How To Find Opportunities
There are several ways to find opportunities, whether it is internships or full-time post-grad jobs. Read below for ideas!
If you want to talk about using the tips described on this page in greater depth, or don’t know where to start with identifying your interests and goals with your internship or job search, that is a great reason to meet with an advisor at CLBR! We look forward to helping you navigate the process. Please make an appointment in Handshake.
In the meantime, here are some things you can do and questions you can ask yourself to get started:
- Review our Communities of Purpose and see what speaks to you.
- Start reading job descriptions in the job boards listed below or on the Communities of Purpose pages to get an idea of what types of positions appeal to you.
- List companies you know of and admire, and review sections of their website that might reveal more about the type of work you could do there. Common website sections include “Staff” pages, “About Us” pages, or “Careers” pages.
- Think of people you have interacted with in the past who did interesting work—what were their job titles? Conduct an internet search with those job titles and see what other companies offer that sort of work.
- Conduct some searches in the alumni directory or on LinkedIn to see what type of work people are doing. For instance, if you are interested in education, use that as a keyword and see the variety of job titles that comes up.
- Think about if the type of organization is more important to you, or the function of the work (ex. do you want to do fundraising for an organization that seeks to end homelessness, or would you rather provide direct service to clients?)
- Reflect on the jobs, internships, activities, or volunteering you have done in the past—what types of organizations did you enjoy being a part of? What aspects of the work were most interesting to you?
- Also think of logistical components like how long you want to be at a job or if location matters to you.
Handshake is a great starting place to see what is out there, but it is by no means a comprehensive resource. One benefit of starting with Handshake is that many postings are in there because individuals made an intentional effort to post at Reed College, meaning that they are excited to hire Reedies! If you are new to job searching, Handshake also has fewer opportunities than a major jobs site (Indeed, Monster, etc.), so it is easier to sift through and start to learn what types of positions you are drawn to.
Firsthand (formerly known as Vault) is a resource that Reed pays for and which students and alumni can access by creating an account with Firsthand. It includes rankings for top employers and internship programs, career guides, and a career blog, as well as a job and internship board. You can use this to gain information about potential career paths and to actually search for jobs. Keep in mind that each career guide includes detailed information about industry specific associations and job boards that you can also add to your search. Contact an advisor at CLBR if you would like help with navigating Firsthand.
Communities of Purpose
Each of CLBR’s Communities of Purpose pathways include information about additional job boards and ways to seek out opportunities. Explore communities here!
Google Groups and Newsletters
In addition to CLBR’s weekly newsletter, make sure to join other groups that include opportunities, including CLBR’s pre-health Google group, and CLBR’s pre-law Google group. You can join those groups via the links in the right sidebar of our website. Your department may also have mailing lists, Google groups, or Slack Workspaces to subscribe to, so ask your department coordinator for more information.
Networking is a powerful tool for finding opportunities, including many that may not even be posted! Read CLBR’s guide to networking here.
Reed Switchboard often includes job postings, so make sure to make this a regular part of your searching. You can also make targeted asks if you are looking for something specific (ex. “Does anybody know about environmental non-profits that may be hiring?”).
Locally Trusted Partners
There are two local agencies whose job lists are solid, and with whom we share great relationships.
Boly:Welch is a staffing agency based in Portland with whom CLBR has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Their practice areas include administrative, finance/accounting, legal assistants and paralegals, human resources, and marketing. Seniors and alumni on the search for temp, temp to hire, and permanent positions.
Mac's List, founded by Mac Prichard of Prichard Communications, is another local resource. Some of the opportunities on this list have been published more broadly, but still may work for Reedies on the hunt for the next opportunity!
Preparing Yourself Before You Have Work Experience
One of the most common difficulties when conducting a job search is coming across listings that ask for experience you have not yet acquired. Here are some things to keep in mind to get the experience you need:
- Volunteering can be a great way to not only serve your community but gain valuable skills you will use in many jobs. Idealist.org has volunteer listings. Also check with SEEDS.
- Joining clubs and activities at Reed College will also help boost your resume and provide valuable skills such as event planning, outreach, teamwork, and delegation.
- Consider applying for a Reed on-campus job to gain workplace experience.
- There may be many skills you can teach yourself or gain through programming elsewhere. For instance, you can teach yourself coding or a foreign language to boost your resume. Community colleges may have language or advanced Excel courses. Consider applying to the Career Advancement Fund for assistance with skill-building program fees that will help to boost your career prospects.
- Always remember that networking can lead you to great opportunities and also provide you with valuable information about how to gain experience in a certain industry (ex. there may be apprenticeship programs). Perhaps networking will help you find a mentor or somebody that will allow you to shadow them at their workplace.
- Consider applying for various Reed-based fellowship opportunities. There are great opportunities to gain experience leading your own project and help to show employers skills like independence, initiative, and flexibility.
These are just a few tips on how to gain experience, but remember these things as well:
- Employers are often looking for transferable skills that you gain in diverse ways, including your coursework at Reed. Speak with an advisor at CLBR to make sure you are including your transferable skills in an effective way on your resume.
- Even if it seems you don’t have the right amount of experience, you can apply anyway! The qualifications listed on many job postings are often more like a wish list than a check list, so if you have a majority of the qualifications, go ahead and try with an application! In the cases where certain skills you do not yet have are non-negotiable for an employer (ex. must know programming languages), check out the tips above for how you can gain those skills.
- Often times, individuals need to have a job or two to gain experience in the work world before being able to do their ideal job. Think about what sorts of positions will allow you to thrive while also gaining transferable skills, but keep working through the tips listed above to continue building your resume while you work at interim jobs.
It is very common for college students to work at jobs during school breaks and during the summer, in what is often called “seasonal employment.” These sorts of positions tend to be in the following realms:
- Activities-based endeavors (ex. tour guide, kayak guides)
- Camp counselors
If you are looking to make money over the summer but haven’t yet decided on a career focus or don’t want to relocate for an internship, these are great options. Also remember that while doing jobs in these sectors, hours are often flexible and you will have time to engage in the tips listed above for gaining career-related experience. For instance, you can work at a restaurant during the evenings and spend the days networking, job shadowing, and taking a community course on a foreign language! Another advantage is that sometimes these positions are flexible enough to allow you to return during your school’s breaks throughout the year.
Here are some tips for finding seasonal jobs:
- Think about what sectors interest you most—do you enjoy coffee shops? Do you want to be outdoors every day? Create a company list of organizations that fits these qualifications.
- Don’t know how to create a list? Some strategies include looking on a map at the organizations in your radius, taking a walk through the neighborhood to see what organizations there are, and asking people you know for their recommendations!
- Most places will have online application systems where you can apply through the company directly. However, some smaller coffee shops or boutiques may have paper applications or even be amenable to you dropping off a copy of your resume in person!
If you find a company that looks interesting but don’t know much about it, here are some things you can look at to determine its reputability:
- The company should have a website that includes essential information and appears well-maintained.
- The company’s domain address should match the email domain address for staff members.
- Check to see if the staff members have LinkedIn profiles that match website information.
- Also check to see if the company itself has a LinkedIn and social media presence.
- Type the name of the company into a search engine to see the results; also read reviews of the company.
- Check to make sure the company’s address is listed on the website, and then check an image on an online map to make sure it is an actual business and not a residential address.
- Do a reverse lookup of the phone number and addresses listed on the website and make sure it leads to the correct company.
- Make sure you do not need to pay any fees to apply, join, participate, or work.
- If commission is part of your salary, make sure your salary is not 100% commission.
- Check to see if there is a business registration.