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Job Search Strategy

Creating a Job Search Strategy

Maximize your time by creating a job search strategy rather than endlessly applying for job postings. By identifying a list of target employers and then reaching out to contacts at those organizations, you will build relationships that lead to internal referrals that get you noticed in a competitive job market.

Our former students are a valued resource as many give generously of their time and expertise. Remember to reach out to this group as you define your career goals, research companies, and pursue opportunities.

Career Services guides students through the career development process.

Career Fit & Fulfillment

To know what organizations or opportunities are a fit, you first have to explore what is important to you related to mission, values, lifestyle, company culture, size and contribution. This information acts as a compass to help you quickly decide when to spend time pursuing a company and when to move on to another opportunity.

Career Testing

The Texas A&M Student Counseling Service provides career testing at no charge. It provides licensed professional counselors who specialize in helping students identify the steps in career development and exploration. Available career assessments include the Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and Career Liftoff.

These assessments can provide information about how you perceive information and make decisions which can be significant when it comes to career choices. Profiles feature information on career paths, interests, risk-taking preferences, leadership styles, work styles, and team orientation.

If you are interested, schedule through the SCS, which is currently located within walking distance between the School of Public Health and White Creek Apartments.

Strength Assessment

Through Texas A&M Student Activities, you can take StrengthsFinder to help you identify and better articulate your strengths. The assessment code is free if you register for an “Intro to Strengths” workshop. Other strengths workshops focus on “Strengths and Careers, Strengths in a Multicultural World, and Strengths and Leadership.” If interested, schedule through Student Activities.

This assessment provides information about your strengths to help you identify roles that align. It also gives you a new vocabulary for describing your skills and strengths in compelling ways. Apply this information to stand out during the interview process.

Building Relationships

Building positive relationships and strengthening them over time is critical for professional success at every career stage. Networking conversations that are thoughtful, focused, and engaging are an important aspect of growing your network and visibility in the job market.

As job seekers consider reaching out to a new contact, their plan is often too vague and centered on the approach of asking broadly about the other person’s experience. As you reach out to contacts, ensure that you are prepared with a thoughtful, focused, and engaging message.

Identify your goal for reaching out to a specific contact based on their background, experience, or expertise because if you can’t articulate the desired outcome, there is no roadmap for the interaction.

Simply stated, your goal is to make a positive first impression. Specific information about contacts or jobs and even referrals can result, but asking for those things first will immediately derail the conversation.

Initially, questions will center on a particular career path, industry, role, or company/organization.

Personal Brand

Your pitch, resume, cover letter, and online profiles should convey a consistent message. What is your value proposition?

This value and brand message is what potential employers remember about you after meeting you at a conference, viewing your LinkedIn summary, or reading your cover letter.


A pitch can take the form of a LinkedIn headline, LinkedIn summary, or the answer to “Tell me about yourself” during encounters at conferences, networking events, or by chance.

Lots of people practice a stiff verbal pitch, so avoid memorizing. It’s important to know who you are, your audience, and the context for the conversation so you can adapt. Connecting your strengths and experience to the employer’s needs is what creates a compelling message.

The lead line of your pitch is critical. Gain attention by starting with your why. For example, what public health problems will you solve? What sparked your interest in this area of public health?

Whether communicating through email or in person, consider including this information to help convert your pitch into a conversation:

  • Why - purpose, calling, passion, spark statement, motivation
  • How - value proposition, differentiators, problems you solve
  • What - relevant details about your background, credibility
  • Connection Point - similarity, shared goals, a question


While the most successful job seekers use networking as the first introduction and let their resume follow, everyone must have a stellar and targeted resume. The resume focuses on your success stories through past experiences. Avoid being tempted to apply for practicums or jobs with the same resume you used to apply to graduate school.

Revise your document to ensure that you include strong verbs and quantified results. If a specific number related to the outcome is unknown, you can include the goal or purpose of the action you took.

A resume is typically appropriate for assistantships, field experiences, and many industry/professional positions. A CV is typically required for roles in academia, research, or other scientific professionals.

Cover Letter

The cover letter is an opportunity to connect the dots (examples) you present in your resume and reinforce your key message. Cover letters allow job seekers to address the employer directly regarding what the employer needs and how your strengths and experience.

Interview Responses

Identifying examples from prior experience that exemplifies desirable skills and competencies. This report helps you prepare resumes, cover letters, and interview responses.