There are many components to a successful job search, but in the end, it comes down to a combination of factors. Unfortunately, this includes timing and opportunity, which depend on external influences. However, there are some aspects that will be within your control, so doing your best to be strategic with the companies you pursue will yield better results in the long term.
Researching employers is a practice that is key to student success in interviewing and landing the role you seek. It’s the equivalent of completing a literature review prior to writing a paper or conducting consumer research before a large purchase/investment.
The obvious place to begin is to google the company or organization’s website. Also, look at competitor company websites. Information about companies and their competitors can be gained from industry resources, list servs, assistance from the Georgia Tech librarians, who can help you access a wealth of resources, faculty, and Tech alums.
You are seeking objective information about the company or organization, so be sure to go beyond the company website and sources where they may have paid to be listed.
Information to Look For
WHO: Knowing the size of the company, by revenue and by the size of the workforce, can help you create questions – in a larger company, your role may be more specialized. In a smaller organization, you may be required/expected to perform in a variety of roles. Which is a better fit for you? Your questions in an interview reflect the quality of your research and recruiters will be assessing how that demonstrated behavior can make you an effective employee, be it intern, co-op or full-time.
WHAT: It’s helpful for you to know the company’s major focus of specialization or industry, as well as learn if the company has an intrapreneurial (a start-up within a larger company) effort in addition to its primary operations.
WHY: What is the company’s mission or the “Why” behind that mission? Understanding the type of culture and operational priorities for a company can help you understand and better relate yourself to the company in interviews and conversations.
WHERE: Know where they operate. If you have specific areas you want to be geographically, be sure that the company (and the specific functional area) you are pursuing operates in an area you’d want to be. If not, understand what – if any – remote work opportunities exist.
HOW: Be sure to understand how they achieve their goals and maintain their competitiveness within their industry. How do they operate to achieve their goals and how would you fit into that organization?
How To Research
- Identify Georgia Tech alums on LinkedIn who currently work for that employer. Reach out to the alum(s) and let them know you are researching the company. Once they accept your invitation to LinkIn ask if you can chat with them about their experience there (coffee chat or otherwise).
- Follow companies on LinkedIn. That’s information they want you to know, and it adds to your bank of knowledge. Career Center Corporate Partners are valued companies and will be glad to help you learn about their work.
- Attend employer’s campus events, including career fairs and virtual or in-person information and/or tabling sessions, to interact with recruiters and staff, and observe company culture as demonstrated in their interactions with students, faculty, and staff. Do your research before in-person interactions so your questions move your research process forward more directly.
- BuzzFile (a search tool available through the Career Center’s Career Tools page) can help you get a sense of where the company falls in size with others in the industry.
- Firsthand (formerly Vault) is another resource on the Career Center website under Career Tools. The site ranks companies in a number of industries and has practical downloadable guides for many popular industries as well.
- The Georgia Tech Library is the best resource for in-depth research and there is a research librarian for every college at Georgia Tech. Below are two of the resources they can help with and they know about multiple other resources.
- Atlanta area companies can be researched through BusinessWise, which catalogs information about the business press articles/events on the company for the most recent two years. From this information you may spot trends of growth or where they could use student expertise.
- Hoovers, acquired by Dun and Bradstreet, is another well-known business directory for broad information about companies.
- For non-profits research, check Idealist.org.
- For governmental entities check with the respective department(s) website and USA Jobs to start.
Job Search Strategies for Co-op, Internship, and Full-Time Positions
There are a variety of ways to find a full-time job, co-op, or internship. The Career Center always recommends that students start on CareerBuzz and expand their search if they are not seeing positions in their targeted industry or area of interest. (CareerBuzz positions are posted by the employer specifically for GT students.)
Here are some ways to find opportunities:
- Career fairs and other campus recruiting events
- On-campus interviews (positions are posted in CareerBuzz)
- Professional associations
- Networking events, conferences, and meetups
- Networking with GT alumni and professionals online or in-person
- Targeted job boards
Before you begin your search, it is important to identify a place to start. It is easy to spend a lot of time, energy, and effort without getting results if you do not identify parameters for your search. Below are some common factors job seekers will focus on as they start:
- Job function (ex: communications, mechanical engineering, finance)
- Industry (ex: healthcare, transportation, retail)
- Organization Type (Fortune 500, startup, multinational)
- Geographic location
- Values (ex. organizations that value sustainability, diversity, or philanthropy)
Here is a sample Job Search Organization Spreadsheet to help you stay organized as you search.
10 Tips for Your Job Search
- Have a polished, tailored resume. Your resume should be well formatted and reflect the job description to which you are applying as much as possible. Reorder your bullets, use job description terminology, and highlight the most relevant aspects of your background. Lastly, label your resume appropriately: MarySmithResume.pdf or MarySmithHomeDepotResume.pdf.
- Practice interviewing. Use Big Interview to practice online or schedule a time to meet with a Career Center advisor.
- Submit more applications than you think you need. You can always turn down the opportunity to interview, but you can’t be considered for a position after it has already closed. A good return on applications is 20-30%. Aim to submit 10-20 job applications each week or more.
- Prioritize networking and meeting professionals doing work you are interested in pursuing. Networking is the #1 way job-seekers find positions. Not only that, it’s the primary way professionals are able to move up into more senior roles.
- Start looking early. Each industry has a different hiring timeline. Consulting and finance/investment banking tend to recruit students a year or more in advance for internships & full-time positions, so you need to be active and applying to positions during the summer or fall semester up to 1 year prior to the semester you hope to intern.
- Show up. Go to career fairs, networking events, company information sessions, and other opportunities where you can encounter professionals. Go even if you aren’t sure what the benefit of attending may be.
- Get organized. Create a job search spreadsheet to keep track of your applications. Remember to download or copy job descriptions because they often will be taken down after the application deadline.
- Be conscious of your image. Google yourself and clean up your social media. Dress appropriately for interviews and networking events.
- Send thank you notes and follow up. Little things make a big difference in the job search.
- Stay active until you get an offer, and don’t focus on failures. You will not get every job you apply or interview for. The only way you will ultimately get a job is if you persevere and take the time to reflect on your experiences to grow from them. Utilize the Career Center resources and advising appointments to make sure you are putting your best foot forward with a strong resume and interview skills.
Job Searching Abroad
For many students, the U.S. job search can be a challenging experience, but luckily, there are many resources available to them, as they apply to stateside companies. But, what if your aspirations to work stretch beyond the shores of the United States, and you find yourself dreaming of working in a different country? Is this too big of a dream or is it possible that your goals to work abroad are achievable, and if so where do you even begin?
With preparation and hard work, any goal is achievable, and the following strategies can be useful when considering a job search abroad.
Strategy 1. Participate in an International Experience.
By participating in an international experience such as a study abroad, international research, or international internship program, students can immerse themselves in a new country and create a unique network of like-minded professors, students, and employers from across the globe. This network can be essential to establishing global contacts when looking for a job opportunity abroad. Georgia Tech offers various international opportunities such as the following:
- Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP): “As more employers look for college graduates who can work in diverse settings and approach problems from multiple perspectives, it is more important than ever for Georgia Tech students to gain global experience in their fields. Georgia Tech’s Global Research and Internship Program helps students accomplish this by facilitating industry work and research experiences in an international context.”
For more information on GRIP, visit their website.
- Education Abroad: “Studying abroad gives students an opportunity to improve their global competencies while meeting their academic goals, as students are able to take classes to fulfill their degree requirements. There is a study abroad program just waiting for you!”
For more information on Education Abroad, visit their website. (Scholarship opportunities available.)
- Georgia Tech International Campuses: Did you know Georgia Tech has two international campuses located in Metz, France and Shenzhen, China? With various course offerings per semester, each campus has a variety of opportunities available to develop students who are interested in an international learning experience. In addition, students have an opportunity to network with local faculty, partners, and organizations and participate in internship opportunities that may open the door to a job opportunity abroad after graduation.
Strategy 2: Embrace the Power of LinkedIn and Your Network.
Georgia Tech students and faculty represent over 149 countries, and many are connected through LinkedIn. Students interested in connecting with their peers should follow Georgia Institute of Technology on the professional networking site and explore the “Alumni” feature, a useful and powerful tool for gaining industry insight.
As a networking strategy, students interested in working abroad can reach out to their fellow Georgia Tech alumni and request an informational interview to learn more about their experiences working abroad. International faculty who have first-hand experience can also be identified through the feature which may allow students the opportunity to establish a mentorship with someone willing to share their own experiences and recommendations for the international job search.
Finally, spread the word, and ask your personal network to review their own contacts to determine whether they are familiar with someone working abroad. Connecting with someone on LinkedIn through a reference or shared experience helps establish common ground and can facilitate a more productive conversation when requesting information from an indirect source.
Strategy 3: Consider Starting Locally.
If you are unable to participate in international experiences, a great way to explore job opportunities abroad is by working for a company with global offices. Large companies such as Google, Deloitte, Accenture, and other globally recognized firms may have job opportunities within the United States which can lead to a job transfer abroad. In addition, local mid-level and startup firms may be interested in establishing a global footprint which can lead to an opportunity for an employee to work abroad.
Regardless of a firm’s size, participating in an internship or co-op with a company that has a global office can eventually lead to a job opportunity abroad.
For more information on Internships and Co-Ops, visit the Career Center website.
Things to Consider:
When preparing yourself for an international job search, it is most important to create a plan and consider the following:
- Visa and Travel Requirements: In order to work in a different country, one must receive a work visa or permit which grants them permission to work there. The process for receiving a work visa takes time, can be costly, and varies with each country. It is important to consider these factors and explore how to offset any costs or time constraints by exploring options such as job transfers through a current employer. Also, in a post-COVID-19 society, it is important to consider any additional travel requirements such as immunizations and/or quarantine guidelines set by each country.
- Localize Your Resume: Creating a localized resume is also crucial when conducting a job search abroad. It is important to understand the language, grammar, or spelling that is used in the country. For example, while English is spoken in both the United States and United Kingdom, there are distinct spellings for certain words, such as “color” versus “colour”.
- Understanding Culture: When searching for a job abroad, also research the country’s cultures and customs or even visit the country beforehand. Understanding the people, food, language, and other customs can help facilitate the experience when preparing to work in a new country. This can also help strengthen the relationships with future colleagues, customers, and neighbors.
Preparation is essential when job searching abroad, as the process can be time-consuming and complex. By participating in international experiences and connecting with one’s network, one can alleviate certain complexities and may increase their chances of obtaining a job abroad.
Finding Research Opportunities
For students interested in pursuing research as a career or those looking to get more hands-on experience, research is a great opportunity to gain skills and experience. There are many ways to engage in research on and off campus, through roles within GT as well as working with other universities, private labs, or in Research & Development (R&D) roles.
- Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) – options for current students or post-graduation roles to engage in full- or part-time research projects
- Pursue Graduate or Undergraduate research on campus
- HigherEdJobs Laboratory and Research job board
- Utilize any major job boards to search for research roles in your field
Part-Time Jobs & Federal Work-Study
Students can find part-time jobs that are both on-campus and off-campus in CareerBuzz. Any part-time job that is shared with the Career Center will be posted on CareerBuzz, but there may be certain opportunities that are advertised through newsletters, flyers, or other means that do not make it into CareerBuzz.
Students are encouraged to reach out to departments and offices of interest to inquire about part-time hiring. In addition to searching on CareerBuzz, below are a few job boards that may assist in searching for a part-time position:
- GT Student Center jobs
- GT HR’s Student Employment page
- GT Office of Undergraduate Education job board links
- Care.com (Child/Senior/Pet Care; Tutoring)
- StudentFreelance (Freelance jobs for students)
- General job boards: SimplyHired, LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed
- Company job boards and careers pages
- Sometimes, local startups may have freelance/part-time opportunities: check out Atlanta Tech Village to see if they have openings or to begin networking
- GTRI often has part-time opportunities
The Federal Work-Study program is managed by the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid. At Georgia Tech, FWS is awarded to undergraduate students who enroll at least half-time and demonstrate financial need. FWS awards generally vary from $600 to $1,500 per semester and are earned during the period of enrollment. Students may work in an on-campus, off-campus, or in a community service position.
To be considered for a FWS award, you must complete both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Georgia Tech Application for Scholarships and Financial Aid (GT App) each year by the posted deadlines. Visit this link for more information.
Career Fair Preparation
Watch our Career Fair Prep Workshop, or read below for guidance.
There are 4 main areas to address to be ready for a career fair.
- Polish your resume (visit our Resume page for guidance)
- Research companies
- Craft an introduction
- Dress to impress (visit Campus Closet to borrow business attire)
Do this BEFORE the fair! Look at the list of companies attending. Make notes on the following:
- Business model and/or mission
- Who are the clients?
- What is produced: goods, services?
- Look at the jobs posted (in career fair listing or on the company website) – what jobs do they hire for? What skills are used?
- What departments do they have that interest you?
- Where do your skills/interests overlap?
Craft an Introduction
The ability to introduce yourself comfortably and concisely will be appreciated by recruiters. Your ability to connect with representatives at the fair, have authentic and natural conversations, and build relationships will be one of the greatest outcomes you can get from a career fair. Be ready to share:
Who you are — > What you’ve done/are doing –> What you are excited about/next steps
- State your name, major, class year
- Share information about your background and have a solid conclusion/end on a question
- Classes, skills, involvement, internships/co-op/research/part-time work
Student: “Hello, I am Laura Triana.”
Employer: “Hi Laura, I’m Jane. Nice to meet you!”
Student: “It’s nice to meet you too. To share more about my background, I am a first-year student studying Business Administration with a minor in French. Outside of school, I work part-time at Ace Hardware assisting customers, helping with the cash register, and maintaining inventory. I also oversee communications for the French Club, which has helped me hone my written communication and promotional skills. These experiences have confirmed my interest in marketing, and when I was researching more about Newell Rubbermaid, I noticed that you have a Brand Marketing Internship role open. I would love to hear more about the position and what you are seeking from a candidate for this role.”
- Show curiosity about the other person
- DO NOT WRITE A PARAGRAPH. Jot down bullet points similar to the sample above, and practice saying it out loud (in a mirror or record yourself on video) until you can comfortably speak about your points.
Ask Good Questions
For many representatives, hearing informed, intelligent questions from a potential candidate will make them sit up and take notice. It will enable you to have a real and productive conversation with the employer about their work and a potential fit for you. For this reason, it can be helpful to think ahead about some questions you could ask that would lead to a conversation. If you have questions specific to their work areas or jobs posted, even better.
- Can you tell me about your experience working for COMPANY NAME?
- I’d love to learn more about careers related to my major. Can you tell me more about your organization and any roles you think could be a good fit?
- What areas of the company are growing most right now?
- Can you tell me more about specific skills you value in a candidate?
Try to get names, titles, and contact info (likely business cards) from contacts you speak with. Send a 2-3 sentence email referencing your conversation within 24 hours to help build that relationship. In your own words:
- Thank the person for their time and remind them of the specifics of your conversation.
- State “As we discussed, I am very interested in this position because I have ___, ___, and ___, which fit well with your needs.”
- Finish with brief goodwill sentiment, “Hope to hear from you soon”