Job searching can take time — many employers hire on an annual cycle and some applications take months. So start early and have patience with the process and with yourself. Now is the time to connect with the employer who will hire you some day.  

How Do I Find a Job or Internship?

There are three main ways to find a job:

  1. Networking with professional or personal contacts
  2. Applying to employers through job boards
  3. Approaching employers directly

First things first, ensure that your materials, like résumés and cover letters and LinkedIn are sending the “hire me” message you want employers to receive. This is the foundation for job searching. You can apply to 50 employers and not get a call back if you broadcast the wrong signals. Learn about Career Readiness Skills Employers Want.

And remember to be careful! There are job scams and fraudulent listings out there. Do thorough research about companies before applying.

Job and Other Opportunity Search Overview

Use Handshake to Find Jobs

Handshake is a job board designed specifically for students, from first year through Ph.D. and post-graduation. There are 250,000+ employers, including all the Fortune 500 companies, on Handshake. The jobs you can see on Handshake are from employers who have specifically selected that they want to work with Oregon State University. So, compared to other job boards, Handshake is better targeted to your needs. Explore, find and apply for jobs straight from the platform.

Additionally, you can favorite companies and jobs to get alerts when application deadlines are approaching or when new jobs post. And you can opt in to making your profile (online résumé) visible to employers. This opens you up to the possibility of an employer messaging you based on your major and skillset and encouraging you to apply to a specific job.

In addition to exploring and applying for great jobs, Handshake is also where you can register for career events and make appointments with your college-specific career advisor.

Get the Most Out of Handshake

Find Employers Directly

It may also be helpful in your job search to approach employers directly and build relationships with companies of interest versus relying on job boards to identify prospects for you.

Attending Oregon State career fairs is a great way to connect with hundreds of employers from a diverse array of industries. These are offered university-wide each term during the school year and some are specialty fairs that cater to specific majors. Also watch for workshops and online webinars and panels leading up to these events where you can connect with employers. If you are located out of state, contact your nearest university and see if they allow members of the public to attend their fairs. But before you go to a career fair, take some time to prepare. Steps to Career Fair Success

To research a full list of employers in your state according to your major/area of expertise, try Buzzfile’s Employer by Major tool. Buzzfile is an indexing service that sorts employers by size, location, and industry. Tools like Buzzfile can help you make a list of your top companies and then begin networking with them.

Other places to find lists of employers include the employer search in Handshake, your local chamber of commerce website, industry association websites with member lists, and state-based employer lists such as the Oregon Department of Employment’s employer database. You can review anonymous employee comments and reviews about select companies on Glassdoor.

Career Tip: Job Searching for International Students

It’s important for U.S. employers to see experiences outside the classroom to demonstrate your qualifications. Working on campus is a great option, as well as volunteering in labs or at local organizations. If you're interested in working off campus, consult with an advisor in the Office of International Services about Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) working permits. You can also look at GoinGlobal for an H1-B visa application database for U.S. companies.

Career Tip: Job Searching Outside of Oregon

Are you interested in searching for jobs outside of Oregon? You might find that many of the opportunities listed in Handshake or by your advisor are local to the Northwest. But you can still search a complete nationwide directory of employers in Handshake and look at job boards directly on their websites. If you're a distance student, check out nearby universities who might welcome non-students to attend their career fairs and network with employers.

Additional Job Boards

In addition to Handshake, you might want to check other job boards that might be specific to your industry or interests.

  • Broad job boards: Indeed lists thousands of employment opportunities, and you can filter your preferences by industry and location. Mac’s List is specific to the Northwest.
  • Government jobs: USA Jobs is where all federal government jobs are listed (Department of Fish and Wildlife, NASA, FBI, Department of Energy, etc.). It includes unique experiences for current students and recent graduates. Note that state, county and local government positions are typically listed on their own websites (e.g. State of California jobs).The Career Development Center offers federal resume samples and government application guides to help you prepare.
  • Nonprofit jobs: Idealist and Work for Good are examples of places to look for nonprofit jobs. The Nonprofit Association of Oregon is a regional database for nonprofit work opportunities.
  • Faculty/academic jobs: Chronicle Vitae, a service of the Chronicle of Higher Education, is a hub for graduate level, faculty, research and other academic positions.
  • Employment agencies: Another way to find jobs is to work with a hiring or temp agency, which is usually free to applicants. CampusPoint is an example of a Northwest-based company that focuses on placing current students and recent graduates with local companies.

Is this Job/Career Path Right for Me?

Luckily in the job search process you can conduct an informational interview or job shadow to “try before you buy.”

Doing one of these is a great way to network with potential employers and learn more about possible fields. These are typically done as a general learning exercise, not related to a specific job or internship opening. If you do want to learn more about a specific opportunity, don’t hesitate to call or email the recruiter or hiring person to ask good, specific questions before applying.

  • Conduct Informational Interviews: An informational interview is a conversation with a professional who can give you insight into a company, position or career path. This can be a human resources representative, a recent graduate working at a company or an OSU alum — anyone who can serve as a connector. You can call or email employers and politely ask for an informational interview or “to come by and introduce myself.” If they accept, show up looking professional with insightful questions, and be prepared to talk about your qualifications. You are NOT interviewing for a real job, it’s just a meet-and-greet that builds a relationship and potentially opens future doors at the company. Read tips for informational interviews and job shadows.
  • Participate in a Job ShadowShadows are an opportunity to observe a professional in your field or position of interest. Sometimes seeing an organization’s physical space and team environment for yourself can make all the difference. The time varies depending on availability and type of position — some shadows last an hour, others several days. Did you know that Oregon State offers an official job shadow program with a pre-selected list of interested companies? Learn more about being part of the OSU Job Shadow Program. These shadows last a half or full workday. 

More tips on networking and career exploration.


Be Cautious of Fraudulent or Unsafe Opportunities

The Career Development Center strives to check every employer and position that is posted to Handshake to make sure they are genuine. However, sometimes fraudulent postings do make it through. Additionally, scammers may contact students directly through email, phone or on other reputable sites like LinkedIn. Some may reference the university, the Career Development Center, or other departments and programs at OSU to make their posting seem more legitimate.

If you have received a suspicious email, please review the information below. You can always contact us at or 541-737-4085; we’re here to help. Additionally, Oregon State University has resources on phishing and spam to assist you in protecting your identity.

Some job scams are easy to spot, while others appear legitimate. So, how do you know who to trust? You can start with these basic guidelines to avoid a potential scam.

In general, look for job postings on official websites such as Handshake, company website “Careers” pages,, etc. and those that have been shared with you from Oregon State advisors and professors. Avoid listings on Facebook, Craigslist, etc. that you can’t trace back to the company’s official job site.

  • Give out personal information like your social security number, credit card information or bank account number over email or phone.
  • Take cashier’s checks or money orders as a form of payment. Fake checks are common.
  •  Cash a check that comes with “extra money.” Sometimes scammers will send checks that require you to deposit a check at your bank, withdraw the “extra” money as cash, and then deposit that cash elsewhere. The check will bounce.
  • Agree to purchase gift cards or equipment for an employer.
  • Wire funds via Western Union, MoneyGram or any other service. Anyone who asks you to wire money is a scammer.
  • Apply for jobs listed by someone that is unable to meet with you.
  • Agree to a background check unless you have met the employer in person.
  • Apply for a job that is emailed to you that you are not expecting.
  • Review job and internship descriptions thoroughly. If a job is offering a lot of money for very little work, it could be a scammer trying to get personal information from you.
  • Research the employer. Do they have a reputable website or professional references? Is the job listing you want to apply for also on their main career page?
  • Do they have a valid physical street address? Do they have a clear description of what they do and who their customers are, or is their information vague and potentially intentionally hiding information?
  • Check employer messages carefully for spelling errors and incorrect grammar, as well as non-professional tone and personal email addresses (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo domains instead of “@nordstrom” or “”).
  • Meet face-to-face with a potential employer. An in-person or virtual interview or informal discussion will help you determine the employer’s intentions.
  • Be sure to choose a public place to meet, tell someone where you are going and bring your cell phone, just in case.
  • Trust your instincts. If a job sounds too good to be true, it is likely a scam.

Think it’s a scam or unsure? Report it!

Information adapted from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and Rutgers University – New Brunswick, Office of Career Exploration and Success