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Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

Research Tips For The Jobseeker

See all of our recruiting blogs for the student jobseeker on Vault.com:


Research Off-Campus / What You Need to Know
Posted on MAR 18, 2009 12:00 A.M.

–Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine

Recently, Connie and I were coaching at an undergraduate college to troubleshoot the job searches of seniors who hadn’t yet secured a full-time job. Nearly all of my coaching sessions came down to a question of research. The students that I saw had identified their dream industries. They had clean resumes. They even started to get interviews. But where most searches broke down was in a failure to research.

What companies are you targeting? One student had an interest in green – she used electric cars as an example. Who makes electric cars? Who markets these cars? Who lobbies for green? These are all potential job targets. Electric cars won’t hire you. The companies and organizations behind them will.

To whom are you sending your resume? Unless you are targeting a job in HR, recruiters don’t hire you – the department you want hires you. If you want to be a grant writer, then the development director is who you want to contact. If you want to be a PR assistant, then it’s the communications director. Find the decision-maker, and network into them specifically.

What keeps your prospective employer up at night? When you interview, you need to know yourself and your contributions – that’s a given. But you need to position yourself in the context of the company and what it cares about. How do they make money? What are the opportunities and challenges to their business? How can you contribute to their bottom line and their business model specifically?

You will not know how to position yourself appropriately, how to find the right contacts, and where to even start your search unless you research. The informed jobseeker has the upper hand in the search.


Research On-Campus / How You Find Out What You Need to Know

–Posted by Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio

It’s St. Patricks Day, and these days, it seems that only the Leprechauns are finding their pots of gold. But students can find their pot of gold, aka their dream job, if they use research tools provided to them by their career services office. Caroline and I recently coached students at an undergraduate college in NYC, and almost every student told me a search in the “x” or “y” industry is too hard to conduct. Searches get a lot easier when you use the research tools outlined below, and career services provides many of them free of charge.

1 – Vault Industry Guides: these guides give you an overview of industries like “Green Programs”, “Investment Management”, “Consulting Industry””, and more. Each guide gives an introduction to the industry in general, followed by “hiring basics”, “resumes and cover letters” specific to the industry, and of course “interview tips”. They will also include “a day in the life”, “career paths” and they end with top companies in that industry space. And here is the kicker … they give you the name, address and contact email of the recruiter for each group that hires. How could you go wrong using this?!?!
2 – The Vault Guide to Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviewing: this comprehensive guide will show you various examples of cover letters and resumes, in addition to a general overview of the interview process. It’s a must read for a basic and comprehensive introduction of these topics;
3 – The Vault Guide to Advanced Finance and Quantitative Interviews: this guide will help you prepare for the toughest technical finance interviews – including everything from “bond fundamentals” to “equity market derivatives”;
4 – Networking is the buzz word of the 21st Century, but I’ll argue that few know how to do it correctly and effectively. The Vault Guide to Schmoozing gives you a good foundation for networking. You’ll need to watch the masters do it correctly, and practice and follow up like never before, but it will pay off in the end.

If your career services office doesn’t offer these tools to you free of charge, some may be worth purchasing (they range from $20 – $30 a piece). If they are too expensive, perhaps you can get a group of students to chip in and order 4 or 5 and share. It would be foolish not to see how these resources can help you land your dream job!

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