Develop a strategy for your internship or job search

While some employers start recruiting early in the fall semester, the process continues throughout the year and well into spring. It's never too early or too late!  

STEP ONE - Before you begin to apply:

  • Get your resume ready to go. See our resume samples and tips.
  • Complete your Handshake profile. Having a robust Handshake profile will help the career center get career information to you that matches your interests. It will also help employers know the types of opportunities you're looking for.
  • Complete your LinkedIn profile. Love it or hate it, most employers use LinkedIn and it has a number of tools that will help you with your search. Follow companies, connect with recruiters and UVA alums and join LinkedIn groups related to your interests.
  • Join the UVA Career Communities for targeted information based on your career interests.
  • Attend employer information sessions and events. 
  • Make a list of companies you’re interested in but be open to companies you may not have heard of before. In Handshake you can filter employers by location, industry, number of employees, and key word (see pro tip in #1). The Handshake employer profile page will show you student reviews of the company, positions they have posted, students who have previously worked for that company and some will list recruiter contact information.
  • Still unsure about how to get ready? Schedule an appointment to meet with a career advisor.

STEP TWO - Now you're ready to start applying!

1. Start with Handshake

  • From the JOBS tab, use the filters or keyword search to find opportunities to apply for. Sort by DATE POSTED to find the most recent posting - it's best to apply early rather than wait for the deadline date. Hundereds of jobs are posted every day, so check often.
  • Pro Tip - search by key words that align with your interests. For example: 3D printing, CAD, Python, machine learning, sensors, water conservation, robotics, autonomous vehicles, IOT, drones, construction.
  • On-Grounds Recruiting (OGI)/On-Campus Recruiting: Employers who are especially interested in recruiting UVA students will conduct interviews on-grounds in Bryant Hall or virtually. Find OGI postions here or check the "Interviewing on Campus" filter under JOBS in Handshake. OGI positions have a pre-defined timeline for applying, interview selection, and first round interviews. 
  • Curious about where other UVA almni are working? Take a look at UVA engineering alumni in LinkedIn by major.
  • Attend a career fair. Find career fairs in Handshake here and check out our blog posts on career fair prep and follow up.

2. Beyond Handshake

  • Explore other non-Handshake job boards - if you're not finding enough positions to apply for in Handshake, it can help to explore other job posting sites. We especially like smaller, niche job boards that focus on a specific area.
  • Apply directly through company websites if positions aren’t posted on Handshake or other job boards. Heard of a cool company in the news? Go to their website and check out the jobs they have posted.
  • First and second year students - see where other first and second years have interned here.
  • See where UVA alums in your major are working. We've filtered LinkedIn for you here.
  •  Pro Tip: If you’re applying through the web, it can be especially helpful to find an alum working there who might be able to pass along your resume. Don’t be afraid to reach out for an informational interview via LinkedIn or VAM.

3. Maximize your Search

  • Research the companies you are applying to so that you can say in your cover letter why you are interested in that specific company and that specific job. 
  • Network – follow the companies you’ve applied with on Handshake and LinkedIn. Connect with or follow recruiters for those companies. Look for UVA alums who are working at the companies you’ve applied with and reach out to connect. Don’t know what to say? Here are some templates to help.

4. After you apply

  • Follow up – If you haven’t heard back from a position you’ve applied to, follow up. You can send a short email that says that you’ve applied, you’re still interested, and you’re hoping to hear about the next steps in the process. Most people don’t follow up so it will help you stand out and show that you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity. The Career Center has a tool called CareerShift that can help you find contact information for recruiters. Here’s a quick video on how to use CareerShift.
  • Follow up message templates - HERE
  • Start your interview prep before you get an interview. Review our interview resources and schedule an appointment for a mock interview. Interviews take practice so don’t wait until you have an interview to start getting ready.

5. Offer Evaluation and Negotiation


"One-on-one conversations and direct feedback from my career advisor really helped me focus on what I wanted to get out of my college experience at UVA. With personalized advice from career services, I was able to identify study abroad opportunities, networking events, and potential career paths related to my major."

Jessica Lin, BS Systems Engineering, 2017