There are a few ways to discover job/internships openings and identify companies that interest you: the direct and indirect methods.  Most job seekers can benefit from employing both methods and you will be most successful when you have an idea about your career direction.

The Direct Method

The direct method is probably the method you are most familiar with.  It involves applying to positions that are open and posted to the public. Typically, candidates submit a resume and cover letter to apply. 

Given that you may not know a lot about the position or organization, based solely on the job description, you will need to do research to decide whether you are truly interested in the opportunity and to customize your application materials (resume, cover letter, essays, writing samples, etc.)  Check out our research resources page for information on what to find and how to find it.

Keep in mind that many companies are small or mid-sized and the 2010 Annual Recruiting Trends Report predicts these will be the employers likely to do most of the hiring in upcoming years. The challenge: you’ve probably never heard of most of these companies.  Research will help you learn what you need to know to stand out when applying for the companies with names you know and those you don’t.

The Indirect Method

Talking to professionals working in your areas of interest can help you decide which companies and industries you should look into.  This process of networking with professionals to gain information is a common practice and often referred to as informational interviewing

You’ve probably also heard that many people discover job leads by networking, which is absolutely true. It’s estimated that up to 75% of jobs are never posted! By building and maintaining a network of professional contacts you’ll gain access to insider informational about how organizations really function and you may even find out about job openings before they are ever posted. In addition, contacts in your network can recommend you for employment, which may improve your chances of getting hired.  For help getting started with networking and informational interviewing, check out our tips for building and maintaining a professional network.

If you are not sure what types of jobs or internships you are seeking, check out our  career exploration’s “helpful links” section and consider making an appointment with a CAC Advisor.