Job Search

Are you prepared to begin your job search? Have you talked to people who are doing the things you want to do? Have you determined what skills you have to do the job you want to do? Are you able to effectively communicate to employers that you have what it takes to do the job? The questions above will help you determine whether or not you are ready to begin your job search. If you are unable to answer "yes" to every question, you should make an appointment with a career counselor at Career Services (X3151) before you begin your job search. If you can answer "yes" to the questions, please continue reading about the job search.

Success in finding the "right" job doesn't just happen. It takes time, hard work and determination. The average job search takes three to six months.

Remember, the counselors at Career Services are here to help you! Please email with questions.

The Job Search Process


Learn about the organization to which you will be applying. Know about the job and what it involves. Get excited about it! Speak the language of the field. Demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills & abilities for the job.


Record contacts, applications, follow-ups, & responses. Be prepared at all times for contacts from companies. Know what you want to say to employers about yourself & your skills.


Contact those you spoke to during Informational Interviews. Tell others about your job search Distribute your resume.


Identify resources with job openings in your field.


Update resume to show how your current skills relate to a particular job.


Remain positive. It's normal to be rejected. Use those "No's" as a learning experience to lead you to a "Yes."

By now you have set a realistic career goal that matches your experience and skills. You should also have a resume available for any opportunities that may arise. Now is the time to make contacts with those in your field of choice to find leads to organizations that are hiring. You already have a network of people who are familiar to you. And those people know many other people. Your sources for networking are endless!

  • Tell everyone you know that you are searching for a job. Distribute copies of your resume to family, friends, parents of friends, former employers, and university classmates. Keep copies on hand for newly introduced acquaintances.
  • Ask for referrals to persons at companies/organizations for whom you would like to work. Get contact information and any personal details that may be helpful. Ask if you may use his or her name when you introduce yourself. Better yet, would he/she make the introduction?
  • Before you reach for the phone, be prepared. Educate yourself about the company and know what you want to say about yourself. Have several questions ready to show your interest and knowledge of the company. Taking notes or writing a script of what you want to say may be helpful to get you through the first few calls.
  • Contact the referrals by phone. Introduce yourself and immediately mention the mutual friend, colleague, or whoever referred you. State your reason for calling and request a meeting to discuss job leads or career advice. Be prepared to share information about yourself and your experience/skills. (NOTE: If the person to whom you are speaking is not in charge of hiring, you might ask for a referral to that person.)
  • Before ending a conversation, whether or not it produces a meeting, ask for referrals of others who may be of assistance to you.
  • Finally, but never to be forgotten is the thank you letter. Writing a thank you letter to those who assist you is not only a way to show your appreciation, but also to remind them of you and your job search.

Although people are valuable during the job search, do not overlook the many other available resources.

The Career Services Center holds a wealth of information:

  • The World Wide Web has endless information and connections to job openings throughout the United States and abroad. Company home pages are helpful to obtain information about specific companies.
  • Career directories for varied fields contain names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. of companies, large and small.
  • Geographical directories include area-specific data for large US cities.
  • The Encyclopedia of Associations may help you to contact organizations pertaining to your career field. Newsletters and other publications may contain job openings.
  • The Company Information Files are helpful to research companies, especially those recruiting on-campus. You may find annual reports, financial reports and contact information.
  • Job Vacancy Binders contain publications whose purpose is to advertise job openings in various career fields. These publications are updated monthly or semi-monthly. You will also find job postings in these binders.
  • Job Fairs are held periodically throughout the year. Fitchburg State is a member of the Colleges of Worcester Consortium and they sponsor a large job fair every spring. We also receive invitations to large-scale job fairs held in large cities throughout the US. It may be worthwhile to travel to these fairs dining your winter or spring break.
  • Resume Referral is designed to connect students with companies who do not recruit on campus.
  • On-Campus Recruiting is available for all students of Fitchburg State University. Take advantage of this service.

You have identified job openings and/or targeted particular companies through informational interviewing and research. Now you need to take a step forward and make contact with the organizations to which you will be applying.

To find a job, you will need to consider advertised vacancies as well as unadvertised vacancies through direct company contact.

Advertised Vacancies

An advertised job vacancy will most likely be found in print or online. Online advertisements will have specific directions to submit your resume and other pertinent information. It would be to your advantage to become familiar with resume procedures when distributing your resume online.

Responding to job vacancies printed in newspapers, professional journals or job postings in the career office will most likely require the following steps:

  • Your resume, if necessary, should be customized to reflect any special skills or experience that may be specific to the position for which you are applying.
  • If the advertisement does not mention a specific person to send the resume to, call the company and inquire so that you can address your cover letter appropriately.
  • Be sure to briefly address each of the requirements stated in the ad in your cover letter. Stress your experience and interest in the position, but do not restate what is on your resume (see the Cover Letter handout at Career Services).
  • If a phone number for the company is available, you can follow-up your letter with a phone call to express your continued interest in the position. If no phone number is available, you will have to wait for a response.
  • Some large companies may take several weeks to reply. For this reason, you need to keep specific notes, along with the original advertisements, for every company to which you have applied. By doing so, you will always be ready for that unexpected phone call and can quickly refer to your notes during the conversation.

Direct Company Contact (Unadvertised Vacancies)

While researching companies and networking with friends, you may have found a company that sounds like a great place to work. You know they employ people in your field and you would like to explore the possibility of a position in the company, but have seen no advertisements.

  • Start with a phone call to the company. Ask for the name of the manager, director, supervisor, etc. of the department in which you would like to work. You may want to explain that you wish to send them some material. Be certain to ask for the correct spelling of their name, job title and address.
  • Now you need to write a letter of introduction expressing your interest in the company. Include a copy of your resume. At the end of the letter, be sure to state that you will follow-up with a phone call.
  • Phone the person to whom you directed your letter. Be prepared to discuss your interest in the company and in arranging to meet him. Record on a note card what you want to say so that you don't forget any important information.
  • Before closing the conversation, remember to thank them for their time, whether or not you gain an appointment or interview.

Ready to Interview

The above information should help you become familiar with different ways to find job openings. The more time you put into the job search, the more interviews you will obtain. The Career Library has a summary of interviewing skills in "Effective Interviewing." Pick up your copy today. Another way to prepare for interviewing is to schedule a Videotaped Mock Interview with an Fitchburg State Career Counselor.

Best Wishes in your job search and don't forget the staff at the Career Services Center is here to help you every step of the way, whether you're seeking your first "real" job or changing careers.

Questions? Get in Touch!