Job & Internship Searching
Job searching can be intimidating, but we're here to help simplify the process. These resources will walk you through the job search timeline, job and internship search strategies, and how to ace a career event.
Job Search TimelineToggle More Info
Depending on the field, a job search can take between 3 – 6 months of active searching (more than 15 hours per week) to find and obtain the job you want. It can be even longer in a tight job market. With that in mind, here is one way to plan your time:
Experience Stage - One year from graduation
- Concentrate on gaining related experience through internships, part-time jobs, service learning, volunteering, or involvement in student clubs related to your field.
- Start building your network and developing your references (from supervisors and faculty).
Preparation & Research Stage - Six months from graduation
- Get all your job search materials in order. Have your resume and a version of your cover letter reviewed by Career Development Services staff.
- Develop and practice your interviewing skills, one of the most important elements of the job search. You can schedule mock interviews with Career Development Advisors as one way to practice.
- Determine your search strategy based on the type of job you are pursuing.
- Conduct research on the industry and on all the companies you are interested in.
- If you are considering moving to another city, conduct research on the companies in that city.
- Talk to people in the field to learn the most effective ways to break into it. Keep building your network.
Application Stage - Three months from graduation
- Ensure you have professional business attire for the interview process. If you need professional clothing but lack the resources to obtain it, Azul’s Attire can provide you with up to one free professional outfit per semester. To use Azul’s Attire, you can make an appointment with our office. Additionally, check out local thrift shops or attend the semesterly JCPenney Suit-Up event.
- Start applying to active job postings.
- Start using and keep building your network.
- Update your contact options.
- Put a professional sounding message on your phone voicemail that includes your name.
- Use a conservative, easy-to-use email address.
- Google yourself and check your social media pages. Remove all inappropriate content and/or adjust your privacy settings. Also, make sure your profile pictures are professional!
The job search strategy you utilize may depend heavily on the career or field you are pursuing. Every field – whether it is public relations, hospitality, education, health care, law enforcement, or sales – has aspects of the recruitment process that are specific to that industry. Part of your preparation for the job search will be to become more knowledgeable about your field’s recruitment process. Also, if you are conducting out-of-area job searches, your strategy will likely have to rely on more web-based resources than in-person networking. Overall, the most effective job searches usually involve utilizing a combination of strategies and resources.
Online Job Board StrategiesToggle More Info
Most job posting sites, even the large ones like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com, represent only a small portion of the job openings available. The appeal of these sites is understandable: everybody knows about them, and they are easy to use. That can also be a problem. With so many job seekers using them, there is tremendous competition. Some jobs postings receive hundreds of resumes from applicants. If you want to use one or two large commercial sites, that’s fine, but don’t spend any more than 10% of your job search time with them.
- You are better off using “niche job boards.” These are sites specific to a particular field. If you don’t know of any, simply use Google to search for them. For example, if you were looking for a job in sports management, simply Google “sports management job boards” and you should get plenty of options. Pick one or two to use.
- Eagle Career Network, the job board that is linked to the FGCU Career Services website, is a good resource for primarily local jobs. Also, only FGCU students and alumni can use it, so it limits the competition. The Eagle Career Network website is operated by Symplicity, a third-party provider of employment technology solutions. It is not a FGCU website.
- Most fields or industries have a professional association, and most professional associations have a website. Check the website of your professional association to see if it has a section for job postings. Not sure of the professional association in your field? Google it! More companies are starting to post on these sites instead of the large commercial sites so that they don’t get bombarded with unqualified applicants.
- One of the most helpful resources on the Internet is a site called Indeed. Unlike a job board, this is a search engine that scours the web for job postings based on your search criteria. Since Indeed pulls job postings from major newspapers, other job posting sites, and company websites, it can serve as a nice “one stop shop” and save you from having to use ten different job sites. The listings from company websites are helpful, so you can go directly to that company’s site to check for additional job postings.
- If you are relocating to another part of the country, there may be some job boards specifically for that area. Some are linked from Chamber of Commerce websites.
If you rely solely on online job sites, you may reach a point when you have applied to all the jobs you are interested in and have stopped seeing any new postings on the sites. Spending more time on the sites is not going to help. Other strategies that are discussed on this page will require you to be more proactive in your search but will probably yield better results.
Online Job Posting SitesToggle More Info
Eagle Career Network
Eagle Career Network is your one-stop-shop for on and off campus jobs, internships, and research/lab assistantships. Upload your resume, fill out your profile, and use the Job/Internship and Employer searches to research companies related to your interests!
CareerSource Southwest Florida Job Board
Register with the Employ Florida job bank to see some of the hottest job opportunities in the Southwest Florida region.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity maintains this job board with opportunities throughout the state.
On-Campus JobsToggle More Info
Eagle Career Network
Eagle Career Network is your one-stop-shop for on and off campus jobs, internships, research/lab assistantships, and submitting your service learning hours. To find specific student worker positions on-campus, navigate to the Jobs & Internship section and select "FGCU Campus Jobs" from the Position Type drop-down. Note: To apply for student worker positions on FGCU's campus, you will need to go to the FGCU Employment Opportunities page and complete the general student worker application.
FGCU Employment Opportunities
This online job portal is hosted by FGCU's Office of Human Resources and serves as the application portal for student worker positions. To apply to the general student worker pool, select "External Applicants" and then search for "Student Worker." Select the appropriate academic year's student worker application, and provide the requested information. For a listing of specific student worker positions available on FGCU's campus, see Eagle Career Network.
There are numerous food service outlets throughout campus managed by Chartwells which hire part-time workers and come with perks like working on campus, free food, flexible hours, and no experience required. To find FGCU opportunities, select "hourly positions" and search by location by selecting "Florida" and then "Fort Myers."
University Recreation & Wellness
University Recreation & Wellness is one of the largest employers of students on campus. Positions include lifeguards, intramural sport officials, marketing, customer service, and more. Use this link to learn more about current opportunities and submit an application.
Center for Academic Achievement
CAA hires students into a variety of mentoring and academic skills roles. Check out their Student Employment Opportunities page for more information on the position they offer and to submit an interest form.
The FGCU Barnes & Noble Bookstore hires seasonal booksellers to work throughout the departments in the store. Set the location to "FL, Fort Myers" for FGCU positions.
Targeting Companies and Getting a Foot in the DoorToggle More Info
Targeting: Instead of waiting to see what positions turn up on job boards, try “targeting” the companies that you want to work for and visiting the company website to check for job postings.
- To find company lists, check the professional association website for the field you are pursuing – these sites often have company membership directories. You can also look at company profiles on LinkedIn.
- This requires more time and energy than using big, commercial sites, but you're likely to access more and better opportunities.
A Foot in the Door: Many companies like to hire/promote from within, so sometimes it pays to get a “foot in the door” at a company. One study conducted on how companies fill positions indicated that 30% came from internal transfers and promotions. Here are four possible ways to get your foot in the door and try to “prove yourself.” Even if these approaches don't lead to your ideal position, you will expand your network, gain experience, and meet people who may give you good references.
- Volunteer – This is usually most appropriate in non-profits since for-profit companies don’t often accept volunteers
- Part-Time Job
- Entry-Level Full-Time Position
- Staffing or Temporary Agency – Some companies hire staff through staffing agencies on a temporary basis with the potential of that position transitioning into employment with the company. We suggest using agencies where the employer pays any fees. Be wary of staffing agencies that ask you to pay them to find you work.
NetworkingToggle More Info
What is “networking”?
In the course of your college and professional career, you will have opportunities to meet and work with peers and people from all different walks of life. Whether you meet someone in class, during a service-learning project, or at a training session, you’ll be presented with chances to establish new contacts and develop relationships to establish your “network.”
Types of Networking
- Structured networking is when the benefits to building relationships are explicit. These are intentional activities that have a purpose. Events include professional association meetings, job fairs, or informational interviews.
- Unstructured networking or “happenstance” is part of your everyday life. This kind of networking takes place at social events and gatherings such as parties, weddings, and going out to restaurants/ bars where professional networking is not the main focus.
3 Keys to Networking
- Develop your strategy. Identify the type of groups or individuals you want to come in contact with. How are you going to reach them?
- Set a goal to connect with a specified number of contacts each week/month. Keep the numbers small and focus on truly getting to know these people and building a genuine relationship.
- Use a system to keep your contacts organized. Plan on staying in touch with them. Send thank you notes to anyone who helped you. LinkedIn is one of the more popular ways to do this.
Networking and the job search
It used to be that a large number of jobs existed only in the “hidden job market.” It is uncertain how many jobs are still there, since it is easy and relatively inexpensive to post job openings somewhere. What we often see now is recruiters inundated with resumes for job postings. If a job seeker can get their cover letter/resume noticed by using a referral from someone in their network, it is likely to enhance their prospects as a candidate.
The Law of 250
- Every person knows at least 250 other people. Each of your contacts knows at least 250 people. So that’s 62,500 at your 2nd level. Each of your 2nd level contacts knows 250 people - and that’s over 15,000,000. LinkedIn allows you to visualize these connections in one place.
- It is typically not your first level contact that eventually hires you. In fact, you’ll probably find that the hiring contact may be 2, 3, or 4 levels deep.
How to Follow Up
- After you’ve made an introduction, follow up with your contact through email within 5-10 working days.
- Keep your note short: “It was nice to meet you. I look forward to seeing you again.” Try to be helpful.
- Include a link to an article you both may find interesting or share some professional news. If appropriate, introduce others in your network. Above all, be professional: no text speak, include a signature or footer with your contact information, and proof for typos.
Expanding the Conversation—Safe Topics
At certain times, it may be appropriate to expand the conversation beyond a basic introduction and exchange of business cards. Think about the acronym REST.
Recreation – You may ask about hobbies or sports the other person enjoys. This is considered an area where you may find common ground. You might phrase your question like this: “What keeps you busy when you’re not at work?"
Education – You might ask about their educational background. “Where did you go to school?” (Don’t presume college) and “What did you study?” may be good starters.
Surroundings – You may seek his/her opinion on the facilities. “What do you think of this hotel for the conference?”
Travel – You may ask about recent or near future travel. “Did you take any vacation this year? Where to?”
Elevator PitchToggle More Info
When introducing yourself, begin by smiling, making eye contact, and extending your hand for a handshake. Your introduction should be brief. In most situations, you may state:
- A greeting
- Your name
- Year in college
- Key relevant experience(s)
- Your career goal
- A question
- Nice to meet you. My name is ______________________________.
- I will be graduating from Florida Gulf Coast University with a ________________________________________ degree in ______________________________, and I would like to begin a career in ______________________________.
- Through my experience ________________________________________, I have discovered
that I bring two key strengths to the workplace: ______________________________ and
I am particularly proud of ________________________________________ (a leadership role, work, school, or life accomplishment).
- My current goal is to ________________________________________ (your next step in finding a job).
Career FairsToggle More Info
One of the best ways to locate part-time, full-time, or internship opportunities is by networking with employers face-to-face. Career Development Services hosts a number of on-campus recruitment events every semester to provide individualized and group interactions with local employers. Check out our upcoming events, and don't forget to stop by the Cohen Student Union between 11 - 2 p.m. for Recruitment Wednesdays!
Make Job Fairs Work for You
Attending a job fair gives you something a job board or website can’t – personal interaction with a recruiter. The reality, however, is that recruiters may see hundreds of applicants over the course of the event. Therefore, your goal is to make a good impression on the recruiter. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of job fairs.
Before the Fair
- Research company information (mission, vision, stakeholders, available positions, history, etc) and see what jobs are posted on their site. As you prepare for the fair, make a list of the employers you want to talk with first.
- Wear professional business attire.
- Bring a portfolio, multiple copies of your resume, your own business card.
- Make sure hands are free to shake hands, get business cards, and write down information
- Plan questions to ask the employer
- Prepare elevator speech, write it out, and practice it before the fair
- Prepare objective before coming to the fair. Is it networking? To get an internship? A job?
- Arrive to allow adequate time in the fair and get the employers when they are fresh
- Strategize which employers you want to talk to and when
During the Fair
- Do not necessarily pre-qualify companies just because they are not in your field: For example, even though you are a Marketing major, you should consider speaking to the recruiters from the hotels, since they may have a marketing department. Likewise, accounting majors may consider inquiring about the opportunities with a hospital.
- Make a lasting impression, give the employer an engaging elevator pitch. For example:
“Good afternoon. My name is John Smythe and I am a Finance major graduating this Spring. I visited your website when I saw that your company was attending the fair, and I’m very interested in learning more about the types of opportunities you are recruiting for.”
- Determine the employer’s next steps: just collecting resumes, looking to hire right away
- Make sure to maximize your opportunity at the Career Fair; meet as many employers as possible, this is a great opportunity to build connections
- Despite the name “Career Fair,” you are not trying to get a job at the event. You are trying to get an interview. Try to build rapport with the recruiter by expressing genuine interest in the company. Describe your qualifications and see if they match the requirements of the positions they are hiring.
- After speaking with the recruiter, get his/her business card and ask if you can send your resume directly to them, since hopefully you have made a good impression. If they direct you to an online application process, ask them if there is anything you can do to stand out or for other advice for getting a “foot in the door.”
After the Fair
- Follow Up: The reality is that fewer recruiters are accepting paper resumes at job fairs. They are increasingly directing job seekers to online application processes. So, the real work may actually begin after the job fair. If you writing a cover letter, mention in it that you met “Sally Jones, the recruiter from your company, at the FGCU career fair, and she indicated I may be a good fit for the Account Executive position.”
- Send a thank you email to follow up with the employer and reinforce the points you made and what you learned from them at the Career Fair
- If you do not hear back within a week, try to reach out again to see if there is an opportunity for you
Career Fair Preparation
- Winning the Career Fair: This presentation recording from an employer at Enterprise Holdings explains exactly what you should do to prepare and ace your first interaction with prospective employers at Career Events.
- How to Work a Career Fair: Check out Candid Career's video on all the steps to make your career fair visit a success.
Internship FAQToggle More Info
An internship is an opportunity to learn through experience. By taking what you have learned in your courses out of the classroom, you have the chance to apply your knowledge and develop your skills in a workplace setting. By engaging in hands-on projects, making connections in your field, and exploring your intended career path, you'll find that an internship can be the key to setting yourself up to launch your career after graduation. By participating in an internship or co-operative program, students can receive academic credit while gaining work experience and earning money to support their education. We recommend all students complete an internship, but requirements vary by major.
The Office of Internships & Co-Operative Programs
The Office of Internships & Co-Operative Programs partner with employers who can offer students meaningful work with a learning component related to their field of study.
email@example.com | 239-745-4423
Eagle Career Network
Search for internship opportunities through this job & internship posting system.
Dress for SuccessToggle More Info
The interview is a necessary part of the job and internship search process. It is important to present yourself in your most professional manner and adhere to cultural standards of proper interviewing attire while still remaining comfortable in your outfit. Students can make an appointment with Azul's Attire to get one free professional outfit and to talk to a career advisor about professional dress.
LinkedIn is the world's largest site for professional networking. Around 70-85% of positions are found through networking and employee referrals. Create an account and use these resources to enhance your job or internship search.
LinkedIn Must-HavesToggle More Info
- Professional Headshot: Choose a photo of you from the shoulders up in professional dress with a smiling facial expression. We offer free headshots from a professional photographer at our major career fairs each semester, and there is also a photo booth in the library where you could get a headshot for a small fee.
- Background Photo: The background photo should be expressive of who you are as a professional as well as your intended industry.
- Customize Your URL: Create a unique URL for your profile with your name (www.linkedin.com/in/yourname). You can find this feature on the right hand upper side of your profile page.
- Strategic Headline: Personalize your headline. Mention your major, positions you are seeking, and some of your key skills. Check out the profiles of students and recent alumni you admire for ideas.
- Impactful Summary: Describe who you are, what motivates you, what you are skilled at, and what's next. This is a professional summary of your focused, special skills, and an opportunity to use your elevator pitch. More details are included in the next section.
- Experience: List your relevant work experience along with the accomplishment statements from your resume. You can also include photos, videos, or presentations that you have completed.
- Education: Make sure you link to the official university account and add any details that will demonstrate your accomplishments while in school (GPA, classes, awards).
- Organizations: Describe any clubs or organizations you are a member of and what you did within each organization. Make sure to pair your organization with your experience.
- Projects: Whether you led a team assignment in school or built an app on your own, talk about what you did and how you did it. This is a great way to demonstrate relevant experience if you do not have professional work experience.
- Volunteer Experience: List your various service learning or extracurricular activities in which you are a part of. Employers often see volunteer experience as just as valuable as paid work.
- Skills and Endorsements: Add at least 10 key skills that you feel you possess as well as any industry specific words. After you add these skills, start endorsing your connections for their skills so they will endorse you back.
- Certifications: Add any certification you may have, especially if it is related to the field you are going into.
- Groups: Follow groups or organizations you are affiliated with to keep up-to-date with industry news.
- Recommendations: Ask managers or professors who’ve worked with you closely to write a recommendation. This gives extra credibility to your strengths and skills.
Writing a Professional SummaryToggle More Info
Your professional summary in the About section is where people viewing your page get a glimpse of your personality. Use this as a place to share information that you would include in an elevator pitch.
- Who are you? (Introduction: Name, Major, Career Interest)
- What do you do/ What can you do well? (Skills, Experience, Product, Idea)
- What is your goal? (Find a job/internship, learn about the industry, sell your product or yourself, ask questions)
Building ConnectionsToggle More Info
The purpose of LinkedIn is to connect and network with people you know, businesses you trust, and individuals who could help you in your future career. Users can invite anyone to become a connection. However, we recommend you start off with 1st connections until you reach around 50, then branch off to adding 2nd and 3rd connections.
Don’t send the general “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” message! Instead, follow this simple formula:
- Personalize the message
- Identify how you know this person
- Tell them why you want to connect
Connect with Alumni
Alumni are great resources for you to reach out to when you are looking to expand your network and to find out more about your intended industry. On your profile page, scroll down to your education section and then click on your university name. Click on “Alumni” from the menu. On this page, you can view and find alumni by location, company, major, and specific keywords. This tool allows you to see the types of jobs and employers that recent and experienced alumni have obtained. When reaching out to them, send a personalized connection request with a short message on why you would like to connect with them. Example:
I am a junior English major at FGCU, and I see that you graduated from FGCU with a degree in English. Would you be open to talking briefly over the phone to discuss your professional path after FGCU?
Thank you for your time,
Leverage Your Connections in the Job Search
You can use LinkedIn to stay in touch with your connections so they can let you know if they hear of any jobs, as well as have your closer connections serve as referrals for opportunities you are pursuing. Meet fictional John Smith; recent FGCU grad looking for an entry-level job in human resources.John sees that one of his former FGCU classmates and LinkedIn connections, Sally Jones, is an HR Generalist at a resort in Orlando. The goal for John is to touch base with Sally and let her know his situation.
I hope all is well in Orlando. Congratulations on your position at ___ Resort. I am still actively looking for HR opportunities in SW Florida but am expanding my search to other Florida cities, including Orlando. If you happen to hear about an HR opportunities, feel free to let me know. I will call you next time I am in the area and hopefully we can meet for lunch. I would really be interested in learning how you were able to break into the field. Thanks for your help!
Referral Dos and Don'ts
- Do find a specific role with your contact's company that is a perfect fit for your skillset
- Do write a concise paragraph that illustrates your three biggest achievements, aligned with the role you would like to be referred to
- Do attach your resume when you are asking for a referral
- Don't reach out to a contact just to ask them, "Let me know if you have any openings"
- Don't send a message with just a "Hi!" and no context
- Don't send a message saying "Job X or Y at your company is cool! Can you refer me?"
- Don't send really long messages
Conducting a Job SearchToggle More Info
LinkedIn is one of the best tools for job searching, especially for students looking to relocate. Simply, type in your keywords and search location, then use the filters to sort by post-date, experience level, job type, and industry. Some job postings will connect you with the employer’s website, while others will simply allow you to submit your LinkedIn profile as your application.
Let Employers Know You Are Available
The "Open to Work" feature is helpful for candidates actively searching for a job, internship, or new opportunity. Follow these steps to let recruiters know that you are actively searching for positions and open to being contacted:
- Go to your profile and click on "Open to" and then "Finding a new job."
- Answer the questions, making sure to include numerous alternatives for ideal job titles and industries.
- Click "Add to Profile."
- Keep your profile updated. This will help to keep you “top of mind” for opportunities that may come up in your field. Make sure your contact information is easily visible in your profile, including a professional email and phone number.
- Update your status. Mentioning job fairs or industry events you have attended helps show people both inside and outside your network that you are actively seeking. Also, adding a relevant article with an insightful comment helps to establish you as an expert in your field. Try to update your status at least once a week.
- Comment on discussion threads in your groups. Recruiters are looking for activity on your LinkedIn account. Likewise, industry recruiters may be searching specific groups in your field for potential candidates.
LinkedIn LearningToggle More Info
FGCU has partnered with LinkedIn Learning, an award-winning industry leader in online training with a digital library of over 9,000 courses covering a wide range of technical, business, software, and creative topics for both professional and personal development. Explore personalized learning experiences with courses taught by real-world professionals when it’s convenient for your schedule. Learn how to set up your account. Check out the videos in these playlists:
- Communicating with Confidence
- Creating a Career Plan
- Being an Effective Team Member
- Problem-Solving Techniques
- Emotional Intelligence
- Resilience Skills
- Transferable Skills
Eagle Career Network
Put your passion to work! Explore FGCU’s official career management system. Visit the Eagle Career Network for internships & cooperative programs, full-time and part-time opportunities, upcoming career fairs and events, exclusive workshops, networking opportunities, and more. New opportunities show up every day, and it’s available 24/7 via web browser or mobile app, so you never have to miss out on that perfect career connection.