Job Hunting Guide: Transitioning From College to Career


Provides sound advice for college students on how to best find and keep jobs after graduation.

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ISBN: 1-57023-188-5

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By Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds

Today’s college students face a challenging job market requiring greater attention to job search basics. This book, written in collaboration with students, employers, and university administrators, provides sound advice on how to best find and keep jobs.

This is a unique job search book designed to assist college students and recent grads in finding jobs and launching new careers. Recognizing the realities of student job hunting – often lacking time, focus, and structure – the authors outline a step-by-step process for finding the perfect job within 90 days.

Authors of more than 35 career books, Ron and Caryl Krannich, Ph.Ds., teamed up with to produce the definitive guide to today’s turbulent employment market.

The book begins with a pre-test of the reader’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors for job search success – “What’s Your Hiring I.Q.?” – that sets the stage for the remainder of the book.

Outlining a seven-step sequential job search model, the authors detail the most important aspects of the job search, including a rich collection of relevant examples and exercises: skills assessment, goal setting, research, resume and letter writing, networking, interviewing, and salary negotiations.

The resources of the Internet are woven into a traditional face-to-face job search through numerous helpful websites for enhancing each job search step.

A special chapter on getting started on the new job includes observations of recent graduates who share lessons learned about their new work world.

A resource-rich chapter focuses on three employment arenas of keen interest to college students: government, nonprofit, and international.

A final chapter profiles 53 employers who regularly recruit college students and graduates for internships and part-time and full-time positions.

Throughout the book several college career counselors give advice on what works best in the job-finding trenches for college students and recent graduates.

Filled with cutting-edge strategies, tips, self-assessment exercises, and advice from students, employers, and counselors, here’s the ultimate college transition book.

It speaks directly to students about what they need to do to quickly find a good job that leads to a career compatible with their unique mix of interests, skills, and abilities. The book no student should leave college without!


  1. A Season for Everything (see excerpt below)
  2. Do First Things First
  3. Specify Your Motivated Abilities and Skills (MAS)
  4. Discover Your Interests and Values
  5. Formulate an Employer-Oriented Objective
  6. Conduct Research
  7. Create Winning Resumes and Letters
  8. Network Your Way to Great Jobs
  9. Interview for Jobs and Offers
  10. Negotiate Your Best Salary and Benefits
  11. Turn Your Job Into a Great Career
  12. Government, Nonprofit, and International Jobs
  13. CampusCareerCenter’s Employer Network




“What sets this guide apart [from other guides] is its focus on preparing college graduates to enter the competitive job market and its affiliation with, a popular employment web site for college students….Self-tests, worksheets, and useful lists and facts abound. Most libraries can’t stock enough career resource books, and this one is certainly worth the modest price….Recommended for public and academic libraries.”
Library Journal

“[Students ask] ‘What is the best way to distinguish myself from the many others out there?’…I recommend The Job Hunting Guide….”
–Joyce Lain Kennedy, syndicated career columnist, Tribune Media Services

“…This covers both personal and electronic job search techniques and is a recommended pick for newcomers to the job market.”
Library Bookwatch

“This book really helped me transition from college to my new career….I enjoyed the different steps that were in the book. For instance, where to look for a job, how to write a resume, and how to prepare for an interview. Your book was a tremendous influence through my journey of finding not only a job, but a career path that I enjoy.”
–C. Notestein, Missouri

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Congratulations! You are about to graduate and go on to a rewarding job and career that truly reflects your interests, skills, and abilities one that is fit for you. College has been a great life-changing experience you have grown both personally and professionally.

While you and your parents may be poorer for the experience, the future looks much richer. You will all be proud on two upcoming days – the day you graduate and the day you start your new job. You will also enjoy getting your first post-degree paycheck that serves as evidence that you probably made the right choices for both college and career! At least you hope this is the case as your final days in college unfold with great expectations.

An Important Transition

You are most likely not the same person you were four years ago. Perhaps your interests and goals have changed, your outlook on life is refreshingly new, your circle of friends and acquaintances has expanded, and you feel more confident about yourself and your ability to shape the future.

While you may think you are part of the lucky or cool generation, you have more in common with other people than you may think.

Indeed, what you are going through is typical of most generations that have passed through your college.

Like millions of other people – be they military, Peace Corps Volunteers, retirees, laid-off employees, or workers searching for more meaningful employment – you are in transition, soon to be neither a student nor a professional.

You’ve made many new friends, expanded your networks, acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience both inside and outside the classroom, and have developed new material needs and dreams.

It’s time to find a great job that also pays good money. You’re a savvy student because you survived the many challenges of being a successful student.

All you have to do is climb that next big hurdle – land a job you may have been dreaming about for the last couple of years. This new post-college job may take your life in many new and exciting directions. Hopefully, it’s the right job for you.

It’s very important that you connect with key people who have the power to hire you. Accordingly, it’s time to launch a new career and make money.

New Skills for Success

You’re bright, self-confident, and eager to take on the world. But let’s speak truth about where you may or may not be going and just how fast may be your journey.

You need a job, especially one that appropriately reflects your education, skills, experience, interests, and salary expectations. It will probably be an entry-level job given your level of experience. It may be in business or government or with a nonprofit organization or even take you abroad with an international employer (see Chapter 12).

As many students quickly discover, finding a job requires certain knowledge and skills that are not well developed in college. The same skills you used to succeed in college – creativity, subject matter knowledge, and test taking – may not be the ones you need to land a good job and start a rewarding career.

Indeed, many students discover in their senior year that they really aren’t well prepared for making the transition from college to career. Here’s the likely scenario facing most students:

  • They think they may quickly get a job offer.
  • They’ve heard it’s a tough job market for students and now it’s time to see just how tough it is for them. Lacking specific goals, they are not sure what they want to do tomorrow, much less five or 10 years from now.
  • Faced with writing a resume, they seem confused about how long it should be or what type of information to include on it.
  • Now that they have a resume, they are not sure what to do with it mail, fax, or email it to whom?
  • While they may have some work-related experience, they are uncertain how to communicate that experience to prospective employers.
  • They’ve heard about networking but they are unclear exactly what it’s all about when looking for a job.
  • Knowing the Internet may be important to finding a job, they are uncertain which employment sites are the best or most useful for college graduates.
  • Although their campus has a career center, they are not sure what it does or how they can best use it for finding a job.
  • They ask fellow students job-related questions and get a little advice here and there from individuals who seem equally clueless about what to do next.
  • They now realize this whole process could take longer than they initially expected. They wished they had started earlier than March!
  • Busy with school work and social commitments in their final semester, they have difficulty focusing on themselves, employers, and what’s really important to achieving a successful job search.

No One to Help You

Good students don’t necessarily make good job seekers. They may have a great grade point average, completed many reports and presentations, met their college standards, participated in college activities, and held a part-time job.

Their education and experience for an entry-level candidate look good on transcripts and in letters of recommendation.

But when it comes time to prepare for the next step in their lives – selling themselves to potential employers – they need professional help that may or may not be available on campus.

Ironically, most of that help is not found where they might expect to find assistance – from their academic department or professors.

After all, their job is done – they educated you for a degree. You are no longer their responsibility, especially when it comes to the delicate issues of finding jobs and promoting oneself to employers.

Those usually aren’t viewed as legitimate academic activities. In fact, your department and professors may be equally clueless about the job market and what you need to do to succeed in finding a job.

Let’s face this new reality: it’s your job to find a job. Good luck!

The Great Disconnect

Everything you’ve done thus far in college ostensibly should help you land a good job. But the truth is that there is a disconnect between what goes on in your academic world versus what goes on in the work world.

Employers have a very simple need that seems quite different from the needs of colleges and universities – employers want to hire someone who can add value to their organization.

In other words, they want to know what it is you can do for them and be able to predict your work behavior in reference to their particular needs.

So what are you going to do to both find and convince employers that you are the one who can add the most value to their operations?

If you are good at conducting research, analyzing and synthesizing data, writing compelling copy, making brief presentations, and persuading others to both trust and like you, chances are you will be able to put together all the critical elements for organizing and implementing a successful job search.

These are key skills involved in writing resumes and letters, researching employers, networking, and interviewing for a job.

At the same time, if you are good at doing important things at the last minute, such as cramming for tests, you may be the perfect candidate for organizing and implementing an effective job search during your final 90 days in college.

90 Days and You’re Out!

Let’s not bemoan the fact that you probably should have done things differently when it comes time to look for a job. That’s life, so you have to get over it and move on to more productive things.

If you are like many other students, you’ve waited until the last 90 days of your senior year to start looking for a job. March of your senior year? Or right after Spring Break? Make sure its not May!

While ideally you should have focused on your career the first day you started college and planned your college experience accordingly, including your major, course selections, and an internship experience, in reality you’re doing what students have been doing for more than 200 years – putting off career planning issues and job search questions until the last few months of their senior year.

That’s okay. It’s not a crime not to plan nor to procrastinate about your future.

In fact, there’s no evidence that students who plan their careers over a four-year period do any better landing a good job than those who wait until the final 90 days to focus on their career and job search.

The truth is that it will probably take you 90 days to land a job whether or not you’ve planned this process over four years or in just 90 days! Once you intensely focus on finding a job, it will probably take you three months to get one you like.

As life goes on, you’ll discover there’s a season for everything. But your season is now and you can’t procrastinate much longer.

It’s time to visit your career center, write your resume, and start getting job interviews lined up. Even though you may have started late in this process, you’ll eventually get a job and hopefully launch a very productive career.

12 Months and You May be History

But if you are like many students, you’ll also probably quit your first post-college job within 12 months. That job you were so proud of landing may turn out to be a real bust.

You’ll usually know this within the first 90 days when you discover the job doesn’t feel right. It’s not what you really expected or want to continue doing for long.

You’ll either look for another job or decide to go back to college and become a student again in preparation for a wiser and more focused career.

You may quickly discover you missed some important steps in your job search, such as self-assessment, that may have contributed to accepting the wrong job – one that looked good on the surface but which was not compatible with your interests, skills, abilities, and values.

Your Crash Course to Success

It’s time to develop a 90-day crash plan for getting a job. In the pages that follow, we outline step-by-step what you need to do to organize and implement a smart job search over a 90-day period.

Based on our many years of experience in working with college students and individuals in transition, we outline the key job search steps and skills that lead to success.

As you will quickly discover, becoming an effective job seeker is not rocket science. It requires focus and skills that you may not have developed well during your college days.

Above all, these are key communication and interpersonal skills – from writing, speaking, and dressing appropriately, to interacting in face-to-face situations and seeking help – that you have already acquired in college but which you now need to reorganize and focus on your job search. Once you finish this book, you should be well prepared to land your dream job within 90 days.

What’s Your Hiring I.Q.?

Let’s start by examining your current level of job search information, skills, and strategies as well as assess how prone you are to making job search mistakes.

Respond to each of the following agree/disagree statements on a scale of 5 to 1 (strongly agree = 5; strongly disagree = 1):

  1. I can identify my strongest abilities and skills.

    5 4 3 2 1

  2. I know what I like and dislike in work.

    5 4 3 2 1

  3. I know what motivates me at work.

    5 4 3 2 1

  4. I can list my seven top achievements and explain them to an employer.

    5 4 3 2 1

  5. I have a well-defined career objective that guides my job search from beginning to end.

    5 4 3 2 1

  6. I can clearly explain to employers what I do well and enjoy doing.

    5 4 3 2 1

  7. I can specify in 50 words or less why an employer should hire me.

    5 4 3 2 1

  8. I can write different types of effective resumes and job search letters.

    5 4 3 2 1

  9. I know whom to send resumes and letters.

    5 4 3 2 1

  10. I know how to properly close a cover letter and follow up.

    5 4 3 2 1

  11. I can identify and target employers I want to interview.

    5 4 3 2 1

  12. I can develop a job referral network.

    5 4 3 2 1

  13. I know how to use the Internet to conduct employment research and network.

    5 4 3 2 1

  14. I know which websites are best for posting my resume and browsing job listings.

    5 4 3 2 1

  15. I know how much time I should spend conducting an online job search.

    5 4 3 2 1

  16. I can persuade employers to interview me.

    5 4 3 2 1

  17. I have a list of at least 10 employer-centered questions I need to ask during interviews.

    5 4 3 2 1

  18. I know the best time to talk about salary.

    5 4 3 2 1

  19. I have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish at work this coming week.

    5 4 3 2 1

  20. I set priorities and follow through on the most important tasks first.

    5 4 3 2 1

  21. I make minor decisions quickly.

    5 4 3 2 1

  22. I know how to say no and do so.

    5 4 3 2 1

  23. I know what I want to do with my life over the next 10 years.

    5 4 3 2 1

  24. I have a clear pattern of accomplishments which I can explain with examples.

    5 4 3 2 1

  25. I plan to stay with an employer for three or more years.

    5 4 3 2 1

  26. I have little difficulty in making cold calls and striking up conversations with strangers.

    5 4 3 2 1

  27. I always arrive at a job interview on time or with a few minutes to spare.

    5 4 3 2 1

  28. I immediately return most phone calls and respond to important emails and letters.

    5 4 3 2 1

  29. I control my time well rather than let other people control it.

    5 4 3 2 1

  30. I usually take responsibility for my own actions rather than blame others.

    5 4 3 2 1

TOTAL HIRING I.Q.: _______

If your total H.I.Q. (Hiring I.Q.) score is 135 or above, you are least likely to make job search mistakes. If your H.I.Q. is below 110, you can benefit a great deal from reading this book and putting it into practice. Upon completion of this book, your H.I.Q. should increase substantially!

But which statements you disagreed with may indicate how difficult or easy it will be for you to take corrective actions.

If, for example, most of your disagrees (3 through 1) were in response to the first 18 statements, taking corrective action may be relatively easy and most of the advice can be found within the pages of this book.

The reason for this is that the first 18 statements relate to your knowledge in reference to conducting an effective job search.

If you responded disagree to any of these statements, you can take corrective action by following how to advice or tips on learning new job search skills.

However, if many of your disagrees were in response to the last 12 statements (19-30), you may be very mistake-prone; taking corrective action may be very difficult for you. The reason for this is that statements 19-30 relate to your patterns of behavior.

Many of these behaviors deal with your attitudes, motivations, self-management practices, and social interactive skills.

These patterns of behavior can be modified by changing your attitudes and orientations to people, things, and situations. They require breaking old habits that may lead to recurring mistakes rather than just acquiring more knowledge.

Resources for Organizing Your Future

The pages that follow reflect the very best career planning and job search advice offered by experienced career professionals who work with millions of job seekers each year. Our advice is very compatible with the serious work of your campus career center.

It also incorporates the many experiences of, one of the premier online employment resource centers that links college students to employers interested in recruiting them for entry-level positions.

Through our many clients and users, we’ve learned a great deal about the needs of our two audiences – students and employers. The basic need is what we call a good fit between the applicant and the job.

Whatever you do, your goal should be to find a job that is compatible with your interests, skills, and abilities.

That’s exactly what employers also want – highly motivated, enthusiastic, and talented employees who love what they do. They, too, are looking for a good fit.

As you organize and implement your job search according to the advice outlined in this book, we recommend that you also use the following online resources for enhancing your job search:

Used in conjunction with this book, these websites should assist you in every phase of your job search. They open up a whole new world of job insights and opportunities. Set aside time to focus on these websites over a 90-day period.

Whatever you do, make sure you use the next 90 days wisely. How well you organize and implement your job search at this stage in your life can have very important implications for your future career.

Make sure your first career move is the right one. Don’t discover during the first 90 days of your new job that you made a costly mistake – you accepted a job offer that wasn’t a good fit for you.

You can avoid doing so by doing first things first, as we outline in subsequent chapters.

Cramming for Success

We wish you the very best as you embark on the next phase of your life. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to put your best effort into the next 90 days of your college life.

Think of your job search as a cram course in finding the perfect job. If you’re used to cramming for tests, you’ll find cramming for a job to be even more rewarding than getting a high grade on a test.

Only you can make this happen. We’re here to assist you in putting your best foot forward in today’s job market for college students. Keep in touch with us now and in the future – through our career-related websites.

After all, this is only one of many job and career transitions you will make during your work life.

If you do this one right, you should put yourself on a path to career success. You’ll use our job search knowledge and skills over and over again in the process of advancing your career.

Serving you well both today and tomorrow, this book should become your guide to changing jobs in the future as well as getting off to a good start.

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