Blog Career & Leadership Development

Back to (job search) basics

By Northwestern on Wednesday, July 7, 2021


As individuals, we can’t change the global pandemic or the economic impact. However, we do have control over our response to this new environment.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” —Victor Frankl

While it’s true that a job search may be more difficult, the basics of job hunting remain the same. Taking initiative, following a proven approach, and taking steps in the right direction day by day will ultimately bring success. Here are the key steps we tell our students and alumni to take in their job search:

  1. Develop a great resume – Show employers that you have the relevant job experience they need by crafting strong skill statements: Action Verbs + Details + Results. Share yours with one of our career coaches for a professional review.
  2. Leverage social media – Copy those great skill statements to fill out your LinkedIn and Handshake profiles, and make those public so employers can find you when they are looking to fill open roles. Be sure you have a high-quality LinkedIn photo; your profile will be 7x more likely to be viewed.
  3. Network, network, network – Connect with Northwestern alumni, as well as your personal and professional network. Remember that 70-80% of jobs are not posted on job boards, but people within your network may know of upcoming openings. This tip sheet shows you how to connect with UNW alumni.
  4. Play the numbers game – Apply for LOTS of opportunities, and ask everyone in your personal and professional network to help. Most people are happy to lend a hand, and if you’re the right fit for their organization, you’ll be helping them, too.
  5. Manage your expectations – Although it’s frustrating, don’t expect to hear back from most employers. There were often 250 applications for most corporate jobs, out of which 4-6 people would get an interview, and 1 person would get the job offer. Organizations are dealing with hundreds of applicants, so feel free to follow up on an application, but don’t over-expect.
  6. Persevere – This could be an extended job search, so plan for the long haul. Live within your means, continue to reach out and apply, and try not to get discouraged. Don’t let one “no” stop you from going after the “yes” that is still out there.

You can do this. We in Career & Leadership Development are available to help.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13 (NLT)