Identify Your Goals

Job Search Strategies

Find Work You Want

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Whether you are seeking a part-time job, internship, or full-time position to launch your career, looking for work can seem like a daunting task. To maximize your opportunities, it can be useful to adopt multiple strategies.

This page simplifies the process down to a few fundamental ways that people find positions to meet their priorities within their available time for job searching.

 Lightbulb icon  Want the latest insights on getting hired in 2020? Review our COVID-19 Career Resources and Don't Get Scammed tips.

Identify Your Goals

Making Priorities

Before you start searching, identify what is most important to you in your next work opportunity. By prioritizing what you are looking for, it is much easier to find the right positions. 

Are you looking for roles with a specific... 

  • Title? 
  • Skill? 
  • Location? 
  • Employer?
  • Lifestyle?

Based on your priorities for these items and anything else important in your next position, list out the keywords and phrases that describe what you are seeking. This will be helpful when you search for positions that match your criteria. You may need to be flexible with items that are less important to you. 

To learn more about positions you want to target, take a career assessment and explore your career options


​Similar to dating, you may need to search through many opportunities before you find your match. ​It helps to know what you’re looking for before you begin!

Planning in Advance

Next, determine the type of work you are looking for and when it is best to start looking. Every employer hires different types of positions and recruits at different times of the year, but it can be advantageous to get familiar with these common trends.

Whether you are looking on- or off-campus, these positions can become available year-round. On-campus departments that hire large numbers of student employees usually recruit during winter or spring quarter for jobs that begin in fall, while departments that hire fewer employees typically recruit at the start of fall quarter and throughout the year. If you are considering a job in retail or food service, it can be a good idea to walk in to stores to see who is hiring, at any time of the year.

Many employers offer internship opportunities, which can take place during the summer or academic year and thus have application deadlines throughout the whole year. While organizations that hire large numbers of summer interns may recruit as early as fall quarter, organizations that hire a small number of summer interns may be more likely to recruit in winter or spring quarter. Overall, recruitment timelines vary greatly for each field/discipline, so we recommend that you look for internships early and often.

Typically, these are posted for candidates who are able to start working within a short amount of time. We recommend that you start applying for most full-time positions three to four months prior to when you plan to start working. For international students, we recommend that you start applying five to six months in advance. 

Some employers offer long-term programs that expose you to many roles by rotating you through different departments after a few months of basic training. Most commonly, this type of opportunity is offered by large corporations, such as Enterprise Holdings, seeking students who have demonstrated interest within their industry. Rotational programs vary in hiring timeline and length, but usually span multiple years. These programs exist in most industries and are common in business and entrepreneurship and engineering and technology. 

Additional Considerations

Of course, these are general descriptions about position types and timelines; every employer operates on their own hiring schedule. If you are applying to internships or full-time positions in accounting, consulting, engineering, finance, or government, plan on applying during fall or winter quarter--and be sure to research each employer’s timeline in advance.

If you are interested in working for a specific organization and you are unsure if it is too early to apply, contact the organization in advance. It may feel like an awkward question to ask, but employers often appreciate advanced communication.

When you find positions that meet your preferences, it is important that you apply as soon as possible. If you wait until the deadline, your chances of getting noticed may decrease.


Blocking Off Time

Remember that searching for work takes a lot of time and effort; it is almost like adding another course to your schedule. Treat it as such by setting aside time each week to find opportunities using the guidance on this page.


The more time and effort you put into your job applications, the more likely you are to stand out in the candidate pool.