There are many ways to go about finding a job. In a competitive job market, it’s particularly important to use a range of different approaches to maximise your access to opportunities and enhance your chances of success.
Your overall approach will take into account the sector you’re applying for, the type of role you’re interested in and the amount of experience you have, so make sure you understand what’s expected by employers.
Once you’ve decided what you want to do and where you'd like to work, look at the jobs that employers you are keen on are currently advertising. Check out direct competitors, smaller companies in the same sector, again starting with individual websites and also looking at job boards.
See below for a quick overview of different job sites and some suggestions on alternative approaches.
Graduate jobs and internships opportunities
There are literally 1000’s of job websites. How do you know which are any good? How do you narrow down your search into something manageable? Use the information below to help you get started.
Our vacancy board hosts opportunities that are specifically targeted to LSE students, often posted by alumni who are keen to employ our students and graduates in their organisations, so it’s a great place to start.
General graduate job websites typically advertise both internships and permanent roles. They tend to be used by larger, well-known companies keen to appeal to graduates from across a range of universities. Some of the best known are Prospects, TARGETjobs and Milkround.
There are a number of well-known job sites that aggregate job listings from many different sites including job boards, recruitment agencies and company websites. The most popular of these include Indeed, CareerBuilder and Monster. All offer an app, email job alerts and the option to upload your CV/resume. Be as specific as possible in the search filters and criteria you apply to narrow down your results so they are not overwhelming.
In response to the pandemic, several organisations are offering virtual internships and other opportunities. Check out Forage (formerly Inside Sherpa) and BrightNetwork.
You'll find a number of sites which specialise in roles within a particular sector or professional area. Our employment sector guides include some suggested specialist links. Identify those that look particularly useful, sign up to recieve alerts or check in regularly. Professional bodies and online publications can be another good source of information.
Always a good place to start, many organisations also promote their roles through their social media accounts, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, so make sure you find out where they’re active and follow as appropriate.
LinkedIn includes a jobs tab where you can actively search and apply directly for advertised roles. Many hiring managers and agencies use LinkedIn to directly search for candidates. Look at company profiles to find links to current vacancies and remember to create a strong profile (link to linkedin) to ensure recruiters find you.
Being proactive in your job search means keeping one step ahead, trying to identify opportunities before they are shared more widely, building relationships with the people making hiring decisions and who might be able to use your skills and expertise.
Many job-hunting guides mention the substantial number of roles that are never formally advertised. It’s certainly the case that many candidates hear about opportunities directly via a personal contact, a referral, recommendation or internal posting. Even if you’re responding to an advertised role, if you’re already known to the hiring manager, they are likely to look on your application more positively.
If there’s an employer you are really keen to work for, it can be worth approaching them directly to see whether they have any openings that would suit your background, skills and experience. This approach can be particularly fruitful if you are looking for a short-term role, an internship or project-based work and is often most effective if you emphasise what you can do for them.
Recruitment agencies and headhunters
Acting as an intermediary between candidates and employers, agencies can play a useful role in your job search.
Recruitment agencies help employers fill their vacancies by matching candidates to suitable jobs. Some employers outsource all or part of their graduate recruitment to specialist agencies so it can be useful to check out their websites.
General agencies will offer roles at all levels and can be a useful source of part-time or administration work, while specialist agencies which focus on a particular sector or specialisation will tend to have good knowledge of their particular area. The best will have strong links with employers.
It’s important to keep in mind that an agency’s client is the employer (you should never be asked to pay a fee). As a result, their focus is going to be on filling the role rather than whether this is the right job for you.
Typically engaged by an employer to source candidates for more senior or highly specialised roles, they will conduct an initial search, interview a number of potential candidates and present a short list of suitably qualified professionals to their client. While some will list open positions on their websites, they will tend to reach out directly to people of interest and will often resist meeting or responding to speculative contact unless they have a role they feel you are very suited for.
While we generally consider LinkedIn as the go-to platform for things professional, organisations also use other forms of social media to advertise roles, share information about what they’re working on, engage with potential candidates. Do a bit of research to make sure you are in the right place given your particular interests, and think carefully about your own social media presence and how this will come across to employers who are very likely to do a bit of research of their own.
Ensuring that your profile is showcasing effectively your skills and experience and is likely to attract recruiters is a useful starting point, but there’s a lot more you can do to support your job search on the platform. Check out our information about how to get the most out of LinkedIn.
Particularly popular in the media, marketing, NGO, charity and voluntary sectors, Twitter is gaining ground among different employers. Many organisations tweet vacancies and offer tips on applying via their twitter accounts. It's also a very powerful medium for you to showcase interest and engagement in a particular area, and contribute to your personal brand.
At a minimum, when you are interested in a specific organisation, it can be useful to follow what they’re doing and saying on Facebook. Just be careful about where the professional and the private meet, and check your personal settings.
Even LSE is active on Instagram. It’s a great way of finding out what’s going on, key themes and developments in a sector, and individual organisations will often use the platform to promote vacancies that are particularly difficult to fill or are particularly topical.
International job hunting
Approaches to job hunting vary from country to country, so make sure you familiarise yourself with norms and expectations in the locations you’re interested in. You’ll find useful information on GoinGlobal and Highered EMFD to help you get started. Wherever you wish to work, it’s worth getting in touch with LSE’s international alumni networks who will be a very useful source of support and information.
Over the year, our events programmes focused on working in the US , China and Brussels will provide information about opportunities, insights and recommendations, as well as help you build your network with professionals in those locations.