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Prepare for a Job Search

It is important to build effective job search skills and to enhance current employment and recruiting knowledge to meet your career and job search goals.  By learning how to target potential employers, negotiate salaries, draft and edit superior resumes or cover letters, and interview well, you will increase your opportunities for the future.

Watch the Job Search Strategies webshop!

Need Help?  Meet with a Career Consultant

Meet with one of our career consultants to discuss your job-search process and get your questions answered about resumes and cover letters, interviewing, salary negotiation and networking.  Drop-in consulting is available Monday to Friday 11am-2pm.  Appointments are also available if more time is needed (scheduled through GWork).


A resume is a marketing tool written to persuade a specific employer that you have the experience, skills, abilities, education, personal qualities or potential to fill a particular position. An effective resume displays your achievements, experience, and attributes to the best advantage while minimizing any possible weaknesses.

The average first reading of a resume is 30 seconds, so your resume must be brief, targeted and easy to skim, while highlighting your skills. Despite the popularity of word processing resume templates, it is recommended that you create your own format and headings to best customize your resume to the needs of the employer.

Resume Links, Resources & Workshops

Resume Guide

Resume Basics Workshop

Consult the Career Center or GWork events calendars for information on when these workshops will be held throughout the academic year.

RSVP in the GWork Events Calendar

Can't make the workshop?  Click to watch the online version:
Resume Basics!

48-Hour Resume Critique Service

This convenient service to have your resume and cover letter critiqued by an experienced career consultant. You may submit your resume and/or cover letter by stopping by the Resource Room with a copy of it, or by filling out the online request form.

After two business days, your critiqued resume will be available for pick up in the Resource Room, or it can be electronically scanned and e-mailed back to you.  Please note that critiques can only be scanned and emailed back to GW email accounts.  Please supply your GW email address at the time of submission.

NOTE: All students and alumni in GWSB and CPS, and all graduate students and alumni in ESIA, SPPPA, GSPM & the School of Law should consult with their respective school's specialized career centers for resume assistance.

ALUMNI:  There is no charge for a resume critique for the first year following your graduation.  A fee of $20.00 per resume critique will be charged past one year.

*Please note that if you submit the resume after 4pm on any certain weekday, the critiqued version will not be ready until two business days after the next business day.  For example, if it is received after 4pm on a Monday, the resume will be ready on the following Thursday; after 4pm on Tuesday, it will be ready on Friday; after 4 on Wednesday - Monday, Thursday - Tuesday, Friday - Wednesday.

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Cover Letters

Job search letters are the primary communication tools between you and a potential contact or employer.  An effective letter should promote an important commodity—you—by achieving the following results:

  • Communicate your accomplishments, skills and experiences.
  • Convey your writing style and thought processes.
  • Capture the attention of a contact or a potential employer and compel him or her to continue reading.

The types of job search letters vary based on their intended purpose.  You may write to promote yourself to an employer, to gather career-related information or to pursue a referral.  The following tips are imperative when writing your letters:

  • Identify and customize each letter to a specific position or purpose.
  • Know your audience by thoroughly researching the employer and industry.
  • Express yourself with confidence.
  • Display your enthusiasm for the employer, the work and the position.

Cover Letter Links, Resources & Workshops

Cover Letters Guide

See Resume section above for info on our Resume & Cover Letter Critique Days and our online resume & cover letter critique service.

Creating Cover Letters Workshop

Consult the Career Center or GWork events calendars for information on when these workshops will be held throughout the academic year.

RSVP in the GWork Events Calendar.

Can't make this workshop?  Click to watch the online version:
Creating Cover Letters

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An interview is your opportunity to articulate to the potential employer your skills, abilities and accomplishments that best match the attributes that s/he is seeking in an ideal candidate.  Advanced preparation, practice, targeted research, and understanding the interview process are keys to success.

Interview preparation begins with research about yourself and potential employers in order to find the organizations and companies that will help you meet your short and long term goals.

Learning more about the interview structure, types of interviews, what to expect on the day of the interview, and guidelines for dress will help you be prepared and confident for the day of the actual interview.   Practice answering interview questions in advance to best prepare for any interview, and be ready to ask the employer questions as well.

Conduct Research

Preparing for an interview is essential for success. Before meeting potential employers, know what they do, how they do it, their financial state, their expectations of employees and what you can offer them.

Typical Interview Structure

While interviews are not identical in structure, most follow a standard format.

  • Introduction:  Greet the employer with a strong handshake.  Let the employer start off the interview.
  • Information Exchange:  You and the employer will exchange information through questions.
  • Wrap Up:  Determine how the employer will follow up.
  • Close:  Thank the employer for the interview.

Types of Interviews

There are different styles of interviews utilized by employers.   Know the various styles and types of interviews to help you to be prepared and to maintain confidence during the interview.  The most common interview types are listed below. 

    • Structured:  The interviewer will usually have a focused agenda and a list of specific questions.
    • Unstructured:  The interviewer may ask broad, general questions and will not take charge of the interview. The applicant is nonverbally encouraged to present qualifications.
    • Group:  A group interview features several candidates interviewed at one time.  This style is used to determine how the candidate interacts in a team, or for organizations that hire in large numbers.
    • Panel:  More than one interviewer, or a search committee, questions a candidate. Direct eye contact is important in establishing rapport with each interviewer.

InterviewStream:  Practice Interviewing Online

InterviewStream simulates an interview by asking challenging questions that can be customized to fit your interests or tailored to a specific field. You can repeat each question as often as you like, as well as hear expert advice on how to answer certain types of questions.  To access InterviewStream, log into your GWork profile and look for the icon on the left.

Interviewing Links, Resources & Workshops

Ace Your Interview Workshop
Consult the Career Center or GWork events calendars for information on when these workshops will be held throughout the academic year.

RSVP in the GWork Events Calendar

Can't make this workshop?  Click to watch the online version:
Ace Your Interview Webshop

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Salary Negotiation

The job search process includes negotiating a starting salary.  With a basic knowledge of negotiation, your anxiety will be reduced and your success rate will increase.  There are several resources to make the process more effective for you.

Salary Links, Resources & Workshops

  • NACE Salary Calculator CenterEnables you to perform a salary data search for the occupation and region in which you are seeking employment.  Access compensation data for more than 1,000 occupations in 560 regions of the United States. Salary survey   data sets are updated monthly to ensure consistently accurate salary data. The NACE Salary Calculators are free, easy-to-use, and will deliver immediate and reliable results!
  • Salary resources in the Resource Room (CRR)

Request a program about salary negotiations for your group, class or department.

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Networking is an important and positive part of a successful job search.  You should consider any social interaction a networking opportunity.  Networking can occur in different ways, either spontaneously or in more formally scheduled meetings. Take advantage of each and every opportunity to interact with professionals to develop your growing knowledge base regarding careers and job opportunities.

Your network includes people from all aspects of your life: professional colleagues and employers (past and present), friends, acquaintances, referrals and people you may meet in unstructured settings (i.e. on an airplane, waiting in line, in public gatherings, at parties, etc).  To develop a solid network of contacts, consider the following:

  • Be prepared
  • Realistically assess your strengths, interests, values and goals. Be clear in communicating them to others.
  • Conduct thorough research on the type of position, employer or industry of interest prior to conducting a networking connection. Learn the name and title of the person with whom you are networking.
  • Treat every networking connection/informational interview as a prospective employment "screening interview". Know that first impressions matter!
  • Create a winning resume which you can give to your contact if you are asked for one.
  • Respect the time of the person with whom you are networking. If this is a pre-planned networking meeting, arrive on time. Do not overstay your welcome by demanding too much time or information.
  • Ask specific, targeted questions which add new knowledge to your information about the type of position, employer or industry you are interested in for the future.
  • Aim to leave every networking encounter with a concrete "next step" action plan or with the name of another contact person/resource for follow-up.
  • Communicate clearly (verbally and non-verbally) and demonstrate at least beginning knowledge of the industry/functions you are exploring. Practice mock networking/informational interviewing sessions, as needed.
  • Take the time to send a personalized follow-up thank you letter within 48 hours after your networking meeting.

Networking Links, Resources & Workshops

Request a program on networking for your group, class or department

Workshops & Events

Attend Career Center Networking workshops and other special programs and events sponsored by the Career Center. 

Consult the Career Center or GWork events calendars for information on when these workshops will be held throughout the academic year.

RSVP in the GWork Events Calendar

Can't make it to a workshop?  Click to watch the online version:

How to Make Networking Work for You!

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