Preparation is a major component to any job search. It’s important to consider factors such as time management, your specific career goals, and the materials you’ll need to prepare in advance of any application.

The job search process is a constantly iterative process that requires curiosity, communication, marketing, advocacy, adaptability, reflection, and redirection. Below is a strategy overview.

Time management is an important skill and tool within the job search process:

  • Prepare to be proactive about fitting aspects of the job search process into your schedule.
  • Set aside time each week to focus on job search strategies.
  • Treat finding a job like a job!

There is a general process for applying to jobs that require you to explore, connect, experience, reflect and redirect as needed throughout the process. For example, create or update your resume at the beginning of the job search and make iterative adjustments based on each application. We encourage you to ask for feedback from the Career Development Center, professional peers, mentors, and industry professionals throughout your job search process. Below are the typical steps for applying to jobs.

  1. Write or update your resume to reflect your Emerson education.
  2. Identify your values, career goals, and skills. Consider the kind of professional environment in which you thrive; where you want to work, including hybrid, in-person, or remote work. This also includes what you don’t want to do.
  3. Based on the above, identify a few career directions and positions that interest you and you are qualified for based on your studies and experience.
  4. Build or update your LinkedIn profile and portfolio with relevant course projects or outside-of-school examples of your work. Update your email signature and other supporting documents.
    1. Tip: Remember that employers will search for you online. Remove anything you don’t want seen, and make sure you are carefully using privacy settings on your accounts.
  5. Conduct informational interviews and network to grow your professional community, and gain industry insights and advice from professionals. This is an opportunity to practice marketing yourself and telling your professional story.
    1. For Freelancers: Market and promote yourself on social media consistently and frequently.
    2. Attend industry-related events, such as on-campus career fairs or events sponsored by professional organizations.
    3. Stay in touch with internship supervisors, faculty members, and other friends/family members who have been invested in your career development by making contact every few months.
    4. Use LinkedIn actively; make sure to join the Emerson College Alumni Group.
    5. Focus on developing relationships that will be meaningful for both parties and seek out people who share your interests and will want to be involved in your career development.
  6. Search for companies, organizations, and job titles that interest you.
    1. For Freelancers: Once you start getting clients, ask for testimonials (for your portfolio) and referrals.
  7. Apply to jobs.
    1. Update your resume to cater to the job description.
    2. Write cover letters unique to the job and company.
    3. Identify 2–3 references and ask their permission in advance.
    4. Refer to Handshake for the latest positions and opportunities shared by the Career Development Center.
    5. Do not send out the same cover letter and resume to multiple employers. This is obvious to the search committee and does not help you stand out.
    6. Don’t wait till the last minute to apply. Showing initiative by being early shows interest.
  8. Interview with multiple companies. Schedule a mock interview with a career counselor by making an appointment through Handshake. Develop a “30 second pitch” that describes your skills and how you plan to use them for a particular position. This can help in both interviewing and networking situations. 
  9. Follow up on the status of your submission after applying. This demonstrates your interest and will give you an idea of where the search committee is in the hiring cycle.
  10. Negotiate a job offer and accept!

For guidance and more personalized questions, contact your career advisor.

Creating a Reference List

Asking for references can feel intimidating. Check out the process, including how and when to ask for references.

Graduate School

Interested in pursuing your graduate degree? The Career Center can help you figure out the steps to take, which programs to research, and the timeline for applying.