Attention Seniors! Job Hunting Tips and Tricks

The job search process can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when you first start out. Whether you are looking for a summer job or something for after graduation, this process can be intimidating. Before you go in, it is important to know that this is a time consuming and at times frustrating task. At Denison, you have lots of great resources to help and support you through your job hunting experience. Here are some tips and tricks to help get you started.

  • Know what you want. This is much easier said than done, but if you are struggling to narrow down your search, talk to professors and mentors (including people in the Knowlton Center!) who can help guide you in your search. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
    • What type of job are you looking for? Are you interested in a research role or something clinical with patient contact or something different?
    • What type of environment is ideal for you to work in? Are you interested in working in a big city hospital or a more rural clinic or a small family practice? For research, do you want to work for a lab connected to a hospital or a university or are you more interested in a private company job?
    • How long do you envision yourself working there and what is your long term goal? Is this just a year or two before you head off to grad school or would you like the opportunity to work there more long term? Is this opportunity so you can fill in gaps to enhance your grad school application or are you looking to pursue a different interest than what you’ve done in the past?
    • Where are you interested in living? If you are open to moving, picking a few cities that you could really envision yourself living in can help you narrow down your search instead of looking all over.
    • What specific skills or experiences are you really hoping to gain in this role? Are you hoping to pick up new lab techniques or work with pediatric patients? 
  • While it is important to have a general sense of what you want, don’t be afraid to be open to other possibilities. Maybe you have lots of research experience in one area that you are interested in continuing but it can be good to be open to slightly different areas as well. Once you have a general idea of the roles you are interested in, start with a broad search using your parameters. A great place to start is Handshake! Linkedin and other job posting websites are good places to search broadly. From there, don’t be afraid to use general google searches or to research companies doing the type of research/work you are interested in and see if their website has hiring positions listed.
  • As you begin to find roles that interest you, really read through and make sure you are the right fit for the job and that the job is the right fit for you. Taking a job is a big commitment and you don’t want to end up somewhere you might be miserable!
  • As you start applying for jobs, make sure to stop by the Knowlton Center to brush up your resume and cover letter. If you’ve never sat down with a career coach, they are full of amazing tips and tricks to help you best present yourself on paper for these applications. Even if you have met with them, it never hurts to check back in and update things and make your documents even better. 
  • Once you start sending in applications, you may hear back with interview offers. This is exciting, but also scary! Make sure to reach out to the Knowlton Center to get advice on best interview practices, and better yet, schedule a mock interview. You can never practice too much and the Knowlton Center staff know the ins and outs of this process, so make sure you take advantage of this great resource. 

The job hunt process is overwhelming but it is also exciting to be searching for your future job! It may take a lot of self-reflection to nail down what you want and sending out resumes and cover letters can be exhausting. But like anything else, the more you do it, the better you will become. It is not a process you have to do alone! Make sure to reach out to professors and alumni and the Knowlton Center and other mentors for advice and support. You may not land your dream job on your first try, but you will find something that you are passionate about and learn more about yourself through the process.

By Erin Kistler
Erin Kistler Peer Career Fellow: Healthcare and Clinical Research