Preparing for Your Job Search During Winter Break

Congratulations on completing another, or your first, semester at USC! A well-deserved break is right around the corner. However, if you are looking for a job, this upcoming break is also a great time to begin preparing for your job search. Below are tips and strategies on how to effectively utilize your time to ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to acquire your desired job:

Begin With a Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets may not be everyone’s favorite, but it is essential in keeping yourself organized throughout your job search. Refer to this article by Hannah Baes published on Jobscan’s website to learn the step-by-step process of making a job search tracker spreadsheet.

Simplify your Job Search with a Job Search Spreadsheet [Template + Free Tool]

Narrow Down Your Choices

Before officially beginning your search, you want to be intentional with your approach. You must know what you want from potential job opportunities to effectively use the filters on job search platforms according to your needs. You can narrow down your choices by reflecting on the following questions:

  • Location: Where do you want to work? Are you open to relocation? Do you wish to stay in the same city/state? How far of a commute are you willing to commit? 
  • Format: How do you want to work? Do you want to work in person? Virtual? Hybrid? What is your preferred work environment?
  • Industry: What are your passions and interests? What job industries allow you to foster these passions and interests?
  • Function: What skills do you possess from your current or previous experiences? How do those skills align with the job title/position you are applying for?

Navigate Job Search Platforms

Once you have your job search tracker spreadsheet and narrowed down your choices, it is time to begin your job search! After determining what you look for in a job, use the filter features on job search platforms to find the best-fit job opportunities. When you find a job listing you are interested in, input it into your spreadsheet. Below are some job search platforms you can use to begin your search:

Job Search Platforms for USC Students

  • connectSC: Job search portal for jobs and personalized recommendations.
  • Trojan Network:  The “Opportunities” tab provides jobs, internships, and other professional opportunities. You may also conduct informational interviews with USC alumni and expand your network!
  • CareerShift: Includes millions of jobs and contacts for networking, tap into the hidden job market, and identify recruiters from diverse organizations and industries.
  • Interstride: An interactive career platform designed by international students to enhance career exploration and job-search experience for international students. 
  • GoinGlobal: Provides career information regarding working in different locations in the United States and abroad. Great platform for international students.
  • Handshake: A supplemental job-listing portal available for USC students and Alumni. 

Industry-specific Job Search Platforms

  • ArtSearch: The national employment bulletin for the arts that includes full-time and internship opportunities in arts administration, production, artistic, and arts education.
  • Bridge Worldwide Music Consortium: An online music connection curated by the New England Conservatory, providing opportunities for musicians in performance, composition, teaching, competitions, and administration roles.
  • Opportunities in Public Affairs: Find opportunities within the field of Public Affairs in Washington D.C.
  • Idealist: Jobs, internships, and opportunities within the Social Impact sector.
  • USA Jobs: Explore careers related to the federal government.
  • Dice: Find jobs in the technology industry.
  • Environmental Career Opportunities: Explore 16 green job listing sites in addition to environmental career opportunities on connectSC.

Other Common Job Search Platforms 

Note: When determining the job search platforms you want to use, make sure you are wary of potential fraudulent platforms. 

Tailor Your Resume

At the USC Career Center, we emphasize the importance of tailoring your resume to each job position. While it is handy to have a general resume, you should be deliberate when highlighting your experiences and skills for a specific job position. Refer to the following resources available at the USC Career Center to help you with tailoring your resume:

Dedicate Time

Now that you know what to do to prepare and begin your job search, dedicate some of your spare time to do these tips and strategies–whether that is an hour of productive workflow with undivided attention or setting a goal of finding five jobs per week. Lastly, find a place you can productively do your job search–whether that is your room, the library, or your favorite cafe. Figure out a manageable time and realistic goal during the break while still honoring your leisure time. 

If you require further support in any topics discussed in this article, please do not hesitate to reach out! Once we return from winter break on Tuesday, January 3rd, you may schedule 30-minute advising appointments with one of our Career Advisors through connectSC or stop by during our drop-in hours at the USC Career Center (STU 110) to discuss any of your questions or concerns. On behalf of all the USC Career Center staff, we wish you happy holidays!

By Ella Rae Columbres
Ella Rae Columbres