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Ten Steps to a Job or Internship

These are the initial steps to take in your search for a job or internship. Click each to read more.

  • 1. Determine your targets
    • The first step is to figure out the fields of interest and types of positions you will pursue. It is usually wise to think in terms of Plan A/Plan B or variations on a theme.
  • 2. Set your geographic range
    • For most fields, you need to be where you search. You can do early steps from Northfield (or your home/summer address), but unless you’re looking at this region, you’ll need to be in your search area before employers will take you seriously.
  • 3. Know your search tools and techniques
    • There are various ways through which you can learn about and pursue job or internship openings. Your best bets are the alumni network, personal contacts, and references from friends about openings in their organization. Use as many of these techniques as applicable—don’t rely on only one.
  • 4. Start the paperwork
    • You will need a resume, cover letters, references, and maybe some writing samples or a presentation portfolio. These are each important, but don’t get bogged down on building them. Notice we said “start” them—you’ll want to move on to more active steps in the search process. The paperwork should always be considered works in progress, changing throughout your professional lives.
  • 5. Create a contact list
    • This is not as difficult as many think. It’s fairly straightforward to put together a list of organization names, contact people, and telephone numbers or email addresses which you will use for networking and opportunity-seeking. Include all possible employers, but understand that you’ll need to determine who has position openings at any given point in time.
  • 6. Do your homework
    • Before you can persuade a prospective employer that you fit their needs, you need to know what their needs are. That means you’ll need to learn as much as you can about what they do and how they do it. Consult various sources: the internet, organization brochures, contacts who work in the same organization or field, even newspaper or magazine articles.
  • 7. Get organized
    • You’ll need to set up a system for tracking contacts you make and receive during a search. Without one, you may be unprepared to respond to a prospective employer’s interest in you.
  • 8. Fine tune your interviewing skills
    • Everyone needs to prepare for interviews. Even if you’ve been successful in interviewing for college admission, fellowships, and summer work/service, this is a different type of interview. Practice, practice, practice!
  • 9. Initiate contact
    • Begin the cyclical process of writing, e-mailing, telephoning, and visiting your contacts. You don’t have to contact everyone on your list at first--develop a strategy for initiating “waves” of contacts.
  • 10. Follow-up…then follow-up some more
    • Always write thank you notes after a contact is made, especially personal visits and telephone contacts with valuable dialogue. You can also reaffirm your interest, check your status, and generally keep your “application” in the eye, ear, and mind of employers.
Career Center pages maintained by Andrea Kubinski
This page was last updated on 18 December 2014