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UCLA Career Center

The job search process is a job itself. An effective job search will incorporate a variety of strategies.

Prepare Yourself Before the Search

In order to find an opportunity that aligns with your personality, interests, and values it is important to explore the Career Development Process. Follow these suggestions to help get you clarity on what positions might fit you:

  • Reflect and write down your interests, skills, and passions.
  • Take a Career Assessment like Focus 2, MBTI, or Strong Interest Inventory and from the results narrow down your top 5 occupations.
  • Conduct an informational interview with a professional in an industry of interest

Use the Internet to Optimize Your Search

Keyword Search

Putting “Math Jobs” into a search engine is not the best method to finding an opportunity that matches your skills or interests. When searching for an opportunity it is recommended to include your skill, location, and job function into the search bar. For example, “event planner internship Los Angeles” or “data analyst entry level job San Francisco”.

Use a Variety of Job Posting Sites

Use various general and industry-specific Job Search Websites to search and apply for open positions.

  • Use search agents or job alerts in order for websites to automatically send you new job postings. Examples, Handshake, Indeed, LinkedIn, Google Jobs, or Idealist.
  • Make sure to save the posts you like.
  • Utilize Handshake’s “Saved Search” feature to get auto updates on new postings and opportunities, screenshot postings, or Copy/Paste positions into Word.

Make Your Resume Public

On Handshake, we recommend making your resume “public” so employers can view it. Other sites like LinkedIn or Indeed also allow you to post your resume to their site. NOTE: Make sure to have a Career Center staff member review it before posting.

Network Your Way to Your Next Opportunity

80% of jobs and internships are filled through networking so be sure to make it a key strategy in your job search toolkit. Here are a few things you can do to expand your network:

Attend Employer Recruiting Events

  • Career Fairs
  • Company Information Sessions
  • On Campus Interviewing
  • Networking Events

Connect with Alumni Professionals

  • Create a LinkedIn or UCLA ONE account to connect with alumni or professionals
  • Attend Inside Careers or JumpStart Workshops for professional panels

Get Involved

  • Join a Professional Association
  • Join an on-campus student club/organization
  • Attend off-campus networking events or Meet-Ups

Seek Mentorship

  • Conduct Informational Interviews
  • Connect with Faculty
  • Use your personal networks

How to Prepare for a Career Fair

Reasons to Attend

  • Access recruiters from national and international companies at a convenient campus location.
  • Increase your chances of receiving an interview by making a personal connection instead of relying solely on your resume.
  • Explore different fields, industries, company cultures, and career opportunities.
  • Gain valuable employment information and job search advice from seasoned professionals.
  • Find out about available positions and submit your resume in person to company recruiters.
  • Expand your network of contacts.

Before the Event

  • Look up the list of participating employers in advance to strategize which companies you would like to meet. The list of participating employers can be found in the “Events” section of Handshake.
  • Research companies to create a targeted list of companies you are interested in approaching. Use the Career Fair Action Plan to keep track of your research so you can have an informed and relevant conversation at the Fair. Research the company website, company mission and basic information, products, competitors current news topics related to them (i.e. Google News), internships/positions they are seeking to fill on their website or Handshake, application instructions in case you have questions, Check to read company review information from employees
  • Prepare your 30-second Elevator Pitch! Practice with your roommate, parents, and friends or prepare your pitch with a career counselor during an appointment. Check out InterviewStream - a free online resource to practice your pitch.
  • Dress appropriately. “Business Casual” or “Business Professional” depending upon the culture of the industries/companies you are interested in. When in doubt, dress in professional attire.

What to Bring

  • Copies of resume in a folder or padfolio/portfolio.
  • Allow adequate time, arrive as early as possible.
  • Your completed “Career Fair Action Plan” - a prioritized list of companies you plan to visit, including relevant research, questions for them and space to take notes.

During the Event

  • Map targeted employers using the map given to students upon entering. Some events use a career fair app. Download it in advance so that you are comfortable navigating its features.
  • Be ready to introduce yourself (see “The 30 Second Elevator Pitch”).
  • Be flexible and wait your turn to talk to employers or speakers. It is not unusual to have long lines for certain employers.
  • Respect their materials and ask before taking anything from their table.
  • Be courteous, friendly, and polite.
  • Look up the job posting(s) of companies you are interested in speaking with. All career fair recruiters are required to post a job in order to participate.
  • Between speaking with representatives, take breaks to take notes with a fresh mind.
  • Visit the candidate area hosted by the Career Center if you have any questions, need tips, or advice.
  • Employers are looking for enthusiasm, motivation, teamwork, initiative, commitment, leadership, communication, knowledge of field or organization, problem-solving ability
  • At the end of the conversation, ask what the next steps will be. Leave them with a copy of your resume, and ask how they prefer to be contacted. Ask them for their business card so that you can follow-up. Thank them for their time and for the information they provided you.
  • Before leaving make the necessary notes on your action plan for follow up.

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

An effective elevator pitch can be the difference between making a meaningful connection and a lost opportunity. Questions like, “What do you do for work?” and “What are you most interested in?” could very well lead to your next opportunity. A good elevator pitch should be brief, memorable, and interesting. Take time to practice using the guidelines below.

How to Introduce Yourself in 30 Seconds

Introduce Yourself - What do you want them to remember about you?

  • Your Name
  • Year in School
  • Major
  • Positions you are seeking or future career goals

Value Proposition - Major achievements and transferable skills targeted to the person/company/industry. Incorporate your story so you are memorable.

  • Relevant skills and experiences
  • Why you are interested in this company

The Ask - What do you want from this interaction?

  • Build upon your existing knowledge of the company and position
  • Demonstrate your curiosity and sincere interest in their opportunities
  • Establish a connection with the person

Make sure you respond to their answers with relevant information about yourself and/or ask follow-up questions that demonstrate that you are listening and engaged in the conversation.

Landing the Job or Internship You Want

  • Know Where to Start: It’s important to gain clarity around what positions will align with your interests, values or personality. If you’re unclear about which positions fit you, we recommend scheduling a Career Counseling appointment, taking Career Assessments (like Focus2), or exploring the “Discovery” page of your Handshake account.
  • Know When to Apply: Learn about when certain industries are hiring for internships or full-time entry level jobs. See the Industry Recruiting Timeline below.
  • Know Where to Find Jobs & Internships: Your first stop will be Handshake under the “Jobs” tab. We recommend that you use the “Saved Search” feature so you can be alerted about new opportunities. Additional sites include: Indeed, LinkedIn, and Idealist.
  • Know How to Increase Your Chances: Create a strong online brand presence by creating a LinkedIn account and update other platforms by removing any questionable content. Be sure to network with recruiters and other professionals so that you can get referrals.
  • Know Why Networking is Important: Over 80% of positions are filled through networking. We recommend that you attend Career Center recruiting events like Career Fairs, Information Sessions, and On-Campus Interviews. Create a LinkedIn or a UCLAOne account.

[PHOTO: Industry Recruiting Timeline]

Avoiding Fraudulent Employers & Scams

While Handshake positions have been screened, the Career Center cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information listed by the employer.

Do your own research on employers. Here are some helpful sites you can use to verify companies:

Take time to familiarize yourself with common employment scams and fake check scams.

Don’t trust listings with incorrect or illegitimate information.

  • Grammar/spelling errors
  • Unrealistic wages (i.e.$80/hour)
  • Near instant response times

Don’t trust an employer if it’s hard to verify their information, including:

  • Phone number
  • Company name
  • Business address
  • Company email
  • Company website

Don’t provide private information over the phone or email, such as:

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Bank account information
  • Address
  • Credit card numbers
  • MyUCLA login credentials

For more information about Job & Internship Search Strategies, download Chapter 5 of the UCLA Career Guide.