The Job Search for All Careers

It takes approximately 6-12 months to land a job once you begin your job search, which starts with identifying what your career goals are and what type of job you are looking for. This may include looking at job openings, networking, and conducting informational interviews. Once you submit your applipation, it can still take up to 1.5 months to get an interview, depending on the industry.

An effective job search takes time and will utilize your research skills. The best approach is to conduct informational interviews and begin to network well before you plan to enter the job market to understand what career fields, companies, and positions fit you and to establish connections with desirable employers.

View the tips sheets and example documents provided in this section to help craft application materials that are tailored to the job advertisement to which you are applying and demonstrate your brand- your skills, experiences, and values that make you the best fit for the job. Prepare a “master resume” that lists all your skills and experiences. Use this master list to create tailored resumes and cover letters for each job you apply to and to remind you of your accomplishments as you prepare for interviews. This section also covers interviewing skills and negotiating tips. Be prepared for these crucial steps of the job search process by continuously practicing and getting feedback from peers, mentors, and professionals in the field.

Make an appointment with the PDCO office to review your cover letters and resumes, conduct a mock interview, and practice your job negotiation talks.


The Online Career Resources has links to career exploration sites, job search databases, and relevant podcasts and social media hashtags.

Our Online Career Library contains many books to help you explore careers, begin your job search, and prepare application materials:

  • The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton shows you a methodical approach to finding companies of interest, identifying potential informational interviews.
  • Next Gen PhD by Melanie V. Sinche can guide you in your career exploration as Dr. Sinche profiles science PhDs across a wide range of disciplines who share proven strategies for landing a rewarding occupation inside or outside the university.
  • ReSearch: A Career Guide for Scientists is a career planning guide and practical tool for graduate students and postdocs. This book provides step-by-step processes for the assessment of career goals and the actions that can be taken in order to achieve them.