Search for a Job / Employer
Searching for and getting any type of job takes time, resources, support, strategy and resilience. Whether you are looking for your first job ever, a part-time campus or student job while attending school, or your first job after graduation, Fort Lewis College Career Services can help. You are welcome (and encouraged!) to chat with a career advisor as you complete any/all of these steps.
Assess skills, interests and career readinessHow do your interests, skills, values, personality, and career competencies relate to potential career paths? Use the tools and worksheets on our Skills and Interests and Competencies and Career Readiness pages to help you think about which sorts of experiences you’re looking for in your first job after Fort Lewis College
Establish a timeline and specific goals for your job search
How much time will you be able to devote to your job search? Schedule it into your week, much as you would any class, club or other obligation. Set aside time for each of the steps listed here, i.e., learning about careers, preparing a resume and cover letters, searching for and evaluating positions, tailoring documents, applying, and following up.
Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals for yourself, e.g., “This week, I’ll contact the Career Services office for a resume review and review at least 5 job listings on two different search sites.”
As you plan, remember that different career fields have different recruiting timelines! Your process may not look like someone else’s, and that’s to be expected. To assist you in planning your future and to stay on track, review this Four Year Career Plan flyer.
Research career paths and employers
There are numerous ways to research careers and employers, and we encourage you to begin with our Explore Careers and Majors section. Tools like “What Can I Do With This Major?” can give you a big-picture sense of career fields that might fit with your competencies and experiences, while resources like Careers A-Z can help you drill down into particular career paths, potential employers and individual jobs of interest. Another great way to conduct research is to look at where Fort Lewis College grads work and attend graduate school.
Networking (a.k.a. connecting with people to exchange information and develop contacts) is one of the most effective ways to learn about careers and employers. Best of all, you can learn from anyone: classmates, professors, past internship supervisors, family members, friends, and Fort Lewis alumni.
One way to connect with people is to create a LinkedIn profile and reach out to alumni in the Fort Lewis College Career Network for advice in the form of an informational interview — a conversation with someone who can give you insider info about a profession, employer or industry. Another neat resource? Use the LinkedIn Alumni Tool to see where Fort Lewis grads are working, what they studied, where they’re located, and more!
Refine your job application documentsWhether you’re new to resume and cover letter writing or have revised your documents many times, we can help! Visit our Resume and Cover Letter pages for content tips, formatting best practices, sample documents, and more. Remember: Career Advisors are available every day for resume and cover letter reviews.
Conduct job search using multiple resourcesIn addition to your networking efforts, you can find many jobs online through Handshake (the Fort Lewis College database for jobs, internships and the campus recruiting program). Be sure to check out the other subpages in the Find a Job section for information about Campus Recruiting, Career Fairs and advice for Evaluating and Negotiating Offers. You should also check out this Career / Job Search Worksheet to assist you in finding the right job for you.
Customize your documents and apply for positionsBefore you apply, you’ll need to customize your application, i.e., make it clear to the employer that your resume and cover letter are meant for their organization and position. This means demonstrating that you possess the requisite qualifications in the job description, as well as showing that you’ve researched the employer and can convey reasons why you’re interested in what they do. Use this cover letter worksheet for assistance with matching skills/experiences to an employer’s needs.
Follow up on applications and plan next stepsFollow up with employers about a week or so after applying (unless they specifically prohibit follow-up). You’re welcome to ask about the status of your application, get info about the hiring timeline (unless those details are already online), or offer additional materials. Brush up on your interviewing skills in preparation for conversations with employers.