A successful job search requires a proactive and strategic approach. The CDC can help you:
- Identify your unique skills and qualifications for your job search
- Clarify your career objectives and job target
- Define your brand and refine your networking skills
- Develop marketing tools
- Research and find opportunities and contacts in your field
- Create a job search plan
- Evaluate job offers
- Gain skills to transition into the workforce
A professional job search can take 6 months to a year, so it is important that you start early and develop an effective strategy for your search.
KU Resources and Services
Job Search Workshop
Find out why a good resume isn't all you need to land that job. This workshop will cover the Six Sure Steps to Success, the art of networking and tips to locating those "hidden jobs." Beginning the job search process can seem overwhelming; we'll show you how to break it down into manageable tasks so you meet your goal; your career! Click here specific dates and times.
On-Campus Interviews (OCI)
Each semester the Career Development Center hosts employers on campus who come specifically to interview KU students for internships and professional positions. Visiting employers post their job openings on Handshake. You can apply to these positions by submitting your resume via Handshake. Click here to get started.
Are you interested in working for the Federal Government and have a documented disability? Please visit www.kutztown.edy/dso/wrp to learn more about the Workforce Recruitment Program.
KU Internship and Job Fairs
Held on-campus each semester, the KU Internship and Job Fairs are an opportunity for you to shake hands, get your resume out and converse with employers. A special job fair for educators is held each spring. Click here for the schedule of events.
Avoiding Online Job/Internship Scams
When you are applying for interests or jobs, it is important to be aware of the potential for fraudulent postings and job scams. Click here for information on how you can avoid online job/internship scams. This resource includes information on employer research, 'red flags' and payment transfer schemes, and steps you can take if you are the victim of a scam.
1. The first step in securing professional employment is determining the workplace skills and knowledge you have to offer an employer. Understanding your unique strengths and qualifications will help you compose an effective resume and cover letter and prepare for an interview.
- Transferable skills are talents that you acquired through your coursework, campus activities, employment, volunteer work, and leisure time activities. These talents can translate into marketable qualifications for employment. Click here for a transferable skills worksheet.
- Career tests are another way for you to understand your strengths, workplace values, and interests. Click here for more information on available career tests.
- Remember, you can continue to develop transferable skills through internships. Click here to learn more about Internships.
2. Determine your career objectives or job target. This step is essential to an effective job search. There are too many employers and job opportunities to approach your search with the "I'll take any job anywhere" stance. Here are some questions you should be able to answer prior to beginning your search for a professional position:
- What type of work do I want to do?
- What skills do I want to use in my work?
- For whom do I want to work? What industry interests me?
- Where do I want to live and work?
3. Create or update your resume and write a targeted cover letter. Be sure to mention your transferable skills. Click here for information on creating an effective resume.
4. Secure references for your job search. Most employers will request that you provide contact information of several individuals who will provide recommendations for you. These individuals should be able to speak positively about your qualifications and attributes that you will bring to the workplace. Professors and supervisors of current/past employment or volunteer work typically can speak best to these qualifications. Before you can list an individual as a reference, you need to get their expressed permission.
5. Prepare for your interview. Interviewing well is an essential component in making a good impression. It is a chance for both you and the employer to determine whether this position is a good fit. Click here for more information on interviewing skills and practice.
Searching for Job Opportunities
There are many resources for finding job opportunities. Networking or talking to others about your interests and qualifications is by far the best method for learning about and securing employment.
Utilize all your contacts by informing them of your career goals and interests, as well as by reminding them of your skills and experience. Contact everyone: past teachers, family, friends, faculty, supervisors, and classmates. Interact face-to-face, over the phone or through social media. Click here for a Guide to Networking.
Monitor how you present yourself digitally; clean up all your photos, postings and online profiles to reflect a professional image. To create a professional networking profile on LinkedIn please visit: Building a Great Student Profile.
Handshake is the primary online resource for preparing and connecting students and alumni with employers. In addition to accessing job and internship postings, students can find employer profiles, career resources, and information about CDC job fairs, events, and workshops. Click here to log in.
3. Internship & Job Fairs
The CDC hosts three annual fairs for students and alumni to learn about full-time, part-time and seasonal positions as well as internship opportunities. This is your chance to shake hands, introduce yourself and converse with employers. Click here for more information on upcoming Fairs.
4. Job Websites and Posting Boards
There are many great websites containing valuable information on conducting your job search. Many of these sites will require you to register. It is essential that you maintain your account and keep the information and your resume up-to-date. Click here for a list of job search resources.
5. Employer Websites
If you know where you want to work, review the employer's website, particularly the Careers or Employment page to determine if the organization has open positions. If not, consider contacting the human resources department or hiring manager to inquire about staffing needs. Be sure to communicate your skills and how you can contribute to their organization. Click here for a sample letter of inquiry.
6. Professional Association Websites
Professional organizations bring people with industry experience and interest together. Many professional associations also maintain their own job posting board. Look for links such as Job Opportunities, Position Announcements or Job Board. Click here for a list of professional associations by discipline or industry.
7. Targeted Job Searches
Chamber of Commerce Sites are a great way to learn more about employers in a particular geographic area that relates to your career interests. While all chamber of commerce sites differ in their layout, look for a Membership Directory or Business Directory, then search by business type or category to identify employers in your field of interest. Perform an online search for Chamber sites near you.
- Reading Chamber of Commerce
- Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
- Lehigh Valley Economic Development - Hot Careers Dashboard
- Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce
- Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
- PA Chamber of Commerce
8. Social Media
Many employers use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube to promote their organization and connect with potential candidates. Click here for more information on using social media in your job search.
9. Employment/Staffing Agencies
Some employers hire employment or staffing agencies to identify and screen potential candidates for both temporary and permanent positions. This can be a great way to get your foot in the door at a particular organization or within a particular field. Agencies generally work for employers and are paid a fee for their services. It is important to read and fully understand any agency contract before you sign it, making sure that you are not responsible for any fees. Click here for a list of staffing agencies in your area.
Tracking your Job Search
No job search can be successfully completed unless you keep an accurate account of what is happening in the process. It is important for you to know which organizations you have contacted, what information was sent, and to whom and when you sent it. Click here for a sample tracking form.
Evaluating Job Offers
With a well-executed job search, you will hopefully receive an offer or two from prospective employers. If an offer is extended verbally, ask for the details in writing including the job title, starting date, salary, location, tasks, and other critical position details. When you receive an offer, ask when the employer would like your decision. Typically one-to-two weeks is an acceptable time frame.
Receiving a job offer can be exciting or disappointing depending on the position and the offer. Be careful not to let your emotions guide your response. Take some time to thoughtfully consider the offer including elements such as:
Salary and Benefits
- Starting salary
- Earning potential
- Level of challenge and responsibility
- Opportunities to expand skills & knowledge and
- Personal belief in products produced or services offered
- Reputation and corporate culture
- Opportunities for professional development
and continued education or training
- Assistance with continued education
- Stability of the organization and job security
- Opportunities for advancement
- Level of interaction with colleagues, supervisors management
- Geographic location (commute or re-locate)
- Proximity to family and friends
- Proximity to social, cultural and recreational opportunities
After considering the offer, it is important that you confirm your intent (accept/decline offer) in writing
Transitioning to Professional Employment
Transitioning from college to your first professional position is very similar to the transition from high school to college. You will need to acclimate to the new environment, new people and new rules. During this time you will learn much about yourself, your skills and your job, as well as lay the foundation for your professional growth and advancement. Click here for more tips on handling this transition.