Strategies for Finding Job Openings

There are many methods that employers use to identify candidates for positions. How they approach filling a particular position depends on many variables including the qualifications for the position and how quickly the position needs to be filled. You think you're nervous, right? Well, employers are nervous too. People involved in screening, interviewing, and selecting don't want to risk inviting the "wrong" person for an interview or recommending that the "wrong" person be hired. Doing so reflects poorly on their judgment, skills, and general ability. They have supervisors evaluating their performance, too. Therefore, employers involved in hiring need a lot of information to help them feel confident that interviewing and selecting you is going to make THEM look good.

When looking for work it's important to strike a balance between looking for advertised openings and unadvertised openings (the hidden job market). Most job openings are not advertised, so it is best to concentrate on the hidden job market. This requires being proactive and taking the initiative to uncover

This is the number one way that people identify openings and get jobs. It is the most proactive job search strategy. Networking taps into the hidden job market through the development and cultivation of contacts and relationships. Rather than passively relying on chance, the smart job seeker CREATES opportunities for meeting people who work or who may know someone who works in the field of interest. Start by letting everyone you know (relatives, friends, faculty, supervisors, and neighbors) that you're looking for a job. You never know who may know someone who can provide valuable information or a valuable contact.

The Alumni Career Network, sponsored by The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, makes it possible for Binghamton students to identify Binghamton graduates working in particular fields or for particular employers who are willing to talk about their work. Alumni want to help so take advantage of this resource. Remember - this is not a job placement service. While it is appropriate to ask for tips on how to look for openings in the field, it is not appropriate to ask them to hire you or to get you a job!

Through people you meet you'll gain an understanding of how people are hired, gain up-to-date information about who may be hiring, and learn what employers expect from candidates. One person leads to another, because a good word or just being able to mention someone's name can help you get your foot in the door.

Ask each contact, "Who else do you think would be an interesting person for me to speak with?" and "May I mention your name?". Even such a casual referral can lead to information about openings not yet advertised, early information about anticipated openings, or information about openings not advertised in publications you see. Read the Quick Reference Guide on Networking and Informational Interviewing (64.5 kb pdf).

Keep a notebook for recording the names and contact information of people working within the field that interests you. As you begin your job search you'll want to identify specific names as often as possible. A master list of contacts can help. So approach reading the newspaper, participating in internships, or talking with friends and faculty with this in mind.

For further reading about networking you may want to take a look at these books that are available in the Fleishman Career Center's Career Resource Area:
The National Business Employment Weekly - Networking
It's Who You Know: the Magic of Networking in Person and on the Internet

Special Events
Bring your resume; dress in a manner that will make a good first impression. The Job & Internship Fair, hosts employers in both the fall and spring semesters. Representatives are available to discuss professional opportunities and internships. Check out the Fleishman Career Center's Events Calendar for dates and times.

The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development provides a web-based system to use as part of a job or internship search. Many employers contact the Fleishman Career Center for assistance in identifying candidates for openings. By completing your eRecruiting profile you may access job listings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Employers Interviewing On Campus: Students submit resumes online, receive notification via email, and schedule interview times via the Web.
  • Employers NOT Interviewing On Campus: Many employers who seek Binghamton candidates do not visit the campus to conduct interviews. Students and alumni connect with these employers by either publishing a resume to one of eRecruiting's resume books or by applying to positions posted through the system. After reviewing position descriptions, interested candidates forward a resume and cover letter according to the directions provided.
  • Employer Information Sessions: Many employers conduct presentations to meet interested students and provide information. Employer information sessions are listed on the calendar feature of eRecruiting. It is important to attend sessions held by employers with whom you will be interviewing.

Ads in Newspapers or Newsletters
The newspaper is where people commonly focus a job search. Certainly check the want ads of the daily paper for the city where you hope to work, but don't rely on them exclusively. It may not be necessary to check every day. Sunday editions have the biggest classified sections. Classified from the newspapers of major cities as well as many smaller daily papers are available on the web. In addition to reviewing classified ads in daily newspapers, specialized newspapers for particular, professions often list job vacancies. For example, the "Chronicle of Higher Education" (available in the Fleishman Career Center and on the Internet) is a weekly publication that includes administrative and faculty openings.

Professional associations, interest groups and commercial vendors produce specialized publications that include job vacancy information. The Fleishman Career Center subscribes to Environmental Opportunities, Opportunities in Public Affairs, and International Employment Opportunities.

Mailings to Employers
Selectively mail your resume to organizations in your career field and geographic area of interest. Using directories or the internet, identify organizations and obtain contact names and addresses. Some directories include descriptions of organizations, providing greater insight about the nature of their activities. Directories can be geographically based or occupationally based.

The Career Resource Area in the Fleishman Career Center has several employer directories including:

  • Peterson's Top 2,500 Employers
  • Peterson's Job Opportunities in Health and Science
  • Job Choices. Each year the National Association of Colleges and Employers produces directories that include occupational needs anticipated by employers that recruit college graduates. Four volumes are available in the Fleishman Career Center: Planning, Diversity Edition, Business, and Engineering/Technology.

Professional Associations or Societies
These exist for every profession and typically help employers and job seekers connect through formal advertising of openings or through networking. Some professional associations publish newsletters, hold conventions or offer other job search services. Identify associations for your field of interest through other professionals or through an Internet search engine, such as Google. Simply type in a topic and "association" (i.e. "anthropology association").

The Internet
The Internet provides international access to professional networks, homepages, and career services.

Non-BU Recruiting Events
Various events provide opportunities to interact with employers. The format for these events varies, so you'll want to consider how you can maximize their usefulness to you. Beyond the campus, you'll find job fairs held typically in large hotels. Some focus on particular professionals such as nurses, programmers, actuaries, or information systems people. The procedures for participating vary.

Employment Agencies, Headhunters, Executive Recruiters
These organizations provide services to employers who are seeking candidates for particular openings. Their primary client is not the job seeker, but the employer who pays a fee. Nevertheless, you may contact agencies that are interested in candidates such as yourself. This means finding out if the agency works with recent college graduates just entering the job market. Be a careful consumer and avoid signing anything you haven't read and avoid paying fees. Some job seekers have paid thousands of dollars for exaggerated services and end up very disappointed. In contrast, others have found employment agencies helpful, particularly when the agency specializes in their profession. The Directory of Executive Recruiters enables one to identify agencies in particular cities which specialize in particular professions or industries such as engineering, non-profit organizations, personnel, purchasing, or pharmaceuticals.

Short-Term or Temporary Positions
It's possible to pursue professionally oriented positions that are temporary. Short-term experiences may serve as a way to gain experience, increase self-confidence, earn money, and perhaps lead to something more permanent. "Temping" through a temporary employment agency can be a good way to secure "bridge" or "interim" work. Depending on your personal situation, the period immediately following graduation or in between jobs could be a "window of opportunity." Creatively exploiting this "window" can have a profound effect on your future. It can be an exciting time to experiment with careers of interest or perhaps experience another culture; what you gain can enrich your life and move you closer to clarifying long-range goals. See the "Short-Term Opportunities" section of the Fleishman Career Center website for links to specific programs and opportunities.

The following are selected websites that might be helpful when looking for a temporary job.
Staffing Today


The website of the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development at Binghamton University contains links to other websites as a convenience for its users and is not responsible for the contents of any linked site.

Last Updated: 8/11/16