Stage One: Develop a Plan of Action and Start Researching

  • Develop a timeline (the job search is generally 3–9 months) and block off time on your calendar for your search.
  • Consider taking an assessment through CCE to determine your strengths, values, skills and interests.

  • Use VaultO*NET, the industry resources webpages, and LionSHARE to identify and research career fields.

  • Research the recruitment timelines of your industries of interest. Be sure to check out the On-Campus Interviewing program and resources on diversity recruitment initiatives and leadership development and rotational programs.

  • Talk to a career counselor, professors, former supervisors, family, and classmates to learn more about fields that are of interest to you or uncover fields you might not have considered.

  • Create an Excel spreadsheet to record contacts you have or will meet with, positions you will apply for, and organizations you want to target.

  • If you’re an international student and plan to work in the U.S., learn about the requirements of your visa by visiting the International Students and Scholars Office.

Stage Two: Refine Your Professional Image

  • Create polished resumes and cover letters and have them reviewed by a career counselor.

  • Ensure that your LionSHARE profile is complete and accurate.

  • Google your name to ensure images and information are professional and keep your social media profiles appropriate.

  • Join LinkedIn to connect with alumni and other contacts. Check out the alumni page for Columbia University.

Stage Three: Get Involved and Build Relationships

  • Set up informational interviews with alumni or other contacts in your current network to learn about careers and organizations that are of interest to you.

  • Actively participate in and attend career fairs, industry showcases, information sessions, networking events and workshops offered through CCE. Check out networking opportunities through student groups on campus.

  • Join a professional association and attend their membership meetings.

Stage Four: Apply to Jobs

  • Stay in touch with contacts you’ve made through networking to uncover “hidden” job opportunities that are not posted but rather will be filled through referrals.

  • Create a job agent on LionSHARE to receive daily email alerts for positions matching your criteria.

  • Regularly check the careers webpage of your top target companies, follow their blogs and Twitter feeds, and sign up for their newsletters.

  • Pay attention to your academic department emails, find out if they offer a department-specific job board or alumni networking opportunities.

  • Apply to jobs on industry-specific job boards like Mediabistro and and general aggregate job boards such as Indeed and Simplyhired.

Stage Five: Interview and Follow-up

  • Schedule a mock interview to practice your interviewing skills. Set up a mock case interview to prepare for case-specific interviews (typical of fields like consulting).

  • Research typical attire for your specific organization. Don’t forget about the Clothing Closet from which you can borrow a professional suit.

  • Research the organization and reflect on how your experiences relate to the position before each interview.

  • On the day of your interview, remember to leave sufficient travel time to arrive 10-15 minutes early and greet everyone with a smile and strong handshake.

  • Ask your interviewers for business cards and send a thank you note to each person with whom you interviewed within 24 hours after your interview.

  • Ask your interviewer or recruiter for next steps in the process and when you can expect to hear back. Don’t hesitate to follow-up if you don’t hear from them in the timeframe given.

Stage Six: Evaluate and Respond to Offers

  • If you receive an offer, let the employer know you are grateful, and ask when a decision is needed. Be sure that you have all the details: job description, salary, benefits, start date, etc.

  • Work with a career counselor to evaluate, negotiate, and respond to offers. Congratulations!


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