Use the following strategies and methods for a successful job search

Job Searching Strategies

Put in the Time

Be Proactive

Conduct a Thorough

There is no doubt getting a good job is a lot of work.  Look at it as you would a class.  You need to work on it every day.  The more work you do, the better grade (job, salary, etc.) you’re going to get.  The more creative you are, the more possibilities open up for you. 

Most jobs go to someone the employer or employees already know.  Submitting online job applications alone is not an effective job search strategy. Seek internships, part-time employment, networking opportunities, and informational interviewing. Take time to self-reflect. Identify your interests, skills, and work values.  Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and think of relevant examples.  Emphasize examples that connect most directly with your career goals. Career-related assessments are available through Career Services.

Develop Your Plan

Research Organizations

Develop Your Resume and Prepare for Interviews

Knowing what you are searching for enhances your chances of finding it.  Decide what you want to do, where you want to do it, and what type/size of organization interests you. Research your career area thoroughly; know position requirements, advancement potential and demand, salary range, and required training. 

Find out as much as you can about prospective employers through a variety of methods like networking, contacting employers directly, informational interviewing, and online job searching.

Prepare your resume based on information about yourself and the organization you've targeted.  When you have completed a solid draft, bring it to Career Services for a review.  In addition, you should practice interview questions and strategies.  Make an appointment for interviewing assistance and mock interviews with Career Services.

Prepare for Outcomes  

Accept/Negotiate Offers 

Ask for Help and
Review the Process

Experiencing rejection is inevitable.  Try not to take the rejection personally; you are evaluating, accepting, and rejecting potential employers, just as they are doing with you.  You're both looking for a good fit.  Be ready to redefine your plan as required. Sometimes it can be feast or famine.  There are either no offers or several come in at the same time.  Review your plan and weigh all job offers based on your needs.  You usually can ask for a reasonable amount of time to decide and negotiate the terms of your offer.

Career Services is here to help you.  Use the resources available to you throughout the job search process.  Look back over the process and determine successes and barriers.  This will help prepare you for the next job search/application.

Job Search Methods

Career Services


Direct Employer Contact

We help connect students and alumni with employers.  Many employers interview graduating students each semester through on-campus recruiting and career fairs.  Complete your Handshake profile and use the system to search for jobs and employers. Many jobs are never advertised. People get them by talking to friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, teachers, and former coworkers who know of an opening.  Be sure to tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job.  To develop new contacts, attend career fairs and join student, community, and professional organizations.

Directly contacting employers is one of the most successful means of job hunting.  Research and develop a list of potential employers in your desired career field.  Even if no open positions are posted, do not hesitate to contact the employer.  You never know when a job might become available.

Informational Interviewing

Internet Job Boards

Internships and Volunteering

Consider asking for an informational interview with professionals working in the career field you want to explore.  Ask them how they got started, what they like/dislike about the work, what type of qualifications are necessary, and what type of personality succeeds in that career field.  In addition to giving you career information, they may be able to put you in contact with other people who might hire you, and they can keep you in mind if a position opens up.

Some job boards provide national listings of all kinds; others are local.  Some relate to a specific type of work; others are general. See Online Job Search Resources on the next page for some common job searching websites.

Many people are hired by businesses and organizations with whom they have interned or volunteered.  Look for internships and volunteer opportunities via job posting systems, company websites, and professional association websites.  Check community service organizations and volunteer opportunity databases.  Some internships and long-term volunteer positions come with stipends and all provide experience and the chance to meet employers and other good networking contacts.

State Employment Service Offices

Federal Government

Professional Associations

The state employment service, sometimes called the Job Service, operates in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor.  Local offices, found nationwide, help job seekers find jobs and help employers find qualified workers at no cost to either.  Information regarding obtaining  positions with the Federal Government is available from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) through USAJOBS, the Federal Government’s official employment information system. Many professions have associations offering employment information, including career planning, educational programs, job listings, and job placement.  Associations sometimes require that you be a member to use their services; association information can be found online.

Online Job Search Resources





Missoula Job Service

LinkedIn Jobs




State of Montana Careers

UM Academic Enrichment Civic Engagement – Volunteer Programs

Montana High Tech Business Alliance

HigherEd Jobs

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

(for finding professional associations)

  • Go to HTTPS://
  • Choose an Occupation and go to the “More Info” tab
  • After navigating to an organization website, look for a careers section (may be titled “Careers”, “Career Center”, “Job Seekers”, etc.)