and the opportunities they have available. When you engage a recruiter in intelligent dialogue, you stand out. You have limited time at the career fair, so use it wisely.
  • Prepare a 15-20 second script to introduce yourself; your full name, major, class year, areas of campus involvement, why you are interested in the organization and what skills you have to offer. Maintain good eye contact and offer a firm handshake.
  • Bring multiple copies of your resume. Some employers will take them, some won’t. Most employers will require you to apply for positions online to be considered as an official applicant.
  • When you talk to employers, keep your conversations focused and brief.  Demonstrate your knowledge of the organization and how your experiences align with their needs and can add value.
  • When you give a recruiter your resume, ask what the next step in the process is.
  • Ask for a business card so you can follow up after the event.

Interview Process

Writing an effective resume and cover letter can open the door to an interview, but strong interviewing skills will get you the job. The ability to articulate your skills and experiences and match them to the internship or job in question are crucial to being hired. Like any learned skill, interviewing improves with practice.

Preparation involves:

  • Thoroughly researching the company and learning as much as you can about the opportunity.
  • Reflection. Determine how your skills and experiences align with the needs of your audience.
  • Reviewing typical questions and preparing strategies for answering them.
  • Selecting specific examples or “stories” that best illustrate your strengths, background and values.
  • Developing questions to ask of your interviewer(s).
  • Practicing your interviewing skills.

Practice Interviews
A practice interview with a Career Center staff member is a non-stressful experience with instant feedback about your performance. This will enable you to see firsthand what improvements are needed both in your ability to describe your experiences and strengths in a concise yet complete manner, as well as in the area of nonverbal communication. This is the time to ask all those questions you have about interview etiquette and answering difficult questions. To schedule a practice interview call 614-823-1456 or complete our appointment request form.

Informational Interviews
An informational interview is a focused meeting/conversation with a networking contact designed to help you choose or refine your career path by giving you the ‘insider’ point of view. To learn more, click here.