Internship/Full-time Job Search Process

Learn the job search essentials to facilitate your success in finding a fulfilling career path.




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Get the Job Search Guide to Help You Organize

The Recruiting Cycle

1st Four Weeks

A lot of employers are actively hosting events, posting positions, and coming to campus for career fairs, info sessions, and talks.

2nd Four Weeks

Interview season usually starts in the second four weeks of a semester. Companies start to invite candidates after first round of engagement.

Last Eight Weeks

Activities start to slow down with less events. Interviewing continues.  Employers start to send out offers.

Cycle Repeats

Next semester will have another cycle repeating the process.

The Job Search Process Simplified

Prepare & Apply

You want to set your job search goals before you start applying. Make sure that you have your elevator pitchcover letter, and résumé thoroughly reviewed. You don't want to invest time in applying for jobs when these materials are not representing you well.


The next step is to invest time and energy in finding opportunities. You'll want to attend Career Fairs, networking events, and reach out to your network via Linkedin. This stage of the process can seem the longest, but don't get discouraged and continue to apply for jobs until you get an offer.


After your job application has been reviewed by the hiring team, you may be selected to enter the interviewing process. This process typically begins with a screening interview and can then progress into 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th round interviews depending on the organization. The best preparation for an interview is to practice and research the organization thoroughly.


The final step in the job search process is the extension of a job offer. All of your hard work and time paid off! Now it's time to think about if you want to negotiate your offer.

Know Your Goals

Maximize your time and effort.

List Your Job Search Parameters

Before applying, identify your preference for the location, industry, job title, responsibility, company size, or sponsorship. Then create a list of companies that match your criteria. 

Explore your Preferences

Create a Tracking System

To organize your job search, create a spreadsheet to keep track of the jobs you have applied for, the date you applied, and any follow-up actions you need to take. 

Get a Sample Spreadsheet

Know the Job & Know Yourself

Analyze the job description and research the employer to better understand employer needs. Review your skills and experience to ensure that you meet the requirements of the job. 

Analyze Job Description Keywords

Prepare Your Application Materials


A summary of your work experience, educational background, and skills.

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Elevator Pitch

A concise and compelling summary of who you are, what you do, and what you can offer. 

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Cover Letter

An introduction to your application materials, summarizing why you are a good fit for the position.

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Seek Out Insights

Activate new possibilities.

Online Networking

Reach out to people to conduct informational interviews and learn more about their careers, potential opportunities, and industry.

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Networking Events

Attend career fairs, info sessions, RSO events, or tech talks to connect with employers and cultivate mentors. 

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Alumni Connections

Curious about what people do with your major? Talk to the people with a shared understanding of the University of Illinois and how they navigated their first steps after graduation.

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Apply Your Knowledge

Share your strengths.

Submit Job Applications

Submit your applications and tailor your application based on the information you learned from connecting with people in the field.

Access Handshake Job Board

Prepare for Interviews

Use the insights and information you're learned about your field of interest to make you're prepared for the questions and culture specific to that field.

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Utilize Handshake Events

Attend workshops to learn more about the job search process, schedule advising appointments to ask questions about career planning, and apply to job postings.

Access Handshake Events Board

Having Questions about Any of the Steps?

Make an Appointment with ECS to Discuss Your Steps