Job Search

Searching for a job can take, on average, three to six months, so it’s important to begin early (at least a semester before you’d like to be hired). Here are some strategies to get you started:

Get Focused

Get Focused
  • It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want to do in a job, however, employers will expect you to have an idea. Think about the type of work you’d like to do, skills you’d like to use, and industries you’d like to explore. Refer to our Self-Guided Career Exploration page for help.
  • Be mindful of recruiting timeframes for industries you’d like to work. For example, educators are often hired between March and June, while accounting firms typically hire in September/October.
  • Organize your search. Keep track of organizations you’ve applied to, when, who you spoke with, and when you need to follow-up.

Assemble Materials


  • Most jobs will require a resume and cover letter. Review our Resume Guide, stop by the CareerLab, or schedule an appointment to have your documents reviewed.
  • Update your LinkedIn and Handshake profiles. This will ensure you are receiving position updates that fit what you are looking for.


Assemble Materials


  • On average, 75% of opportunities are never posted, so identify companies/organizations you are interested in and contact them directly.
  • Reach out to contacts and GVSU alumni through LinkedIn.
  • If you’re looking for jobs outside your local area, utilize GVSU Alumni Networks to broaden your network.
  • Attend events. The Career Center brings hundreds of employers right to campus and these employers want to talk to you about opportunities.

Search and Apply

  • While networking is the number one way students learn about opportunities, online tools can also be helpful.
  • Handshake is a great online tool for searching for positions, and have many local, regional, and national opportunities.
  • Work Abroad is a great resource if you’re interested in an international opportunity.
  • How to recognize and avoid fraudulent jobs

Handshake Tips

  • Use Career Interests in your profile to generate jobs of interest
  • Favorite employers so you'll be notified when they post a position or come to campus
  • Use the filters to narrow down your search

Get Ready to Interview

get ready to interview
  • Visit the interview section of our site to review tips on how to prepare for an interview.
  • Schedule a simulated interview with your career advisor.
  • Practice at home using Big Interview.


  • It’s always important to follow-up; whether you’ve applied online for a position, sent an email inquiry to a contact, or met a recruiter at an event.
  • Follow-ups can be done over email, phone, or LinkedIn.
  • Keep track of when you’ve followed up so you can be consistent, but not pestering. One to two follow-ups is a good rule of thumb.

Follow-Up Tips

  • Emails should be short and sweet
  • Follow-ups can be congratulatory notes, emails, etc regarding the person or organization
  • It's okay if you don't always receive a response

Review/Negotiate Offer

  • Congratulations! You have been offered the job! Be sure to ask for the offer in writing. This will give you time to reflect on the job and all it entails.
  • Find a trusted resource (family, friend, career advisor, faculty, etc) to review the offer with and make sure it’s a good fit for you.
  • It’s possible you may receive multiple offers, or an offer while you’re still interviewing with another organization. These can be tricky conversations, so reach out to the Career Center if you’re unsure how to handle them.
  • Be sure the offer and job are right for you. Once you formally accept an offer, it is highly unprofessional to withdraw from that offer.
review offer

Career Advancement

If you are already working in your desired field, the Career Center can still be of assistance so that you can make the most out of your time as a graduate student.

  • Consider assistantships, research, and/or attending conferences. These can be great ways to grow as a professional and continue to build your professional resume.
  • Work on your resume and cover letter. It is a helpful to keep your resume updated and this is the perfect opportunity to spruce it up and have it looked over by another set of experienced eyes. Check out our resume guide for tips then drop-in during our CareerLab hours for feedback from someone at the Career Center.
  • Discuss how to negotiate for a raise by making an appointment with one of our career advisors.

Page last modified October 5, 2023