Career Development Office - Job Search Tips

The Full Time Job Search

Hiring Cycles

As a senior, you will find that there are very distinct hiring cycles for entry level positions. In the Fall Semester, larger organizations will be recruiting for new hires. They often can anticipate the number of openings they will have, or know that they will have enough to justify starting their efforts early. Large government related organization like the Peace Corps and Americorps start early, as well as large finance and Wall Street type companies. Education also begins recruiting in the fall semester.

In the spring semester, smaller business and almost all of the not-for-profits join in the recruiting efforts. These kinds of organizations usually hire on an as-needed basis because they cannot anticipate their needs as easily as the larger organizations. As always, in special circumstances like economic recession or boom, you will find variations to these standard cycles.

Identifying Employers: Easy Access

Once you have done all of the preparation to finding a job... organized yourself, created a resume and had to reviewed, identified certain fields of interest, it is now time to identify employers. We do have many employers who visit campus to present their organizations and also to conduct interviews. It is very important to visit OCEAN to fill out/update your profile, and to discover what we have to offer right here on campus. Read about our recruiting program to learn about what is required to participate, and to learn about our off campus recruiting days in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Boston, and San Francisco.

Identifying Employers: Research

While OCEAN and our recruiting program provide easy access to employers, it should not be the only thing that you do to look for a job. Jobs not advertised through OCEAN take more time to identify, but with a little research you can probably find something that match your interests. Below is a list of ways you can identify other employers who may have entry-level job opportunities:

  • Networking Contacts
  • CAREER SEARCH database
  • Internships database on OCEAN (to look for the employer, not the internship)
  • Print materials (e.g., newspapers, journals)
  • Chamber of Commerce & Technology Council Members
  • Directories (e.g., Washington 2000, Good Works)
  • Professional Association membership listing
  • Websites (e.g., Vault Reports, The Idealist)
  • National and regional associations (e.g., Rotary)
  • Yellow pages, blue pages, and white pages

The "Open" Job Market

The open job market means anything that is advertised or published. These include all jobs through the Career Development office recruiting program. It also includes all newspaper classified ads, employer job listings, placement agencies, ads in trade journals, job and career fairs, and job newsletters (such as Network News through the CDO). This open job market should be the first thing that you tackle when looking for a job. Become familiar with the resources that have the kinds of jobs that you are interested in applying to, and make it a habit to frequent these sources.

The "Hidden" Job Market

Most jobs, as many as 85%, are not advertised. While it is takes more time and energy to uncover these opportunities, it has a much larger rate of success. Use your networking contacts to help discover what openings are available, and be aggressive in meeting new people and conducting Informational Interviews. In the end, you will often find yourself with less competition than an advertised job, and better chance of obtaining an interview.

Direct Contact with Employers

Once you have identified employers, it is now time to contact them directly. If there are no instructions on how to apply, use the steps below to assist in your communication.

  • Mailings (post office or electronic)
    • ALWAYS personalize/customize your print communication. Find out the name of someone and avoid Dear Sir/Madam.
    • ALWAYS follow-up your letters with a phone call within a week of the communication.
  • Cold Calls (Phone or in-person)
    • Always be polite and respectful of their time.
    • If in-person, dress for an interview, but don't expect one.
    • Your goal is to communicate directly with person who makes hiring decisions, but anyone will know more than you.
    • Do not ask, "Are any jobs available."
    • Do ask, "I am interested in 'X' field and would like to learn more about the work of your organization."


It is never too early to start thinking about and applying to for full time jobs. Given the nature of hiring cycles, we do recommend that you use the summer before your Senior Year to conduct Career Exploration to put your resume together. This will allow you to concentrate on the subject without many distractions.

That being said, we also understand that this is not always possible! Simply understand that the sooner you start the process, the less stressful it will become (particularly when it comes time to turn in drafts of your Senior Thesis, if you have one.) And, at any time, you can always make an appointment with a career counselor who can assist you in creating a timeline specific to your need and career interests.


Make sure that you apply for several jobs and check for special procedures or materials in the application process. If there are essays or letters of recommendation required, it may take some more time to complete the application. Below is a list of other materials you may need: