The ‘prospecting’ method is a proven method of finding jobs or Co-ops. When you consider that many jobs or Co-ops are never advertised or “hidden”, meaning you can’t find out about available openings unless you dig or ‘prospect’ for them, this job-hunting method takes on great importance. This method is quite effective if you follow all the steps.

Step 1: Compile a list of all employers that you might be interested in working for. You can gather this list of employers by focusing on a specific geographic area, a specific industry, a list of top employers or similar related group.  Check out our Employer list and Reference USA in Stout CareerLink to help you find employers. The point is to gather a list of employers that you are interested in.

Step 2: Gather the name of the Director of Human Resources for all the employers you will be contacting. This can be accomplished by checking Reference USA, the employers website, or calling the employer’s main number and asking for the name of the Director of Human Resources. This step is essential -- you must get a name of the Director of Human Resources. Many department heads throw away any letter that is not addressed to them personally.

Step 3: Write a "targeted" cover letter to inquire if a desired position is available. A targeted cover letter shows how your qualifications align with those that an employer would be seeking. Check out job advertisements, the Occupational Outlook Handbook or O’NET Online to find out the qualifications employers are seeking. For information on how to write cover letters, attend a resume and cover letter writing workshop and review the cover letter materials on our website.

Important: Enclose a copy of your targeted resume with each letter you mail. If you need help with your resume, attend a resume writing workshop, review the resume writing materials on our website, and view a resume writing video.

Step 4:  In 4 to 5 days, if you have not heard from an employer, call the individual you wrote to in the third step. For many people, this step is the hardest. The purpose of calling is to see if the individual received your materials and to see if they have any questions regarding your inquiry. Hopefully a professional position or Co-op will be available or they might be interested in creating a Co-op. Your goal should be to get as many interviews as possible.   Be persistent even if you are not getting as many interviews as you like or individuals are less than hospitable. Don’t give up, just move on to the next call.

Important: Make sure you are prepared for interviews. Attend an interviewing workshop, watch an interviewing video, review interviewing materials on our website and do a virtual mock interview using Interview Stream on Stout CareerLink.

If you follow all these steps -- along with all the other rules of job hunting (phone manners, dressing for success and thank you letters) you'll find prospecting to be a successful method in your overall professional position or Co-op search strategy.  If you have any questions or need assistance with your search feel free to make an appointment with a Career Services counselor.