Internship & Job Search Toolkit for Job Seekers and Career Changers

image of a student with a facemask using a laptop outside

By Eva Lee, Senior Career Advisor, Internship & Career Center

The curve balls thrown by the pandemic over the past year have added challenges to the internship and job search for many students and new graduates. As you prepare to support your young adult in their search for internships, jobs, volunteering, or other experiential learning opportunities, you can help them develop an internship and job search toolkit by considering some of the following suggestions.

Self-Reflection

First, offer to help them gain a better understanding and clarity of who they are. This requires reflecting on past, current, and future interests. All are crucial for making decisions on the right type of internship, job, or company. Help them get started by identifying their values, interests, skills, and personality, and relating these strengths to entry-level occupations. Refer them to UC Davis Internship and Career Center (ICC) resources on career planning and self-reflection strategies to narrow down interests. Your student can use this self-knowledge to start researching, exploring jobs, and internships.

Job Search Materials

Second, offer to help them prepare their job search materials. Encourage them to create or update their resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, and Handshake profiles. They can download our Career Resource Manual, a comprehensive resource for UC Davis jobseekers, from the beginning stages of exploration through the internship and job search process. The Career Resource Manual includes samples of resumes, cover letters, reference lists, and more. Current students and recent alumni can have their resumes and cover letters reviewed through Drop-in Advising, Document Review, or a Career Advising Appointment.

Apply a Multi-Part Approach to Finding Internships & Jobs

Next, offer to assist them with creating a  job search plan employing numerous resources including their UC Davis Handshake account, job boards, company websites, and networking. This is a good time to review company websites, not only for open positions, but also to learn about their mission statements, values, and their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as services, and/or products the company provides, and milestones they have achieved.

Encourage your student or new grad to frequently check their Handshake account for Internship and Career Center job fairs and company information sessions, and especially for open positions listed for UC Davis students and alumni. At the same time, encourage them to explore general, as well as industry-specific job boards based on their interests. Help your student or new grad make a list of the top 20 organizations in their field of interest with whom they would like to work. Suggest they set a soft goal to submit 1-2 applications per week, and encourage them to network with professionals by conducting informational interviews, and joining LinkedIn groups associated with their interests to connect with professionals working for companies on their list. The more your student learns, researches, and connects with professionals, the better prepared they will be for applying and interviewing for internships and jobs.


Conducting an internship or job search can be overwhelming, but by starting the conversation with your student and assisting them in developing a plan early on, the job search process can be manageable and exciting. We encourage students to dedicate at least 30 minutes - 1 hour per week to making progress on their resource-rich job search plan and updating their job search materials. We know Aggies are knowledgeable, skillful, and ready to enter the job market. We are cheering them on and have a multitude of services at the Internship & Career Center to assist!  

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