Finish Strong

Finish Strong: Job Search Strategy

Finish Strong

Job Search Strategy

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A successful, fulfilling career is what you’ve been striving for, and that great job is out there. It just takes some focus and motivation to find it. A job search can take months, depending on how targeted a role you are seeking and the time and and activity you put into it. This guide will help you be as efficient as possible.

Finish Strong

Get Organized 

Use a simple project management system to track and categorize your application pipeline. Tools like Excel or Trello can help you manage your pipeline of opportunities. Track each position or opportunity you are exploring, and categorize into the following stages:


  1. Interested: Position you are considering applying for
  2. Applied: You have applied, but received no response yet
  3. Active application: Applied for and in active dialogue or interviews with an employer
  4. Lost opportunities/no’s: Were not the right fit and the employer has been non-responsive or declined your application
  5. Offers: You have received an offer


“No” Happens. Don’t Get Discouraged.

Getting no’s or no responses is all part of the process! Pick yourself up and keep going. Use those opportunities to ask for feedback about why the hiring manager or employer felt that this wasn't the right fit, and then use that to inform and refine your job search.



It’s essential that you know what you want, and what you want to represent to a potential employer. Get your personal brand and toolkit in order.

Building Blocks for Networking and Applications

Elevator Pitch

Refine and update your elevator pitch or answer to the question "tell me about yourself" to simply describe what you have done, what you are doing now, and what you aspire to do in your next role.


Update your resumé to target roles of interest. Incorporate relevant courses and experiential learning. Focus on transferable skills from prior roles. For examples go to CareerX.

Get Out There

Talk to your friends, classmates, former colleagues and classmates, and share your story! Use online resources to bubble up opportunities and then use your networks wherever possible to make a connection at an organization that is hiring.

Build and nurture relationships. Plan to buy a lot of coffee for friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to ask them for their advice and feedback on your search. Use LinkedIn to invite connections, research connections you have at an organization, and set up informal conversations.

Create a list of organizations that you are interested in working with in your geographic area and set up job alerts using Google alerts. Reach out to your networks to conduct informational interviews.

LinkedIn Profile

Update your LinkedIn profile using the language in your resumé. Ask current or former colleagues to write a short endorsement regarding your skills, work ethic, and soft skills.

Participate in professional associations and/or meet ups.

Use job boards to set up daily or weekly searches that target specific roles or titles of interest. Some favorites include:

  • Glassdoor
  • Google alerts
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster
  • Regional job boards

Nail the Interview

Once you get to this phase, it is all about preparation and tailoring your story. Do not forget it is a two-way street. Use these opportunities to see if the organization and role is truly the right fit for you.

Read our complete guide to Interviews.

Practice and Gain Experience

Manage your time during a job search to allow you to keep nurturing your passions and gaining experience while you are applying and networking. There are three ways to do this:

1. Work on a self-driven project you care about on your own time. This shows initiative and passion to potential employers.

2. Volunteer time and work to support organizations you care about and gain experiences and references.

3. Work for hourly or consulting pay.


Hit a Roadblock? Need Help?

It happens to the best of us in the job search process. Remember we are here to help!