Step 3: Job Search Tools


There are so many job search tools available for use that it might feel overwhelming. This guide will teach you how and when to use a multitude of resources to your advantage as you begin to interact with potential employers.

You’ll find the listed topics in the Job Search Tools Guide (if you’re on your mobile device, you may need to scroll up or down to see the list). Click any of the links to jump directly to that topic, or scroll to explore the whole guide.

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If you want to learn about a magic tool that helps you create a resume, cover letter and interview questions, visit Kevin Fallon on our Tips from the Pro’s page.

Writing a Resume as a College Student

Writing a resume can be a difficult task for many college students. Questions might arise like, “What should I include”, or “What do employers want to see?”It can be confusing and stressful at times but here’s a few basic tips to draft the best resume possible!

  1. Focus on education: Emphasize your academic history! Include things like the name of your school, degree, and achievements that you feel are relevant to that job.

  2. Include relevant jobs: Think about the skills and experiences required for the job you want. List any jobs that helped you develop certain skills required for the job you’re applying to or are interested in. For example, you might include your job as a former cashier and how it helped you develop customer service or leadership skills!

  3. Include extra curricular activities: Since you more than likely have limited work experience, it is important to emphasize other activities you are involved in.  Some things you might want to include are Greek life, Student Government Association, sports teams and clubs, things like that!

  4. Edit, Edit, Edit: it is important to continuously work on your resume, keep perfecting it. Proofread your resume carefully before submitting it!

  5. Use a resume example: use a resume example or template to guide your own writing. A resume example can help you decide what content to include! 

 It can be difficult drafting a resume especially if it's your first time. These are some helpful tips to get you headed in the right direction. It is also important to remember the resume isn't necessarily a place to brag about all you have done. It's important to include what you can bring to the company and how you can help them improve!

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Resume Tips

If you’ve ever dared to ask for resume advice, I’m sure you’ve gotten a million DIFFERENT pieces of advice. We have, too! We suggest you find more than one person to review your resume. Then take the best bits of advice you get from each person.

Remember, you’ll want to tailor your basic resume to fit each job!

Let us share a snarky piece of advice from our professor.

Your Resume is NOT about YOU!

(a message from the other side of the interview table)

There are three simple things to remember as you create a resume.

  1. Your Resume is NOT about YOU!

  2. I don’t care about your OBJECTIVE.

  3. I’m not interested in what you DID.

It’s pretty simple. The end.

Okay, it’s not the end. Let me do some quick explaining from the perspective of the person reviewing the ‘stack’ of resumes that just came across my desk as I decide who I want to chat with about the job I need to fill.

1.     Your Resume is NOT about YOU!

Well, it’s kind of about you. Smart folks understand that I’m going to spend less than 10 seconds screening each resume. Truly, your resume needs to tell me about what you can do for me! And, you need to do it REALLY fast! That’s a perfect segue to my second point….

2.     I don’t care about your OBJECTIVE.

An OBJECTIVE statement usually states what you seek. Please re-read statement #1. Your resume is not about you. At this point in our relationship, I really don’t care what you want. I need to know that you have the skills and abilities I need to get the WORK done around here. I need help! Tell me how you can deliver that help. What are you OFFERING me? Put it in a simple statement… Kind of like a tweet or pretend you are delivering me a verbal Snap Chat that makes you the PERFECT candidate for my job. Put it at the top of your resume. I’ll read it!

3.     I’m not interested in what you DID.

So, you were a ‘Bar Back’ or a ‘Server’ or you worked retail for a few summers. I pretty much know what you DID in those jobs. You don’t need to waste 3-5 bullets to say that you know how to serve food. I’m probably not looking for that skill. What I DO want to know is what did you ACHIEVE and what SKILLS did you learn? If you were a server, did you help the restaurant increase revenues by increasing sales of side dishes and dessert? (That’s a sales skill!) Better, yet, quantify it! 

  • From the beginning of summer until the end, I increased the average ticket by 10%.

  • In the third quarter, my team moved from last place to first in efficiency of operations.

  • Suggested improvements to business processes that led to a 2% reduction in labor costs.

Don’t tell me what you DID. Tell me how you took what you DID at that summer job and translated it into what you can DO for ME! 

Your resume is not about YOU….It is about WHAT YOU offer ME and how you are going to help me and my organization achieve higher levels of success.

THE END – For Real!

Cover Letter: The Purpose

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Writing a cover letter is considered one of the more important steps during a job application. This is not something we are taught in school but they are some of the most important papers you are going to write after graduating..

 Your goal, when writing a cover letter, should be the following:

  • Show Off Your Writing Skills:

When considering professions in: marketing, journalism, communications, and other similar careers, it is crucial to present your ability to deliver information through the written word. The cover letter is the first (and possibly the only) written piece the company will review before choosing to move forward with the application process. It’s important to catch their attention early, and in a concise manner. Make sure your cover letter is persuasive, but not too condescending.

  • Show that you have researched and have an understanding of the company/market:

It’s easy to fall into the habit of only talking about yourself when writing a cover letter. While you are going to be the main subject of this small paper, it is equally important to express knowledge of the company and their industry.

  • Show how you can provide value:

Think of yourself as a product and the company that you are applying to is a buyer. Your job here is to promote yourself in a way that proves that you are the best candidate that will contribute the most to the company. This can be achieved by telling personal success stories or tales of overcoming a hardship, or anything that demonstrates your work ethic.


Cover Letter: The Content


A cover letter format is relatively simple one. Your opening should be written as if you are writing a letter. The letter should include the following:

1. A Heading

  • Put the current date in one of the top  corner of the page.

  • Greet the reader of your cover letter.

  • EX:  Dear Mr. Boss Person, 

  • Look up who in the company will be reading the letter. If you are not 100% sure make your best educated guess on who it is.

  • DO NOT USE “To whom it may concern,” it will appear lazy.

2. The Intro (Paragraph #1)

  • Give a brief synopsis of yourself. Give the bare essentials such as, name, major, education, and the position you are applying for. 

  • Here is where you can share the information you have discovered through your research and describe how (based on what you have learned) you would be a good fit in the company.

  • 3. Body (Paragraph #2)

    • Tell a success story about yourself. Explain the problem, the steps you took to overcome it, and the end results.

      Explain how this experience taught you skills that you will be able to bring to your work with this company.- If possible make the story relevant to the field of the applied position.

    4. Body (Paragraph #3)

    • This can be a continuation of the story from paragraph #2 or a completely different one

      This paragraph has the same goals as body paragraph #2

    5. Closing (paragraph #4) 

    • Give your closing thoughts on why you would be the best option for the position.

      Thank the reader for the opportunity to apply for the job at their company.

      Express your excitement in persuing the next step in the application process.

    6. Signing off

    • -End the letter with : Sincerely, *Your Name.


The cover letter should be no longer than one page. In this short space make sure you show who you are as both a worker and a person! Take the time to sit down and work to make it the best it can possibly be! Be creative, be different, and most importantly be you!


Cover Letter: The Example

The image below is an example of a cover letter written for a Marketing Manager position. Use this to help guide the structure of your cover letter.

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Your Business Card

This is a basic layout of how to make a professional business card. It should be a representation of you. Be creative and make it stand out to employers. Below is an example of how to get started. Business cards are a great tool to use during your job or internship search.

NOTE:    The back of any business card is a great place to write notes so you remember what you discussed. Then follow up and send a thank you note!


The back of any business card is a great place to write notes so you remember what you discussed. Then follow up and send a thank you note!

to create business cards, check out these vendors:


Dress Code



  • Wear a suit with a button down, tie, dress pants, and dress shoes.

  • Make sure your facial hair is freshly trimmed or shaved.

  • Get a fresh haircut a few days prior.

  • Wear a watch that matches your suit.

  • Bring a briefcase or shoulder bag, not a backpack.


  • Over apply cologne.

  • Wear opposing colors (black & blue).

  • Have wrinkles.

  • Wear an untucked shirt.

  • Wear the wrong color dress socks (click here for help).



  • Wear colors that compliment you.

  • Be on the conservative side.

  • Keep your hair neat and off your face.

  • Use a purse or bag.

  • Keep nails freshly painted with a neutral color.


  • Keep accessories on your head such as sunglasses.

  • No short skirts, low cut shirts, or show shoulders.

  • Have on too much jewelry.

  • Wear too much perfume.

  • Wear uncomfortable shoes or heels that are too high.

  • Wear piercings (tongue, nose, eyebrow) they are not needed.

These are a few helpful tips to help make sure you dress the part. Things also to remember for both genders are to turn off cell phones, cover tattoos, and look professional. Don’t wear jeans or sneakers to a professional interview or job fair. Dressing up and looking professional will give you more confidence and get the job or interview you want.

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Networking is one of the most important tools of the job search process. Beginning to network early on can lead you to landing an internship or a job. It's important to get yourself involved early, whether it’s a sports team, club, or fraternity or sorority, the opportunities are endless. One of the most important tips is, “5. Talk to recent graduates”. This is one of the best ways to start networking; by talking to someone who just went through the process you are currently going through. They can help you problem solve and overcome steps along your job search process that you need help with. Talking to recent graduates is also a good way to potentially get an internship or other experiences with companies.

9 career networking tips for college students:

Top 9 Career Networking Tips for College Students:

  1. Stop by your career services office

  2. Actively engage in your classes

  3. Reach out to other faculty

  4. USE LinkedIn

  5. Talk to recent graduates

  6. Take advantage of networking events

  7. Do an internship- take it seriously

  8. Ask for an informational interview

  9. Connect with your company of choice on social media 

Job Fair Tips

Every college across the county has job fairs where companies from all around make their way to an overcrowded gymnasium to look for the cream of the crop. This may come as a surprise, but businesses need you! We are the upcoming generation and that is extremely valuable to any company. Being persistent is the key!

Job Fairs are fairly straight forward but that does not mean it is easy. You should treat potential employers as you would at a job interview. So here are some tricks to help you stand out:

1. Bring an Updated Resume — NO COMPANY WILL HIRE YOU IF YOU DON’T BRING A RESUME. That is a fact. Do not risk running out of resumes during the job fair. Estimate how many you will need to hand out and then double it, maybe even triple it. Follow our tips from our Resume Building section to make sure it is well put together. Please, please, for goodness sake, do not forget your resume.

2. Get Business Cards — It may seem unnecessary but you would be surprised how many recruiters will be pleasantly surprised when you hand them your card. Not many students will have them so it will help set you apart from the rest.  It is a low cost – high reward deal.

3. Do Your Research — Look up a list of every organization that is scheduled to be there and do a thorough web search on them. It is not uncommon for a recruiter to ask what you know of their company and why you are interested. Being able to have a good intellectual conversation about the business and ask them well thought out questions will get you a long way.

4. Dress to Impress — Always wear business professional to a job fair. You will not be speaking to the recruiters for a long time so you will need to treat every moment as an opportunity to impress, from the first second they meet you. If you are wearing jeans or shorts, then you will not be taken seriously as a candidate.

5. Have a Plan of Attack — You should do your best to talk to every company you can, but these kinds of fairs are known to be extremely crowded and you may not have enough time to get to everyone you want to. Make a list of your top 5 picks to see first. Try to talk to everyone if you can, but plan as if you can’t.

6. Follow Up — At the end of every conversation with a company make sure you get a business card or contact information from the recruiter. Once you get home send them an email or a message in LinkedIn that thanks them for taking the time to talk you, praising their company, and how you hope to hear from them soon. A hand written thank you note can go a long way to separate you from the other students. Take every opportunity to build a relationship with them, whether it is face-face, mail, or digital.


Interviewing Tips


5 Tips to follow for interview success:

1.  Arrive on time. You have heard the saying “if you’re early you’re on time and if you’re on time you’re late”. This could not be more relevant for the interview. Show up “on time” so you don’t start out on the wrong foot. Make sure you turn off your phone!

2. Body language. Your body often speaks for you. Have a firm handshake, make eye contact, sit up straight, and allow your body to do some of the talking for you.

3. Ask questions. Most of the interview will involve the employer asking you multiple questions in which you hope to deliver the perfect response. After you practice answering, be sure to ask multiple questions and interview the employer. What do you want to know about the job you want to get?

4. Stay focused & come prepared. As soon as the interview begins, there is nothing more important to you than the time you are spending with this professional. Give them your undivided attention and come with everything they require to show you are prepared

5. Spark a conversation. The ability to show off your strong communication skills shows you can speak to potential customers and builds a relationship with the interviewer.


Thank You Notes

Living in a world of technology, the traditional thank you note that is handwritten, put into an envelope, and sent to the interviewer seems like a thing of the past. Although sending an email is effective, a note written with pen and paper will help you stand out with employers.

How important are thank you notes in the interviewing process? Extremely. It is always a good idea to do something as simple as writing a thank you note in order to leave a good impression. There is no downside here as it shows your genuine character... (and your name one last time for employers to see).


What should the perfect thank you note include?

  1. Paper that pops.  This paper is meant to impress, not used for scrap. (Be sure to include your contact information.)

  2. Personalization. Be unique to the employer and make them feel special.

  3. Error free. The last thing you need is a spelling mistake or a missed comma.

  4. Don’t wait. When the interview ends, the note begins.

The thank you note is designed to help you in the interview process, not hurt you. Sending an email may be just enough to impress the employer, but the thank you note could take you to the next level in your first job search. Many times, employers are unable to decide between their top 2 candidates. Often a handwritten note makes the decision for them. What are you waiting for? Get out your pen and paper and start writing the perfect thank you note. (You can send us one later.)

Online Portfolio

Do you have work and projects you want to showcase to potential employers? An online portfolio is the perfect solution!

Making your online portfolio seems confusing and frustrating. But thanks to many websites, making a professional and thorough online portfolio is easy! Just follow these simple steps:

1.Prepare: decide what you want your portfolio to say about you, And how it should look. There are many templates online:

2.Gather Samples: What projects have you worked on? What do you want to showcase? Gather these materials and prepare them to be on your site. Work you should include are:

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  • excellent class projects.

  • published works.

  • projects that emphasize a certain skill.

  • More specifically, employers are looking for photography, graphics, writing and social media examples.

3. Choose your platform: There are many free sites that will host your online portfolio. We recommend:

  • Behance.

  • Seelio.

  • Dribbble.

  • Coroflot.

4. Create your site: It can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Just make sure it looks professional and expresses you.

5. Upload materials you want to showcase!

6. Personalize it and explain it: Make sure you explain why each attachment is important to you and significant to the employer

7. Promote it: add it to your resume, post the link to your LinkedIn and on your business card


Creating a LINKEDiN Profile

Creating a LinkedIn Profile is easy! Just follow these steps to make your profile stand out...

Provide a Professional Photo

This may be your first impression, so use a professional headshot.  If you don’t have one, find a way to take one.

Tip: University Career Services typically holds professional headshot events. Take advantage of this and don’t forget to smile.

2. Create a Unique Headline

Let everyone know what makes you special. This does not have to be your current position and title.

Tip: Don’t Be Afraid to Use Keywords

3. Use the Summary to Add Your Highest Achievements

These points are to communicate your unique skills and talents.  It’s not a novel!  List them in bullet form, with 5-6 points.  Get thinking “have you been a presenter at an event?” “Have you made an impact in the community?” If you haven’t achieved anything yet, highlight your goals.

4. Be as Inclusive as Possible When Building Your Profile

Include all of your skills, volunteer work, involvement and education.  Go into detail in order to show how well-rounded you truly are.  Your resume can’t fit it all, but your LinkedIn can.

5. Keep Your Work History Relevant

Although you want to include everything you can, posting about the time you were a waiter at a restaurant for one summer isn’t going to help you get a job in the professional world.

6. Add Links to Relevant Sites

This could be anything from a blog, to an online portfolio or a website. Make it easy for anyone to find online pages that highlight your achievements.

7. Ask for Recommendations and Endorsements

Let others know that you are reliable, with a positive network of trust.

8. Stay Current

Keep your page up to date.  LinkedIn is not a document, it is a working profile.

9. Add a Location

Over 30% of employers will use advanced search options, so the more details included, the more likely an employer will come across your profile.

Social Media


Why Social Media Is Important To Your Job Search…

Social media has become an important tool for both job seekers and employers. Employers are increasingly using social media to find out more about their candidates. Because of this you need to make sure that your social media profiles represent you in a positive way. The results from a 2017 CareerBuilder survey are something you should keep in mind when you use social media:

●57 percent are less likely to interview a candidate they can't find online.

●54 percent have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles.

●Half of employers check current employees' social media profiles, over a third have. reprimanded or fired an employee for inappropriate content.

●70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates.

Your social media profiles give employers an idea about who you are and what you have done.

These are some of the things an employers can see and learn from you online…

●How well you communicate (your spelling, punctuation, and grammar as well as your ability to clearly communicate ideas).

●Your work history and education.

●Your industry knowledge.

●Your use of alcohol.

●Your use of illegal substances.

●Your tolerance or bigotry.

●Your use of profanity.

●How you spend your non-work time.

What Not To Do On Social Media Platforms…

Here are some quick tips to remember keep your social media profiles job ready:

●Make sure your profile is clear of any inappropriate posts, pictures, and comments.

●Don’t complain about job or boss.

●Don’t post job offers unless you clear it with the employer.

●Use Social Media as a marketing tool. “Talk about” career areas of interest - if you want to work in sports - talk sports; in fashion - talk fashion.

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Our Team




















We hope you found this e-book helpful. Feel free to share it with friends. Good luck with your job search. Please let us know how it goes by sharing your thoughts on social media or connect with us.


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