Job search strategies

Searching for a new job or internship? Here are some common questions and strategies to support your search.

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Timing: When should I start my search and what are my industry's norms?

Early fall semester is often best, but there are timing differences based on industry, employer size and the type of position you are seeking. Each company develops its own recruiting strategy and timing, so if there are companies that interest you, in addition to considering the company size and industry area, research or contact each company to learn about their specific hiring timelines.

  • Full-time and internship timelines
  • Hiring based on company size
  • What are industry area norms?

Full-time and internship timelines

Full-time positions: The fall semester is a very busy time for full-time recruitment. It may feel early to start your search in September, but this is the timeframe when employers are actively posting positions and recruiting new hires.

Internships: Intern recruitment occurs throughout the academic year. Larger companies and industries with earlier recruitment calendars (accounting, finance) recruit heavily during the fall semester.

Hiring based on company size

Want to work for a large company*?  Start your search in the fall semester (or earlier).
On a per-company basis, large organizations often recruit larger numbers of new hires.  Knowing they need 10, 20, 30 or more new employees in a given role, these organizations are often active on Handshake and with on-campus interviews in the fall semester.  Large organizations will continue to recruit into the spring semester as positions remain available or as new roles become available.

*Large companies are defined as those employing more than 4,000 staff (Source: Trends in Recruiting 2009-2010). 

Smaller or medium-sized companies* tend to have more individualized recruiting schedules.  Recruitment will occur according to industry norms. In addition, these organizations will recruit students throughout the year as positions become available.  Checking Handshake and company websites frequently and proactively contacting these companies are effective strategies.

*Small and fast growth companies typically employ 101-500 and 9-100 employees respectively.  Medium sized companies are defined as those employing 500-3,999 staff (Source: Trends in Recruiting 2009-2010). 

Search Strategies: How do I search for a job or internship?

There are three main strategies one should employ when conducting a thorough job or internship search: respond to postings, target employers and network. In addition to the information below, the campus-wide Career Center provides a job and internship search website.

Respond to postings

This strategy includes searching for and applying to positions advertised by employers on Handshake, company websites or specific job search websites (such as,, the LinkedIn jobs tab, etc.). 

  • Follow employers and job/internship postings: Access the Handshake student/alumni help center to learn more.
  • Participating in on-campus interviews is a great way to respond to employer postings.
  • Request "reciprocity" access to the online job board at another Jesuit college or university.

Target employers

A good job/internship search will include efforts to react to employer postings and to proactively identify opportunities.  By creating a list of employers you would like to work for, you can:        

  • Search for openings efficiently on all their websites
  • Follow them on LinkedIn and Handshake to stay updated
  • Seek out relationships through networking

To build your target list of employers, review resources for targeting employers.

Finding Employers: How do I find employers to target? 

Resources for Targeting Employers

  • Mergent Intellect - Contains worldwide business information that enables companies to generate insightful business intelligence. Provides access to private and public U.S and international business data, industry news, facts and figures, executive contact information, the ability to access industry profiles and much more. Review our how-to handout.  If you are connected from off-campus, you must have your browser set up to use the library proxy server. Learn how to connect to the proxy server.
  • GoingGlobal
    This online database contains country-specific career and employment resources, corporate profiles for key employers around the world, and over 600,000 international internship and job listings. Access GoingGlobal through Handshake. (Within Handshake, select the "Career Center" menu and the "Resources" menu item.)
  • H1database  Great for international students
    Provided through the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center, this website lists companies that have applied for work visas for full-time applicants.  Inclusion within this list does not indicate whether the application was successful, but it does indicate that the employer was willing to pursue this course of action for a past applicant and that they may have experience with the visa application process.  Results will download into an Access database.
  • Media-provided employer lists: Newspaper and journal publications will often develop lists based on specific criteria such as best places to work, green employers, etc.  If you are targeting a specific geographic area, these lists can be helpful in learning more about possible employers. 

Overall, the best strategy is to utilize a combination of both Responsive and Proactive strategies when conducting a job or internship search:

Responsive strategies

  • Applying to postings within Handshake
  • Attending career fairs
  • Searching for positions on company websites

Proactive strategies