Career Services

Job Search Strategies

Not many people realize that one needs to be prepared to begin a job search. You should have the following in place before you start applying for opportunities.


  •  Understand what types of positions you want to pursue and what skills you have to offer. Career Services offers appointments, self-assessment tools, and resources to help with this process.
  •  Know where you’d like to be geographically.
  •  Know what kind of work environment you would like to be a part of.
  •  Know the minimum salary required to support your monthly expenses (bills, loans, etc).

Time Management

  • Prepare to be proactive about fitting different aspects of the job search process into your busy schedule.
  • Set aside time each week to focus on job search strategies; it may be helpful to keep a calendar or daily planner on hand.

General Background Documents

  • Have a solid draft of your resume developed.
    • This can and should be tailored to specific positions as you begin to apply.  It helps to get as much feedback as you can on your resume—Career Services has a resume review service, and our career advisors are happy to address resume writing concepts and the best practices in individual appointments.
  • Create a solid draft of a cover letter that can be customized to fit specific positions.

Conducting the Search

Once you have prepared for your job search, you are ready to begin targeting employers for specific opportunities. General components of this process are listed below. However, these elements do not need to be approached in the order listed. It is very likely that you may be at different points in search cycles for different positions—for example, you could be interviewing for one position and tailoring a resume for another. All of these components are dynamic, ongoing processes that do not stop until your goal of securing a job is reached. Typical elements can and will include:

  • Research/Knowledge
    • Be well-versed in the industry you are entering, the jobs you would like to secure, and companies that capture your interest. Refer to Career Services’ online jobs and internships database, eHire ( ), which includes job and internship postings as well as industry and resource guides. Also, browse through hard copies of industry-specific guides in the Career Services resource library, located at 216 Tremont Street, 6th floor.
  • Customized Resume & Cover Letter
    • Companies like to see targeted attention—be sure to relate your skills as best you can to the position requirements they seek.
  • Interviewing Skills
    • Informational interviews with alumni or industry professionals are a good practice ground. Career Services also provides a mock interview service. Call for an appointment.
  • Networking Skills
    • Roughly 2/3 of all jobs are filled by networking.
    • Build your networking community by attending industry related events (these can be on-campus career fairs or events sponsored by professional organizations).
    • Stay visible to personal and professional contacts by making contact every few months; stay in touch with internship supervisors, faculty members, and other friends/family members who have been invested in your career development.

Building Up Your Search

Listed above are the general components of a typical job search. You can add more depth to your search by using some of the following approaches:

    • Become a member of an industry association. Career Services has lists available of professional organizations associated with specific Emerson majors.
    • Become well-versed on industry trends; know what is going on in the industry.  Who are the up-and-comers? Who are the movers and shakers? Who are the trend-setters?
    • Most publications dedicated to specialized industries list job opportunities in the back sections.
    • Many industry organizations have specialized newsletters sent on a regular basis that focus on relevant trends.
    • These include job postings. Most subscriptions are free and can be found on an organization’s home page. For example, sends out a daily email featuring buzz about the goings-on in the magazine world, along with dozens of job and internship openings.
    • Become a member of an online networking community; these communities are based on the “six degrees of separation” theory—the idea that we are connected to everyone in some way.  Most members are asked to join at someone else’s invitation; you can also sign up on your own.
    • You can search for those who have similar interests/professions as you through LinkedIn.
    • When it comes to job openings, your success with business networking websites depends on the word-of-mouth information you receive. The people you're connected with determine what you find out.

Job Search Tips

  • Although it may seem like a timesaver, DO NOT send out the same cover letter and resume to multiple employers, only to differentiate them by changing the recipient’s name; this is obvious to the search committee, and does not help you stand out from the crowd.
  • After applying for a position, always follow up to check on the status of your submission and to see where the search committee is in the hiring cycle.  Do not call the hiring manager if the job description specifies “No Phone Calls.”
  • Establishing a professional network can be intimidating—focus on developing relationships that will be meaningful for both parties. Seek out people who share your interests, who you can look up to as mentors, and who will want to be involved in your career development. Simply asking people in your network for a job will not contribute to an ongoing relationship
  • Develop a "30-second commercial" that describes your skills and how you plan to use them for a particular position; this can help you in both interviewing and networking situations.
  • Keep an address book of professional contacts you meet.
    • Before filing business cards, write a couple of notes on the back so you have a reference point for future conversations.