The Search is On – Tips for Job Seekers

May 16, 2017
by Terra Saltzman-Baker

Graduation season is upon us, and thus, the job search has begun for hundreds of thousands of graduates.

Searching for a job is no easy feat, but the Rady School of Management’s Director of Career Connections offers tips and tricks to help applicants succeed throughout the job-seeking process.

1. Start early and talk to everyone

Communication is key – the more you TALK to people (not email, WeChat, text or tweet), the more you will learn from them and about what career you really want to pursue. Narrowing your focus is key when having conversations – someone is less likely to know how to help you or want to help you if your search is too vague (“a job in finance”) or simple outreach (“I’m networking”).

2. Use LinkedIn to find someone, then reach out to them directly

Most of the time, an email asking someone for a brief conversation is the best way to get a response. People have a lot to do during the day (especially those that are great at their job, and are who you really want to reach) and checking in on their LinkedIn may be at the very bottom of their priority list. Get creative on how to reach out to them – if they receive an email to their work address, you are more likely to get noticed (therefore increasing your response rate). The internet is your friend. Try to find how email addresses at the company are configured (firstname.lastname@companyname.com or firstnamelastintial@companyname.com) and then reach out that way.

3. Know what you’re asking, and lead with a warm connector

Make sure you have a well-written message and that it is easy for the reader to know what you want from them. The worst thing is for someone to read your message and not to know what to do (so what does this person want from me, or how do I help them). The easiest way to get a response is by starting the email with the connector: is the person a Rady School or UC San Diego alum (or alum of another of your alma maters); were you referred to them by someone, did you read an article that mentioned their name, their company; other ideas and then lead into the body of your message. Short, concise and tothe point is key!

4. Thank them for their time

Make sure you were listening, and taking notes. When you end the call, thank them for their time, advice and/or new connections. Most of the time, initial advice is shared as a test – will you follow up on any of it? If you have not written it down, you are sure to forget, and have no likelihood of following up. If you DO follow up, you can circle back with that person letting them know and thanking them (again) and hopefully they will share even more advice or contacts in their network.

5. Always ask for another contact

You have just had a great conversation. Why should it end there? You have shared your story and hopefully this person will now be an ally for you in your search. See who else they know at their company, at a former employer or in their network, and then follow-up with that person for the next conversation. If you keep this up, you will never run out of people to talk to and think of all you will learn.

6. Now go out and talk

There is no better advice for you – you have to talk to people. The more you do this, the more you will get comfortable talking to new people, the more you will learn and the more you will find a focused direction for where you want your next career move to be. Stop the research. Do not say you will start tomorrow. “Today is your day” (to quote the great Dr. Seuss) – so make sure people know who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Human nature is that they will want to help you if they can, and you tell them how. Have fun, smile and get to it!


4. Thank them for their time

Make sure you were listening, and taking notes. When you end the call, thank them for their time, advice and/or new connections. Most of the time, initial advice is shared as a test — will you follow up on any of it? If you have not written it down, you are sure to forget, and have no likelihood of following up. If you DO follow up, you can circle back with that person letting them know and thanking them (again) and hopefully they will share even more advice or contacts in their network.

5. Always ask for another contact

You have just had a great conversation. Why should it end there? You have shared your story and hopefully this person will now be an ally for you in your search. See who else they know (at their company, at a former employer, in their network) and then follow-up with that person for the next conversation. If you keep this up, you will never run out of people to talk to and think of all you will learn.

6. Now go out and talk

There is no better advice for you — you have to talk to people. The more you do this, the more you will get comfortable talking to new people, the more you will learn and the more you will find a focused direction for where you want your next career move to be. Stop the research. Do not say you will start tomorrow. “Today is your day” (to quote the great Dr. Seuss) — so make sure people know who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Human nature is that they will want to help you if they can, and you tell them how. Have fun, smile and get to it!

7. Work with the Rady Career Connections Team

All Rady students and alumni are able to receive help and support from the Rady Career Connections team. We are here to help you build your personal brand, craft that perfect cover letter and resume and secure your ideal career placement.

Discover what your Rady MBA can do for you. Click here.