Top 10 Job Search Strategies

Define Your Preferences and Explore Your Options

As you begin looking for a job or internship, consider the following: Time commitment, location, and personal expectations (pay rate, job duties, growth opportunities, how it translates to a long-term career). Conduct employer research to answer some of these questions and to aid with your application.

Employer Research: Additional Benefits

  • Shows an employer that you’ve done your homework. When they ask you, “what do you know about us?” You can say you’ve been to their webpage and can give them a short overview that demonstrates this.
  • Helps you create company specific questions that make you stand out in an interview.
  • Helps you customize your “cover letter” for a given organization that addresses its needs and interests. You can grab attention early on by mentioning something unique about them in your opening paragraph.
  • You can craft an objective statement that uses the skill words most desired by the company.
  • Discover related positions you did not exit before within a given company.

Employer Research: What to Look For

  • Who is involved? Number of employees, employee diversity, growth or decline in size of organization, leadership within company, major competitors.
  • What does the organization do? Services and products offered, research activities, key achievements.
  • Where do they operate? Office locations, focus of organization: local vs. national or international, market.
  • When did they begin, and what are their future plans? History, future projects and expansion, projected financial growth or decline, downsizing, outsourcing, or restructuring.
  • How do they operate? Organizational structure, environment (formal vs. informal).
  • Why does the company exist, and what is their brand? Values, company philosophy or mission statement, goals.

Sources for Employer Research

  • - Provides a free look at company salaries, reviews and interview questions at over 27,000 companies.
  • The Riley Guide - Click on the A-Z index for job banks by topical/industry areas of interest and employer information.
  • - An excellent source of information that provides brief overviews of companies in several industries and interviews with different employees and recruiters.
  • The Job Resource - Targets recent grads and is a good site for general research on companies. You will need to register to use the services.
  • Corporate Information - Search by company name or industry type.
  • The National Association of Chambers of Commerce - Select Chambers of Commerce in your preferred geographical areas and search for information on member companies.
  • Idealist - Enables you to search nonprofit organization profiles.

UCSB Alumni and Other Social Media Networks

Identify Your Current and Desired Skills

Identify transferable skills that you have learned through your previous jobs, internships, classes, group memberships, volunteer work, and hobbies. Some examples of transferable skills include leadership, organization, and communication skills. Build desired skills by doing any of the above or taking a class or workshop.

Start Your Search with Handshake

Handshake is UCSB’s official site for jobs, internships, and campus interviews. To set up your account, visit our website or seek help from a career peer in the Career Resource Room.

Use Job Search Links

There are dozens of job search links that can help you find the right job. The Career Services website contains links to local and California jobs as well as industry and career specific jobs.

Résumé and Cover Letter Time

Have a résumé and cover letter ready if you’re actively applying for jobs, attending career fairs, or walking into businesses to inquire about job openings. Career counselors are available at the Career Resource Room to help you tailor your résumé and cover letter for the position.

Network and Use Elevator Pitch

  • Contact the UCSB Alumni Association, join professional associations, volunteer in community organizations, talk to your professors, and approach professionals at career fairs.
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn, a free professional network where you can display your résumé and get connected to possible employers.
  • Check out our networking and elevator pitch sections for more information.

Career Fairs

Career Fairs provide excellent opportunities to discover job and internship information, speak directly with employers, submit résumés, and learn more about your field of interest. UCSB offers numerous career fairs throughout the year.

Contact Companies Directly

In addition to researching employment information and opportunities on company websites, you can contact them directly by inquiring via email, phone or in-person about job openings. Bring your résumé and a cover letter in case they’re accepting applications.

Consider Using an Employment Agency

There is an increasing trend by employers to use employment agencies or staffing services to do their initial screening for jobs. While this has always been the case for senior level management or executive recruitment, it is also true for other types of employment as well, especially if the organization lacks its own in-house Human Resource or Personnel Department. In some cases, it’s nearly impossible to get an interview without going through an agency. In almost all cases, the cost for the service is charged to the employer NOT YOU. Some guidelines to for finding and evaluating this type of service:Choose an employment agency that has a strong reputation, specializes in your career interests, uses a comprehensive matching process, and offers a clear contractual understanding of compensation/benefits. Agencies used by recent grads include Accountemps (for accounting and finance jobs), KellyScientific (for candidates to a variety of entry level science oriented positions), and CulverCareers (specializes in management trainee and sales positions).


  • A temporary assignment may turn into a career position
  • You are not committed to the job. Good way to explore
  • You have flexibility
  • You will earn while you learn


  • Benefits for temp work are usually not as good
  • An assignment may end abruptly
  • You may find pressure to take a position you do not want

Criteria for Choosing an Employment Agency

  • Specializes in career areas of interest
  • Agency reputation
  • Offers short-term computer training programs
  • Uses a comprehensive screening/matching process
  • Offers a clear contractual understanding of compensation/benefits

Use the Resources at Career Services and Meet with a Counselor

Need more information or help figuring out how to achieve your career goals? Career Services has a plethora of career related information, workshops and events year-round, drop-in hours with counselors, and individual appointments.

To obtain more information on each step, pick up a free copy of the Career Manual from Career Services, and take a look at our handouts in the Handout Hub.

Please review UCSB's Guidlines for Successfully Handling Job Offers