Land Your Dream Job
... or a job that will help get you there! From building a resume to writing a cover letter to networking with alumni and community members, use these job search strategies while exploring your career options.
Make Network Connections
Shake hands—or bump elbows—with fellow Tigers and experts in your areas of interest. You never know what doors they might help you open!
Create Networking Opportunities
- Look out for opportunities to network through meetings, career and job fairs, local events, community settings, and on the internet.
- Expand your networking circle to include friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues.
- Start the conversation, then keep it going through one-on-one emails, phone calls, or appointments.
- Join professional associations or area interest groups.
Make Alumni Connections
- Career Networks: Most major cities in Texas and many cities where graduates are working have an individual designated to assist with career networking.
- Tiger Connections: Join in casual, 15-minute conversations with alumni in various industries. Watch the LeeRoy Daily Newsletter for opportunities to sign up.
- Making Connections: Each Spring semester, Trinity holds networking programs around the nation, allowing Trinity students and alumni to meet and discuss career paths.
- LinkedIn: Visit Trinity University's LinkedIn page, check out the Trinity Alumni Group and view jobs posted on LinkedIn.
Pro Tip: Professional vs. Social Networking
Believe it or not, there is a difference between purely social networking (the kind that usually goes on on Facebook or Twitter) and networking for professional purposes. Your behavior on social networking sites (and online in general) may have a profound impact on career goals—a negative online persona may prevent someone from hiring you!
Polish Your Written Communication
From creating a resume to writing a cover letter, your written communication speaks volumes about your skills and confidence level. Understanding communication etiquette is fundamental to job search success.
A resume is a personal marketing tool with the sole purpose of getting an interview.
Remember: The resume is just to get you in the door, the interview is for getting the job!
At the top of the resume identify yourself by name, telephone number, LinkedIn URL, and (professional-sounding) e-mail address.
List all institutions of higher education attended where degrees or certificates were received in reverse chronological order. List degree(s) earned, including majors, minors, and concentrations. List your grade point average (GPA) only if it is above 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Prospective employers read this section with the thought, "How does this person’s experiences and abilities relate to this position and my organization’s needs?" Therefore, this section should highlight these areas for the employers. Paid and unpaid experience includes internships, volunteer work, senior projects, job shadowing, and student teaching. List experiences in reverse chronological order.
The objective statement should precisely state what you are looking for in a position. Its main purpose is to communicate to prospective employers that you are specifically interested in their organization and a posted job. Objectives are only used in specific circumstances. If you do not have a clear objective in mind, or if you cannot make it specific, do not include one.
Additional components should be used if they offer supporting evidence of your qualifications for the job. Choose headings that are descriptive of the material that follows.
Examples include: Computer Skills, Honors, Professional Associations, Publications, Research, Relevant Courses, Leadership, or any other heading that may support your career objective statement.
References should not be on the actual resume but on a separate page and only when asked for. Professional references means individuals who supervised your work or academic experience; do not use peers or family members as references.
Additionally, always ask for permission to use someone as a reference. List your reference's name, mailing address, telephone number, and email if they give permission for that.
Your resume should be as tailored as possible to the job for which you are applying. What are the experiences that make you a good fit for the position? The key is to make your resume not just sound impressive but have real relevance to the job in question. Your most recent experience may not be the one which you wish to highlight. If this is the case, consider a functional rather than a chronological format for your resume. Our career advisers are always here to help you structure your resume appropriately!
Resumes should only be one page in most circumstances. Employers only spend 15-30 seconds on each resume so the important information should stand out.
Scannable and electronic resumes require less formatting and minimal graphics. Anytime you have to submit a resume via an online system or where you anticipate that resumes will be scanned into a database make sure you scale back on formatting and use basic fonts. Creative industries will often ask for a portfolio, where they will evaluate a candidate's creativity.
Do Not Include:
- Personal information such as age or marital status. Pictures or hobbies unrelated to the job can work against you.
- High school information if you are past your first year in college; employers are more interested in your college experiences.
A cover letter is both an introduction to a prospective employer and a sample of your written communication skills. Cover letters are a form of persuasive writing that outline your interest in the position and organization, specify the skills you have, and give one or two relevant experiences or examples.
Cover letters should be brief (no more than one page) but provide enough information to entice the recruiter to read your resume and invite you to interview.
Things to Include
State your reason for writing and how you learned of the opportunity or organization. This is where you capture the reader’s interest! Demonstrate your knowledge of the company through research.
Briefly mention why you are interested in the position and the organization. Describe your qualifications. If you are a recent graduate, explain how your academic background makes you a qualified candidate in addition to practical work experience. Relate yourself to the company by explaining why you are a strong candidate. Refer to your resume but try not to repeat resume content verbatim. Instead, elaborate on one or two positive significant experiences or achievements. Reference the position description to identify one or two key qualifications or experiences to emphasize in the letter.
Thank the prospective employer and indicate your interest in a personal interview; it is also helpful to give a timeline for your follow-up, but never suggest times or places for interviews. Close your letter with a statement that will encourage a follow-up response from the reviewer.
- Address the letter to a specific individual. If you are not sure to whom to address it, contact the company to find out the name of the hiring official, verify the spelling of his or her name, and the correct title. If a name is not available, address your letter to the position (Dear Hiring Director or Dear Manager).
- If your documents are printed, use matching paper for resume, cover letter, and envelope.
- Customize your letter for each employer. Mass produced letters are easily detected and show a lack of sincere interest. The tone of the letter should always be positive and confident.
- Sign your letters with black ink.
- Avoid negativity, boasting, exaggeration, insincerity, and inconsistency. Take time to demonstrate enthusiasm and creativity, but avoid statements like, "I’m dying to get a PR job."
Responding to an email from a potential employer may be one of the first points of contact you make with him or her.
- Keep emails concise.
- Always respond within two business days.
- Include the original message in the reply, so the recipient can put your email into the correct context.
- Do not assume that if an employer is informal that you should be, too.
- If you are attaching a document, name your document "Your Name - Resume" or "Your Name - Cover Letter." Employers receive hundreds of applications via email; make sure yours is clearly identifiable.
Ace Your Interviews
An interview is an opportunity for you to market yourself to the company and communicate what it is that you believe sets you apart from the competition. It is also a way to assess job fit by asking questions and getting more information about the position and the organization.
Major Functions of an Interview
Communicate interest in and knowledge of the position.
Present accomplishments and qualifications to an employer.
Enable the employer to determine if you are the best fit.
The Behavioral Based Interview (BBI) is a common interview style in which the candidate is asked to give specific examples of when they demonstrated particular behaviors or skills. The premise behind the BBI is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation. It is important to anticipate and prepare for this type of interview beforehand by recalling specific examples where you have demonstrated favorable behaviors or actions. General answers about behavior are not acceptable.
Sample Behavioral Based Interview Questions:
- Tell me about a situation in the past year in which you had to deal with a very upset customer or co-worker.
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done?
- Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
Interviewers may also ask follow-up questions to gain more detail:
- What were you thinking at that point?
- Lead me through your decision process.
Before the interview, be sure to recall specific examples and experiences to discuss. Use your resume to jog your memory and do not use examples that yielded negative results. Your answers should be specific and should include three parts:
- Problem/Situation: Briefly but thoroughly describe the problem or situation that addresses the question.
- Action: Clearly state the action that you took to resolve the issue.
- Results: Identify the results that demonstrate you handled the problem appropriately.
Informational interviews are an interactive way to learn about possible career paths, job opportunities, work environments, professionals in industry, and more pertaining to your personal career plans.
The informational interview is not a job interview. You are not interviewing for employment. You are interviewing for career information. Candidates who approach it as a "back-door" to getting a job may get into trouble by offending the individual who is giving up valuable time to meet with them. Make it clear when you set up the meeting what the purpose is and what you hope to gain from the interview.
Informational Interviews Help Provide:
- A realistic idea of a "typical" workday
- Advice on how to find similar positions
- Information on the types of employer organizations
- Tips on future vacancies with the firm
- Current starting salaries in the field you are researching
- Information on advancement opportunities
- Information about skills and credentials for entering the field
- Overview of the organizational structure of the firm being researched
- Advice about related occupations
- Advice on getting starting in the field
- Advice about career advancement
- Referrals to other contacts in the profession
- Use your contacts to help you identify persons for your interviews
- Develop a list of persons and organizations who are doing the type of work that interests you
- Contact organizations that interest you by telephone -- try and determine names of individuals who are doing jobs that you might want to do or who supervise those people
- Always try and speak directly to the person you want to interview
- Present a professional image in behavior and attire, as if it were an actual job interview
- BE PREPARED -- make sure you have a list of questions you want answered, know something about the organization, know something about the occupation you are discussing
- Ask open ended questions to obtain more than yes or no responses
- Try to keep the conversation focused on the information you need
- Keep an open mind but remember the person that you are speaking to only represents one perspective
- Always express appreciation at the end of the interview and follow-up with a thank-you letter
Questions to Ask
- How did you get into this line of work?
- How did you get in this particular job?
- What is the best thing about this job/field?
- What is the worst thing about this job/field?
- What is a typical day like?
- Tell me about pitfalls along the job search?
- What should I look for in an interview situation? What kinds of questions will they ask?
- Are there some specific skills or experiences that you recommend to get me ready?
- What are the possibilities or how do you advance in the field?
- What skills and credentials are required?
- If you were to start over what would you do differently?
- Could you refer me to other people that I could talk with?
Acing the Informational Interview
(Business Week, June 27, 2007)
- Use Your Network
- Be a "Translator:" Communicate your skills, experiences, and transferable talents, especially leadership, creativity, and productivity
- Avoid Cliché Answers to Cliché Questions: Communicate your skills, interests, and experiences using examples
- Be Specific: What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your career plans?
- Do Your Research: Read journals, industry reports, annual reports and any information you can about the industry, occupation, and organizations that interest you
- Stay Organized
- Get Out There: Get as much experience as you can; volunteer, join organizations, attend industry events
- Have a Career Search "Buddy:" Someone who will keep you on track
- Talk To Everyone You Know
- Ask About Next Steps: Is there anyone else I can talk to? What information do I need? Where can I get related experience?
Some professional schools have adapted a new process called Multiple Mini-interviews. If you are planning on applying for these programs it would be helpful to prepare for this possibility.
- Don’t be late. You should arrive ten to fifteen minutes early for the interview. This will give you time to relax and catch your breath.
- Go alone to the interview. Do not bring friends or relatives with you to the interview.
- Bring the following with you in a briefcase or folder:
- Pen and paper
- Extra copies of resume printed on resume (bond) paper
- List of references (Include full names, business titles, business addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three individuals who will serve as references for you. You must ask these individuals for permission, informing them that an employer may contact them. Use adults whose references would be of value to you– supervisors, professors, etc.)
- Consider your appearance in making a first impression. Usually, a dark conservative suit is most appropriate. If you are not sure, ask advice from Career Services, a professor, or a friend employed in a similar job. Look professional!
- When you meet the interviewer, be prepared to shake hands and introduce yourself. Know the interviewer’s name and how to pronounce it, using "Mr." or "Ms." Stand up until asked by the interviewer to sit down. Do not slouch.
- Be aware of your nonverbal communication. Your posture, eye contact, hand gestures, and facial expressions are all very important.
- Sit up straight in your chair, leaning forward slightly to indicate your interest
- Maintain appropriate eye contact with the interviewer
- Use hand gestures to emphasize a point but don’t gesture wildly or nervously; avoid tapping your fingers or other nervous habits
- Be courteous and polite to everyone, not just the interviewer
- The interviewer will be interested in information such as:
- Your education and previous work experience
- Your attitude toward people and work– very few jobs do not deal with people either as co-workers or customers
- Your future career plans as they relate to the job– your direction & motivation.
- Listen to the interviewer. The interviewer’s reflective questions will not only confirm your responses, but will also often give you information helpful to your presentation.
- Emphasize the positive. Be self-confident and honest, highlighting your accomplishments. However, don’t exaggerate or lie; it may come back to haunt you.
- Wait for an offer to discuss salary. Let the interviewer bring up the subject of money first.
- Emphasize what you can do for the organization. The employer is interested in the skills, knowledge, and abilities you will bring to the job.
- Be prepared. Think about how you will answer certain questions before the interview. Know your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities and be prepared to discuss them. Have situations in mind to illustrate your points or to give examples of your experiences. However, don’t give "set" or "by-the-book" answers.
- Never speak badly of a former employer, colleague, teacher or institution. If there were problems with previous experiences, try to put your answers in positive terms.
- Watch your grammar. Speak up in interviews and use good voice and diction. Say, "yes" not "yeah."
- Don’t expect an offer on the spot. Offers usually follow the interview, sometimes two or three weeks later. If you are not offered the job during the interview, ask about the next step in the employment process.
- Be prepared to ask questions. Asking questions shows that you are interested and enthusiastic about the organization and the position. It also demonstrates that you are well-prepared and willing to work. Employers appreciate applicants who have done their homework in researching the organization.
- Attitude is most important. Your attitude is shown by your smile, enthusiasm, interest, appearance, punctuality, flexibility, dependability, and preparedness.
Watch Out for Fraudulent Job Postings
Career Services individually reviews and approves each employer before they can access the Hire A Tiger system.
Suspicious employers are denied access. However, it is impossible to ensure that every employer contact and job posting is legitimate. For this reason, we encourage you to be aware of warning signs that an employer is engaging in fraudulent or predatory practices.
Contact Career Services and immediately discontinue communication with any employers who attempt to take your money, instruct you to exchange or transfer funds, or request private account information.
- Do not give your personal or private account or credit card information to an employer
- Do not agree to have funds or paychecks directly deposited into any accounts by an employer. NOTE: An arrangement for direct deposit or paycheck is something you can coordinate AFTER you secure the job and complete your w-2 forms.
- Do not forward, transfer, or send by courier (e.g., FedEx, UPS) any money.
- Do not respond to suspicious and/or “too good to be true” unsolicited job emails.
- Do not pay a fee to accept an internship or job without first consulting with a professional at Career Services.
On the surface... Considerations You must provide your credit card, bank account, PayPal, or other personal financial information. Legitimate jobs will not ask for this kind of information on an application, by phone, or email. The contact information contains a non-business email domain or a personal e-mail address. Sometimes the posting may even appear to be from a reputable, familiar company, but the e-mail address does not match the domain used by employees of the company. Recruiters are directly associated with the company for whom they work. Therefore, the email addresses used should match the company’s domain. The email should always come from an official email address that reflects the organization’s domain or a subsidiary of the organization. You are asked to forward payments by wire, courier, bank transfer, check, PayPal, etc. Never forward payments – they want to access your bank account and money. The position requires an initial investment, for instance, having to purchase equipment or products in order to earn a wage or paying for required training. Most employers do not ask for an initial investment, although some network marketing companies may ask you to pay a fee or a deposit to obtain their sample product for demonstration. This is still asking you for money so you can have a job. The company website is not active, does not exist, or re-routes users to another website unaffiliated with the company. If the listed website is not working, does not exist, or the URL goes to another unassociated website, then the employment opportunity is most likely not real. The posting includes numerous spelling and grammatical errors. If the employyr cant spel, du u reely wanna werk 4 them? Poor spelling and grammar suggests the job announcement was written by a non-professional and therefore the job is probably not legitimate. A high salary or wage is listed for a job that requires minimum skills. This is designed to entice you, to get you to apply. Think wisely – how many legitimate companies can afford high wages for low skilled labor? Why would they pay these wages? The position states you will be working from home, need access to a personal computer, etc. Most formal jobs will have an office as your base. “Working from home” is often a “convenience hook” that takes advantage of people who want an easy job situation. In addition, working from home forces you to use your personal resources. However, working from home could be legitimate so carefully research these opportunities. You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account (often depositing checks or transferring money) or you receive an unexpectedly large check. Legitimate employers do not need to use your bank account. These checks typically bounce – but you are then held responsible for all the bank charges and any money used, wired, or processed. You are asked to provide a photo of yourself. In the US, most jobs do not require a photo. On some very special applications a photo may need to be attached – but this only happens with profession-specific jobs such as acting, modeling, etc. The posting neglects to mention what and where the responsibilities of the job actually are and the description focuses on the amount of money to be made. Legitimate employers will often openly and willingly provide a detailed job description of the job responsibilities and duties to see if you are a good fit for the position and will typically state the work location. The employer responds to you immediately after you submit your application. *Excluding an auto-response you may receive from the employer stating receipt of your application. Employers usually take time to sort through applications to find the best candidates. Fraudulent jobs are looking for personal information, not your skills, which is why they respond immediately. They are hoping an immediate response makes you feel special – a trick used to get you to share personal information. It is difficult to find an address, actual contact information, a name, the company name, etc. Fraudulent job postings are designed to take you in without you knowing you are being scammed, so scammers will try to keep themselves well-hidden. The employer contacts you by phone. However, there is no way to call them back. The number is not available or disconnected. A legitimate business needs to be accessible to clients, business partners, and applicants so general contact information should be available. The company website is not detailed and only contains information about the job you are interested in. Organizations use their website to attract clients and customers, not just potential employees. Check the URL – is it a real company website? Scammers often create quick, basic webpages that seem legit at first glance. The employer tells you that they do not have an office in your geographic area and will need you to help them get a new office up and running. Sounds exciting, but these postings often include a request for your banking information, supposedly to help the employer make transactions. Research (i.e. Google) the employer’s phone number, and/or e-mail address to be sure it is connected to an actual business organization. If information about the company is difficult to find, it is most likely a scam. Consult Career Services with any questions or concerns.
You can check to see if a company is legitimate through various websites (some listed below).
You can also search the company name with the word “scam” to get a variety of internet hits associated with the company. Know that some of the links that come up may be just discussion, but there may be actual articles or references.
For job applications, you should not provide your credit card number, bank account number, PayPal account, driver’s license number, or any PIN number over the phone or online.
Many job applications will ask you to provide your Social Security number and date of birth, but this information is not solicited over the phone or email. This information is typically a part of a formal job application that candidates complete in writing, often on the day of their first in-person interview.
Always know with whom you’re sharing personal information – and how it will be used. If someone asks for sensitive personal information, get the person’s name, the company they work for and the phone number. If they hesitate, something’s up!
If you have encountered a fraudulent posting, company or organization, please contact Career Services at 210-999-8321 or firstname.lastname@example.org so the posting can be investigated and appropriate action can be taken.
You should immediately contact the local police. The police are responsible for conducting an investigation regardless of whether the scam artist is local or in another state.
If you sent money to a fraudulent employer, you should contact your bank and/or credit card company immediately to close the account and dispute the charges.
Follow these safety tips when going on an interview:
Always ensure it is in a public place and that someone knows of your plans to interview and the location. Look up a satellite image of the address using Google maps. If your instincts tell you it’s suspicious, it probably is so consider consulting with your career adviser.
- Do not feel pressured to give personally identifiable information in an application if you are not comfortable during an interview or during online/phone contact.
- Ask to take the document with you to complete and return so you have time to research the issue further.
To learn more about employment scams, your rights, and appropriate actions, please visit this helpful page from the Riley Guide.
All materials herein have been made available by companies that are not affiliated with Trinity University and are available for information and noncommercial uses only. Some content may be copyright protected by its respective owners and all rights thereto are reserved by the original owners. Trinity University is offering this information strictly as a public service and can make no guarantee as to the accuracy or suitability for a given purpose. If you have encountered a fraudulent posting on Hire A Tiger or are ever concerned about the validity of a posting, please contact a member of the Career Services team for assistance.