Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Career Search Strategy

More applications != More offers

Many students send out 100+ applications but don't get interviews. Learn our iterative, focused approach to applying for internships.


Step 1: Find employers that match your preferences.

You mean jobs? No, not jobs. It's much more important to focus on employers than jobs. Why? Lot's of positions are not posted or if they are posted it might be too late. But if you discover an employer that fits your criteria, it's only a matter of time until they will be hiring. We suggest using Handshake, LinkedIn or other sites to explore employers. There are lots of organizations you've never heard of that are just waiting to be found.


Step 2: Research to make sure it's a good potential match.

Please at least go on their website before you apply. If you start to like it more, keep exploring. If you discover it's not a good match, move on. There are lots of other companies out there. Check out their recent news (you might want to set up a GoogleAlert). Read their blogs, which are an under-utilized way to learn about their technology and projects. Follow their social media to better understand their culture. All of this research will pay dividends later when you are trying to come up with questions for them, and it can be fun (much more fun than the black box of applying and not hearing back).


Step 3: See if you have any connections at that organization.

Everyone has a network. 

Start by exploring your personal network. Maybe you have an extended family member in that area, or perhaps one of your friend's parents works for that company. Tell people you talk to on a regular basis about your job search and ask if they have ideas. Many people ultimately find their jobs through a secondary connection (someone you don't know that well but who has a connection in common). If you are active on LinkedIn, searching your connection's connections is fast and easy.

Next, leverage the UMass network. CICS faculty and staff have relationships with many organizations that hire tech talent. If you're lucky, CICS Careers might even have an upcoming event with that company. Express your interest in that organization and ask for introductions. You can also take advantage of LinkedIn's highly-searchable Career Insights dashboard. Search for the employer, apply your filters and start checking out profiles of 160,000+ alumni!

Many students skip this step, but it can be just one person can make the difference between an interview or another rejection email.

Step 4: View the profile of a potential connection to learn.

One of the worst parts about the traditional job search is the "black hole". You apply and then you wait in silence. If you instead use our networking approach, you will be actively learning and generating more ideas as you go. For example, maybe you find an alumni at your favorite employer using Career Insights. Often you can immediately click on their profile and learn more about their projects, skills, and even previous employers and jobs. This is one of our favorite ways of finding related companies and new leads! Pay special attention for fortuitous connections. It could be a shared experience with a student organization, an obscure skill, or a common professor. In addition to a shared UMass education, these small-world connections could be the start of a mutually-beneficial conversation.


Step 5: Consider reaching out.

Networking is a great way to increase your application prospects. Even secondary connections are often willing to have a short conversation or exchange notes. They might be seeking talent for their organization, or maybe they could use the referral bonus, or many are eager to give back. Reach out with a question about their project or company and start the conversation. They might be able to offer advice on a challenging decision, recommend a new idea, or even provide a referral. If you are new to networking, CICS Careers can help.


Step 6: Apply to the position.

Notice that the application is the 6th step, not the 1st. Now that you've done your homework, you are ready to submit your resume and follow their application process. Don't forget to notify any potential referral from the previous step so that they have the opportunity to help. Be sure to take the time to make sure your application is error-free and incorporates the information you have gathered from research and networking.


Step 7: Before interviewing, contact CICS Careers to practice.

Our team is trained to help you succeed at the interview. We will coach you on how to prepare and go into each round of interviews with confidence.


While not perfect, we believe that this approach provides the fundamentals for successful job searching throughout your career. Adjust to meet your specific needs and keep sharing tips on what works and doesn't work with us.