How do I find work?

After you have graduated, there are a variety of paths you can take to begin to earn your income. You can look for a job, start your own company or begin research at the university. Regardless of which path you choose, we want to help you be as prepared as possible. At Chalmers there are many ways to get help in the search for employment process. In the left hand menu here you can find some of them.

How to get started?
It is important to first consider what your abilities are, what you want to work with and where you want to work. What type of job are you interested in? Do you want to work individually or in a group? Is it important that you have a job in a certain city or do you want to travel with your job?

What are you particularly good at? Is there an area of your education that a specific industry or branch would find attractive? Start your search identifying the market that is interested in you – it is much better to do an in-depth search in a narrow field, than simply to broadcast everywhere that you are looking for work. Focus your search and research on interesting companies and opportunities. Try and establish a clear picture of what you are good at and what type of job you would like to have.

Where can I find work?
You have most likely had a job of some sort before; summer or part time jobs, babysitting or cutting the neighbours lawns. Regardless of the formal or informal nature of the job, some things are the same – using contacts and friends and looking in newspapers and shop windows. More advanced job searches of the type you are now undertaking also will include job sites, company sites, head hunters, as well as career fairs and university activities.

Wanted Ads - local and national newspapers
Remember that everyone who is looking for work also reads the paper. Want Ads are the tip of the iceberg; there are many, many more jobs out there than those advertised in the papers. But if you feel you see some interesting jobs there, be sure to dig deeper because you will find more.

Internet
There is a plethora of sites dedicated to job ads of all kinds, where you can submit your resume to a searchable resume pool and where you also can search for specific jobs. Make sure you follow these sites, and submit your resume there, although they tend to be rather general. When you are researching your specific target areas, you will find that many companies advertise on their own web sites, so it is important to follow what is happening in individual companies.

You can also find job sites that specialise in a narrower field where your interests may lie.

Contacts
One of the most common ways to finding work, is to use your contacts. That includes your family and their contacts, friends and who they might know, professors, teachers, people you have worked for or with before, anyone you can think of. Let your contacts know you are looking for work and let them know what you are looking for. Make sure you can describe yourself and a possible job in a few brief sentences, so it is easy for your contacts to keep you in mind and market you onwards.

Your contact net might be rather rudimentary at this stage of your career, but it will grow as you gain experience. Be sure to take care of it – keep in touch with colleagues and friends and previous employers, as well as interesting people you meet at conferences and shows. You never know when it may be useful to have a contact in a certain industry, city or company.

Outplacement and headhunting companies
Outplacement companies are always looking for new staff and this can be a possible entrance into working life. There are some organisations that focus specifically on university graduates, which may be most useful for you.

Spontaneous applications (off the street)
So you’ve found the company you want to work for – you’ve read or hear about it somewhere or stumbled across it in your research. But they aren’t looking for anyone at the moment, so what to do? Check through all your contacts, neighbours, friends of your mum, dad – for anybody who might work there. Check out articles or the web site for a name. 

What you are looking for is the name of a good contact in the company who can point you in the right direction and/or give you a character reference. Here you don’t want to send in an application to HR, unless the person in HR happens to be a good contact to you or one of your contacts.

But articles, the company web or other research papers might give you a valuable name – head of engineering or biochemistry for example – or manager of the particular field you wish to work in. Then you can send a job application directly to that person, referring to the article or information that woke your interest. Make sure you Google them! They might not have anything available at the moment, but a proper approach and an interesting application should help keep you in the forefront when an opening shows up.

Starting your own company
Starting your own company can be an alternative way to launching your career. Maybe you have a good idea and don’t know how to get it through the various stages to a real product out there on the market? There are several actors out there that can help you get started and keep on moving. Several of them have what is called Incubators, which are sheltered situations where you can start up a company under the guidance of experienced business people who help you with the know-how needed to get from idea to company.

Different organisations that can help you are: 

Entrepreneurship and Business Design - Chalmers has a master’s program specially designed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs. You have an opportunity to work with start up companies in an incubator environment or with strategic business development. Entrepreneurship and Business Design


Chalmers Innovation – Is an idea investment agency and an business incubator that invests in technically based ideas and growth companies from university, college, private people and company spin offs. The development process is built up in three steps: evaluation, pre-incubator and incubator. Chalmers Innovation

Drivhuset – Assists university and college students to start and operate companies. Drivhuset

Connect Väst – A non-profit network organisation that, together with partners, creates a unique platform that leads the entrepreneur to the resources that are required to succeed. They help secure financing though a special approach to entrepreneurs depending on the focus of the start up company. Since the private sector supports the organisation, the company gets access to excellent expertise from many industries for a very low cost or for free. Connect Väst

Venture Cup - Venture Cup is a business plan competition with the goal of inspiring and interesting people who have a business idea to take a step closer to realizing their dreams. By participating with your idea in Venture cup you get feedback, guidance, training inspiration and access to a huge contact network – all free of charge. Venture Cup


How do you apply for a job?
Once you’ve found a job that you’d like to apply for, you can always start by phoning the employer to try and find out a bit more than what is given in the ad. What kind of background would they like the applicant to have? What kind of team would you be working in? Are there any specific skills that they value particularly?

In brief, a job application in general is composed of a resume and a cover letter. Your resume is the bricks and mortar of your application – your contact info, education, work experience and achievements or other activities, are gathered in an easy to read document that gives the employer a good grasp of your skills, what you have studied and worked with.  The cover letter is an opportunity to let your personality show through – to give the employer a good idea of who you are and also why you would be best for the job. It’s a chance to decorate and paint that house you built with your resume.

There are lots of sites that give you details – see further on in this section to the left. Be sure to write your own resume and cover letter – a site that does it for your will do a lovely job – but not about you.
Ask friends and family to read through your job application papers and to be critical. Poor grammar and spelling is never acceptable.

Keep an eye out for our seminars on writing resumes and CV’s.

After the application is in
If the employer thinks that you are interesting, then they usually call you in for an interview or testing in order to sift through the applicants looking for the best match.  As a rule, employers call more than one person to these interviews or tests. The recruiting process can be very different from employer to employer – if you want to know specific details you will have to ask the organisation in question.

If you don't get the job
If you don’t get the job you have applied for and indeed hoped for, don’t give up. Instead, find out why they didn’t hire you. If you have been on an interview, you can always get in touch with the person who interviewed you to get feedback. Ask what it was that made the difference; was there anything you could have done differently? Be friendly and professional and interested in what they have to say. Don’t be upset or contradict or correct the person you speak to. If you can’t manage that, then don’t get in touch. Evaluate your performance and use what you learn to improve for your next interview.

Published: Fri 15 Oct 2010. Modified: Wed 12 Feb 2014