Preparing for Your Job Search

Going into your job or internship search fully prepared is extremely important. Potential employers recognize the level of preparedness that a person puts into their application materials so it's important that you put your best foot forward. We've compiled some helpful advice and tips on requesting letters of recommendation, social media professionalism, networking and all things etiquette.

Three students attend a tutoring session


When you connect with professionals in your field, you are "networking." Learning how to meaningfully network is one of the most effective tools for being noticed by hiring managers, for growing a network of supportive professional contacts while on the job and for sharing and learning while in your profession.

1. Using the personal network you already have with friends, family and prior employers is a good place to start. Can they connect you with someone in your field?

2. UWRF faculty in your field of study are an invaluable resource for finding opportunities to connect with professionals in your field.

3. Joining campus organizations related to your field of study and actively participating in their activities will connect you to peers who may be long-term professional contacts and friends.

4. Gaining experiences in your field of study through on-campus work, internships, volunteering, part-time work and summer work is a great way to meet professionals in your field. Such experiences often lead to full-time employment opportunities.

5. Attending a conference or event is an ideal way to connect with professionals.

6. Creating a LinkedIn profile and connecting with professionals and groups in your field grows your network of peers for sharing information and ideas. The UWRF LinkedIn Mentor Network allows you to connect with professionals who have volunteered to speak with UWRF students about their career path and field of work.

Learn additional ways to connect by viewing our Networking and Informational Interviews handout.

Social Media Professionalism

Having an online profile for professional purposes is becoming mainstream and tells employers that you are current. Employers may learn a lot about you before or after an interview by what you post publicly in social networking sites and other websites. Keep your profiles and public content professional and use your security settings to control what employers may see.

Hiring managers and professionals use LinkedIn as a professional tool to network. Only use your LinkedIn account for professional (not personal) purposes.

View this quick video to learn the top five LinkedIn profile to-dos.


LinkedIn Video Tutorial Images

Beware! The content of any of your online social media accounts may be accessible to employers through their friends, connections or followers. Check the viewing rights you provide to your friends and networks and update public content in your public profile and messages to to keep them professional. The more positive information you post, the more you can build your professional image online!

Search for your name using Google to see what your "digital dirt" looks like. If you find content that you wish employers would not see, attempt to have it removed.

The Right Way to Google Yourself

Letters of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation is a letter written by someone who can recommend an individual's work or academic performance. It is typically sent to a hiring manager or admissions officer who is deciding whether to employ or admit a candidate. A letter of recommendation describes a person's qualifications and skills as they relate to employment or education. These letters typically come from previous employers, professors, colleagues, clients, or teachers and discuss the qualities and capabilities that make the candidate a good fit for a given position, college, or graduate school program.

Ask potential recommendation writers in person if they would be willing to write a strong and favorable letter on your behalf. Be appreciative of the person who honestly tells you that they cannot write you a strong recommendation and remember that a well thought out letter of recommendation takes about 45-60 minutes to write.

Letters of recommendation are best written by people who know you well through a job, class or organization. It is wise to choose a variety of people who know you in different capacities and can speak to your different strengths, abilities and experiences. However, be sure to follow any specific instructions provided regarding who should write your letters (i.e. two professors, one supervisor). You might ask a professor in your major, a recent work supervisor or someone you have worked with in an organization. Generally, letters written by personal or family friends are not appropriate.

Letters of recommendation should be written on organization or departmental letterhead. You will want to keep your recommendation letters together and in a secure location. Please note that some schools, employers and scholarship applications may require a recommender to fill out an evaluation form and/or provide responses to specific questions instead of submitting an open-ended letter of recommendation. The method for submitting recommendations may also vary greatly.

Education majors, please note that your most important letters of recommendation are from your cooperating teachers, supervisors, principals and other individuals who have seen you perform in a school setting or interact with young people through teaching, tutoring or mentoring.

Tell the letter writers your plans or interests and how this recommendation will assist you. Remind them of your past activities and accomplishments and encourage them to include specific skills you may want to have mentioned and give examples when possible. If you have completed a resume, give the writer a copy.

Let the writer know the date by which you need the letter of recommendation completed and try to give them at least two weeks to write the letter. Provide the writer with detailed instructions for submission, including an stamped and addressed envelope if being sent in the mail.

A thank you note to each person who writes you a letter of recommendation is appreciated! Be sure to let your writers know the results of your search or application.

Career Services

187 Rodli Hall
River Falls, WI 54022


Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.