No job postings? No problem!

Filed in From the Staff by on March 30, 2017

Using sites like Handshake and CareerShift to search for job postings is the first step in the job search process. However, you may feel dismayed if there are very few postings that interest you and for which you meet the qualifications. If this is the case, there is a lot you can do to expand your search. In fact, even if there are a myriad of relevant postings, I would recommend using a diverse set of job search strategies. Here are a few steps you can take to cast a wider net:

  1. Identify employers of interest. Use Handshake or CareerShift to search employers by industry, area, company size, and more. If you are looking for an internship and find a company advertising the ideal position but as a full-time job, don’t rule out that company just yet. Also, use Google as another search tool, and talk to your friends about places they have worked or applied.
  2. Check the careers page on the company website. They may have job openings not listed on Handshake or CareerShift.
  3. Send letters of inquiry. A letter of inquiry is a lot like a cover letter, but instead of applying to a specific job, you are asking for more information. In this case, you are probably going to ask whether they have any openings (or anticipate having any in the near future) of the kind you are looking for. Briefly explain your interest in the company and any experiences that would make you a good fit. You can also ask for additional contacts to reach out to. For more information on cover letters and letters of inquiry, see the CDC cover letter tipsheet.
  4. Don’t know who to send your letter of inquiry to? CareerShift (accessible through Handshake under resources) has huge database of company contacts. Type in the company name and for position, try terms like “human resources,” “university relations,” and “talent acquisition.” Alternatively, run a similar search in LinkedIn and then once you have a specific name, enter their name into CareerShift. Then call them or email them your letter of inquiry!
  5. Do informational interviews. Again, use CareerShift or LinkedIn to search for contacts, but this time, search for people with the type of job you would like to have one day. Reach out and ask if they have some time to tell you more about what they do. For more information, see the informational interview tipsheet. Don’t get encouraged if not everyone responds; the ones that do will often be super enthusiastic!

This type of networking is extremely important because many positions are filled without a formal job posting. Or jobs may be posted, but reaching out in advance (as early as possible) is a great way to show interest and initiative. This method is actually how I got my internship last summer! I knew I wanted to work at AbbVie, so I reached out to someone in human resources and they gave me the contact information of several department heads. I ended up accepting a job with them and had several additional offers for interviews as a result.


Good luck in your job search and feel free to email the peer advisors at with any questions.

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