Home > 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 finding the right opportunity and decrease the time you spend looking for one. To make your search as painless as possible, consider the following questions.
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 increase your focus, see the Exploration section of our website to get you started.
Where would you like to live?
Sometimes where you want to live may be just as important as where you work or what you do. You can start by identifying 3-5 cities where you would like to live. Websites like Find Your Spot will help you discover locations that may be right for you. Local Chambers of Commerce are great resources to discover cost of living, transportation, housing and other critical factors.
Where do you want to work?
You may already have organizations in mind in which you want to seek opportunities. Whether you know exactly where you want to try to get your foot in the door or you are still trying to identify target organizations. You are going to need to begin researching the industries and organizations.
How do I identify opportunities?
There are two primary sources of opportunities out there. There are opportunities that are published on websites (and in rare cases, in print resources) and those that are never made public. Ironically enough the vast majority of opportunities reside in the "unpublished" category. For this reason it is important that you perform a balanced search. By balanced we are referring to using both networking and online resources. We posts all the opportunities we receive in our online system called DoreWays.
Because the majority of opportunities are never posted, we encourage you to spend a significant portion of the time you dedicate to your search in networking and informational interviewing activities. A standard guideline is to spend 80% of your time networking and 20% of your time online.
As part of your search, we encourage you to leverage part of your professional network -- the Center for Student Professional Development's On-Campus Recruiting program. The program offers four different 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 (DoreWays).
I know where I want to apply. Now what?
As you identify opportunities to which you would like to apply, you will need to develop a resume and cover letter that successfully markets your skills and experience. You will also want to begin practicing your interviewing skills to ensure you are ready to seal the deal and lock in the job/internship offer. Equally important is managing the process of follow up with all the individuals you make contact with whether through networking, application to opportunities, or interviews.
You have many competing demands on your time as a student at Vanderbilt: student, campus leader, organization member, student employee, 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, networking contacts, as well as a timeline or weekly schedule of activities that you will complete for your search that is realistic.
There will be good weeks and bad weeks. But having a schedule will allow you to track and evaluate your progress towards your goal of being hired for an internship/job and ensure you are following up with individuals on time. Conducting an organized search will not only save you time, but allow you to present a well prepared professional image to employers with whom you connect.