Job Search Methods for the 21st Century (page 2)
During the past several years, the job hunt has changed. The World Wide Web has become an important source for job information and career development (Brown 1998; Wagner 1996, 1998, 1999). This Digest combines updates of LOCATING JOB INFORMATION. ERIC DIGEST NO. 85 (Wagner 1989) and JOB SEARCH METHODS. ERIC DIGEST NO. 121 (Wagner 1992).
The Job Search
The first step in looking for a job is to decide what type of a job you are looking for. Determine what skills you have that are marketable and match them with available jobs. A variety of methods for determining what job is best for you are described by Athanasou and Hoskiug (1998), Carney and Wells (1994), and Martin (1998). Job leads can be found through employment agencies, career centers, the public library, the newspaper, on the Internet, and through networking. It may be necessary to use more than one method when looking for a job ("Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998).
Many public libraries, universities and colleges, and high schools have job/career/occupational centers that include a variety of books and materials related to the job search. Information about choosing the right career, finding information about available jobs, applying for jobs (application, resumes, and cover letters), and interviewing will be available at these centers. Although titles may vary, these agencies will all have materials similar to those listed here. In addition, they may have people who can assist you either in workshops or on a one-to-one basis.
State-sponsored, one-stop career centers provide the resources necessary to succeed in the 21st century workplace. They offer services such as unemployment benefit application, state employment agency registration, free job search assistance, and training program information (Mariani 1997). A list of one-stop centers is available on the World Wide Web at <www.ttrc.doleta.gov/onestop/>.
To locate companies who offer positions you want, the following websites offer electronic editions of company information resources that you will also find in public libraries:
HOOVER'S <hoovers.com> Includes features such as company information, stock quotes, investor resources, top officers, and a career center.
THOMAS REGISTER OF AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS <www.thomas register.com/> Contains information about thousands of companies.
"85% of all job openings are not advertised, posted, or otherwise made available to the general public" (J. Michael Farr) ("Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998). Networking and personal contacts are very important when looking for a job. Companies would prefer to hire someone who is known or recommended to them rather than a stranger. Personal contacts also benefit the job seeker who is more apt to get an interview when referred by a colleague of the employer (Wagner 1992). In addition to networking, you can find information on job openings through want ads in the newspaper, employment agencies, and the Internet.
Developing a Resume
Resumes offer information about you that a typical application form will not. In addition to information such as your name, address, and phone number, a resume should include a job goals statement; your educational history; work history including student employment, volunteer experiences, and military service; and any memberships that relate to your job objective. The purpose of a resume is to sell yourself to a potential employer--make it positive and short because "the average employer will spend 7-10 seconds reading your resume" ("Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998).
In today's job market, an online resume is essential. Many job websites provide assistance in preparing electronic resumes and will post them at no cost (Wagner 1999). One source for information about submitting an electronic resume is America's Talent Bank <atb.mesc.state.mi.us/atb/seeker/index.html>.
Applying and Interviewing
Once you have found a job opening that sounds promising, you must apply for it by filling out an application form or sending your resume with a cover letter. A cover letter is an introduction to the person who will hire you. You should have a strong opening statement that gives your strengths. Look at the interview as a sales job; a typical employer will make a hiring decision within the first 7 minutes of the interview. Helpful steps for the interview include the following (Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998):
- anticipate questions
- Organize answers
- Make a good first impression
- Dress conservatively but one step up from what is usually worn on the job
- Be well-groomed
- Be on time or even early
- Use a firm handshake
- Be positive
- Do not discuss negative feelings
- Ask questions
- Convey information about yourself that you want the employer to know
- Close the deal
- Find out next steps in the process
- After the interview, send a thank-you letter
- Restate why you would be good for the job
- Mention your strongest skills
- Mention what you liked about the company
- Call (but only once) to find out about the status of the hiring process
Reprinted with the permission of the Education Resources Information Center.
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