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Evaluating Your Job Search

We often hear from students who are not having success with their job search and are unsure why this is the case. They are actively applying and/or interviewing but not landing an offer. If this describes your situation, it may be time to evaluate your job search to see where the problem may be, and take action to correct it. Below are some of the common situations that we see and some possible solutions:

Are you sending in applications but not hearing back? This is a very common situation, and there could be several possible solutions:

  • Refresh your resume - Take a look at your resume to make sure it is polished and updated with any activities you may need to add from the semester. Then, have it reviewed by a career professional to ensure that could negatively affect your chances
  • Write a cover letter - There may be aspects of your education or experience that you want to make sure a recruiter knows before they evaluate your resume. A cover letter is an excellent way to communicate your "elevator pitch" in a formal, written note to the recruiter. Check out our quick virtual tutorial to assist in putting your cover letter together.
  • Cast a wider net - Most students that we chat with are not submitting enough applications. The more applications you submit, the higher your chances are of hearing back! Check out this list of open opportunities and our recommended job search engines here to find additional opportunities.

Are you hearing initial communication from recruiters and then not much after? Don't be afriad to follow up when this happens. Many students are nervous about following up with their recruiter. If you have not heard back in 2-3 weeks, politely reach out and request an update.

Are you actively interviewing but tend to not hear back after the first round? It is likely that you need to evaluate your interview performance. Were you excited about the opportunity? Did you answer questions convincingly? Did you ask questions? Were you prepared? If not, practice your preparation/performance. We recommend partipcating in a practice interview with a career professional to help diagnose what aspect of your interview needs support.

Are you hearing back that you are not a fit for the roles you are applying? It may be that you are not applying for the right positions. When using Handshake to apply, make sure that your major/year is listed as their preferred candidate. Another tip is to look through the previously reported post-grad data, which lists job titles for previous Pamplin grads by major.

Are you making it through the final rounds of interviews and not landing the job offer? While this can be frustrating, it likely means that you have done well, but another candidate is simply a better fit for this role. The only adjustment needed here is to try and not get discouraged, and continue applying - you are on the right track and clearly a well-qualified candidate.

If you still have questions about where you can enhance your job search, or maybe have questions about how to improve one of the items listed above, come chat with us! Stop by our Career Services Drop-In Session this Tuesday, from 10:30am-11am to ask us anything related to your job search, or set up a 1:1 meeting by e-mailing us at pcobcareers@vt.edu.

Provided by Pamplin Career Services on March 14, 2021

Over the past few weeks, our team has been hearing some great questions during our career advising appointments! If you are someone who has questions but has not yet made an appointment, or maybe you didn't know you could, contact us ASAP! We are happy to help answer any job-search related questions you may have, or maybe help you evaluate your process if you are not currently seeing the results you want. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of the frequent questions we have been receiving to assist those of you who are seeking a position:

What else can I be doing for my job search besides sending in applications? This answer varies, but typically our response is to follow up, engage, and network. If you can connect with the recruiter or other company professionals on LinkedIn or at virtual events, make sure to do so! It's a great icebreaker to say that you have already applied and are excited about the potential opportunity.

Are there any other job search engines I should be using? Hopefully you are already using Handshake, our top recommendation for locating positions. In addition, we list several of our recommended job search engines in our virtual resource document. We also encourage you to check this newsletter each week for new opportunities that we have received.

Is it too late in the semester to find a position? Absolutely not. There are still companies hiring for internships, externships, and full-time positions. However, the job search will become more competitive the longer you wait, so start putting in applications now if you haven't already. For those of you that will be returning next year, we do recommend that you start your application process as soon as you return to classes. The first few months of the Fall semester are the most active for college recruiting and provide the most opportunities for landing a position.

What do I do if I can't find an internship before the summer? The semester is far from over, so we encourage you to not give up and continue submitting applications. Start considering positions that you may not have before. Work experience is better than none, so don't panic if it's not the exact position you had in mind. That being said, it may also be a good time to start thinking about a backup plan if you do not land an internship in your field of study. We typically recommend a few different ideas: part-time job, job shadow, summer coursework, certifications, or volunteer work are all good options that show a good use of your time to employers.

I have submitted plenty of applications, but haven't heard back. What should I do? If you are not getting many hits on your resume or application, it may be time to double check your resume and have it reviewed. Sometimes a small tweak can make a big difference. You may also want to consider expanding your search to include additional opportunities and companies.

How can I best prepare for my upcoming interview? While preparing for potential interview questions is a great start, we recommend practicing talking about your accomplishments and experiences that you plan on sharing during the interview. Behavioral interview questions are generally broad and open-ended, so you can plug in your prepared topics where you see fit. Once you've thought through your talking points, schedule a mock interview or utilize Interview Stream to practice virtually. You can also find some previously recorded workshops on virtual interviewing on our Youtube channel.

Every situation is different, so if you have questions or concerns about your job search, we'd love to chat with you directly! Stop by our Career Services Drop-In Session this Tuesday, from 10:30am-11am to ask us anything related to your job search, or set up a 1:1 meeting by e-mailing us at pcobcareers@vt.edu.

Provided by Pamplin Career Services on March 7, 2021

During the spring semester, you may have started to see "externship" opportunities and other similar programs become available in this newsletter, on company websites, and on Handshake. We often get questions about what an externship is and whether you should be applying, so we are sharing some information to help you navigate. See below for our guide to understanding externships:

What is an externship? An externship is typically a short program (sometimes called "Day in the Life", "Explore", etc.) which allows students to learn about a company and begin building a relationship with the employer. These typically last only a few days and are a chance to experience the work environment, learn about future opportunities, ask questions, and network.

Who should be applying for an externship? Typically lasting only a few days, externships are excellent opportunities for freshman or sophomore students who may not yet be elligible for a full internship. While not a guarantee, companies will often invite their externship participants to apply for an internship the following summer, so getting involved in externships early in your college career can be beneficial for your job search later on. Additionally, students have the opportunity to apply for and participate in several opportunities, as long as the dates don't overlap.

Which companies offer externships? While not all companies offer externships, we are seeing more and more begin to offer these types of programs. These programs are typically more common among our ACIS, BIT, or FIN employers.

How can I apply for an externship opportunity? The application process for an externship is much like an internship, and students can expect to provide their resume and fill out an online application. To explore open externship opportunities, we recommend that you check out this newsletter every week to read the new Open Opportunities for Pamplin Students, as well as explore Handshake.

Have additional questions about locating externships, internships, or full-time positions? Stop by our Career Services Drop-In Session this Tuesday, from 10:30am-11am to ask us anything related to your job search! You can also set up a 1:1 meeting with our team for more dedicated time by e-mailing us at pcobcareers@vt.edu.

Provided by Pamplin Career Services on February 28, 2021

How Can I Best Prep For Interviews?

This is a question we hear a lot, so we wanted to share some of our best advice and additional ways to feel completely prepared for your next interview. We also know that conducting interviews virtually can add further stress for some of you. We invite you to join CohnReznick this Thursday February 18th at 5:30pm for a live virtual workshop via Zoom to hear a recruiter's advice on how to nail your next virtual interview. See below for our interview prep tips:

Research and connect in advance

  • Review the job description and requirements, as well as some general information about the company and what they do
  • If you are given your interviewer's name, it is also a good idea to connect with them on LinkedIn and know a little about their background (position title, education, time spent with the company)

Practice, practice, practice!

  • Think over some practice questions and how you might respond; we have put together a list of common interview questions to start
  • In addition to thinking through questions, also think through the items (experiences, strengths, etc.) that you want to make sure you share with your interviewer before leaving, and practice talking about them
  • Interview Stream is an excellent resource to practice your virtual interview skills, and review your responses to questions

Display Professionalism

  • Make sure you are somewhere with a strong internet connection and limited background noise or distractions
  • Position yourself in an area with good lighting, and be sure to dress professionally
  • Try and avoid looking at yourself, and look at the camera instead, as this is the virtual equivalent of making eye contact
  • Take notes if you need, but make sure you are actively listening to anything the interviewer shares

Follow up after the interview and say thanks

  • Take the time to send a follow up note (e-mail is probably best while many individuals may be working from home and not at their office address), to thank them for their time

Have additional questions? Stop by our Career Services Drop-In Session this Tuesday, from 10:30am-11am to ask us anything related to your job search!

Provided by Pamplin Career Services on February 14, 2021


  1. Identify personal interests, skills, and values to begin conceptualizing your career goals. Career Services offers.
  2. Research careers that are of interest to you at Career Services library and the University library
  3. Join major-related professional organizations on campus to start building your resume.
  4. Conduct information interviews with professionals you know (family, neighbors, parents of high school friends, etc.)
  5. Participate in fall and spring career fairs. This allows you to get acclimated to the environment of a career fair and to observe interactions between students and recruiters. Talk with companies, both those in which you might e interested as well as those that were previously unknown to you.

Summer following freshman year: Your best strategy is to obtain a job involved with elementary aspects of a career field in which you might have interest; these frequently involve administrative or clerical work.

  1. Schedule MGT 3014 during spring
  2. Expand on and refine freshman year goals
  3. Participate in fall and spring career fairs. Talk with companies, both those in which you might be interested and those that were previously unknown to you.
  4. Focus on your top 2-3 career options for more advanced research, information interviews, job shadowing, and summer internships.
  5. Create a LinkedIn account with a well-developed professional profile.
  6. Attend mock interviews and University Career Services workshops.
  7. Network with faculty, career services staff, and community members that can help you in your future job search.

Summer following sophomore year: securing an internship of interest

  1. Participate in fall and spring career fairs. It is ESSENTIAL to use this convenient means for obtaining one.
  2. Continue to revise and polish your LinkedIn account and resume.
  3. Take a leadership role within your professional student organizations.
  4. Become familiar with job descriptions, titles, salary ranges, and research your major and what skills you need to be marketable.
  5. Increase your networking.
  6. Schedule MGT 3014 if you haven't already.

Summer following junior year: an internship with your desired career field is expected

  1. Last chance to derive benefit from MGT 3014!
  2. Last chance to benefit from fall and spring career fairs.
  3. Never cease networking, it is an expected behavior among all professionals.
  4. Continue leadership roles of professional student organizations.
  5. Continue research in greater depth regarding job descriptions, work setting, job titles, salary ranges and specific work-related skills desired by employers.
  6. Take advantage of local internships, short-term projects, volunteer and charitable experiences during the school year.