Self-assessment: Phase one of three in the job search – UW Graduate School Skip to content

Self-assessment: Phase one of three in the job search

The academic year has flown by, and some grad students are graduating and approaching an exciting new phase in the working world: others are continuing their education and looking for summer work in-between. But what if you don’t have a job lined up, and are unsure of how to get started?

Lucky for you, Your Guide attended a workshop detailing an approach to the job search, taught by Caitlin Goldbaum, career coach at the Career & Internship Center. The following is an outline of the strategies Caitlin recommends for a successful job search. It is being published in three parts, corresponding to the three phases of the job hunt: (1) self-assess; (2) identify the work you are looking for; (3) assess the three core strategies for job hunting.

This week’s phase is self-assessment of your job search materials. Feel free to email your Guide with any questions, or comment below about any self-assessment tools or strategies that have worked for you. Happy hunting, grad students!

Phase One: Self-assess your job materials.

Consider each component of your application – resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, and possibly a portfolio – and ask yourself if you they are comprehensive, free of typos and formatting errors and updated for your next job search. Before you start the job search, you should:

  1. Have a strong resume that can be tailored to any job
  • A resume will be necessary for any job application
  • Create a new resume for every job. Highlight your experiences that prepare you for this position
  • Pull out keywords from the job description and try to capture your experiences through the lens of those keywords.
  • Use a variety of action verbs to describe what you did in each experience. Include information about the task, the actions you took, and the result of your work.
  • If your resume isn’t ready, here are a couple good places to start:
    • 15 minute drop-in appointments with the Career Center for resume (or cover letter!) consultation
    • The Career Guide (written by the Career Center) includes templates to help you with layout of your resume. Pro-tip: Don’t download a template from online (they’re dated), create your own in Word.
  1. Be confident that you can write a compelling cover letter
  • Most jobs require a cover letter. If it’s optional, do it.
  • The cover letter gives the employer a “more complete” story of who you are and what experiences have prepared you for the position .
  • A cover letter is a persuasive document. The first paragraph will include a thesis statement on why you are the best candidate for the position
  • The middle paragraph is where you tell a complete story about a past experience connected to the keywords in the job description.
  • The concluding paragraph is where you reiterate your interest, highlight why you are well qualified, and invite the employer to bring you in for an interview to discuss your qualifications further.
  • You’ll create a new cover letter for each job you apply for with different stories from your experience.
  • To answer on the question how to write my essay, just go and buy it, and you will save the time
  1. Regularly utilize LinkedIn for networking
  • LinkedIn is not required, but is highly encouraged: many jobs and industries look for this.
  • Having a LinkedIn allows you to control your online presence.
  • It allows an employer to see the full trajectory of your career.
  1. Have a portfolio that clearly showcases your best work, if-needed. Industries where you may need a portfolio are the arts, journalism, design, architecture, engineering.
  2. Feel comfortable interviewing. Need to practice some interview questions? You can set up a mock interview with the Career Center!

Feeling confident in your job search materials? Move on to the second phase of the job application process — self-assessment of your interests and skills! 

Ask Your Grad School Guide is an advice column for all y’all graduate and professional students. Real questions from real students, answered by real people. If the Guide doesn’t know the answer, the Guide will seek out experts all across campus to address the issue. (Please note: The Guide is not a medical doctor, therapist, lawyer or academic advisor, and all advice offered here is for informational purposes only.) Submit a question for the column →