One of the most valuable resources you have for the job search as a student is Handshake. Log in today to start searching for job listings filtered by major, location, industry, and more. It's important to be familiar with your rights and responsibilities as a potential employee before beginning the process. Use our job-searching tips and resources below.

1. Target Your Search

Focusing on a particular industry, position, and location will guide your search and enable you to locate and effectively market yourself to the specific employers that interest you. Here are some tools to help you target your search.

  • Use industry guides on to learn more about roles within your industry. UVA students have exclusive access to Vault guides through Handshake. Just click on the Career Center tab (top of the page), then proceed to resources, and Vault should be one of the listed resources. 
  • CareerShift can help you find potential employers.
  • Conduct informational interviews with alumni or other career contacts to gain perspectives from professionals in the field.
  • Focus on no more than 10 to 15 organizations at a time.

Career Field

One way to target your search is by career field (a particular industry or type of organization). Identifying your interests can help. For instance, you might want to work in the fashion industry or in sports, but not be sure about what specific job you want to have. Conduct research about the fields you are interested using our career communities or pre-health/pre-law advising resources listed below.

Job Function/Title

You may be most familiar with the idea of targeting your search by job function. For instance, you may want to work as an event planner, consultant, graphic designer or legal assistant. If you’re not sure, it may help to think about the skills you will bring to specific jobs. For example, do you have strong skills in writing, researching, or instructing?


You can identify a specific location where you wish to live and work. For example, you may love Boston or San Francisco and be more concerned about just getting there than your specific job function. Or, you may prefer to find a job near your friends and family. If location is your most important criteria, you may want to choose a relatively small area to being your search.

Target Specific Organizations

Develop a list of 10–15 employers that interest you, based on company reputation, size, or any other criteria you value. Learn the essential information—including, for example, how a company is structured—about all the companies on your employer list before you apply for any positions. By determining a company’s structure, you can begin to think about which departments might best utilize your skills. Now target the department in the organization that employs those in your field of interest. Seek out opportunities based on the entry-level jobs you’ve identified. Conduct informational interviews to get specific advice on how to be a successful candidate.

2. Research Your Targets

You can research geographic areas, career fields and employers by a number of means, including:

  • Reviewing an organization's or city's website
  • Reading industry and company news
  • Utilizing online tools in the Resource Library in Handshake (e.g., Vault, CareerShift).
  • Checking out books in the Career Center Library
  • Connecting with professionals in you desired field

3. Contact Employers

Of recent UVA Arts & Sciences Alumni surveyed, 60% found their jobs by direct contact, as opposed to using employment agencies or classified ads. Here are some suggestions for ways to connect directly with employers:

Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing is a good way to connect with an employer or alum regardless of job openings or an invitation to interview for a position. It's an opportunity to learn about a company or profession and establish contacts for the future. Set specific goals for yourself to initiate and conduct these conversations to start growing your network in the field. These interviews can be conducted in person or over the phone.

Career Fairs and Networking Events

Career fairs and networking events are another excellent way to connect with employers. Check the UVA Career Center's calendar for fairs and events where you can meet employers. Consider practicing a personal introduction of yourself to prepare.

Phone and E-mail

Phone and e-mail can be a good means for setting up informational interviews or initial contact with an employer or alum. You can also use phone or email to follow up on applications. It is helpful to have a name to use as a referral source. If there is not a contact listed in the job positing, call and ask for a name and title.

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