Where to Start With Your Job Search

Where to start your job searchThe road to higher education is filling up with more and more people hoping to expand their minds and increase their marketability. Getting your degree is only half the battle; you also have to consider the next step: what you’re going to do with that degree once you have it. For many people their postgraduate goals are clear before they even begin classes but for others, not only do they not know what career path they want to go for, they don’t even know what types of positions are available in their field. Beginning a career search can be overwhelming when you don’t know where to begin, here are some things to consider as you think about your next step.

What do I want to do?

This is a difficult question to answer; many people simply have no idea what they’d like to do for a living. One method to help answer this question is to think about the degree field you’re in.

Taking some time to think about these things will help you develop a goal and will frame your job search when you are ready to begin applying.

If you still can’t figure out what you want to do, use the internet to get a more in-depth idea of the types of positions people in your degree field qualify for or typically pursue.

How do I get there?

Once you know what you want to do the next step should be to do some research into what employers are looking for in a strong candidate. Take a look at some listings for a position you’re interested in.

  • What are some of the commonly demanded qualifications?
  • How much experience is typically asked for?
  • Are there additional certifications you need to obtain before you qualify?

Depending on the position each state may have different qualifications for the same position. It’s best to have an idea of what you’ll need to have in order to be considered.

Do I have enough experience?

An obstacle many students encounter is not having the professional experience to go along with their academic training. Many students feel that their academic training should be sufficient to jump into the position of their choice. This simply isn’t the case; companies are looking for candidates with practical experience to go along with their education.

One way to get this practical experience is by taking advantage of internship and volunteer opportunities.

Focus your research on companies in your area that you would be interested in applying to and inquire about opportunities they may have to gain more knowledge about their company.

Who can help me get there?

Networking is as important as anything else when it comes to your career search. Through networking not only can you make the professional connections that may land you employment, networking can also grant you access to a wealth of knowledge from people doing what you’re interested in doing. Using professional networking sites like LinkedIn is a wonderful resource to get the knowledge you need to succeed not just in building your resume but building your qualifications.

When using these resources remember to keep it professional and keep in mind what your goal is.

Remember that the image you present on social media is the version that many employers will see early on so keep your digital identity in mind during your job search.

When should I start?

It’s never too early to think about your future. Although it may seem like it’s taking forever to graduate I have no doubt that you’ll look back on your time in school and think “wow, that flew by”, so take the time now to prepare yourself for later. Your classes will teach you large concepts that will be used in real world scenarios but you can’t put that knowledge to work without a plan. One of the true tasks of higher education is juggling your academic training with your preparations to make use of your knowledge outside the classroom.

Take advantage of the opportunities available to you, make use of the resources you have at your fingertips. It will be a challenge to do this while maintaining your current schedule in most cases but with enough effort and preparation you’ll find yourself cruising down the road to your ultimate goal.

Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date as you job search. Here are some quick tips

If you're a current CTU student or alumnus looking for more career advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 866-813-1836 Option 5 or at

CTU Career Services Staff Darrick HarrisHarris is a Career Coach at CTU who is dedicated to providing high quality services to students across multiple degree programs. Since graduating from Northern Illinois University College of Law Darrick has dedicated himself to continuing working with students after gaining experience both in an admissions capacity and as a student leader and mentor.