Employment Search

Whether you would like to apply for a job or internship, knowing the search strategies for college students will bring you better results. The resources below can improve your employment search.

Getting Started

Organizations provide opportunities to help you explore career paths, build your professional skills, gain discipline-specific experience, and launch your career upon graduation. The experiences below are for college students.

  • Internships - An internship is an off-campus activity that provides real-world exposure to professional development in a business, non-profit or government setting. View the opportunities listed on Cal State LA Handshake.
  • Micro-Internships - Micro-internships allow you to work remotely on short-term projects. Projects can include research and strategy, operations and support, IT and cyber, marketing and others. View the opportunities listed on Cal State LA Parker Dewey.
  • Fellowships - Fellowships are typically merit-based scholarships for advanced research of an academic subject. Learn about fellowship opportunities provided by the National & International Scholarships and Fellowships Program
  • Part-time Student Jobs - Employers offer part-time work off campus to help students build professional skills and explore potential career paths. View the opportunities listed on Cal State LA Handshake.
  • Student Jobs on Campus - On-campus student jobs are a great way to gain skills and experience in a professional setting. No experience is required to apply to many student positions on campus. Learn about students jobs on campus from the Career Center website Find a Job on Campus.
  • Student Jobs in Government - Federal and State governments provide student employment and internship pathways for entry into professional careers. Learn about student jobs offered by USAJobs: Student & Recent Graduates and CalCareers: Student Employment
  • Full-time Jobs, Post-Graduation - Employers are eager to hire Cal State LA students and recent graduates, and they provide opportunities that usually do not require prior experience. View the opportunities listed on Cal State LA Handshake.
  • Freelance or Independent Contract Work - Freelancers do specific work for companies without being an employee of the company. Explore the Steps to Creating your Freelance Career. Identify the best freelance job search platform for your goals by reading about Fiverr vs Upwork and Fiverr vs Freelance.
  • Entrepreneurship - Entrepreneurs are business owners rather than employees. Visit the IRS for the basics of setting up a business. The State of California provides support for setting up and managing a small business or startup. Depending upon the type of business you operation, there may be federal, state or local requirements for professional licenses. The State of California provides this professional licensure guide.

Little success comes to those who send the same application to hundreds of employment postings. If you focus your efforts on a specific type of work, you can increase your success. Use these resources to get started.

Career Pathways by Major

If you are unsure about what jobs relate to your major, the resources below can help you obtain information about the career possibilities.

  • What Can I Do with My Major? - This website is a great starting point for viewing related fields, job titles, work places and professional organizations related to an academic major.
  • Career Interviews by Major and Industry - Search by a major to view interviews from working professionals who majored in that discipline. You can also search by an industry that interests you. An industry describes the activity of the company and includes people with different occupations who work for the same type of business.
  • Search Open Jobs by Major: Cal State LA Handshake - When you sign up for this college student job site, you can search for current job openings by a major. You can also search job openings by industry, which is the type of business activity a company or organization performs.

Career Pathways in Government

Career Pathways in Freelance

You can explore employers by a wide variety of interests. Use these resources to help your research.

Companies

Government

Professional Networking

Now that you have focused your search, you are ready to find communities that can refer you to opportunities. Use these tips to make professional connections.

LinkedIn is an employment and business focused social media platform. Students and professionals connect, share, and learn from each other on LinkedIn. You can also find internships and job openings.

How to Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile

How to Use LinkedIn to Network and Job Search

People who are working in organizations or positions that interest you are often willing to support students and recent graduates. They provide valuable advice about how to prepare and succeed in the employment search. Building a relationship with professionals working in areas that interest you is called networking. Use these resources to get started.

What is Networking?

Who should I network with?

Networking Communities to Join
  • Cal State LA Handshake — Handshake is a online career community for college students. You can explore career options, find jobs/internships and connect with employers hiring Cal State LA students.
  • Career Center LinkedIn Group — Group memberships on LinkedIn provide a place for professionals with similar interests to share their insights and experiences, ask for guidance, and build professional connections.
  • Alumni Mentoring Program — The Cal State LA Alumni Association provides one-time and traditional mentoring for students and recent graduates.

How do I introduce myself to professionals?

When you network with professionals you will most likely be asked, "What do you do?" This typical introductory question is asking for your professional introduction or your elevator pitch. Use the resources to create your professional introduction and continue the conversation. 

To create your professional introduction, you first need to define your professional brand and your goal for networking. A professional brand is how employers see you in your major and career. It reflects who you are as a professional.

If you would like to invite a potential career mentor for a career conversation, an email or LinkedIn message may be appropriate. Use these tips to convey your professionalism when you reach out to professionals in writing.

Employers want to engage with college students and recent grads to build a mentoring relationship and share job opportunities. Here are some of the ways that employers recruit college students on campus. Sign up for these employer events using Cal State LA Handshake.

  • Outreach Tables - Visit an employer outreach table outside of the Career Center to learn about part-time and internship openings.
  • Information Sessions - Attend these employer presentations for career exploration and decision-making. Learn about the organization's mission, values and work culture, which career pathways are available and how to successfully apply.
  • On-Campus Interview Program - Apply to positions and be invited to interview for the opportunity. Interviews are typically on campus.
  • Career Fairs - Attend our campus-wide career fairs offered twice a year, typically in early October and March.

What Should I Wear?

We encourage you to dress in business casual clothing. Business casual blends traditional business professional clothing with a professional casual style. This style includes business dress pants or khakis, knee-length skirts, button-down shirts or blouses, an optional cardigan or blazer, closed-toed shoes like loafers or low heels, and simple accessories like a belt or subtle jewelry. Watch our video for tips and examples of how to look your best in business casual.

Learn more about the types of business attire and how to define business casual by industry (e.g., agencies, education, entertainment, finance, medical, tech).

If you are experiencing financial hardship that prevents you from purchasing professional clothing, please visit our Career Clothing Closet

Job and Internship Postings

Employers provide internships and jobs for college students using Handshake. Handshake is a job site where you can find current openings shared by employers who are interested in hiring Cal State LA students and graduates.

Get Started: Cal State LA Handshake

Organizations also post short-term, paid, professional projects similar to those given to interns or new employees. These are called micro-internships. We connect you with these opportunities using Parker Dewey.

Get Started: Cal State LA Micro-Internships

Application Tracker

We provide an application tracking tool called Huntr. This tool helps you organize your employment search.

Log In: Job Application Tracker

Add jobs to Huntr using the Chrome browser and the Huntr Chrome Extension. For help getting started, watch the video Introducing Huntr Job Search Tracker and review the Huntr Job Seeker Guide.

Special Considerations

As you are networking and applying for jobs, you may come across situations that require special consideration. Review the situations below so you are prepared.

The employment search process can be challenging and tiring. When you are feeling tired or down about your search you may be more vulnerable to job scams. We are available to help you review an opportunity before you click on the links or hit the apply button. Use this resource to improve your awareness of scam opportunities. Learn more at Job Scams Consumer Advice by the Federal Trade Commission.

During the job search, you may wonder when you should share information that may be sensitive such as a disability, a prior criminal record or citizenship status. Use these resources to help you know more about your rights and determine when and how to share this information.

  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlines prohibited employment policies and practices.
  • Disability Disclosure - The Job Accommodation Network provides guidance to help you decide if, when and how you want to share disability-related information.
  • Criminal History Disclosure - The State of California Civil Rights Department provides guidance for job applicants to reduce undue barriers to employment for applicants with criminal histories. Use the link above to learn more, review their guidance to help you know your rights and/or watch this view video about Fair Chance Access to Employment from the California Department of Corrections.
  • Citizenship Disclosure  - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission provides information about pre-hire inquiries about citizenship status before accepting a job offer.

Negotiating can increase your potential to earn more, gain more vacation days, create a more convenient work schedule, and obtain other benefits to enhance your career prospects. Use these resources to learn how to research your salary and find the right words to be confident when negotiating better benefits and pay.

  • Review Your Job Offer: State-by-State Guides - Use these state-by-state tip sheets to understand your rights regarding non-compete agreements, verifying if your salary matching co-workers, negotiating contractual protections and more.
  • Negotiating Your Job Offer and Salary: LinkedIn Learning Course - Use your free student access to LinkedIn Learning located in your MyCalStateLA portal to take this one-hour training covering the pre-offer, offer and post-offer stages of salary negotiation.
  • Salary Negotiation Course - Attend a free facilitator-guided virtual workshop or online self-guided course to learn to successfully advocate for yourself and close the pay gap.

Depending upon your immigration status or circumstances, you may need a specific visa or permit to work in the United States. Use these resources to determine the best pathway for you.

  • Working in the United States - Learn about the types of work visas available, including employment-based visas (EB visas), temporary work visas filed by a prospective employer on your behalf (e.g., H visas for specialty occupations and STEM professionals), entrepreneur employment, and working as a student or exchange visitor.
  • H1-B Employer Data Hub - The H-1B program allows employers to temporarily provide a work visa for occupations that require theoretical or practical application of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor's degree or higher in a specific specialty. Employers must have an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) for the specialty occupation. Search this data hub to find which employers have submitted petitions to employ H1-B workers.
  • F-1 Student Visa and Employment - Learn about the employment options available during and after your studies. These include on-campus employment, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). For more information, you can also visit Training Opportunities in the United States.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitors and Employment - Learn about the employment options available, including part-time on-campus employment.
  • Other Permission to Work (Employment Authorization Document) - Learn about how to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if you are authorized to work because: your immigration status or circumstances (e.g., asylee, refugee, DACA), you have a pending application for permanent residence, asylum or withholding of removal; or you have a status that allows you to be in the country but does not allow you to work without first seeking permission (e.g., F-1 visa).

When you start work as an employee, independent contractor or business, you will be asked about your federal and state tax status and contributions. Each year in April, you may need to file federal and state tax returns. Use the resources below to learn more about tax withholding and tax preparation.

Tax Identification Cards

Tax Withholding

Tax Returns

Additional Support

Career advisors, students and campus mascot Eddie smile while at a booth outside the Career Center

Experiential learning coordinators are available by individual appointment. We can answer your questions about searching for jobs and help you connect with opportunities. Schedule an appointment for career advising.

We offer workshops throughout the year to help you find employment opportunities and network with professionals. Sign up for workshops on the Career Center calendar.

Part of choosing a job includes knowing about the opportunities available for your major. Employers host events where you can meet company representative and learn more about what’s possible. Sign up for employer events using Cal State LA Handshake.

We provide professional headshots with our self-service photo booth. Cal State LA students, faculty, and staff can take professional photos to use on platforms like LinkedIn. Learn about the photo booth.

We provide new and gently used interview and career-appropriate clothing, uniforms, and seasonal necessities in partnership with basic needs support programs and external corporate partners. Learn about the Career Clothing Closet.