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Finding Opportunities

There is no special method or formula to finding a job or internship. What works for one person may not work for you.

The more you know about how to find an opportunity, the more it will increase your chances of discovering the right position and decrease the time you spend looking for one. To make your search as painless as possible, consider the following questions.Employer and Student

What do you want to do?

Do you know what you want to do? While you don't have to know what you want to do to find your first opportunity, the more you know, the easier it will be. Try to be focused while keeping your options open. If you want to sharpen your focus, see the Exploring the Possibilities section of our website to get started.

Where would you like to live?

Sometimes where you want to live is just as important as where you work or what you do. You can start by identifying three to five target cities. Websites like Find Your Spot will help you discover locations that may be right for you. Local chambers of commerce are great resources for researching cost of living, transportation, housing and other critical factors.

Where do you want to work?

You may already know exactly where you’d like to get your foot in the door, or you may still be trying to identify target organizations. Wherever you are in the process, you need to begin researching industries and organizations.

How do I identify opportunities?

There are two primary sources of opportunities out there: positions that are published on websites (and in rare cases, in print resources) and those that are never made public. Ironically, the vast majority of opportunities reside in the "unpublished" category. For this reason it is important that you perform a balanced search, using both networking and online resources. We post all the opportunities we receive in our online system called DoreWays.

Because the majority of opportunities are never posted, we encourage you to dedicate a significant portion of your search time to networking, including informational interviewing activities. A standard guideline is to spend 80 percent of your time networking and 20 percent of your time online.

As part of your search, we encourage you to participate in the Center for Student Professional Development's on-campus recruiting activities. These events offer four types of opportunities for you to connect with employers offering internships and full-time positions in a variety of career fields: on-campus interviews, Industry Career Days, employer information sessions, and employer internship and job postings (via DoreWays).

I know where I want to apply. Now what?

As you identify opportunities, you will need to develop a resume and cover letter that successfully market your skills and experience. You also need to begin practicing your interviewing skills to ensure you are ready to secure the job or internship and lock in an offer. Managing the process of follow up with all the individuals with whom you make contact is equally important − whether through networking, applications or interviews.

Employer and Student You may have many competing demands on your time as a student at Vanderbilt: student, campus leader, organization member, student employee and friend, to name just a few. Organization and time management are critical for the success of your search. We encourage you to create a system for managing the information you will generate through research, opportunity leads and networking contacts, as well as maintaining a realistic timeline or weekly schedule for your search activities .

There will be good weeks and bad weeks. But having a schedule will allow you to track and evaluate your progress toward your goal and ensure you are following up with individuals on time. Conducting an organized search will not only save you time, but also equip you to present a well-prepared professional image to potential employers.