Meet the Professionals Night

Job Search Checklist

Job Search Checklist

The following list is a general outline to reference as you embark on your job search; it is not intended to be all-inclusive. If this is your first professional search, be sure to familiarize yourself with the process - read CDO handouts, web articles, and perhaps a book or two. Remember to keep accurate records, such as names of those you contacted, dates, copies of correspondence, documents you submitted, and responses.


  • Learn how to write a resume – Utilize CDO’s workshops, handouts, and sample resume binder.
  • Meet with a career counselor to review your resume drafts; have people in your field evaluate it as well.
  • Spend enough time to ensure this is a quality document.
  • Print resume on bond paper if sending in mail; save as a pdf if attaching to email.

Letters of Application (also called cover letters, letters of interest, or networking letters)

  • Familiarize yourself with this type of letter by reading CDO handouts and perhaps some books or websites.
  • Remember that this letter is individualized to the organization and position for which you are applying.
  • Draft a few letters before you need them; have them reviewed by the CDO and others.

References/Letters of Recommendation/Transcripts

  • Create a document with 3-4 names and contact information of people who have agreed to be your references.
  • Request general letters of recommendation; ask authors to individualize for specific opportunities as needed.
  • Have copies of all college transcripts available in case an employer requests them.
  • Make copies of these various documents, save as pdfs and store in secure locations.

Advertised Vacancies

  • Keep in mind that statistics show only 20% of opportunities are advertised.
  • View current openings using your FREDNetwork account.
  • Look at vacancy listings on the CDO website and others appropriate for your industry and geographic goals.
  • Regularly check websites of specific organizations in which you are interested.
  • Respond promptly by submitting any requested documents.
  • Plan ahead to attend job fairs (national, regional, local, field-related, or sponsored by specific employers).

Initiating Direct Contact with Employers

  • Use the Looking for a Job | Employer Directories and Websites section of the CDO website for ideas.
  • Follow up with your networking contacts to inquire about potential vacancies.
  • Up to 80% of jobs may not be advertised; spend 80% of your time networking to uncover these opportunities.
  • Begin this process in January (or prior, depending on your career field) if graduating in May.
  • Write individualized, persuasive letters of interest regarding potential vacancies.
  • Follow up as appropriate to be sure your application was received and to express interest.


  • Learn about the interviewing process as well as potential formats of your actual interview day.
  • Read CDO handouts about interviewing as well as books/articles on the topic.
  • Complete self-assessments and be able to articulate your skills, weaknesses, and experiences.
  • Be prepared to speak in detail about yourself and your background.
  • Practice typical interview questions aloud; use InterviewStream to record and review your responses.
  • Arrange for a practice interview in the CDO and/or with your field-specific contacts.
  • Learn as much as possible about the employing organization before the interview.
  • Send thank you letter(s) after your interview, typically within 24-48 hours.

The CDO is here to assist you with your job search. We look forward to helping you succeed!