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How to Search for a Job

How to Search for a Job


The Career Center wants to help you find the right job, whether it is a full-time career position or a part-time job to help with expenses. Our Career Counselors are experts in the job search process and can help you find the right resources, so take advantage and make the Career Center your base of operations.

The Career Center’s online resources and Handshake access will allow you to receive email and text information about upcoming events and job opportunities. Handshake is a customized database that has resources to help you with your job search. This includes hundreds of job and internship postings. To apply for positions through Handshake, a resume must be uploaded into your Handshake  account.

Also, do not forget to attend the following workshops that are held each quarter to help with job search.

  • Where Are the Jobs? The Hidden Job Market
  • Mastering LinkedIn
  • Networking Your Way to a Job

The Career Center Resource Room has a complete computer lab where you can work on your resume, cover letter, interview and job search as well as a Resource Library of books.

Juniors and seniors who are interested in full-time positions and/or internships can take advantage of the On-Campus Interview Program which brings employers to the Career Center each year to recruit and interview students without having to leave campus.

Did you know that more than 80% of students who had full-time jobs before graduation connected face-to-face with employers?  To provide you a chance to make valuable connections, the Career Center hosts 11 career fairs each year as well as other career events for UCR students. These events provide excellent opportunities to broaden your network as you seek employment.

Activate Your Network (Yes You Have One)

Many people think, "I don’t have a network." Not so. You are connected with many more people than you realize. Once you begin to active your network, you will see how far it reaches. For starters, it’s not about finding someone to hire you. It is about developing meaningful relationships and letting others know your skills and career interests. These professional relationships can lead to opportunities such as job offers, internships, job shadowing or a job referral.

good contact can get your resume read by people who count, arrange for you to meet key executives, set up interviews and say the right things to the right people. So where do you find those contacts?

Who Are My Contacts?

Start with the obvious: Friends, relatives, former employers, youth sports coaches, friend's parents, the family doctor, lawyer, minister, rabbi, priest, realtor, tax specialist, banker, librarian -- the list goes on and on. Each is a potential source of contacts to your career area of interest or to your target organizations. Let everyone know about your job search, your interests, ambitions and dreams. 

Ask all of your contacts for the names of people who might provide you with additional insight into your chosen career area, or more directly, names of those to whom you might send your resume. Take advantage of the techniques used in networking.

Other sources of contacts:

  • Professors 
  • Peers
  • Career Counselors 
  • Alumni found on LinkedIn and/or CareerShift
  • Community groups of business leaders 
  • Career Fairs
  • Industry Nights
  • Company Information Sessions
  • Informational Interviewing
  • Anyone you meet socially who takes an interest in your career goals 

Professional Associations

Professional associations can be found for just about any field of study. Most associations have local or regional groups, which may meet quarterly or even monthly. Often, non-members can attend a meeting or two before joining. The meetings feature speakers and offer a tremendous opportunity to make contact with people who are in a position to be of fairly direct help. Sometimes the associations will have job postings in the association newsletter or on the Internet. Often recruitment occurs at the national meetings. Many organizations offer student membership fees at greatly reduced prices. Join. Get involved! Volunteer for committee work! This can be job search activity at its most productive.

The Career Center staff can help you find the associations and match your career interests. Professional association resources on the Internet include:

The Internal Approach

This strategy requires that you take a volunteer position, internship, cooperative education placement or a lower level position in an organization of interest to you. You use the position to establish personal contacts with as many people as possible and to gain valuable experience. Many cooperative education positions with the federal government can be used to enter otherwise closed systems.

The Internet has a number of resources to help entry-level and experienced job hunters locate job listings, post resumes online, obtain general job search and career development advice, and keep abreast of current issues or trends in their respective fields. It offers 24-hour access and includes information from a broad geographic area. Practically anything you can imagine (and some things that you can't) can be found on the Internet. It is a powerful job search tool that offers immense possibilities, however, it does have some limitations:

  • Because of the Internet's worldwide exposure, competition for posted job listings is fierce.
  • Because it is unregulated, the reliability and truthfulness of information is subject to question.

Remember the Internet is a passive job search strategy that should always be used in conjunction with other more traditional approaches like networking, using the telephone, etc.

Online Job Search Sources

  • National Job Sites
  • Industry-Specific Sites
  • Company-Specific Sites
  • Association Sites
  • Social Media: LinkedIn.com
  • International Sites
  • Government Sites


This "pounding the pavement" approach can sometimes be quite productive. It is particularly effective if you have an interview scheduled in an area where there are a few other employers of interest. Visit their personnel offices. Inquire about open positions. Pick up an application to take home to type. Wait to see a recruiter if possible. Some organizations have specific days for drop-ins at the personnel office. 

Applying to Specific Jobs

While local newspapers, business journals, and newsletters or journals of professional associations often publish job listings, most larger companies are using the Internet for online applications, so visit company Web sites regularly.

If you have friends in organizations you're interested in, ask them if there are internal job-opening bulletins. Often, organizations recruit for internal applications a week or two before they release them to the general public. While you may not be able to apply early, at least you'll know what's coming up.

If there are local employers that are of interest, develop a routine to check on openings each week.

When you find a job notice, whether online or hard copy, prepare the application thoughtfully and neatly. Submit a resume and cover letter tailored for the position.  Remember many applicants are screened out because of paperwork that is sloppy or too general.

Follow up applications with a polite phone call or email. "What is the status of my application?" "Is there anything further I should submit?" "When will decisions be made?"  Following up may be the most critical part of any application.

Employment agencies for the state and federal government can be important sources of leads on opportunities in the public sector and in the case of the federal government. USAJobs is the ONLY way to find and apply for positions. Completing all areas of the application is very important as each application is given a score before any screening takes place.

Private employment agencies and executive recruiters may be used if you have extensive work experience or experience in a specialized area such as engineering, accounting or nursing. Check any contracts you sign for fee agreements and payment schedules. Under ordinary circumstances the employer should pay any fees. Stay away from agencies which would place you in a job for which you are overqualified.

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