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Searching for jobs/internships

A page within Academic Advising Center & Career Services


The resources below will take you through the process of applying for jobs and internships: where to begin searching, how to prepare applications, how to network and interview, writing thank you notes, and finally, accepting a job offer.

How to Find Jobs and Internships

Job Basics blocks

Getting Prepared to Search

Prep Block

Building and Using Your Network

You often hear “It’s all in who you know!” and it’s true. A high percentage of all job seekers find their positions through referrals. Networking is not only a strategy in your job search; it’s a necessity. Your network will introduce you to people and possibilities that may lead to a professional opportunity and extends beyond just the people you know; it’s the people they know too! Below are some tips and ideas to get you started in building and using your network. 

1. Brainstorm your contact list 

Identify everyone possible that could serve as a contact to your field of interest or who may have a connection for you.  

  • Employers – People you have met through career events, professional meetings, internship and work experience, etc.  
  • Family Friends – People who know your career background and interests and may be of assistance in their profession or organization.  
  • Faculty Contacts – Faculty members who have relationships with alums or other professional contacts.  
  • Alumni – Recent alums you know, alums who attend career events, etc.  
  • Professional Associations – Alums from your professional organizations or professionals in local professional organizations.  
  • Social Networking sites – Connect with professionals and alumni on LinkedIn and Facebook. Don’t just establish a social media presence—work it. Reach out. Interact. You will get out of social media what you put into it. 

2Network Preparation

Just like an interview, you should prepare for approaching one of your contacts virtually or in-person. It’s time for you to develop a game plan. Whom would you like to meet? What is your goal of this connection? When you have a list, research their background and then develop questions that reflect your research. 

A good strategy is to ask the contact about themselves and their experiences, including college experience. Most people enjoy talking about themselves and you can use that to get conversations started and to ask general questions. As a result most people will reciprocate your interest and ask about your background and skills. Make it easy on your contacts and ask detail-oriented question. Avoid directly asking for jobs. The question makes your contact feel like you are only using them to find a job and not actually wanting to connect with them. 

 3. Reach out to your contacts 

Develop a brief introduction of yourself and identify what interests you about your contact’s background, position, or organization. What you say about yourself will depend on the medium but should be brief. 

  • Examples: “Hi, my name is Sara Student. I’m glad I have a chance to meet you to learn more about your management trainee program. I have a degree in psychology and have worked in retail for five years. I think my skills would fit nicely with your program.”  
  • “Nice to meet you. My name is Sara Student. This May, I will be graduating with a degree in mathematics. I would be interested in learning more about what opportunities your organization might have that fit my interest in statistics and research.”  
  • “Hello, my name is Steve Student. I was an intern at Mayo Clinic. I understand you work as a Med Tech. I would be interested to know more about your career path and any advice you might have for a new professional.”  
  • “It is nice to speak to a UW-La Crosse alum, Mr. Smith. I understand that you are the Vice President of Marketing at the ABC Company. I would be interested in talking to you further about your role and what skills you look for in new college graduates.”  

 4. The Thank you 

After you meet a contact, it is absolutely necessary to send a thank you note. Tell your new contact how nice it was to meet them and also refer to particularly helpful advice they provided you. Everyone likes to be appreciated.  

Using Social Media in Your Search

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and relatives, but it also can be a useful tool in your job search. Employers are using social media sites to both promote their organizations and connect with potential job candidates. By following a few basic tips, you can use social media to get in front of hiring managers. 
1. Create a profile that gives a positive impression of you 
Think of it as your online resume: What do you want it to say about you? Hiring managers can get a stronger sense of who you are and if you’re a good fit for their company through your profile. 
2. Be aware of keywords you include in your profile 
This is particularly true for sites focused on professional networking, such as LinkedIn. Many employers do keyword searches to find profiles that contain the skillsets they’re seeking in potential hires. 
3. Don’t mix personal with professional 
The social media you use in your job search has to present you as a potential employee—not as a friend. Follow the rules for writing a resume. Don’t include photos, comments, or information you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. 
4. Make sure your profile is error-free 
Would you send a resume full of misspellings? (Hint: The answer is No) The same holds true for your online profile. 
5. Choose appropriate contact information 
Your e-mail address or social media handle should be professional—a simple variation on your name, perhaps—rather than suggestive or offensive. 
6. Connect 
Many organizations have embraced social media as an extension of their hiring practices and provide information you can use to research the organization and connect with hiring managers and recruiters.. 

  • Consider joining the UW-La Crosse Alumni Network on LinkedIn. Alumni are very loyal to their alma mater and might have some really valuable advice for you.  
  • Check your college/university’s social media groups: Many times, employers join such groups. 
  • Check social media groups focused around your field of interest or career. 
  • Attend career fairs, conferences, employer info sessions – network whenever and wherever possible  
  • Search for the social media pages, profiles, and videos of organizations that interest you. Many organizations post job descriptions, information about salaries, and more. 
  • Ask questions. Even something as broad as “Is anyone hiring in [industry]?” may bring responses, and asking questions about a specific organization—“What’s it like to work at Company X?” can give you insight into the organization and its culture.  
  • Remember every communication must be professional and to the point. Do not use online abbreviations or slang, and proofread every communication.

7. Be patient, but persistent
Remember working professionals have demanding schedules and may not respond immediately. If you do not get a response within two weeks, contact them again reiterating your original message and ask if there is a better way to contact them.

8. Stay connected
Keep in touch with recruiters or other decision makers you may interact with in cyberspace. There may not be an available opportunity at their organization right now, but that could change, and you want to be considered when it does. This includes brief emails every few months to say hello and ask them how they are doing. People are more willing to help when they feel like they know you.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

Applying for Jobs

Applying Block

What You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Software

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have become increasingly popular within many company and organization’s recruiting and human resources practices. ATS allow for human resources partners to manage their candidates during every step of the hiring process in a more efficient manner. Among other functions, ATS will collect, sort, and filter through thousands of resumes in order to identify applicants with the highest algorithm scores. Employers vary on their use of ATS, but those that choose to use them can have an automatic rank happen. When submitting your online application, it is important you are mindful of these tools and highlight your previous experiences in the best way possible.  

TIPS to consider with ATS: 

  1. Carefully tailor your resume, cover letter, and other application materials for each position you apply to 
  2. Directly address qualifications found in the job description 
  3. Include resume keywords in your application materials based on the job description 
  4. Focus on the most impactful information in your experience section 
  5. Keep your resume formatting simple so the ATS can accurately review it 

Check out this article:  What's an ATS?  How to Write a Resume to Beat the Applicant Tracking System

Tips and Tricks

When you believe you are ready to submit your application, be sure to consider these tips and tricks:  

  • Does someone in your network work at the company you are applying to? If so, be sure to connect before submitting your application. They may be able to speak on your behalf, or there may be a separate referral link for the position.  
  • Many organizations, not all, send email confirmation when your application is submitted. If you don’t receive one, don’t be afraid to follow-up to make sure your application is complete. 
  • Be sure to fill out EVERY section as completely as possible. Attached supplemental materials are often included at the end of the application packet, so they are not always seen - utilize text boxes if they are offered! 
  • Most will require a profile and resume that can be used every time you apply. You can apply for more than one position at an organization. 
  • This can be a long process, so schedule time daily to search and work on your materials.
  • Keep records – use a spreadsheet to track your applications. Include details like position, company, closing date, materials, name of contacts, etc.  
  • Set weekly, or even daily, email alerts/job agents sent to you to avoid missed opportunities 
  • Utilize key words, skills, and qualifications in your search terms 
  • Look for appropriate years of experience, degrees and titles 
    • 0-2 years, entry-level 
    • Bachelor’s degree - not HS, Associate’s or Master’s 
    • Not senior or director 
  • Watch posting dates; some may be old. Check out the actual corporate website too for position and company info.  
  • Look for Career or Employment sections from homepage 
  • Submit your documents as PDFs to allow for formatting to stay consistent.
Applying Internationally

This information is intended for US students planning to apply to international jobs. For information on applying for jobs in the US as an international student (F1 or J1), contact your international student advisor. 

GoinGlobal (UWL student access through Handshake) is the leading provider of both country-specific and USA city-specific career and employment information. Our unlimited access subscription database features 38 Country Career Guides, 53 City Career Guides for the United States and Canada, corporate profiles and more than 16 million internship and job listings within the USA and around the world.

Both the GoinGlobal Country Career Guides and the City Career Guides provide professional advice and insider tips on such topics as: 

  • Job search tools - online and face-to-face resources 
  • Employment trends in major industries - learn more about growing industry areas and focus your job or internship search! 
  • Executive recruiters and staffing agency contacts - great contacts for students and alumni/professional job seekers 
  • Work permit regulations - clearly explains the important details for international students and professional job seekers 
  • Salary ranges and cost of living data - take the guesswork out of planning for career moves and relocations 
  • Professional and social networking groups - get a head start on making connections for career development 
  • Résumé/CV writing guidelines 
  • Interviewing and cultural advice 

Each Career Guide contains more than 500 employment resources, all with detailed explanations and hot links directly to the latest information. All USA City Career Guides include links to H-1B visa employers for every state! 

The Key Employer Directory features corporate profiles for 450,000+ companies in industries such as consumer goods, consulting services, finance, and information technology. A mixture of local and multinational employers for more than 190 countries are featured and include data on sales, revenues, brands, officers, key contacts and more. Use the profiles to prepare for interviews or find business intelligence facts on specific companies. 

internship drop downs

Want One? General Information to Get You Started


When should I start exploring internship opportunities?
  • Students are encouraged to begin their internship search during their sophomore year
  • Begin by attending an Internship Information Session where you will learn ways to prepare yourself to search and compete for successful internships
  • The following schedule is a general timeline of when internships are posted in Handshake. However, the earlier you begin searching, the more opportunities you are likely to find.
    • Spring Internships – early to late fall
    • Summer internships – early fall to late spring
    • Fall internships – mid spring to early fall
  • Search for internships that are nationally competitive, such as positions with the federal government, 6 – 9 months ahead of when you want to begin your internship.
Where do I go to get help?
  • Handshake: Our online Handshake system has a variety of resources to help you. This includes an Internship & Job Vacancy List. Employers continuously send the university announcements about internships and full-time positions. See the positions and apply.
  • Career Services resources: By clicking the different tabs above, you are able to access several other resources as well: Career Event listings, sample resumes and cover letters, interviewing tips, additional job and internship websites, links to company web pages, and more. 
  • On-Campus interviews: Many employers interview on campus for internships and full-time positions. You can sign up for interviews through Handshake or by talking with representatives at Career Fairs. 
  • Interview stream: This program allows you to answer pre-selected interview questions and capture your responses on video so you can review your answers and non-verbal behavior.
  • Internship information sessions: To find upcoming dates and times, check Events in Handshake.

Career Services staff: Staff members are available to help with any questions you may have or to help you search or prepare for internships or jobs.

For questions regarding how to obtain an internship, you should talk with the adviser assigned to your area of study:

  • College of Business – Brenda Leahy
  • Science and Health – Julianne Merkes (If your major requires an internship, field work or clinical experiences, it will be coordinated through your academic major, department or program office, not Career Services.)
  • Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities – Matt Gordy
  • For other questions related specifically to internship applications and registration, talk with Karen Durnin, our Internship Coordinator who deals directly with the Cooperative Education and Internship Program.
  • Please use the links below as a resource.  Also, check the phenomenal alumni tool from LinkedIn!
  • General Job Search Sites
Is there tuition associated with having an internship?

If you are doing an internship to earn academic credit, the same tuition fee is charged as if you were taking a class for that number of credits.

  • Fall and spring semesters – You may not have any additional tuition if you are enrolled as a full-time student and the extra credits for your internship do not put your total at more than 18 credits.
  • Winter and summer terms – You will need to pay tuition per credit as set by the University.
Do internships pay? How much?

The primary goal of an internship is to gain valuable experience that will help you get a better sense of the “real world” and may give you an advantage when you begin to search for jobs after graduation.

  • Internships may or may not be paid. Often times, not-for-profit organizations do not pay student interns.
  • Wages vary greatly by field and individual organization
How long do internships last?
  • Generally, internships last one semester and are typically part-time during the fall or spring semesters and full-time during the summer.
  • It is important to work out these details early on in your search for an internship as some companies require a full-year commitment.
How many hours a week do I need to work to get my credit?
  • One credit requires 40 hours of work at the internship site, which equals approximately three hours per week throughout the fall or spring semesters; two credits requires 80 hours of work or approximately six hours per week; etc. However, working more hours does not necessarily translate into more credits.
  • Most internships are taken for three credits, but this can vary depending on the academic department.
  • Some departments limit the number of credits that can apply toward the major.
Can I get an internship as an international student?
  • Internships (INT) are elective experiences that help international students combine classroom theory with a worksite experience related to your major. Internships are posted online through the Handshake system.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an academic program that provides an employment or training opportunity for experience either required for the degree, or as an integral part of the degree program. Authorization is given by the UWL Office of International Education and Engagement (IEE).
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization is coordinated by the IEE. Under your student VISA you are authorized to work in the USA for a designated period of time but only if the work relates to your field of study. IEE holds general group presentations on OPT at various times throughout the semester. An IEE application must be completed in order to begin the OPT process. 

All international students doing a paid INT/CPT/OPT must meet an adviser in the IEE for CPT authorization prior to your start date. Waiting until after you have started will put you in violation of your student status - which is very serious.

Do I need to take any pre-requisites before beginning an internship?

The answer to this question depends on whether or not you plan to do an internship for academic credit.

  • Not for credit –There are no prerequisites if the internship is not being taken for credit. However, we ask that you still inform the Career Services Office of your internship position so we know when and where students are gaining experiences.
    • There are no requirements or tuition fees.
    • Career Services will have a record of your experience which will make it easier to assist you should any issues arise.
  • For credit –If you choose to earn academic credit for your internship, the amount of credit you may receive and the prerequisites vary by academic department.
    • Look at the University Catalog to determine if your program offers credit for internships.
    • If you would like to receive credit for your internship but your major does not offer a class, you may be eligible to enroll in a Cooperative Education Internship (CEI 450). Credits earned in CEI 450 usually only count toward University electives and not toward the completion of any major or minor.
Internship Information Sessions

To find upcoming dates and times, check Events in Handshake.

These sessions will last about a half hour. If you have any questions or need any accommodations, please email Karen Durnin, Internship Coordinator.

Found One? Now What?

Determine if you want to earn academic credit for your internship.

Yes, I want to earn credit for my internship

Internships being done for credit through Career Services must go through an approval process before the Internship Coordinator can register a student for an internship course. Internship courses follow the same add timeline as any other full semester course, generally by the tenth day of the semester. Since the approval process can take several days (to a couple weeks) to complete, students should have their internship requests submitted via their Handshake account by the first day of classes of the term for which they would like to receive credit. Requests submitted after that date run the risk of not being approved within the proper timeline, which could result in the student to not being registered for the internship course. 

The amount of credit you may receive and the prerequisites vary by academic department. Look at the University Catalog to determine if your program offers credit for internships and what the prerequisites are.

  • If you would like to earn credit for your internship but your major does not offer a class, or if you do not have all of the prerequisites completed, you may be eligible to enroll in a Cooperative Education Internship (CEI 450). Credits earned in CEI 450 only count toward University electives and do not count toward the completion of any major or minor.
  • You must be working at the internship site during the term for which you are registered for academic credit. You cannot receive credit for an internship that was previously completed.
  • You should submit an internship request by the first day of the semester for which you want to earn credit.
  • You must have a faculty internship advisor. Some departments will have an assigned “Internship Coordinator” while other departments allow you to choose any faculty member in the department. If the department allows you to choose, talk with your selected faculty member about your internship and ask if they will be your internship advisor.
  • Click here to submit your internship experience or log into your Handshake account and click on Career Center/Experiences/Submit an Experience.
    • Completing the survey will activate the approval process with Career Services and your Faculty Internship Advisor
    • Once all the approvals are complete, the internship coordinator will register you for the appropriate course/credit.  You are NOT able to register for internship course/credit through WINGS.
    • The Internship Coordinator will send you an email notifying you when you have been registered for your internship course.
    • You will be required to attend an internship orientation session prior to beginning your internship experience.

No, I don’t want to earn credit for my internship

  • Click here to submit your internship experience
    • There are no prerequisites if the internship is not being taken for credit. However, we ask that you still inform the Career Services Office of your internship position so we know when and where students are gaining experiences.
      • There are no requirements or tuition fees.
      • Career Services will have a record of your experience which will make it easier to assist you should any issues arise.
Currently Completing an Internship? General Information
Getting the Most Out of Your Internship

Are you earning credit for your internship? If so, remember…

  • Check your WINGS account early in the semester to verify your internship credit registration. Career Services staff can only register you for your credit after your internship has been approved by your faculty internship advisor and department chair.
  • Work Progress Reports – Work Progress Report Surveys are available in Handshake. You are required to submit two reports.
  • Click on “Career Center/Surveys”. The screen that comes up will show you all the surveys that have been sent to you and whether or not you have completed them.
  • Your faculty internship advisor will automatically receive a copy of each report you submit.
  • Some questions on the Work Progress Report survey will ask you to use the STAR method, which is a behavior-based format. Please see description below or click on the “Career Center/Resources” in your Handshake account.
  • Questions are based on Eagle Advantage Career Readiness Competencies that employers look for in new hires.
  • The surveys are used by student interns across all academic disciplines. Some interns' experiences may provide more exposure to a given type of situation than other interns' experiences. The purpose of the questions asked on the work progress reports is to help students reflect on their experiences. Many employers ask behavior based questions during interviews; "Tell me about a time when..." or "Give me an example of...". By closely reflecting on their experiences, students will be better prepared for future interviews.
  • Employer Evaluations – your internship site supervisor will receive an email notice from Handshake with a link to your online evaluation. Your faculty internship advisor will receive a copy of these evaluations.
  • If your internship site supervisor changes from the name you entered on your “Submit an Experience” survey in Handshake, you must notify the Internship Coordinator.
  • Evaluations will be emailed to supervisors on the dates noted in internship orientation information.


Student Evaluation of Internship – Interns are to complete an evaluation of their internship experience. Interns' feedback ensures that we can continue to offer quality internship opportunities to students.  The feedback will be viewed by your faculty internship advisor and Career Services staff.


If you have questions regarding these requirements, please contact the Career Services Office.

The Importance of Communication… If any issues or concerns arise during your internship, please discuss them with your supervisor as soon as possible. If the issues are not resolved, contact a staff member in Career Services. Concerns may include:

  • Inadequate orientation or training at the beginning of the internship
  • Duties are not relevant or challenging
  • Problems with supervision
  • A personal issue that will impact your attendance or performance on your internship

Professionalism on the Job…

The transition from the world of higher education to your first career position can be dramatic. Here are suggestions to help your transition:

Discuss your work schedule with your supervisor.

  • Discuss an agreed upon daily schedule, days off and starting and ending dates.

Remember the organization’s work calendar is not the same as the University calendar. For example, don’t assume you will have time off for Spring Break.

Adhere to the organization’s policies.

  • Always maintain confidentiality; in a health or human services organization it may be patient/client confidentiality. In business, it may be records or new product development.
  • Know and follow the policies on email, telephone and office equipment usage.
  • If an employer has a required dress code in place, it is essential to abide by it. The dress code may be in written form or it may be informal. Always ask about a dress code if you are uncertain.

Communicate with your supervisor and ask questions.

  • If you don’t know your supervisor’s expectations, you’ll never meet them. In turn, an employer may not realize what you have accomplished if you don’t tell them. Remember your supervisor will be your most important future work reference.
  • Supervisors will encourage and expect you to ask questions. Asking questions will ease your transition into the organization’s culture and structure and will also help to develop your understanding of the job responsibilities. Be respectful of the time of others and ask if they have time to answer your question or if they prefer to meet later.

Seek out additional responsibilities and maintain a positive attitude.

  • In most organizations a strong work ethic and positive attitude will be recognized and rewarded.
  • Look for opportunities for personal and professional development.
  • When presenting a problem to a supervisor or co-worker, always try to present a solution as well.

Seek out a mentor.

  • Your mentor may be your supervisor or another employee. Share with your mentor what you’ve learned, what you would like to learn, your career goals, your mistakes and your successes. Seek career advice and feedback on your professional development.

Be loyal.

  • You are a public relations ambassador for both your organization and your university.

Enjoy your experience. Let us know if you have questions or concerns.

Navigating Internship Difficulties

The following situations should be communicated and dealt with as soon as possible to avoid more serious problems:

  • Problems with supervision
  • Internship is not relevant or challenging
  • Excessive menial duties
  • A personal concern that will affect your attendance or performance on your internship

Contact Career Services at 608.785.8570 or email if you experience a problem with your internship.

Receiving a Grade for Your Internship

Your grade (letter grade or pass/fail, depending on the academic department) will be submitted at the end of the semester by your faculty internship adviser. If there is a problem with your grade, you must contact your faculty internship adviser directly. Career Services is not responsible for submitting grades.

Handshake logo

Handshake is UW-La Crosse’s online career services management system that provides students access to internships, full-time jobs, career fairs, information sessions, and more.

With Handshake you can:

  • Schedule appointments with your academic and career advisors
  • Search internship and full-time job postings and apply online
  • Create job search agents to receive an email when new positions that match your search criteria are posted
  • Be considered for on-campus interviews for open positions
  • Learn about jobs and internships available through our Career Fairs
  • Prepare for and practice your interviewing skills anywhere and anytime via your webcam using InterviewStream

Want to get started?

To login to Handshake, current students use the following information:

  • Login at
  • STUDENTS:  This account is connected to your other university logins, so click on the "University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Login" link to begin.
  • Check out this video on creating your profile.
  • See Handshake's FAQ's for more information.

Alumni members can also use Handshake: 

  • Visit: to register an account with UW-La Crosse
  • A notification is sent to UWL Career Services that you have requested access to Handshake.  Once you have been verified as UWL alumni, your account will be activated.
  • Email: or Phone: 608.785.8514

Employers can join Handshake with the following instructions:

  • Visit:  UWL Career Services to register for an account with UW-La Crosse and/or connect to an existing employer profile.  
  • A notification is sent to UWL Career Services that you have requested access to Handshake.  Once you have been verified as UWL alumni, your account will be activated.
  • Email: or Phone: 608.785.8514

Questions? Email the Career Services office at

Acknowledgements, disclaimers, and consent to release information for job and internship seekers using Handshake.

By logging into your Handshake profile:

You authorize the staff of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Career Services office to grant access to and/or release information relating to you contained in the computer files and hard copy files of said office to all prospective authorized employers or individuals deemed appropriate by the staff, for the purpose of furthering efforts to assist you in securing an internship, cooperative education experience, employment or other career-related endeavors. Such records may contain personal information, resumes, cover letters or other information that you have uploaded into Handshake;

You acknowledge that you are solely responsible for the accuracy of your profile data and uploaded documents;

You understand that registration data on gender, disabled status, veteran status, ethnicity (race), and birth date (age) collected through completion of your profile is voluntary and that leaving these fields blank will not affect your Handshake registration.

You further understand that no written release is required for the distribution of the information contained in Handshake. After activating your online profile, in order to revoke this authorization, you can do so by indicating such in the appropriated field in your online profile.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Career Services Office is an equal opportunity employer and will not knowingly sponsor or list openings that discriminate, practice deception, or violate federal and state employment statutes. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse reserves the right to refuse job listings from any employer if there is a concern about an organization's or individual's employment practices.

Employers posting job openings on Handshake are not necessarily affiliated with, nor endorsed by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Therefore, by accepting listings on the job board, the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse is in no manner sponsoring or endorsing any employer. The university acts solely as a referral service that is free of charge for both employers and job seekers and makes no claim or representation regarding the validity of positions posted with our office. UW-La Crosse is not responsible for the wages, safety, or working conditions of any employment. 

We ask all students to use “due diligence” before accepting any employment. Also be aware that wages that are based partially or fully on sales or commissions are not guaranteed. All hiring and compensation for work performed by student employees is handled directly between the student and the employer. The Career Services Office does not perform background checks on students nor on employers. Therefore, employers and students are encouraged to request reference information from each other.

On-Campus Recruiting Policies

Eligibility Policy

Current UW-La Crosse undergraduate students fulfilling the required job qualifications can apply for full-time and internship opportunities through the On-Campus Recruiting program. Current graduate students can apply to the opportunities that seek graduate level education or experience or with the permission or request of an employer.

No Show Policy (If You Miss an Interview)

A missed interview constitutes a serious problem. Our recruiters react very strongly to a "no show" situation. If you miss an on-campus interview, the following procedures must be observed.

The first missed interview

  1. The Career Services Recruiting Coordinator must be notified as soon as possible so the recruiter can be notified.
  2. You must meet the Director of Career Services or another designated staff member to discuss the reason for the missed interview.
  3. You must submit a letter of apology to the company recruiter with a copy to the Recruiting Coordinator.
  4. Your account will be deactivated until the above conditions are met which will make you ineligible to participate in the campus recruiting program or resume referral programs.

The second missed interview

  1. Above conditions 1, 2 and 3 are in effect.
  2. Your recruiting privileges may be revoked

Renege Policy

Reneges are never permitted or condoned by Career Services. Reneging on an offer is a serious violation of the Career Services' policy, and will result in immediate suspension of all recruiting privileges and the student's Handshake account is de-activated. Violators will be required to meet with a representative from Career Services. Future recruiting privileges will be determined after this meeting.

Statement of Responsibility

By using the Handshake system, you agree to conform to all ethical and professional practices and to assume personal responsibility throughout the employment process. Failure to do so will result in the deactivation of your account.


  • Provide accurate information on majors, minors, GPA, and employment eligibility.
  • Provide current and reliable contact information for Career Services and employers.
  • Respond appropriately to communication from Career Services and employers.
  • Adhere to schedules.
  • Thoroughly research organizations prior to interviewing and accepting positions.
  • Notify Career Services immediately if you encounter questionable practices or irregularities in the employment process.
  • Notify Career Services upon acceptance of a job offer. Withdraw from the interview process and notify all employers with whom you are interviewing.
  • Consider acceptance of employment as a commitment to that employer.
  • Reneging an acceptance is not condoned by Career Services and will result in loss of your service.
  • Career Services:
  • Maintain a recruitment process that is fair and equitable to candidates and employing organizations.
  • The staff will, without imposing personal values or bias, assist individuals in developing a career plan.
  • The Career Services staff will provide students with information on a range of career opportunities and types of employing organizations. They will inform students of the means and resources to gain access to information which may facilitate their decisions about an employing organization.
  • The Career Services staff will provide employing organizations with accurate information about UW-La Crosse and its students and about the policies and services of Career Services.
  • Maintain confidentiality of student information.

This statement of responsibility is guided by the Principles of Professional Conduct of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Handshake and other search sites
Regional and local job sites (WI, MN, IL, IA)
Education and teaching

Ed and teach expanders

Wisconsin/Minnesota opportunities


  • WECAN  - Wisconsin Education Career Action Network, Complete an on-line application for multiple school districts in Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin teaching opportunities not found on WECAN can be found on the Job Center of Wisconsin at
  • WISEdash- GREAT website to find out information about Wisconsin School Districts. Information on tests scores, student demographics, graduation rates, extracurricular involvement, etc. Check this website before writing a cover letter or going to an interview.
  • WI Department of Public Instruction


Illinois/Iowa opportunities



International teaching job search sites
Teaching English abroad
Higher education job search sites
Certification programs and degrees
Education job fairs

University of Northern Iowa Overseas Recruiting Fair
Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 3-4, 2024
Waterloo, Iowa

Eastern WERF (Wisconsin Education Recruitment Fair)
Thursday, March 14, 2024, 1-2:30 p.m.
UW-Oshkosh, Reeve Memorial Union

Western WERF (Wisconsin Education Recruitment Fair)
Friday, March 15, 2024, 2-4 p.m.
UW-La Crosse, Student Union, The Bluffs

CESA 1 Educator Recruitment Fair
Spring 2024 - To Be Announced

Tips and Guidelines

A resume is a summary of your educational and professional experiences, and this may include: colleges attended, internships, job shadows, volunteer experiences, work experiences, research or other relevant information, depending on what you are submitting it for. 

  • Employers review resumes very quickly, approximately 15 seconds on first review, making these guidelines essential to follow. 
  • The best resumes briefly describe job tasks, skills, and concrete accomplishments accurately and honestly while still being succinct. 
    • Good resumes are effectively tailored to position for which you are applying.
    • Be clear and concise; avoid a narrative format. 
    • Make sure every word on your resume is important and contributes to your goal of obtaining an interview. 
    • Resumes are searchable, so use terminology that connects your experiences to the position.


  • Create an original document. Use Microsoft Word, do not use templates. If you don’t know where to start, look at the resume examples on the Career Services website.
  • Make your resume neat and easy to read. Use a clear and crisp font. Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri are good examples.
  • Be consistent with the use of fonts and bullets to maintain uniformity throughout your resume.
  • Accent the positive. Emphasize your strengths and accomplishments.
  • Make certain your resume is current; do not send it with an outdated address or phone numbers. You might see a resume with two addresses, local and permanent. If you aren’t getting mail at your permanent address, you don’t need to include it. Likewise, your ‘home’ phone number is unnecessary, if you have a cell phone.
  • Don’t include personal information such as weight, marital status, date of birth, and photograph.
  • Don’t use paragraphs or full sentences. Use bullet points with phrases, leading with action verbs. This eliminates the need to use personal pronouns, like "I" and "my". You also don’t need periods.
  • Use dates in the employment and experience sections; however, avoid excessive use of dates in other categories, such as volunteering or involvement.
  • Don’t include salary requirements or wages from previous jobs. If a job announcement asks for salary requirements, include that information in your cover letter.
  • Length should be dictated by the amount of information you have to convey. Never try to crowd two pages of information on to one page. 
  • Please use an e-mail address that conveys a professional image. For example, not
  • Include a cover letter with your resume whether you are sending it by mail, email or faxing it to an employer. For more information, see the cover letter section on the Career Services website.
  • If you print your resume, as a rule, stay with conservative paper colors such as white, off-white, or gray. The same rule applies to the use of color with fonts. Remember resumes may need to be faxed or copied and the quality of the copy will diminish with colors. Print only on one side of the paper and should be printed on a quality printer.

As you prepare your resume, think about how an employer would look at it. If it is well done, it will communicate your competence and your interest in the position. On the other hand, if it is disorganized or has mistakes, it will show a lack of attention to detail. PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD!

Resume Sections and Headers

Block for resume sections


Begin with your name as the heading. Your name should be the largest item on the page, so try for a 18-24 size font.  

Follow your name by including your accurate contact information where you can be reached (phone, email address, etc.). Your present and/or permanent address can also be included. E-portfolios, such as your LinkedIn profile, can also be included in this area. 

For graduating seniors, use your personal email address. University email addresses will not be accessible after graduation. 

Education Section

List your degree, institution, major(s), minor, special concentration or emphasis, institution city and state, and graduation month and year. Include your grade point average if you feel it is to your advantage, usually above a 3.0. You can give your major or minor area grade point average if either is better than your overall grade point average, as long as you identify what it represents. Use an online GPA calculator to provide accurate information. 

Students from UW-La Crosse graduate in May, August, December and January. Even if you participate in the May graduation ceremony but take summer classes, August is your official graduation date. Your name will not appear on the official May graduation list. This is very important if an employer calls to verify your degree. 

If you attended more than one institution, or received more than one degree, list the most recent school and degree first. 

As a general rule, omit high school information after your first semester of college. 

Academic honors or awards (dean's list, scholarships, honors graduate, etc.) may be included in this section or listed in a separate section labeled "HONORS AND AWARDS".  List the number of times you have received an honor (i.e. Dean’s List – 4 semesters). 

Education graduates should include Wisconsin subject code number(s) and grade level(s) for education majors. Current certification numbers are available on the Wisconsin DPI web page. 

Other Possible Sections to Include

Consider categorizing and prioritizing your experiences related to the job description and position you are applying for. Here are some examples of the experience headings you might use:

  • Relevant Experience 
  • Related Experience 
  • Professional Experience 
  • Sport Management Experience 
  • Accounting Experience 
  • Lab Experience 
  • Research Experience 
  • Undergraduate Research 
  • Related Coursework and Projects 
  • Marketing Experience 
  • Customer Service Experience 
  • Internship and Project Experience 
  • Activism and Social Justice Experience 
  • Technical Competencies 
  • Campus and Community Involvement 
  • Leadership 
  • Multicultural Experience 
  • Additional Employment Experience 
  • Teaching Experience 
Writing Effective Bullet Points

Writing Effective Bullet Points 

 Bullet points are often the hardest part of a resume to write. When crafting your bullet points, it is important to go beyond just describing your “duties” at a job. One of the strategies you can use is to think of the “5 W’s and How”.  

WHO: Who did your job help? The company? Clients? Customers? 

WHAT: What happened with the results of the job? If you did research, was that information published? If you had to do a report or presentation, what was done with the information? 

WHEN: When did this happen? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Talking about how often you did something is an easy way to show productivity in your job. 

WHERE: Where did your duties occur? Did you have to travel for a job? Were you responsible for interacting with people outside of your organization? 

WHY & HOW: Why did you do this? How did your job duties help or benefit to the organization’s ability to function? 


Bullet Point Formula 

Use this formula as a starting point when writing your detailed bullet points.   

Skill (power verb) + What you did (job duty) + Results/Outcome (how/why) 

BEFORE: Made a documentary 

AFTER + “HOW”: Filmed a 10 minute documentary using the X3000 camera 

AFTER + “WHY”: Filmed a 10 minute documentary on AIDS awareness for a class presentation 

AFTER + “HOW” + “WHY”: Filmed a 10 minute documentary on AIDS awareness for a class presentation using the X3000 camera 



American Marketing Association (AMA)                                                 Fall 20XX - Present 


  • Created personal brand 
  • Attended weekly meetings 
  • Volunteered at services activities and fundraising events 


President, American Marketing Association (AMA), La Crosse, WI       Fall 20XX - Present 

  • Enhanced skills for future success and created own personal brand shared with 12 area employees 
  • Participated in bi-weekly meetings in order to expand knowledge of several marketing concepts 
  • Attended and participated in four services activities and three fundraisers in order to apply learned theory 


University Bookstore, La Crosse, WI                                                                                                        June 20XX - Present 

Sales Associate 

  • Assisted with inventory 
  • Provided quality customer service 
  • Built displays for featured products 


Sales Associate, UW-La Crosse University Bookstore, La Crosse, WI                                                June 20XX - Present 

  • Assisted with daily and monthly inventory of over 1,200 domestic and foreign products 
  • Provided quality customer service by handling customer questions, complaints, and problem solving 
  • Handled over 200 cash and credit card transactions, balanced drawer, and ATM accurately as part of each shift 

*Adopted from University of Iowa Pomerantz Career Center for Leadership and Career Advancement 

Securing References

References serve as contacts who can positively speak of you. Professors, intern supervisors, advisors, and previous or current employers are usually considered the most significant references. Focus on contacts who know you in a professional or academic setting instead of relatives. Prior to submitting any application, confirm your reference is willing to serve as one. Keep your reference updated throughout your application process and be sure to share your resume and the job description with them.  

For each reference list their name, title, place of employment, business telephone number and email address. It is also helpful to list how you know that person. You should have at least three references, but may need up to five.  

For education graduates who are certified and are seeking teaching positions: List names, titles, schools, addresses, and telephone numbers (school and home) of professionals who have agreed to serve as references. 

Sample Resumes and Templates

Sample Expandables

General Resume
Eagle Advantage Action Verbs
Cover Letters and Professional Correspondence

There are two basic types of cover letters: letters of application and letters of inquiry. 

  • A letter of application is used to apply for a position currently available. 
  • A letter of inquiry is sent to express interest in working for a particular employer.

For letters of application, specifically, the goal is to show how your background fits the particular job and organization to which you are applying.  

  • You are also demonstrating to a prospective employer you are a fit for the organization and you have a specific interest in working there.

Address letters to an individual by name and title, whenever possible.  

  • If you do not know their name, your salutation should be gender neutral, such as "Dear Personnel Manager;" or "Dear Hiring Manager."  

Proofread all letters for mistakes. Use spell check.  

Utilize the Writing Center in Murphy Library, 2nd floor, if you need assistance with grammar, punctuation, structure, or proofreading.  

 Opening Paragraph:  

  • Clearly state the exact position you are applying for using the same title listed in the job description 
  • Include details of how you found out about the position. Did you see it on Handshake? Direct referral? 
  • Briefly describe and connect why you are interested in the position. Focus on what you can bring to the team, not how they can help you! 
  • Provide a statement of what experience and skills you can offer 
  • Close the paragraph by summarizing why you feel you are qualified before jumping into the body 


 Body Paragraph (1 – 3 paragraphs):  

  • Pick a few experiences from your resume you want to emphasize and elaborate on how it is directly related to the position description. See this as an opportunity to connect the reader to how you can help them. 
  • Incorporate specific examples and keywords from the job description to describe how you’ve previously completed the tasks and have the skills they are seeking 

 Closing Paragraph:  

  • Be sure to express your interest in conducting an interview 
  • State you have enclosed your resume and any other application materials required 
  • Invite the employer to reach out to you via phone or email 
  • Thank the contact for both their time and consideration of your application 
  • Be prepared! Review information on the organization and the position well in advance of the interview. Be prepared to talk about your assets and how they relate to the organization and position.
  • Be comfortable discussing everything on your resume, some interviewers will use it as their only guide for the interview.
  • Practice! Have a friend ask you common interview questions.
  • Dress appropriately. A positive first impression gets the interview off to a good start. Many employers now have a business casual work environment, however, most prefer or expect professional dress for interviews. Always error on the conservative side when choosing interview attire including jewelry, make-up, and perfume and cologne.
  • Utilize positive nonverbal communication to show your interest. A firm handshake, a smile and good eye contact are very important.
  • Be positive. Keep answers to questions positive and upbeat, do not offer or dwell on negatives.
  • Use examples from professional internships, work experiences, projects, achievements, and college and community involvement. Interviewers often hear the same answers from several candidates, but the stories you tell are unique to you.
  • Listen attentively to the interviewer. If you do not understand a question, ask to have it restated.
  • Let the interviewer control the questions while you control the answers. Controlling the answers means that you will be deciding what to say and what examples to give as a result of your interview preparation.
  • If you do not know the answer to the question, don't be afraid to admit it.
  • If you think your answer may have been too short, ask the interviewer if you answered the question or if he or she would like additional details. If you think your answers are too long and the interviewer does not maintain eye contact with you, stop and ask if you are answering the question.
  • Be honest. Any information you give is subject to verification.
  • Being nervous is normal. If you are interested in the position whether it is a new employer, or a promotional opportunity with your current employer, you will be nervous. The interviewer is interested in getting to know you and as a rule, will try to relieve your anxiety. Thorough preparation and practice can alleviate anxiety.
  • At the conclusion of the interview, if you are still interested, politely reaffirm your interest in the position.

Many of the common questions interviewers ask are included in this section. No two interviews or interviewers will be alike. Questions generally take three forms, situational which asks an applicant to respond to a given situation; observational where an applicant is asked to reflect upon the actions of a third party or conceptual where an applicant is asked about their personal philosophy or future goals. However, you should be prepared to answer the following questions in any interview.

  • Please give me an overview of your qualifications. This is the most frequently asked question in interviews. Always be prepared to summarize your background as it relates to the position for which you are interviewing. It is a wonderful opportunity to sell yourself and you should look forward to this question. Inform the interviewer before you begin to answer what you will outline. You may want to go back to high school if you feel it is relevant, or start with college. Briefly comment on items highlighted on your resume.
  • Why did you choose UW-La Crosse? or Why did you major in _____? These questions give you the opportunity to demonstrate your career commitment and your planning ability. Describe how the decision was made.
  • What are your career goals? This question tests whether you've determined your career goals, and whether your goals match what the organization has to offer. Be clear and definite about your goals and demonstrate your knowledge of the organization. Employers are concerned about loyalty and staff turnover. Emphasize the fact that you are being very thorough with your job search to assure that you find the right match. If you are interviewing for an internship, you may want to indicate that you are carefully exploring career options and an internship will give both you and the employer a trial period of employment.
  • Why do you want to work for our organization? This is your opportunity to demonstrate what you know about the organization from your research. Reasons might include the reputation of the organization or department in terms of products or service; the company's rapid growth, or positive information you have received from employees or previous interns of the organization.
  • Why are you specifically interested in this position? Comment on the skills and experiences you possess that relate to the position.
  • Describe your academic performance. Accent the positive. Do not offer excuses! Discuss the fact that you've done very well in the courses related to your major and career choice. If you have strong academic references, suggest the employer talk with them. If you have not indicated your grade point average on your resume, there is a very good chance you will be questioned about it. If you think your grade point may create a problem in an interview situation, consult a Career Services staff member.
  • What are your strengths? Your strengths may be your leadership experience, your academic achievement, your career commitment, your relevant experience, or personal traits such as motivation and dependability. Don't be afraid to repeat or emphasize items on your resume or items that may have already been discussed in the interview.
  • What are some areas in which you feel you need are still developing as a professional? Comment on areas that you continue to improve upon such as your computer knowledge, and your time management. If you obviously don't meet one of the qualifications for the position, address that issue and discuss how you will acquire that knowledge or skill.
  • Tell me what you learned from your previous work/internship experiences. Be prepared to spend the majority of the interview on this topic. Be ready to give more detail on your responsibilities. Discuss what you learned and observed, and how you grew professionally. Give examples of what you accomplished. Relay positive feedback given to you by co-workers and supervisors.
  • Please discuss your personality strengths as they relate to this position. Make a list of 6-8 of your personality traits that you believe are assets. Write down experiences and examples that demonstrate these traits and be prepared to relay them in the interview.
  • What additional comments do you wish to make regarding your application? This question usually comes at the end of the interview. If there are important experiences or skills and abilities that you have not had the opportunity to discuss, mention them now. Encourage them to contact your references. Tell them how interested you are in the position.

Some employers believe that the best predictor of future success is past success. In behavior- based interviews, you will constantly be asked to give examples or stories, to provide evidence that you have the skills required for the position. In fact, the interviewer will not continue until you have provided a specific example. Success in behavior-based interviews requires preparation and practice. You must be able to recall many experiences quickly, select the most appropriate one, and then describe it effectively. Create a list of 15-20 experiences that demonstrate a variety of your skills and abilities. Draw upon your college experiences, academic and extracurricular involvement; volunteer and work experiences, and when appropriate, personal situations. Practice describing these experiences. When answering behavior based questions be certain to answer the question completely. One way to do this is to follow the STAR acronym in planning and presenting your answers.

Situation/Task: Give background information. Describe the situation you were in or task you needed to accomplish. Be specific.

Action: What was YOUR role in the situation? What did YOU do to accomplish the task? Keep the focus on you.

Results: What happened? What did you learn?

These Career Readiness Competencies were adapted by UWL Career Services Staff from NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) to help you find the worlds to articulate the skills you have developed at UWL.

Here is a list of sample behavior-based interview questions that may help you practice:


  • Please give me your best example of working cooperatively as a team member to accomplish an important goal. What was the goal or objective? What was your role in achieving this objective? To what extent did you interact with others on this project?
  • Describe a project you were responsible for that required interaction with people over a long period of time.
  • Describe a time when you contributed to a team's achievements.
  • Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Customer Orientation

  • Give me a specific example of a time when you had to address an angry customer. What was the problem and what was the outcome? How would you assess your role in defusing the situation?
  • Describe a service that you have provided or experienced that you believe represents a concern for the customer.


  • Describe the most significant or creative presentation/idea that you developed/implemented.
  • Can you give me an example of how you have been creative in completing your responsibilities?
  • Tell me about a project/suggestion that you initiated. Explain how you communicated the project/suggestion.

Flexibility/Adaptability to Change/Continuous Learning/Development

  • Tell me about a decision you made while under of pressure.
  • Give me an example of how you reacted in a pressure situation. How did the situation come about? How did you react? What made you decide to handle it that way? What effect, if any, did this have on your other responsibilities?
  • Describe a decision you made or a situation that you would have handled differently if you had to do it over again.
  • Tell me about a time when your supervisor/co-workers gave you feedback about your work. What did you learn about yourself?
  • Give me an example of something you have done, which furthered your own professional development in college.
  • Tell me about a time when you were asked to complete a difficult assignment even though the odds were against you. What did you learn from that experience?


  • Give me an example of a time when you went beyond the call of duty in order to get the job done.
  • Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to approach things your way.
  • Describe a leadership situation that you would handle differently if you had to do it over again.
  • Tell me about a time when you reached out for additional responsibility.
  • Give me an example of what you have done in your present/previous job that goes beyond what was required?
  • Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
  • Give me an example of something you've done in previous jobs that demonstrate your willingness to work hard.

Supports Diversity and Understands Diversity Issues

  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a wide variety of people by accepting/understanding their perspective.
  • Give me an example of something you have done to further your knowledge/understanding about diversity?
  • Tell me about a time that you successfully adapted to a culturally different environment.
  • Tell me about a time that you evaluated your own beliefs or opinions around issues or difference.


  • Tell me about a specific time when you had to handle a tough problem which challenged fairness or ethical issues.
  • Give me examples of how you have acted with integrity (walked your talk) in your job/work relationship.
  • Tell me about a time when you were required to trust someone unfamiliar to you when completing a project or task.
  • Describe a time when maintaining confidentiality was required of you.

Planning/Organization/Goal Setting

  • Describe a time when you set high standards for the quality of your work.
  • Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
  • Tell me about a time when you had too many things to do and you were required to prioritize your tasks.
  • Are you better at working on many things at a time, or are you better at working on and getting results from a few specific things? Please give me two examples that illustrate this.
  • Describe one of you best accomplishments, including where the assignment came from, your plans in carrying it out, and any obstacles you overcame.

Problem Solving/Judgment/Stress Management

  • Describe an instance when you had to think quickly in a difficult situation.
  • Describe a time when you were faced with a stressful situation that demonstrated your coping skills.
  • Give an example of a challenging problem that you are proud you solved.
  • Give me an example of your typical way of dealing with conflict?
  • Describe a time when you used your fact-finding skills to solve a problem.
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you used good judgment and logic in solving a problem.

Making Effective Decisions

  • Tell me about an experience in which you had a limited amount of time to make a difficult decision.
  • Tell me about a difficult decision you've made in the last year.
  • Tell me about a decision that you've made in the past that if you had it to do over, you would do differently.
  • Describe your involvement in a decision that involved several individuals.

Communicate Effectively

  • Tell me about a time in which you had to use your written communication skills in order to get an important point across.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone's opinion.
  • Describe an important report that required effective communication skills.

At some point in the interview, usually at the end, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. You should plan your questions in advance of the interview and perhaps write them down on index cards or a note pad to take with you. Prepare more questions than you will be able to ask, assuming that some of them will be answered during the interview. The following is a list of questions you may want to consider asking:

  • What would be the scope of my job responsibilities?
  • What major challenges and opportunities are facing this organization?
  • What do you believe are the major challenges of this job?
  • How are employees evaluated?
  • What forms of communication exist within the organization?
  • How would you describe the organizational structure?
  • Could you give me some additional information about your training programs/support of continuing education?
  • What skills do you think are important for your employees?
  • If I do my job well, where should I be after years with this organization?
  • How do you feel about community involvement?
  • Why have you chosen to pursue a career with this organization?
  • When do you expect to make a hiring decision?

Do not ask about salary in an initial interview. Wait for an employment offer to ask about salary and benefits.

It is possible that the interviewer will answer all of your questions through the course of the interview. If that happens, inform the interviewer that you had questions coming into the interview; however, he or she has done a wonderful job of providing information and at this time your questions have been answered.

At the conclusion of the interview, thank the interviewer and, if you still wish to be considered, sincerely reaffirm your interest in the position.

Dress for success examples

General guidelines

Practice makes perfect! Answer the tough questions before your first interview. Make an appointment with a career advisor to learn more about interviews and practice your answers.

Students can also practice using Big Interview, a web based video interview practice system that can help you fine tune your responses. Available in the "Resources" section of Handshake. 

Here are some general tips when interviewing virtually:

 Virtual interview best practices

Thank yous

Thank you and acknowledgement of the offer

Thank you letters following interviews are an expected professional courtesy. Immediately after you have an interview, send a brief thank you to the potential employer for the interview. Many employers expect to receive thank you letters within a couple of days of the interview. Thank you letters not only demonstrate good manners, but also provide another opportunity to present a positive image of you. Note that a thank you letter should always be sent, even if you do not expect to receive a job offer from this employer or if you have decided that you are no longer interested in the position for which you interviewed.

  • Express appreciation for their time and information; state the position for which you interviewed, interview date, and place.
  • Include some reference to your conversation.
  • Reaffirm interest, mention any important items forgotten in the interview, and/or include additional qualifications of work experience not included on resume.
  • Mention your availability for additional interviews. Close with a feeling of enthusiasm for the position and organization.
  • If no longer interested in the position, thank the employer for their time and ask that your application be withdrawn.
  • If you are offered employment, never leave the employer uncertain of when you will make a decision.
  • Acknowledge receipt of the employment offer and express your appreciation for the offer.
  • Notify the employer of the date you expect to make your decision. Talk with a career advisor if you have questions about what amount of time is reasonable. 
Accepting or declining an offer

Accepting the offer:

  • Your reply to your new employer should be brief, personalized, and written in such a way as to reinforce the employer's decision to hire you.
  • Be sure to indicate the date on which you will start work so there will be no misunderstanding.
  • Refer to details of agreement, e.g., job title, responsibilities, salary, starting date, etc.
  • Express your appreciation and your pleasure in joining the staff.

Declining the offer:

  • It is very important to notify employers from whom you have received offers that you have reached a decision and accepted another employer's offer. State your appreciation for the time and interest that they have shown you.

Misc. Interviewing Resources

Phone Interviews

Sometimes your initial contact will be a telephone interview. Often the employer uses a phone interview to narrow the selection of candidates. The employer usually schedules these phone interviews in advance. When receiving a phone call, if you are busy or need time to collect your thoughts, it is acceptable to tell the potential employer that you will return the call at a more convenient time. Then set up a time when you will return the call or they can call you. This gives you time to reread your letter of application, formulate questions to ask, and review material on the organization.

Anticipating the Call

  • Record a professional greeting on your voicemail to receive calls when you are unable to answer the phone.
  • Never answer a call during class or when you are not prepared to be in a professional mode.
  • If another person is answering your phone, remind them to take a detailed message that includes the caller’s name, company, date and why they are calling.
  • If you did not arrange an interview beforehand, do not hesitate to ask the interviewer if you can call back at a more convenient time and suggest some alternatives. You will not sound disinterested, but rather, you will sound concerned about being prepared and concerned for the interview. Remember, even though this is not a “phone interview” they are still evaluating your professionalism and communication skills.

Scheduling a Phone Interview

If you have arranged an interview with an employer, ask these questions to better prepare you.

  • Who will contact whom? Who is the contact person and phone number in case you need to reach them prior to the interview?
  • What time is the interview?
  • What is the purpose of the interview? What types of questions may be asked?
  • How long should you anticipate for the interview?
  • Who will be involved in the interview? What are their names and titles?

Preparing for the Phone Interview

  • Practice, practice, practice! Consider practicing with Interview Stream in Eagle Opportunities. This online system allows you to practice interviewing at home or in Career Services. Interview Stream records your interview (if you have a camera on your computer) and allows you to self‐critique your interview. Watch for enunciations, posture, awkward pauses, repeated phrases and nervous laughter. Additionally, you are able to arrange a mock interview with a Career Services staff member.
  • Review common interview questions.
  • Research the employer. Don't expect the employer to educate you about what they do! Identify the organization's products or services; investigate its history and growth. Most employers now have excellent websites that will provide you with all the necessary information. If you cannot find any specific information about the organization, then research the industry or field.
  • Read the job description to identify your strengths related to the position.
  • Once you have agreed to a phone interview, it is important to identify a place that will allow you to talk freely and without disruption. Don’t take a call when there is a lot of background noise and interference. Consider putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door to avoid any unnecessary interruptions.
  • Consider dressing professionally for the phone interview. It may sound silly since the interviewer can’t see you, but you really will project a more professional image than if you were wearing your sweatpants and a t‐shirt.
  • Be ready for the call 10‐15 minutes in advance.
  • Know your future schedule in case the interviewer wants to offer you a face‐to‐face interview.
  • Be aware that the employer may be on a speaker phone with more than one interviewer listening and asking questions. If you have difficulty hearing the questions, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat the questions.
  • Since you are unable to observe nonverbal cues to guide the timing of the interview, you have to be careful not to interrupt the interviewer. Be sure they are finished with the question/comment prior to answering, paying close attention to voice tone and inflection.
  • If you notice a long pause, feel free to ask the interviewer, “Have I answered your question?” Be aware that a pause generally means that the interviewer is finishing taking notes from your answer.

During the Phone Interview

  • Keep your resume, the job description, and company information close by for you to review during the interview.
  • Speak directly into the phone. Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Do not answer call waiting. If the interviewer hears the beep, tell them it should end shortly.
  • Always address the interviewer by name and title, whenever possible. For example: Principal Smith, Director Hanson, or Representative Gomez.  If you do not know their title, opt for a gender neutral honorific such as Mx.
  • Standing when being interviewed on the phone can add energy to your voice. Some say you’ll sound more professional than if you’re slouching on the couch.
  • Answer questions as you would in a face‐to‐face interview. Remember to use examples to illustrate why you are the best candidate.
  • Don't feel you have to fill in the silences. If you’ve completed a response, but the interviewer hasn’t asked his or her next question, don’t start babbling just to fill in airtime.
  • Prepare a few questions that will show you researched the company and are aware of how you fit the position requirements.
  • Smile! It will improve your attitude and the enthusiasm will elevate the tone of your voice. Remember the interviewer does not have a visual of you, so you will have to use your voice to show your energy, professionalism and drive.
  • Create a strong finish to your phone interview with a summary statement about why you would be the best candidate for the position.
  • Thank the interviewer(s) for their time and consideration and reaffirm your interest.
  • Ask what the next step is in the interview process and tell them you are looking forward to continuing the hiring process.

After the Phone Interview

  • Send a thank you letter or email to the interviewer(s) outlining your interest in the position.
Peace Corps Interview

Aside from general interview questions, below are questions more specifically geared towards a professional volunteer experience. At times these interviews are very professional in nature and other times it will feel more like a conversation.

Be prepared by reviewing the application, educating yourself about the organization, practicing the questions and having questions ready to ask the recruiter. This is a life changing experience and recruiters would be surprised if you didn’t have questions.

  • What is your motivation to volunteer? 
  • With so many other volunteering programs, why are you specifically interested in the Peace Corps? 
  • What do you think will be the hardest part about being a volunteer?
  • What type of experiences have you had that you feel prepare you for volunteer service?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a wide variety of people by accepting/understanding their perspective. 
  • Tell me about a time that you successfully adapted to a culturally different environment.
  • Describe a time when you were working on a project and it didn’t go as you had planned it too.
  • What obstacles, if any, might prevent you from accepting a Peace Corps invitation if offered one? What other career options are you considering?
  • On what criteria do you base your geographic or job preferences? Are there any changes?
  • What are some of the reactions of your family, friends, or boyfriend/girlfriend to your interest in Peace Corps?
Interview No-Show or Late Cancellation Policy

Interviewing Policy for On- and Off-campus Interview Programs

An interview is a formal commitment between a student and an employer. Students are expected to attend any and all scheduled interviews. It is unprofessional to schedule an interview and fail to attend. To do this reflects poorly on the offending student, UWL Career Services, and our student body. Failing to attend an interview, or cancelling an interview at the last minute, is unfair to students who were unable to receive an interview slot and to the recruiting coordinators who participate in our interview programs.

Students wishing to participate in on-campus interviews and off-campus job fairs, must read and abide by the rules of the UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services Office. This policy outlines the handling of last-minute cancellations; i.e., less than two business days before an interview as well as no-shows.

The UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services does not encourage interview cancellations. If you need to cancel an interview within 48 hours of the agreed upon time, you must notify the AAC/CS Office directly as well as the employer. If this was an on-campus interview, call 608.785.8362 or send an email with your name, employer name and location, and interview date and time, to Rebecca Lee at


A missed interview due to a no show or a late cancellation not only reflects poorly on you, but upon our office and the University as well. It is also a waste of a valuable interview slot for both the interviewer and for another student who would have liked an interview but could not get on the schedule.

  • The missed interview may be deemed an excused absence. An excused absence indicates a compelling reason for the absence (serious illness, family emergency), and documentation of the emergency (e.g. note from University Health Services, rector, resident assistant). If the missed interview is deemed an excused absence, the student will be reinstated on the Handshake system immediately.
  • The missed interview may be deemed an unexcused absence. An unexcused absence may be an absence for a non-compelling reason (copied the wrong date or time, overslept, simply forgot about the interview), or it may be for a compelling reason but no corroborating evidence was provided.

The following penalties will be imposed in the event that you cancel an interview late or no show: 

Late Cancellations During an Academic Year

  • 1st= No penalty is assessed but your Handshake account is noted.
  • 2nd= Your account is blocked from participating in the recruitment process until:
    • A signed, typewritten letter of apology to the employer (in an addressed, stamped, and unsealed envelope) is delivered within five days of missed interview to Rebecca Lee, Employer Relations Coordinator in the Academic Advising Center & Career Services. 
    • Meet with the Director of the UWL Academic Advising Center and Career Services.
  • 3rd= Your account is permanently disabled and you will not have access to any features of Handshake.

No Shows During an Academic Year

  • 1st= Your account is blocked from participating in the recruitment process until:
    • A signed letter of apology to the interviewer (in an addressed, stamped and unsealed envelope) is delivered within five days of the missed interview to Rebecca Lee, Employer Relations Coordinator in the Academic Advising Center & Career Services.  This must be completed within 30 days or your account is disabled.
  • 2nd= Your account is disabled and you will not have access to any features of Handshake until you meet with the Director of the Academic Advising Center and Career Services to discuss the situation.
  • 3rd= Your account is permanently disabled and you will not have access to any features of Handshake.


If declining an interview invitation due to having already secured employment, the student/alum must also complete the UWL First Destination Survey online to report their hire. In both cases, when you send your apology and explanation to the employer, please also copy Career Services  Employer Outreach Coordinator Rebecca Lee, at


The UWL Academic Advising Center & Career Services retains the right to revise this policy at any time, for any reason. Policy revisions will be posted on the UWL AAC/CS web site as soon as practicable.

Job Offers and Negotiating Salaries
Evaluating a Job Offer

First, make sure you know enough about the organization, the job, and the details of each offer to weigh one offer against another. If you lack information, seek it out by asking the employer, researching the organization, and talking to others who work at or are familiar with the organization or job. Ask your career services staff if they have had feedback from past students who have taken jobs with the organizations you are considering, and check to see if your career office has an alumni adviser to help you make contact with alumni working for these organizations. 

There is no perfect formula for making your decision, but one of the best ways to begin is by making a list of all of the features that are important to you in your first job. These may include such items as the type of work you’ll be doing, the organization’s reputation/prestige, training program, salary, specific benefits, location of job, opportunity for advancement, work environment, opportunity for free time (evenings and weekends), opportunity for travel, colleagues with whom you’ll be working, and so forth. Add every possible item you can think of to your list.

Evaluating a job offer blocks

What matters most to you?

After you have all the features on your list, rank them in order of their priority to you. For example, type of work may be most important to you, followed by salary, and then specific benefits.

Next, look at each job offer you are considering, and rate the features of each using a scale of one to five (with five being excellent and one being poor). For example, if ABC Company’s offer provides a great starting salary, you’ll most likely give that feature a “5” under ABC. If XYZ Company’s offer provides a lesser starting salary, XYZ might earn a “3” rating for salary. (See the sample below.) 

After you have finished rating all the features for all your offers, add up the scores for each offer. Although this is an inexact science, it is a way to demonstrate which offer provides you with the most of whatever features are important to you.

Weigh your options carefully

In the final analysis, remember to weigh carefully what is most important to you. Don’t be unduly swayed by the job title or the prestige of the organization and how it will impress your relatives. While it is helpful to get advice from family and friends, you are the one who will be going to work every day. You need to be sure that your job will be a good experience for you and will allow you to achieve your initial goals. Remember, though, that no job is perfect or able to meet all your needs. Consider the factors that you are willing to compromise on or have met in other ways. For example, if you enjoy travel and your job provides little opportunity for it, you can use long weekends and vacations for this interest.

Keep in mind that while you want to make the best possible decision at this moment in time, your decision is not permanent. The odds are great that you will not remain in your first job, or even with your first employer for your entire career. As you progress in your career, you will continue to learn which features are of highest priority for you (your priorities will also probably change with time) and how to find the best opportunity to have these priorities met. Good luck!

Sample rating system

Sample Rating Sheet for multiple offers

Feature (in order of importance) ABC 
Challenging Work 4 5 4
Advancement Opportunities 3 4 2
Medical Benefits 5 5 5
Salary 5 3 5
401(k) or other retirement plan 4 4 3
Dental benefits 4 4 4
Training program 3 4 4
Life insurance 4 4 3
Job location 5 4 4
Workplace environment 4 3 4
Opportunity to travel 4 2 2
Tuition reimbursement for cont. ed. 5 2 1
Total Rating: 50 46 41
Create your own list of features that matter to you and list them in order of importance, with the most important feature appearing at the top of your list. Then, rate the features of each company’s offer on a scale of one to five (5=excellent; 1=poor). In the sample to the left, the offer from ABC Company has the highest rating, indicating that ABC’s offer provides more of the features that matter to the sample job seeker. This is one way to compare job offers.
Negotiating Successfully

Negotiating blocks

When to negotiate
  • Negotiation should always take place after an offer has been extended to you – never before! 
  • Only negotiate with an employer if you are truly interested in the position. Otherwise you are wasting both yours and the company’s time. 
  • Be respectful throughout the process and do not wait until the last minute to negotiate an offer. 
  • When salary is substantially below typical salary averages for similar positions. Research is important in determining the salary averages. 
  • You have additional qualification that may not have been considered such as internship experience, outstanding academic achievements or unique technical skills. 
  • You have other offers and will only accept if a better offer is negotiated. 
  • When your first offer is not your first choice, contact your preferred employer and inform them that you have another offer but they are your first preference. Ask them what their timeline is in making a decision and inquire if there is any more information you might be able to provide them to help in their decision making. 
  • Note that some organizations (especially larger ones) bring all new graduates in at the same "level" – examples: education, retail, sales, management, bank and claims trainee positions. These companies have done their research and they do their best to offer a competitive salary or have established salary and compensation standards.
How to negotiate
  • Make sure to always negotiate with courtesy and respect – consider that you are building a long-term relationship. 
  • Have as much information available as possible when beginning the negotiation process. Have an understanding of the standard salary and package for the position you are being offered. 
  • Negotiate with creativity and flexibility. Do not automatically go straight to salary increase – think about other areas to negotiate on as well. Focus on the item that is most important to you. Do not bring a long list of items to negotiate. 
  • Ask the employer in a tactful way if the salary offer is open to negotiation. It is important that you illustrate you are genuinely interested in the position and you have a realistic understanding of the salary and/or benefits.  For example: “I am definitely interested in the position, can we talk about the salary?” 
  • Be open to compromise. If the employer is unable to negotiate at this time, set a definite time in the future to reopen the discussion. At that time, you will have demonstrated your benefits to the organization. 
  • If they are unwilling to negotiate, consider the fact that you may have to make an immediate decision. Not all employers are open to negotiation for all positions. This is particularly true for fields where candidates are plentiful and in unionized organizations. 
  • Create a budget for your expenses and then decide what your minimum amount of salary you will accept. Don’t forget to account for taxes taken out of your paycheck. 
What to negotiate
  • Negotiation should be focused on a few key things that are most important to you – do not come in with a large list of requests that you expect to have filled. 
  • Below are some common negotiable items: 
    • Timing – This refers to the amount of time you have to decide whether or not you will accept the offer. It could also refer to the start date of the position if you choose to accept. 
    • Compensation – For recent graduates, this is not a largely negotiable area in most cases. Know what the typical compensation is for someone with similar credentials in the field you are entering. If at all possible, have the employer provide a number first. If they ask you for a salary number, provide them with a reasonable range. You may also be able to negotiate for a sign-on or annual bonus, relocation assistance, stock options, or other items. 
    • Benefits – Many companies will have a set healthcare/dental package or choice of two for you to select from – make sure to look closely at what is being offered. Some other areas to examine include annual/sick/personal leave, retirement plans, disability and life insurance, travel reimbursement, annual salary review. Also consider tuition reimbursement, special trainings, and other professional development opportunities that may be available to you. 
    • Miscellaneous – Think about additional items that may be of interest, such as cost of hardware necessary for the position (computer, phone, etc.), graduate school timeline, or a non-compete clause. 
How to accept an offer
  • Notify the employer, preferably by phone, that you are prepared to accept the offer and that you are looking forward to joining the organization. 
  • Request an offer letter or email which includes the salary, start date, benefits and all other details outlined in the offer. 
  • Always reply with an acceptance letter or email outlining all the details of the offer even if you verbally accepted the position. 
  • Once you have accepted an offer, it is unethical to continue your job search. The employer has made a commitment to you and you need to reciprocate that commitment. 
Salary Calculator

Here are some sites you might use to get a sense of a fair salary, given the job, location, and your level experience:


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