Conducting a successful job search is about finding a job in the area you are interested in, not necessarily being the first to find a job! The foundation for the job search is having a plan for conducting your search. Individuals often skip the planning phase and jump right into sending in resumes. By taking time to make a plan, you are able to work more efficiently.
The following information is intended to guide you through the career search process. Please be sure to seek out face-to-face assistance through the Student Services Office, too.
- Building Your Skills Portfolio
- Preparing Your Resume
- Cover Letters & Email Etiquette
- Evaluating a Job Offer
Ready to get that job? Ready to meet with employers who are looking for Aggies for full-time and internship positions? HireAggies.com allows current and former students to connect with prospective jobs and employers, as well as access assessment tools and national databases. Sign in now to access all HireAggies.com resources.
NOTE: HireAggies.com is maintained by the Career Center at Texas A&M University. The Bush School Student Services Office is thankful for the support of the Career Center in providing additional career resources to our students.
Building Your Skills Portfolio
Having a knowledge of the specific skills (also referred to as Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities, or KSAs) you bring to the workplace will allow you to apply for positions you are truly qualified for. A Skills Portfolio is included below for you to use in determining your own skills. Information about KSAs required for jobs in specific areas is included in the Career Interest Groups section of the website.
- Examples of typical public sector KSAs can be found here.
- Skills Portfolio
NOTE: A list of action verbs is provided here for building your Skills Portfolio.
Preparing Your Resume
Now that you have prepared a Skills Portfolio, the Resume Guide below provides guidance for preparing your resume by describing your skills. Keep in mind that although a resume format is provided below, there are a number of resume formats to choose from. Be sure to have other individuals (classmates, friends, the Director of Student Services, etc.) check your resume for appropriate grammar, spelling, format, etc. before you send it to prospective employers.
Cover Letter & Email Etiquette
Often the most daunting task of applying for a job is writing the cover letter and following appropriate email etiquette. Some tips to remember are these:
- Tailor your cover letter to the specific job you are applying for. Hiring managers can spot a template a mile away and will often overlook your letter if it looks like a form letter
- Always, always, always send a cover letter when applying for a job. Not doing so makes you look lazy and uninformed about the process for applying for a job.
- Proof your cover letter and have someone else proof it as well! Spell check does not catch every mistake in your letters.
- The convenience of email makes it the ideal choice for communicating with potential employers. While email is convenient, remember that when following-up, you may want to make a phone call (unless, of course, the job ad specifically states “no phone calls”).
Remember that the responsibility to follow-up falls on your shoulders. While hiring someone is important to the organization, the hiring process can easily get bogged down, and it is up to you to jump start it again. E-mail is an excellent way to make contact with individuals in a quick and noninvasive manner, but a phone call may be the best way to make contact–each situation can be different. The Office of Student Services recommends following up one week after submitting your application materials and then again every 2-4 weeks (depending on the type of response you receive) until you know your status. Persistence can easily become annoying, though, so be careful not to cross the line to nagging the employer.
Having successfully navigated the application process, now your attention turns to preparing for and successfully completing the interview(s).
Individual mock interviews and additional interview information can be scheduled and obtained through the Student Services Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 979-862-8824.
Evaluating A Job Offer
When you receive a job offer, knowing your experience, knowledge, skills, abilities, and the salary range for a similar position can go a long way in helping you secure an employment package that meets your needs and rewards your education and/or experience. The following links may be helpful in researching appropriate salary ranges and in successfully negotiating your salary and benefits package.
No one will hand you a network of contacts…you must develop your network and here are a few ways to do just that.
- Maintain your existing contacts by periodically updating them on progress in your graduate program, internship, and career goals.
- Talk to your classmates about their previous experiences and utilize their networking contacts as appropriate. This includes talking to second year students who have completed an internship at an organization/agency that is of interest to you. Remember to treat someone else’s contacts with the utmost respect as they are trusting you to do so.
- Establish new networking contacts by:
- Networking with Bush School graduates who work in the sector(s) you are interested in through our Career Interest Groups.
- Attending career panels, networking events, and public presentations offered through the Bush School and Texas A&M University.
- Meeting with the Director of Student Services to develop a plan for expanding your network. (This takes work from you!)
- Connecting with The Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University. Although you may not have gone to A&M for your undergraduate degree, you are a part of the Aggie Network and Aggies like to help other Aggies! The online directory of Former Students is a great tool for identifying contacts. In addition, check out the networking organizations (Reveille Clubs or Business Roundtables listed in the A&M Clubs section of the Association’s website) in the major cities. Listen to what people say they do for a living during introductions, and talk to those Aggies who are in your field of interest.