Syracuse UniversityCareer Services

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TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR CAREER

The process of finding a job can be a full-time job in itself. With so many resources, it can become a confusing and overwhelming process. The earlier you take charge of your career search and develop a plan, the easier it will be when you begin applying for jobs.

As you get ready to launch into your search, take a second to ask yourself:

  • What classes do I enjoy most?
  • What kinds of activities do I prefer?
  • How do I best communicate, in writing or face-to-face?
  • Do I prefer a regular routine (structure) or flexibility?
  • What do I prefer in a work environment? Indoors? Outdoors? Urban or Rural?

Knowing the answers to these questions will make the research process easier, because you'll have a better idea of what companies will be a good fit for you. Talk about these questions with your advisor, family member, professor, or Career Services. This process may be the first step towards developing your job search.



DEVELOPING A GAME PLAN

A successful job search involves proactive job search methods. Coming up with a plan can help keep you focused and on track to find your best fit.

As you begin the search, keep these tips in mind:

  • Change your mindset from “What can I do to get hired?” to “Which job is best for me?”
  • Think about what you want out of a career by evaluating your values, skills, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Not sure of your strengths? Consider taking a career test like True Colors, MBTI, or Strengths Finder to help you identify how you work best and your work preferences. 
  • Explore different industries, career paths, and graduate programs to assist you in determining the best path for you to take.
  • Talk with advisors, faculty members, and career counselors about your career options that you are considering.
  • Attend events, workshops, try job shadowing, or research the industries you are exploring.
  • Every industry recruits at different times; it is important to know when your industry recruits so you can be prepared when opportunities are posted.

PREPARING YOUR MATERIALS

Resumes: Prior to any job search, you’ll need to work on your resume. Make sure to tailor it for each opportunity you apply to.

Cover Letters: You’ll also need a cover letter. You can create a basic letter based on what’s relevant for the career field you want to enter and then customize as needed for each opportunity. Remember, your cover letter is about showing the match between your experiences and the opportunity you're applying for. It is about what you offer, rather than what you need from the employer.

References: References are important to line up ahead of time. You may want different references for different types of jobs. Think about your past supervisors, professors, or anyone else who can provide a strong reference and who can attest to your reliability, initiative, work habits, knowledge, experience in the field, and other relevant qualifications.

Portfolios: Some employers might request a portfolio of your work. Chances are you’ll know if this is the norm in your industry. Think about it ahead of time, speak with your professors for guidance on what to include, and gather materials in case they’re requested.