The Bearcat’s Declassified Job-Hunt Survival Guide

Written by Chris Pasion, graduate assistant to The Graduate School.

job hunt

The end of the semester is near! For those of us who are set to graduate this spring, that means it’s time to jump headfirst into the job market. This can be a very daunting time for many people, and it can seem like there’s a lot at stake—you’ve got this! Read on for a few tips that will help get you ready for the job search and application process.

Refine Your Resume

One of most important pieces of the job application process is a great resume. This document gives the employer a quick rundown of who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re good at. You want to make sure this document is clean and professional, with no spelling errors or sections out of alignment. For quick feedback, UC offers the VMock service, which is a resume assistant that will analyze your resume and give you a detailed report right away. 

Get Feedback on Your Cover Letter

Most positions you apply to will not only want a resume, but also a cover letter. This is where you can really shine, showing off your writing skills and attention to detail, while also fully explaining why you are an excellence fit for the position. Be careful not to waste any words here, as every line counts; you want to be concise, but give the employer a good idea of who you are and why you’re applying. It’s good to get another pair of eyes on the cover letter, and the Academic Writing Center offers tutor feedback where you can submit a piece of writing for review. 

Also, if you’re applying for academic positions, be sure to check out the graduate student handout documents that the Academic Writing Center put together for those going into the academic job market.

Practice Your Interviewing Skills

The job interview can be one of the more exciting or daunting aspects of the job interview, depending on how you interview. No matter our comfort level, we can all use practice with interviewing skills. BigInterview, an online interview practice tool, can be a great way to brush up. This service is free to UC students. You can also make an appointment at the Career Studio or go to walk-in hours at the Career Studio to practice your answers and get immediate feedback.

Join a Virtual Meet-and-Greet with Handshake

If you haven’t made use of Handshake yet, now is a great time to get started. Handshake is an online platform that connects UC students to employers across the country, and it’s a great way to virtually shake-hands and make that first point of contact. Handshake connects you with virtual information sessions, career fairs, and other paths that can lead you to a potential job. The service also is a place where you can directly apply to positions, so be sure to check it out!

Tap Into the Network You’ve Already Built

This one should be a no-brainer, but many of the connections you’ve made over the years could be gateways to a new position. Does your professor know a lot of people in the industry? Ask them if anybody is hiring! Is one of the places you used to intern looking for somebody? Reach out to your old supervisors or coworkers for more information! Staying in peoples’ conscious in small ways like this can be huge for getting your name out there and in front of potential employers. 

Do you still need further advice on the job search? One great office to connect with is the Bearcat Promise Career Studio, which focuses on preparing students for the job market. They have career coaches that are available for in-person and virtual meetings. Good luck out there Bearcats!