Planning for success in your job search


Craft a resume that highlights your accomplishments relevant to the role for which you are applying. Don’t overload on details; instead, make your resume easy to skim. Follow these tips to make it through the first round of applicant reviews, where hiring managers discard up to 80% of resumes.

  • Frame your resume around what you want to talk about in the interview.
  • Give interviewers enough information about each item on your resume so they can ask questions about your experience—otherwise delete the topic.
  • Focus on your accomplishments and highlight significant events, not just a history of where you've been.
  • Don't put too much detail about any one job on the front page of the resume.
  • Don't use too much technical jargon.
  • Use wide margins and don't fill the page with dense text. Use bullets and make the resume easy to scan read.
  • Add a "Publications and Presentations" section to your resume, if applicable.
  • Add a brief "Hobbies & Interests" section to your resume. (Give the interviewer non-work related topics to talk about; you may have a common interest.)

Job search

Approach your job search with a clear plan and goal in mind, and follow your plan to a successful conclusion.

  • Stay focused on what you really want to do.
  • Make your next job something that you will be able to stay in for quite a while. Interview for a job only if you can anticipate staying for several years.
  • Don’t get into a "grass is always greener" mindset. If you aren’t sure what you want to do, do your research and think about it, then return to your job search more focused.
  • Temper what you want to do with your available options.
  • Focus on a few organizations or companies at a time.
  • Thoroughly research the organizations or companies you are interested in.
  • Keep records of the people with whom you communicate and by when you need to respond to them.
  • Use your references and other contacts to find job leads. Be specific in explaining what you are looking for, and express your sense of urgency. Follow up until you get the job you want, and be sure to let them know when you get a job.

Job interview

Prepare thoroughly for your job interview by learning about the company and the position. Rehearse how you will convince the interviewers that you are qualified for and interested in the position. Using the tips below to prepare will give you the confidence to succeed in your interview.

  • Write a script of the major points that you want to bring up during the interview.
  • Research the position and company or organization. Bring your research along to the interview and ask questions related to your research in order to illustrate your interest.
  • Focus on your accomplishments and what you have to offer.
  • Listen for items in the job requirement, so that you can relate them to specifics in your background.
  • Stay focused and don't ramble when answering questions. Watch the interviewer's body language and err on the side of being concise. Ask for clarification on a question, if needed, particularly if you're not sure whether to continue with a longer response.
  • Bring along a few reports that you have written. These should be current, and individually bound. Reference these in your resume under "Articles and Presentations."
  • Prepare questions ahead of time and plan to get them answered.
  • Take notes during the interview and ask about anything you are uncertain of at the end of the interview.
  • Relax and be yourself. Put the interviewer at ease and show some of your personality. Be professional, but don't be stiff.
  • Ask for the job, or for the next step in the hiring process.
  • Never accept a job offer until you have interviewed the person who would be your actual boss, and preferably his or her boss as well.
  • Don't accept any job offer until you have all your questions answered. Ask to have a day or two to consider it, and really think before you accept.
  • Try to have at least two job offers for comparison. But if the first offer looks great, don't continue searching and risk losing it.

Learn more about what to investigate before accepting a job offer.