Job search strategies

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

Expand all   |   Collapse all  

Timing: When should I start my search and what are my industries 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, information technology) 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). 

What are industry area norms?

    • Accounting – Large public firms will often recruit through offers following internship experiences or in the early fall semester during senior year.  Private accounting recruitment occurs throughout the year.
      • Intern: Many larger public accounting firms participate in the Accounting Department’s Matching Program.  Participation is open to juniors with a GPA of 3.0 or better.  A kick-off meeting for the Matching Program is held each February.  Recruitment for private accounting internships occurs throughout the school year, with many larger companies recruiting in the fall.  
    • Finance – Recruitment for investment related roles occurs early within the fall semester.  Students are encouraged to attend the “Ins and Outs of Wall Street” event in April to learn the specifics of recruitment in this industry area. Corporate finance recruitment occurs throughout the year, with an emphasis on the fall semester.  Attend “Careers in Finance” in October to learn more about corporate finance, banking and risk management careers.
    • Human Resources – Recruitment follows company size and full-time/internship hiring norms.  For many employers, human resources roles are filled as positions become available, so students are encouraged to check Handshake throughout the year.
    • International Business – Students pursuing roles within international business are encouraged to consider the timelines associated with company size.  Please also review the resource section for company research resources.
    • Information Technology – Employers seeking INTE majors recruit throughout the year, with an emphasis on fall recruitment.  BizNet (co-sponsored through the INTE and OSCM departments) is a great networking event in October for students seeking full-time and internship positions.
    • Marketing – Recruitment occurs throughout the year, with more activity in spring than for some other majors.  Large employers will often recruit in the fall, but for many employers, marketing roles are filled as positions become available, so students are encouraged to check Handshake and company websites throughout the year.
    • Operations and Supply Chain Management – Recruitment for supply chain roles occurs throughout the academic year.  BizNet (co-sponsored through the INTE and OSCM departments) is a great networking event in October for students seeking full-time and internship positions.
    • Real Estate – The most activity within commercial real estate recruitment occurs during the spring semester.  Students are strongly encouraged to check Handshake and work with the Center for Real Estate throughout the year.  In addition, fall semester is an important time to emphasize networking relationships (building new relationships and staying in contact with current contacts).
    • Rotational programs – Several companies offer rotational programs where employees work with a business for 1-3 years rotating through different departments or functional areas.  Recruitment for most rotational programs occurs in the fall semester.
    • Nonprofit organizations – Many nonprofit organizations will recruit to fill recently vacated positions.  This “just in time” hiring means that positions become available throughout the year.  With this in mind, networking and setting up informational meetings to build relationships with non-profits addressing your areas of interest are important strategies.
    • Year of service – Many service-based programs have deadlines in the fall and early spring semesters.  The Peace Corps application process generally requires 6-12 months.  Teach for America maintains application deadlines from August – February.  Jesuit Volunteer Corps recruits from September to March.  As you identify areas of interest, research each program for application deadlines.  The fall career fairs also include a date for post-graduate service.

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 Services 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 on their websites
  • Contact them by phone or e-mail to inquire about opportunities
  • Seek out relationships through networking

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


Networking is an important professional skill and a proactive job and internship search strategy, which may include 1) communicating with people you already know and 2) reaching out to contacts with whom you seek to build relationships.  Both kinds of contacts and relationships are important during a job search and throughout your career. 

When you network with people, you have the opportunity to learn about them and their areas of interest.  In turn, when you share your goals and interests, they may share their networking resources – industry knowledge and professional contacts – with you.  This broader sharing is why it is important to ask about more than just job openings

Review the Networking Resources page for more information about networking strategies and connecting with alumni.

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.
  • Uniworld  Great for students targeting international businesses
    A resource for identifying U.S. firms with offices in countries of interest and for foreign firms with U.S. locations.
  • 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.) Review an online training video.
  • 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