Finding a Job

What are the first steps in finding a job?

Starting a job search can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure what kinds of jobs you want. Make a list of your career interests and skills as well as any geographic areas that interest you. The key to starting your job search is limiting your search by eliminating jobs, tasks, and locations that don’t interest you, while still making a broad job search possible. If you’re having trouble starting your search or getting organized, check out our Job Search Strategies Worksheet.


How should I search for opportunities?

Now that you know what kinds of jobs you’re looking for, make sure to use every resource available to you to find possible opportunities.

  • Your professional network – start connecting to people in your areas of interest and ask for an informational interview or inquire about openings.
  • Wake Forest Alumni – use LinkedIn to find Wake Forest alumni and contact them to do an informational interview.
  • Location Specific Resources – use these resources if you know where you’d like to move after graduation.


How can I stay organized while I search and apply for jobs?

Finding a well-targeted job can be labor intensive. You will need to keep applying and interviewing until you secure an opportunity, which can often mean more than 20 applications. As you begin to fill out applications and submit resumes consider using this Networking Tracking Tool to help you keep all of your opportunities and contacts in order.

What should I do to prepare for interviews?

Prepare for an interview by researching the company and the position and think about the interview from the employer’s perspective. What are they looking for in a candidate and what kinds of questions will they ask to determine if you’re a good fit? Practice your answers to these questions.


How should I make my decision?

Before proceeding to the following financial resources, please create a free account on Cash Course using your WFU email address.

Deciding between job offers? CashCourse offers resources to compare job offers in order to determine the best offer for you. Also, it’s important to consider job priorities. What is important to you in a career? The list will help you decide which offer is best suited for you based on your priorities.

Analyze your estimated paycheck to determine your salary after payroll deductions (i.e. take-home pay). You need to compare cost of living for the cities in which you want to live after graduation. Not every city is comparable. Making $45,000 in Winston-Salem looks a lot different than in New York City.

When it comes to making the final decision about which job offer to accept, think about your deepest interests. Does this offer meet many of your interests? Are there adequate professional development and growth opportunities for you with this organization?

As you evaluate your offer consider whether or not you should negotiate your salary. To evaluate the salary you’ve been offered, begin by using the NACE salary calculator to determine a reasonable salary for your position, location, and experience. Next prepare a budget to determine your financial needs for the upcoming year. If the salary you were initially offered is far from the salary suggested for your position by NACE, or there is a large discrepancy between your budget and your salary, consider contacting your employer. For more information, click here to view our complete guide to salary negotiation.


Location Specific Resources

While looking for a job or internship you might want to move to a specific area of the country. With that in mind, you should consider using the following location specific resources to help you find companies and Wake Forest alumni in the city of your choice. Don’t forget to use this information as well as career field specific resources if you know what kind of job or internship you’re looking for in that location.

The following cities reflect the most common locations that Wake Forest students and alumni are most interested in living and working.

Social Networking and Job Search Tips

Concentrate your networking and job search efforts on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn rather than social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. However, if you choose to use social networking sites in your job search, follow these tips:

  • Consider anything put online as public.
  • Make sure all of your social networking channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, are up-to-date and consistent with each other before starting a job search or personal branding campaign using social media.
  • Employers do not have the right to require you to provide logins and passwords to your social media accounts.


Facebook Tips

  • Use privacy controls to make sure employers cannot access your account, but consider anything put on the Internet as public.
  • Government organizations that require a security clearance (CIA, FBI, etc.) are able to access Facebook accounts (despite privacy controls). Social networking sites are considered open source intelligence.
  • ‘Like’ organizations, but remember that the organization is then able to see your public profile.
  • If you ‘like’ an organization, engage with it by adding feedback to discussion forums and asking questions in order to demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the organization.
  • Even when using privacy controls, keep your Facebook content clean.
    • Do not have inappropriate photos on your account, such as drinking, risqué attire, etc.
    • Do not have inappropriate comments on your account, such as drinking, drug use, foul language, discriminatory comments about people or organizations, or negative comments about an employer, co-worker, or professor.
    • Do not join groups about inappropriate topics, such as drinking too much, being late to work, procrastinating, partying too much, etc.
    • Monitor what your friends are writing on your wall and tagged photos of yourself.
    • Use Facebook to provide a positive impression of your personal and professional interests.
      • Use correct grammar and spelling.
      • Highlight community service, rewards, achievements, and interests.
      • If an employer ‘friends’ you after an interview, direct the person to your LinkedIn profile instead. Respond by letting the employer know that your Facebook profile is for friends and personal acquaintances, and LinkedIn is for professional networking.


Twitter Tips

  • Unless you are keeping your account entirely professional, you need to have two accounts: a personal account that is private with invitation-only followers, and a professional account that is public.
  • For your professional account, use your real name for your handle.
  • For your personal account, do not use your real name.
  • Upload a professional photo of yourself onto your account.
  • Write a brief bio about yourself that describes your strengths and professional interests, so people will know who you are.
  • Create your complete profile (photo and bio) before following others.
  • Have a baseline understanding of the industry before using Twitter, so you’ll be able to write informed tweets and comments.
  • Follow industry leaders, organizations in which you are interested, and professional associations.
  • Link Twitter to your LinkedIn page.
  • Don’t worry about who is following you; use Twitter to follow others.
  • What to tweet, if you tweet:
    • Ask for help or advice about the profession.
    • Recommend web resources, blog posts, videos, books, other tweeters, etc.
    • Link to photos of professional projects, conferences, etc.
    • Tweet about your own website or blog.
    • Retweet comments, links, etc.
    • Thank people who respond to your tweets.


Pinterest Tips

  • Check out the Pinterest boards of target organizations to learn more about their culture.
  • Have separate boards for personal and professional interests; use your real name for your professional board.
  • Use Pinterest to create a visual resume or portfolio to showcase your education, work experience, awards, and accomplishments. You’ll need to have pictures to demonstrate these things visually.
  • Pin your resume to your board.
  • Although photographs are key to Pinterest, it is also important to use the textbox to complement and describe photos.