Career Services Employment Guide Employment Guide



You're in college now ... and whether you're a freshman just starting out, or a senior who is nervous about getting out in the "real world", you have questions about the job search process. is here to help! Wherever you are in the career search process, CCC has something for you. In the following pages you will find ideas for networking, effective cover letters and resumes, interview tips, how to go about the follow up process, and more. You can find even more helpful information at Campus Career Center, and if you have any questions or need assistance with any aspect of your job search, just ask! Write to us at


How do I choose a major? How can I know what I want to do?

Choosing a major ... the first step

Selecting a major can be a stressful time. But it doesn't have to be! Many people who enter school without a clue as to what their future might bring get much more out of the experience than those with a set plan. Just because you start out in one direction doesn't mean you have to stay on that path! This is the one time in your life when you can explore, learn, and change your mind without a second thought.

Another thing to consider is a major doesn't lock you into a specific career! Enjoying your college experience is more than having no curfew and frat parties    ... it's taking the time to discover your interests and abilities.

So, what next? What ARE you going to do?

What makes you happy? What are your goals? What are your dreams? What makes you get butterflies in your tummy and gives you that giddiness you love so much?

Before making even tentative decisions about the rest of your life, it is important to understand who you are and what you want. You may want to consider specific questions such as the following:

  • Are you a science/math/computer type or do you love to paint modern art pieces?

  • Are you a natural leader? An extrovert? A team player?

  • Do you find bookstores irresistible? (Which section of the bookstore?)

  • in what academic subjects do you particularly excel and/or enjoy?

  • What skills have you acquired from work, home or from hobbies?

  • What do you want to be doing five, ten or fifteen years from now?

  • With what type of people do you want to be surrounded?

  • Have you lived through tragic, compelling, or intense experiences that give you a unique or rich knowledge about human life?

How do I get started?

Ask a professional in your field of interest to spend an hour with you. Like most of us, professionals love to be interviewed, listened to, and be of help or inspiration to someone like you. Don't be afraid to 'pull strings'!

Informational interviewing is a great start Some schools (both high schools and colleges) have lists of alumni who make themselves available for informational interviews. An informational interview is just that- an interview you set up with a professional (the alum) for the purposes of getting information about his career.

Sometimes people are not sure of exactly what they want to do, but feel that they might like working to serve the needy, gain business experience, or for some other worthwhile activity.

Volunteering is an excellent way to expose yourself to different kinds of work and test to see if your personality can survive the demands of non-profit or for-profit work.

Internships are an excellent way of exploring possible careers. Internships are usually non-paid, short-term positions at a company or institution. You receive work-experience, career-contacts and recommendations in exchange for your labor and enthusiasm

Finding work via a ran expose you fairly quickly to diverse work situations - and you get paid for exploring different careers! (These agencies are listed all over the newspaper each week. CCC has a few too!) Even if you decide that a particular temp job is not really in line with your long-term goals, each job gives you work experience and knowledge about the job market.

No one can tell you what you should do with your life. Your job is to find out for yourself. Let no opportunity get by without checking it out completely, and think twice before simply settling for something you think you should be doing. That perfect opportunity is out there   ... you just have to be willing to search for it!



How do you know that a specific industry will meet your needs and qualifications? Well, as mentioned in the previous chapter, you need to focus on obtaining experience-whether that is via course work or actual work experience. If you're unsure you are on the right path, then you probably aren't! Once you find something that interests you, stick to it! Most people report "just knowing" when they find the industry they want to pursue. Once you've found the industry, you can narrow your search to actual companies that meet your needs. It's important to begin the research process early! Ask professors and advisors for advice on where to begin, and get going! Look the companies up online. Find out their purpose and their policies. Find out who started the business and how they got where they are today. Now you're on your way! CCC has an extensive RESEARCH COMPANIES section that includes information on hundreds of companies, as well as the jobs they are currently seeking to fill. Once you've done your research, you can feel confident about the remainder of your personal job search experience.


Where do I get experience and references for my first job?

How do I get experience?

Choosing a major rarely determines your career. In fact, most careers don't directly match the majors we choose to take, and your major is unlikely to provide you with much sense of careers that would be satisfying for you. This is especially true of liberal arts majors.

However, your course work and other activities can help you to become aware of your interests, values, and skills, which are keys to finding careers to explore. As you have ideas about careers that might interest you, it is important to begin exploring them. If you have spent your summer or winter vacations seriously exploring career options, you will be at an advantage as you begin your post-college job search.>

First, demonstrated work experience -- even short-term or volunteer work-is highly valued by a potential employer, who sees your skills, interest in/knowledge of a career field, and your accomplishments (both academic and non-academic) as indicators of your ability to contribute and succeed. Many first post-college job opportunities grow out of summer jobs, internships, or externships, volunteering, or networking with career professionals. An employer ran hire you with confidence, having observed the quality of your work in these settings.

Second, getting hands-on experience is one of the best ways to investigate whether or not a career area is appropriate for you. There are many ways that you can 'test' a tentative career choice during your college years. All alternatives provide you with an opportunity to gather personal reactions to a career field.

One easy way to get a feel for career areas is to choose academic courses accordingly. If you think that you might be interested in a business career, consider taking a course in the Commerce School. If you think you'd like to do scientific research, enroll in some lab science courses.

Some courses have fieldwork or a practicum associated with them. If you would like to do more than be introduced to the subject through typical classroom activities, check out what options are available along this line. Some courses in the Education School might be appropriate here. You also may want to think about doing an independent study or directed research with a professor of your choice. Another option would be to participate in a group project experience through a course in the School of Business.

Academic Internships are usually one- to two- term or summer-long, unpaid or paid, project oriented work experiences that are often taken for academic credit. Some internships are sponsored by an academic department, which determines its policies and guidelines for the experience, the academic work assigned in conjunction with the experience, and the amount of credit granted. Others are sponsored by a company or other employer, and the student may or may not find a means of establishing an academic link in order to gain credit for the experience. WT has an internship program to help you gain this type of experience. You can learn more about the program at Student Internships

Talking to people who are actively involved in work of interest to you is one of the best ways to test your interest in a particular field. Your school most likely maintains a network of professionals in many career fields who have agreed to be available for informational interviewing and advice.

An EXTERN program is an opportunity for 2nd, 3rd, 4th year, and graduate students to spend one week during school vacation as a volunteer observing and often working with a professional. EXTERNships offer the chance to “test” a career without risk of a semester or long-term commitment. Have you thought about law, photography, marketing, zoology, medicine, or museum work? Learn more about what professionals in these careers do. Become an EXTERN and spend a week with these people. Check with your school's career center to see what types of programs they offer.

The activities you engage in outside your academic coursework will be more than mere fun. They are an excellent way to explore your career-related interests and develop many skills you will be able to transfer later to any job. Few employers will turn down the services of an industrious, cheerful, and interested volunteer. It is vital that you know what service you would like to offer. (Interviewing for information can help you determine this.) Volunteering is often a way to gain experience and contacts that can help you secure a paying job later.

Summer jobs differ from internships in that wages are received for your efforts and you're treated as a regular employee. The type of work involved may or may not be project oriented. Many companies will hire you for the summer even if they don't have a formal program. That is, provided you can show them how you can help the organization. The best way to get hired is to find your own contacts and position instead of applying to ones advertised through your school or in.. the classifieds. Most of these notices are sent to all universities and are, therefore, highly visible and competitive. Salary is important, but do consider other benefits of a summer opportunity. Will this job help you to progress toward achieving life goals? Would working at a camp for mentally challenged children increase your chances of admittance into a psychology graduate program? Do you hope to work in Washington DC after graduation? Now is the time to look for an internship on the Hill - the experience and contacts you can make will be a real bonus when you begin to look for a more permanent job. Would working as a bank teller during the summer help you acquire skills and demonstrate interest for a banking career? Thinking about a medical career? Working in a hospital this summer can help you confirm that you truly do want such a career and will be a plus in the eye of medical school admissions committees.

As you begin to set your priorities it is also important to begin to think about what you have to offer a prospective employer. What personal traits, skills, and experience do you hope to 'sell"? This list could go on endlessly. Remember not to sell yourself short when your thinking about what you have to offer an employer. Ideally you will want to tailor your summer job to your own likes, needs, and abilities. If you do not have confidence in yourself and enthusiasm for the jobs you are seeking, most employers will not hire you. If you can convey your confidence that you can do a job well and are interested in doing it, your potential employer will have more incentive to give you the opportunity to do so. It's important to recognize that most summer employment opportunities typically fall into several groups:

  • Seasonal employment. This group is the most well publicized category of summer employment. Employers rely heavily upon student employees to meet their increased need for employees during the summer. Camps, resorts, parks, summer theaters, etc. are typically seasonal employers.

  • Temporary help. Often organizations of all kinds need temporary help while regular staff is on vacation or during peak work periods. Employers seeking temporary help are most interested in meeting their immediate needs, which are often for clerical assistance or manual labor. Providing such 'temporary help' can enable you to learn about other work of a particular kind of organization and is an excellent means of making contacts which can potentially lead to more responsible and exciting jobs in future summers or after graduation.

  • Internships. These opportunities, discussed earlier in the handout, are usually the most competitive summer jobs and demand careful attention and much perseverance to acquire. Internships can be of such value to students seeking career experience that even internships which offer no monetary rewards (many are volunteer) are heavily competitive.


Whatever your method of testing and exploring your career choices, you will benefit enormously in several ways from the effort of getting 'real life" work exposure while you are still in college. Employers expect you to supplement your career interests with work experience. You can convince prospective employers of your career sincerity by demonstrating the relationship of your intern/EXTERNship, summer work, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, etc. to the job being offered. Even if the career fields are different, you have developed essential work-related skills, which are fundamental to any job.

The people in your network can be valuable for advice information, and job leads. Who you know can make a difference in your job search. However, also keep in mind that while such career experience is essential for enhancing that all-important resume; just as significant is what you can learn about yourself and your values. For instance, a summer job with a lawyer can prove to you that legal work is (or is not) for you. If it is, then you have already made some headway solidifying your goals and making your career plans a reality. If it is not, then move on to the next thing!

Where do I get references for that first job?

You've graduated! You are ready to take on the world. But you've lined up some job interviews, and the first recruiter you meet wants references. For the past several years school WAS your job! What now?

This is common among recent college graduates. Although many college students work in the summer or part-time during the school year, many others don't. Or if they worked, their jobs may have not related to their fields of study. So what's a newly degreed job seeker with little real work experience supposed to do when asked for references?

First, it's important to understand what recruiters are looking for when recruiting for entry-level positions. Potential! What have you accomplished that demonstrates your potential? Whatever the industry, most entry-level jobs require many of the same qualities and skill sets, including interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, leadership skills and the ability to work effectively with others.

Recruiters also look for involvement in campus activities. I've been told countless times that, all other things being equal, a recruiter will always offer the job to the student who has been involved in a variety of campus activities over the student who just went back and forth to class for four years. Why? Because being involved suggests the ability to manage one's time more effectively. Holding a position in a club or organization also suggests leadership ability and communication skills. What if you have graduated and never participated in school activities? Find anything! Were you involved with church? Community? Anything positive is helpful! Although keeping your grades up is great, it's not the most important thing to include in your interview. A nice reference from your pastor stating you've lead children's choir, headed up mission trips, or started the church's first softball team says a lot more than a professor saying that you had straight A's.

If you've been a full-time student, what types of references can you give to prospective employers? Professors can be positive. Don't select more than two, and be sure you have a good relationship with them both. As a third reference, pick a faculty advisor or sponsor you've worked with on a campus project, someone who can talk about your organizational and leadership skills, ability to work with others and dependability.

Use someone from the community with whom you worked as a reference. The point is, if you were involved at all - in class, on campus or in the community - the basic qualities most employers are looking for will show through. If you've had a summer job or worked during the school year, ask someone you worked closely with to be a reference for you. And it doesn't matter whether or not the job had anything to do with your field of study, because those same basic qualities already mentioned will be the focus of most recruiters' inquiries. While it would be unfair to say recruiters never try to match the degree to the job, it is far from being a hard and fast rule.

Providing references to recruiters can easily be done, even if you've never had a 'real' job. Locate the people who can help to demonstrate the qualities that represent your potential, and go for it!


Tips for an effective Resume

The WTAMU Career Services office offers an in-person and online resume workshop to help you get everything together. Here is the workshop schedule and link to the online workshop


  1. Contact Information
  2. Objective
    1. Title of position you are seeking
    2. Details about why you are qualified for this type of position
  3. Education Section
    1. Details about degree
    2. G.P.A. if high (3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale)
    3. A list of relevant courses
  4. Relevant School Projects
    1. Title of project
    2. Bullets describing project details using action words
  5. Work Experience
    1. Paid experience
    2. Relevant volunteer experience
  6. Skills
    1. Computer Skills (IT candidates may want to move the Computer Skills section to after their Education section)
    2. Language Skills
  7. Honors, Memberships, Training, Certifications

FAQ regarding the Resume:

  1. What contact information should I include? You will include your name, address, phone number and email address where you'd like to be contacted. If you will spend most of your time at school, then this is your best bet. In the summer or during breaks, you may alter this to your home information.
  2. What is a career objective? Why is it important? Many job seekers fail to include a career objective with their resume. Your objective lets an employer know the type of position you are seeking and why you are qualified for that type of position. It also lets the employer know this information early in your resume. Since employers quickly scan resumes visually or screen resumes electronically based on keywords, it is important to make it as easy as possible for an employer to see that you are interested in and qualified for the type of positioning they are trying to fill. An objective helps you accomplish this effectively.
  3. What if I don't know the title of the position I am seeking? This section can be skipped over if you are simply seeking to work in a certain company at one of many positions.
  4. What if my G.P.A. isn't so great? Do I have to include it? Again, if you feel that your grades aren't up to par, then this information can be excluded. However, many employers ask for your transcript, so this might come out eventually. Never apologize for your lack of success in school-just find ways to promote what you've done well!
  5. What type of school projects should I include? If you were part of a research team, for example, or gave any sort of impressive presentation relating to your field of interest, then it should be included.

Creating an effective resume doesn't have to be stressful! Simply be honest and learn from your mistakes. The earlier you begin collecting this information, the better your resume will be when you apply to that first job!


Tips for the effective Cover Letter

The cover letter is more important than you might think! Following are the basic components for an effective cover letter. Further information can be found in WTAMU Career Services Resume Workshop

*****FIRST AND FOREMOST***** find the specific name and contact information for the person you are addressing! Never say "to whom it may concern". This shows lack of effort and attention to detail. If you don't pay attention to the small things here, why should the employer think you will in a job? Contact information should go above the greeting.

  • In the 1 st paragraph, indicate the job you are applying for and where you saw the opportunity
  • Use size 12, basic font -nothing fancy. If it's too small it's difficult to read, and if it's too big then it's overbearing.

Cover Letters: You are what you write

How and what you write tells potential employers a great deal about your professionalism, competence, and personality. Being busy people, employers make quick judgments about you based upon limited information presented to them. Within only a few seconds, your written message motivates them to either select you in or take you out of consideration for a job interview. Neglect the importance of a dynamite cover letter – and other types of job search letters – and you neglect one of the most important elements in a successful job search.

The art of good letter writing is more important than ever in today's busy world where many different channels and mediums of communication must compete for limited attention. When you initially meet strangers through the written word, you essentially are what you write. Readers of your letters draw certain conclusions about your professionalism, competence and personality based on both the form and content of your written message. If, for example, you write poorly organized and constructed letters, employers will conclude you are a disorganized individual. If you make grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors, employers may conclude you are a careless person who is likely to make errors on the job; or perhaps you lack basic literacy skills. If you type your letter on cheap paper, use a typewriter or dot matrix printer that produces unattractive print, or mass produce your letter on a copy machine, you communicate a lack of class. Worst of all, such choices make the wrong impression on the employer-he or she does not appear important enough to you to warrant a quality presentation of your qualifications. If you fail to accurately address an employer by his or her proper name, title, and address, you communicate other negative messages-you're probably lazy because you didn't take the time to determine to whom the letter should be targeted.

In the end, employers don't want to be bothered with incompetent, inconsiderate, and lazy individuals. They don't want to talk with them or see them. They definitely have no interest in putting them on their payroll! What they really seek are individuals who are likely to add value to their operations and thereby raise the company's IQ They examine your written communication for signals of probable value-added behavior. The key questions for you is this: Does my letter and resume' indicate that I will add value to this company?


The Interview

Interviews Count the Most

Interviews don't just count-they count the most. Take yourself back a few weeks. Maybe you wrote a terrific resume and cover letter, networked with the right people, invited yourself to the interview through sheer persistence, or just had a stroke of good luck. Whatever methods you used, congratulations; you are a 'winner' at this stage of the job search. You've become successful at what others only dream of achieving-grabbing the interest and attention of employers who decide it's now time to see you in person. They need to further evaluate your qualifications to determine if you will fit into their organization.

But it's now a whole new ball game. While writing resumes, following job leads, and contacting employers are very important job search activities, the job interview is what really counts. Indeed, the job interview is the prerequisite to getting the job. No job interview, no job offer. No job offer, no job. You simply must perform well in the job interview if you are to land the job.

The skills you used to writing, distributing, and following-up your resumes and letters, researching companies, and networking helped get you an invitation to meet hiring officials in person. You now have a personal invitation-the door is open for you to meet those who have the power to hire. Now you must demonstrate another set of important skills one inside that door-your ability to conduct an effective interview. This means knowing how to best handle the interview situation and the interview process. It involves everything from greeting the hiring official and managing questions to following-up the interview within 48 hours.

Prepare for your interview and get the job!

It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of being well prepared for a job interview. Your degree of preparation speaks volumes about your interest level and abilities. In addition to increasing your confidence, solid preparation will help you to give articulate answers and ask pertinent questions.

In order to make the best case for your candidacy for a particular job, you need to be prepared with information about yourself AND about the job, company, and field. It is difficult to make a case for a match if you only have information about one side of the equation.

Many people incorrectly assume that they know themselves well enough and that they don't need to spend time thinking about themselves before an interview. It is important to think about yourself specifically in a job setting and to reflect on how your experiences have prepared you for work in that setting. It is also important to be able to articulate to a stranger what he or she is interested in knowing about you. It may seem awkward at first to talk about yourself if you are not accustomed to it. If you are not shy about discussing your talents and accomplishments, it may take some practice to sound confident but not arrogant. If you tend to be humble, it may take practice to avoid sounding overly self-deprecating.

To research an organization or a company, begin by reading their own promotional literature. If it is not available at your library, call the organization or company and ask if they would send you their annual report or any other literature ... and of course the web is a great resource! CCC has a great section dedicated to this very thing!

With regard to the specific position for which you are interviewing, try to have a basic grasp of the duties that it would involve, as well as how that position fits into the overall organization. Think about how that position contributes to the success of the company, and gear your comments to show how your background and talents would enable you to maximize that contribution.

If you have an interview coming up, or even if you want to prepare for interviews not yet scheduled, practice! You can practice with friends, family members, or in front of a mirror.

Most interviewers will admit (and research supports) that they have largely made up their minds about a candidate within the first five minutes of meeting him or her. What should concern you? A firm handshake, sustained eye contact, a warm smile, good posture, and introducing yourself in a relaxed and confident manner.

Even before you can make a first impression, you must arrive on time. If it means getting somewhere an hour early because you are uncertain about the traffic, parking availability, or public transportation connections, do it! You can always find a coffee shop or a lobby in which to wait and review your thoughts. You'll want to arrive at the location of your interview about 10 minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment.

A few basics about superficial presentation bear repeating. A well- groomed, professional appearance is essential. Anything else will detract from the best possible presentation you can make. A good way to determine suitable attire is to look at what people in your particular field are wearing. Men and women should generally plan to wear a fairly conservative suit in a fairly conservative color. In some creative fields you may have more leeway in terms of formal vs. casual attire, but it is always safer to err on the conservative side. Long hair should be kept in place with barrettes, a headband, or a ponytail unless your style is one that stays put. Very long hair should be pulled back. In any case, leave at home the wild ties, attention-grabbing jewelry, strong scents, and gum.

You should always bring along extra copies of your resume, something to write on, and something to write with. If possible, you should be willing to leave anything you bring, so make sure you have good- quality, clean copies.

The age-old advice to 'be yourself is still the best general thought to keep in mind as you prepare for an interview. People can get into all kinds of trouble trying to be someone they are not. If you obtain a job offer through impersonation, it will be a shock for both you and your employer when the real you is revealed.

If you are asked to describe a failure, a weakness, or a negative experience, try to finish your response on an upbeat note. You can do this by mentioning a lesson learned, how you have grown from a difficult experience, or what you are doing to improve a weakness. You can also discuss a failure that you later turned into a success or a weakness that sometimes works as a strength for you. This approach will communicate that you are a positive and forward-thinking person. If you must bring up something negative, be brief, and return the conversation to a positive subject as soon as you are able.

Among the most tempting negative subjects are previous bosses and boring tasks. While your assessment may be quite true and perfectly justified, choose something else to talk about. You don't want to give the impression that you are a negative person.

A prospective employer's impression of you will be considerably enhanced if a genuine air of enthusiasm accompanies your responses. If you are competing against a group of candidates who all have little or no direct experience in the field, enthusiasm might be the deciding factor. If you are not enthusiastic about a position, it will be difficult to feign interest in the interview. If you are sincerely enthusiastic, don't be afraid to communicate it.

You may have to say 'I don't know' in an interview, if you don't have the information requested at hand or q you simply don't know the answer to a question. If it is appropriate, offer to find out and get back to the interviewer later in the day or early the next day. Otherwise, be honest; some questions are designed to stump you, and it is riskier to make up an answer than to tell the truth.

If you feel that you have made a mistake, or said something you wish you hadn't, you can address it directly. You may say something such as, ' I would like to rephrase my answer to the previous question...' This may be particularly important if you are so disturbed by what you said that you do not think you will be able to give focused answers to the remaining questions.

If you are being interviewed by more than one person, be sure to address all of the people in the room when you are answering questions. Even if one person is doing most of the talking, or if interviewers are alternating questions, it is polite and professional to maintain eye contact with each person.

Communicating information about yourself is your responsibility. It is not up to the interviewer to drag it out of you. The interviewer will often signal the end of the interview by asking if you have any questions. If you feel you haven't discussed some key points, take the initiative and say, 'Before I ask my first question, there are a couple of points I would like to mention.'

If you have prepared for your interview, there is only a slight chance that you will be completely surprised by a question posed to you. Of course, the possibility exists, and some people may indeed try to shock you, but those experiences are few and far between. If that happens, try to remain calm and poised; it may just be a test of your composure.

It is natural to feel nervous before an interview. Your goal is to eliminate unnecessary nervousness by being well prepared. A good night's sleep, a healthy breakfast, and plenty of travel time can also have a soothing effect on your nerves. Remember, the ideal is to be comfortable with the unfolding of the process. If you can truly enjoy the interview, you will communicate self-assurance and positive energy.


Following up to the Interview

What now? The lost art of the post-interview follow-up

Congratulations! You got the big interview! Things went smoothly and you feel confident about your chances. Well, don't get too comfortable, the interview was only part of what your employer wants to see. Now, they're ready to see how you handle the follow-up.

Unfortunately the average job candidate spends more time choosing a font for their cover letter than they do arranging a follow-up. You're not the average candidate. You're determined not to drop the ball at the most crucial step. You're going to follow the 8 rules of the perfect follow-up.

Wait a day.

If a member of the opposite sex gave you their number you wouldn't call them that day. So why then should you thank the person that interviewed you mere hours after you talked with them? Waiting a day gives you two points of contact, not just one. The more the merrier.

Is that your final answer?

Don't be disappointed if you can't answer a question during an interview. Use your follow-up to tie any loose ends. This is your opportunity to show them that you are a listener and someone that responds to needs quickly.

And you are?

Don't completely change personalities the minute you sit down to write a follow-up. If your interview was casual then respond casually. If your interview was formal, then make sure you carry that formal tone through your response.

Did I tell you how good I am?

Remind them why they should hire you, subtly. They don't want to hear the entire interview over again, but you can gently reiterate your strong qualities

I am here.

Always send ample contact information when you email your thank you. Do they still have your cover letter? Perhaps. Did you give them a card with your name on it? Sure. Will they remember how to get in touch with you? Doubtful. Make sure getting in touch is easy.

Nobody likes surprises.

Set expectations correctly. If you are going to call them in two weeks tell them. Interviewers don't like to get random phone calls even if they liked your work. Tell them what you plan to do and exactly when you are going to do it.

Be direct.

You've gotten through the administrative assistant. Stay there by getting a direct email address for the person that interviewed you. Never assume that when you send emails to a general address that it reached the right person.

Stay connected.

You don't want to be job candidate #87. If you make a good connection make sure you work it in your follow-up. I once had an interview with a gentleman that went to the same small Catholic high school. In my follow-up I commented on that similarity. Don't miss an opportunity to distinguish yourself.

Play their game.

Ask how you should follow-up. Again, it sets expectations and shows that you are able to take direction. Believe it or not, some companies are still behind the times when it comes to email. Be prepared to communicate by phone, email, or mail.

Take these rules to heart and above all reply according to the mood established in your interview. Only you know how well it went. Use this opportunity to show how serious you are about the position.


Getting the Job

Got the Job!

'Entering the real world is scary. Any time we have transition in our lives it's frightening. We're forced into life's rat race. My biggest fear is that I will have to compromise my dreams. I don't want life's hardships to coerce me into taking a job just to survive. What happens if I'm really not ready? I feel like my brain is a Whoopee cushion that has been sat on by a Sumo wrestler. - J. Mitchell, Class of '97

Your competence and your attitude towards work assignments represent just one aspect of the total picture you're creating in your new workplace. The ability to fin in and to become part of the existing team represents the other portion of your professional persona, and it is equally important. The new professional who does well at specific assignments but who stands out because of pronounced differences and conflicts with the established employees will probably be job hunting again before the year is out.

You've undoubtedly belonged to numerous clubs in the past and had to work hard in order to really become a part of that team. Your current situation as a rookie employee is no different. Your antennae should receive information about the corporate culture to which you now belong. How do people dress? How do colleagues interact and communicate? How, and to whom, are new ideas presented? How are these ideas accepted by management? What are your co- workers' interests outside of the workplace? Do they read the books you enjoy and root for the sa me teams you do? Careful listening and frequent interaction with your colleagues will help you understand the personal side of office dynamics and give you the confidence you'll need to become a full-fledged member of the team.

New professionals often try too hard to make a positive impression. They want to shine immediately and sometimes want to fix a system that doesn't need fixing. Find out which priorities are important to your boss, and follow the leader. Ifs usually best to keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut, until you've been with the organization for a while and have had an opportunity to really learn the ropes. Accept your role as the new kid on the block, and learn all you can about your workplace. Criticizing existing methods or policies will surely alienate your co-workers. You will earn more points by listening, learning, and paying your dues as a rookie. Perhaps the best advice to new professionals is to become a good follower for the first year. Your leadership skills will be noticed and rewarded eventually.

Finding a Mentor

After you've been in the workplace for a month or two, try to define what you need in terms of your professional development. By this time, you've met a number of people in the organization and have interacted with several who understand your needs and can help you develop and grow professionally. It's important that you and your mentor are able to communicate easily and are on the same wavelength. Choose someone who not only has knowledge and influence within the organization, but who is also interested in helping you advance in your career.

After you have identified the person whom you think would be an ideal mentor for you, you will need to take steps to cultivate the relationship. Try to make a positive impression on your prospective mentor when the opportunity arises, at a company sponsored event, or even at coffee breaks. If you share similar interests, engage the person in conversation that relates to your personal hobby or pursuit. Increase your visibility and provide opportunities for you to be observed. Demonstrate your competence and dress and act professionally.

The relationship between you and your mentor is a two-way street. Your mentor can benefit from your relationship as well. You can help him/her complete assignments while providing new ideas and energy to his/her projects. Remember to give your mentor feedback with reference to suggestions he/she has made. Remember too, to respect his/her very busy schedule and not take too much of his/her time.

View the first few months as time spent acquiring the knowledge, skills, and abilities you'll need to succeed in the workplace. If you adopt a positive attitude, build effective relationships, and understand your role as a new professional, your transition will be successful and exciting.



Stop Trying.

Do you realize that you are trying to get a job that isn't even out there? Did you know that most resumes you send out, don't even reach a desk   ... most end up in a pile somewhere collecting dust, then head to the shredder, or the trash bin. Why such a negative outlook? The majority of job seekers simply try too hard.

So, what is the answer?

Decide what you want to do.

What are your strengths? What do you enjoy? What makes you get that giddy feeling that makes you excited about life? That's what you want to do! There is no need settling for anything else. Okay, so you might need to wait tables or deliver papers for awhile. While you're doing this piddly nothing job-make contacts, do the best job you can do, and then you're ready for the next step!

Research the industry.

Do you want to get into the tech industry? Get on the web and research! Grab your favorite search engine and put in: 'company technology Detroit" see what happens! Get a list of companies that deal with technology of some sort, and shorten that list. Web Design what you fancy? Do you have the skills/education for that industry? If not, you may want to take a step backwards for a bit (maybe you'll get that degree at a later time!) Hey-what about marketing? Isn't that your degree? All right then, start the search again and grab a list of companies that are known for great marketing campaigns in your target work area.

Research the company.

RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH!!!! What is this company? Who runs this company (get specific names!)? Why would you like to work in this company? Has this company won any awards or had any negative publicity? Do you agree with the goals set by this company? Okay, next company... RESEARCH!


Do you know anyone who has worked for this company? Do you have a relationship with anyone in this company? How about this industry? You'll be amazed who knows who! Ask questions! Ask your grandfather's best friend's next door neighbor! Network! Find out what people around you know. The world will become smaller and smaller  ... and you'll become closer and closer to that job you desire.

Refine your cover letter/resume.

There are millions of resources for each of these items. Although seemingly bogus, they are a necessary means to an end, so both the cover letter and the resume are extremely important. Keep it short and to the point, and be certain all necessary information is included. (Don't forget your contact info!)

Make the call.

Call and ask for the specific person who you found through your research that runs this company. You won't get to talk to him/her, but it's an effort. Leave your name, and make sure you have the correct address to send your resume. Send your cover letter and resume addressed to a specific person: NEVER say "To whom it may concern". Three days after your information was sent, call back and confirm that it was received. Let whoever you are speaking with know that you'll be calling back in three days. Then do it! Make certain you are persistent!

Get an interview?

GREAT! This is the toughest part, and you've accomplished it! Dress well, keep that smile on your face, be confident that you are the person for this job, and answer all questions to the best of your ability. Don't know an answer? Say so. Tell them you'll be happy to find out, or that you've never had experience there. Ask questions of your own, and mention points you found about the company through your research. The fact that you took time to find out about this company shows more than you'll ever know!

After the interview.

Follow-up. Write a thank you letter. Make certain, again, that you direct your letter to the specific person you want to reach. It doesn't matter if it never sees the desk of that person.

Didn't get an interview?

Two choices: Keep on calling, or go to your next company. It'll happen eventually!

Basically, stop trying to get a job, and get one! There really just aren't any excuses.


Helpful CCC Resources has many helpful resources to enable you to be successful in your job search!

Below is a list of the sections of CCC, and how they might help you.

  • SEARCH JOBS - Search engine for student members searching for jobs around the globe. Provides the ability to narrow focus by country, state, industry, and job capacity. Search engine can also return jobs sponsoring visas.
  • RESEARCH COMPANIES - Comprehensive company profiles with links to job postings and company websites.
  • ASK THE EXPERT - Advice from career experts. Features student questions and informative articles.
  • CAREER CORNER - Current articles regarding the job search process such as resume/cover letter help, interview tips, how to follow up to the interview.
  • DIVERSITY CENTER - Current events, diversity sponsors, and EEO headlines.
  • FOREIGN EXCHANGE - Resources and information regarding working abroad in addition to international headlines.
  • INSIDE CAREER INFO - Company, industry, and career profiles sponsored by WetFeet.
  • INTERN ZONE - Internship opportunities, testimonials, and relevant articles.
  • NEXT STEP - Information and links geared for those students considering or pursuing graduate studies.
  • VISA CENTER - Sponsored by American Immigration Center. Provides visa news and updates regarding visa status and laws.
  • CCC HERALD - Original content from student members of CCC.
  • CAMPUS REP PROGRAM - Find out more about how CCC employs students at your school.
  • CCC CAFE - Discussion board featuring threads related to careers, internships, and visa issues.


Other helpful links

  • Hosted by The Salary Calculator can be used to compare the cost of living in hundreds of U.S. cities.
  • The Rhythm of Business: The Rhythm of Business enables entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies the necessary means for success with helpful advice and research. This invaluable company focuses on understanding how to build collaborative businesses that generate revenue from business partners and suppliers, as well as primary customers.
  • Quest Career Services: Quest is an online career transition assistance company that helps you succeed in your job search. Quest provides resume writing services, career choice assistance, career assessment tools, job interview preparation, resume distribution services, salary surveys, and ongoing career transition support to job seekers throughout the world.


In Conclusion

All of us at wish you the best in your job search! If we can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to let us know. You may write to us at, and someone will address your needs.


This document is for the personal use of the person to whom it is sent. It may not be reproduced, transmitted, or otherwise disseminated by any person or user other than for the personal use or benefit of such person. All rights reserved to Inc., October 1, 2001.