Step 2: Prepare

Build a LinkedIn to Network

Did you know that 80% of all jobs are never posted on any job site? Not on any website, not on any newspaper…not anywhere. Yet somehow, these jobs are filled with good candidates. That’s because recruiters and executives choose to use their network meaning they hire internally, or depend on referrals from employees, or reach out to people they know and trust. We call this the hidden job market.

The job market is like an iceberg. Most candidates will spend their time looking at the tip of the iceberg, occupying their time with what is visible. In fact, they are only looking at 20% of the job market. The hidden job market is not only much bigger, but most people don’t go looking for it.

Enter LinkedIn, AKA the professional social network. It can be your most powerful resource in building your network and accessing the hidden job market. Start by putting your resume onto LinkedIn and connect with friends family and professors. Then use it to build your network—find people with jobs that interest you and who work at companies that interest you. You can also join groups (like the Finance Club or the Psychology Student Network) to meet like-minded individuals, contribute to discussions, and learn about new opportunities.

You can set up an appointment to build your LinkedIn profile with a member of our staff today.

Read more: LinkedIn Guide

Read more: Build a LinkedIn Worksheet

Get to Know Companies

Once you have determined your top occupations, your next goal is to find companies where that work is done. The purpose of this is two-fold: 1) to engage with professionals who do the work that interests you, and 2) to compare and contrast different work environments

A good place to start is the company websites. Become familiar with their mission statements, their company size, organizational charts, their company values, work environment, typical work days, products and services, etc. 

The best tools for researching companies are:

  • LinkedIn: Type in a company name or industry type into the search bar, and read different profiles on individual companies. You can sort your search by location, job opportunities, industry, company size, number of followers, and fortune list. You can also use the company pages to find information about people that work at these companies.

  • CareerOneStop’s Business Finder: Allows you to search by business name, industry, or occupation and filter by location, number of employees, and distance.

  • Buzzfile: This interactive database pulls descriptions for thousands of companies in various industries around the country. If you're looking for internships, researching for interviews, or want to learn about businesses in your area, this is a great tool.

  • AMU Career Expo: The spring expo provides you the chance to interact with our partner organizations and dialogue with them about potential opportunities. We encourage all class levels to attend the expo, but especially juniors and seniors who are preparing to enter the workforce.

  • Vault: Lists of rankings and reviews on top companies, graduate programs, and internships.

  • Wetfeet: Featured companies, along with career success stories and useful articles.

  • SEC Filings: Allows you to research corporate information, financial information, and registration.

  • Business Directories: A list of major city business directories. You should also feel free to Google business directories in your hometown or the place you want to live.

  • Follow your companies on their social media channels (especially on LinkedIn).

  • Sign up for email alerts from the company's website where possible.

A Note on Interning and Shadowing

In the course of your research, some organizations will offer opportunities for interning or shadowing to provide experiential learning. There are many benefits to interning and shadowing, but primarily their goal is to provide an up-close perspective of an organization in which you have interest.

We highly recommend that students pursue and complete between 1-3 internships before they graduate. For more information, check out the page on internships.

Read more: Job Search Guide

Read more: Researching Companies Worksheet

Informational Interviews:

There are two types of interviews you should conduct. The first are informational interviews, and are the easiest interviews to conduct because you are the interviewer. Once you find people with jobs that interest you, reach out to them for a 15-20 minute conversation surrounding the nature of their work. Ask questions about how they started, the greatest challenges in their work, what a typical day looks like, etc.

Refer to the Informational Interviewing handout for a list of informational interview questions, a sample email message for first connections, and other important rules for informational interviewing.

A Note on Mock Interviews

Juniors are advised to begin the process of preparing for interviews, especially if you expect to have an interview for an upcoming summer position or internship. A mock interview is a simulation of a real interview environment and allows you to work on interview techniques, like body language, rate of speech, and thinking on the spot. However, a mock interview is a risk-free environment which allows you to learn the mistakes and nuances of interviewing through our immediate, individualized feedback. It will also help you to become an expert in asking questions and performing informational interviews.

There is no better way to become comfortable with an interview than to practice it 3-5 times over the course of your last two years. Set up your appointment with the Career Office to practice today!

Read more: Informational Interview Guide

Read more: Informational Interview Worksheet