Return to Career Services home page

Pros and cons of the ways to look for jobs

You are here: Career Services > Job & internship search guide > Pros and cons of the ways to look for jobs

Quick snapshot of the pros and cons of various methods.

What worked for VT grads: How EMPLOYED Virginia Tech grads found their jobs, BY COLLEGE.


Advertised | posted jobs | events — employers seeking candidates
Method Pros Cons
Email you receive Pros: This is as close as it gets to employers knocking on your door. If a job ad is being distributed by email, the employer is reaching out. These could be sent to, and come to you through, Career Services, your academic department, advisors, clubs, you name it. Cons: None, really. It's just a form of information and communication coming to you. Even if a particular job/career fields is not of interest, use it to learn about what is out there.
Hokies4Hire and On-Campus Interviewing Program Pros: Easy to publish your resume; lets employers find you. Also many employers post jobs; apply for jobs that interest you. Some of those employers come to campus — a few hundred per year. Cons: Not every industry or type of job represented.
Employed graduates report 800-1000 employers annually (source: Post-Graduation Report); that is twice the number who visit campus. br /> Driven by the economy. Career Services can't make employers recruit on campus! OCI has early deadlines and is competitive.
The employer's website Pros: Most employers who have jobs and career opportunities will post those jobs on their own website. So if you know you are interested in the Peace Corps or CIA or Wells Fargo or NASA or a community agency, or the U.S. Forest Service, etc., look there!
Employers who can attract enough candidates by posting on their own site don't need to, and won't, spend the money to post on job boards online.
Cons: Obviously if you don't have a specific employer of interest, and/or want to look at other sources, this won't be your only search method.
Job boards | listings online Pros: You can view them any time/place your have Internet access. Vast numbers of sites and vast quantities of information. Cons: Not every industry or type of job represented. Web-hunting is not about finding jobs instantly. You need patience to navigate a variety of sites and read listings. It can be overwhelming. How to start.
Career-field-specific job listing websites Pros: General online job boards might or might not include the jobs and industry you seek. Specialty sites fill that niche. Cons: Ditto above, in that all jobs aren’t found online.
Career fairs | job fairs Pros: Opportunities to speak with many employers at one time in one space. Many on the VT campus each year; each with different sponsors and focused toward specific majors / colleges / types of hiring.
If you research the employers in advance, and that shows when you meet employers, you'll be better positioned to have a good experience.
Cons: Not for the shy and retiring (or the mistakenly confident). You need to make a good impression in person and look prepared. Students who go to fairs without doing research in advance sometimes have a not-so-great experience. You're not necessarily learning about every opportunity in each organization — you are learning where the major hiring needs are. There are many fairs, but each one, with its own niche, is typically a once- or twice-per-year event — so don't miss the one(s) you need.
Working, volunteering, interning, etc. Pros: Usually 2nd-to-top source of job for EMPLOYED grads is having worked for the employer in the past through summer or part-time job, internship, volunteer work, co-op, etc. How EMPLOYED grads found their jobs, by college. Employers like to convert student employees to permanent employees when they graduate, and if you work for an employer, they know you and you know them; much less of a gamble that just knowing each other through an interview process. Cons: None really, except that if you work for an employer while a student there is no guarantee they will offer you a job at graduation. And you might prefer to look for another employer for your post-graduation job. But the experience is valuable; about 1/3 of VT graduates wish they had gotten more career-related experience before graduating.
Unadvertised jobs — candidates seeking employers
Method Pros Cons
Networking — talking to personal contacts Pros: It's usually the number-one method by which VT graduates, universitywide, found the job they accepted.
How EMPLOYED grads found their jobs, by college. It's real. It works. Many jobs are not advertised; networking is how you find them.
Online professional and social networking sources like Hokie Nation Network and LinkedIn are for professional use.
Cons: Not for the shy or undermotivated. You need good interpersonal skills and good writing skills (but you need those to get hired anyway).
Sources to find potential employers and unadvertised jobs Pros: Research sources that help you find potential employers. Helpful if you are focusing on a particular industry. Websites, phone books, and other print materials can be sources. Cons: Not job openings, but sources to find potential employers. You'll need to know the type of organizations with whom you could, or want to, work.
Posting your resume online and in resume books Pros: Never hurts to get your resume out where it can potentially be seen. If your credentials are in high demand, and there are an abundance of jobs that match, this can work. Cons: Totally passive job search method. You wait to be called. If other job seekers take initiative to seek out the employers and apply for jobs, the employers don't need to come looking for you. Unless your credentials are rare and in high demand, you'll have to use more active job search methods.