Grad Student? 4 Pointers to Help You Prepare for Your Job Search

Grad Student? 4 Pointers to Help You Prepare for Your Job Search

Graduate students who plan to graduate in May or August should start preparing for their job search now. Here’s a checklist to help you launch.

Know where to look.

LinkedIn and Handshake are good places to start, but each field has its own niche job sites. Investigate internet forums and professional organization job boards, and sign up for any mailing lists you come across. Extending your search can help you increase your chances of finding the right opportunity.

Have your base/core resume ready.

It is critical to customize your resume for each job application. Create a base resume that includes all of your experience, skills, and accomplishments to make the application process as simple as possible. This can save you time and allow you to focus attention on tailoring your resume with language that will mirror the job requirement or the hiring manager. 

Use tools like VMock and Jobscan while working on your resume (no affiliate link). These are resume-review tools that use data science, machine learning, and natural language processing to provide personalized feedback on your resume.

Learn how to write an effective cover letter.

Cover letters aren’t always required for job applications, but it’s critical to write an excellent one when they are. A great cover letter acts as a link between the job posting and your resume, providing a conversational and nuanced argument for why you’d be a good fit for the position you’re applying for. 

Prepare a list of references.

Your application will probably require a list of 2-5 references who advocate to the hiring manager about your knowledge and abilities, as well as your emotional intelligence, work ethic, and professionalism. Inform your references about your job search, the types of jobs you’ll be applying for, and the skills they’ll need to speak to as your job search begins.  This will assist you with selecting the best references for each application.



JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a free Discovery call.

If you have a quick question for me, you can get it answered with a 3-5 minute video at Want to do it live? offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 2 months free.

Watch my videos on YouTube at, the Job SearchTV app for FireTV, Roku or a firestick or for AppleTV and 90 smart tv platforms.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.”

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes. It helps other people discover the show like you did.

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume? Order a critique from me

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon. 

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