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Conducting an Effective Job Search

Below you will find information on how to assess what you would like in a job which in turn will help you with your job search.  It is important to sincerely and conscientiously follow the ideas set out below.

Often the hardest part of looking for employment is getting started.  Don’t let your job search be hindered by procrastination, a fear of failure, or confusion.  There are three initial questions you should consider:
• What type of job would I like to do?
• What kind of organization or industry would I like to work for?
• Where, geographically, do I want to work?

In order to be able to more effectively “Market” yourself to employers, you need to be able to describe your strengths to another person in 5 minutes or less.  Honestly assess your interests, aptitudes, and motivations as well as what your shortcomings may be.  Include what you have learned from your jobs, classes and activities and how you may have benefited from them.  Sooner or later an employer is going to ask these questions.  If you have your thoughts organized, you will be able to answer with clarity and poise.
• Interests – You might want to list the things you enjoy doing (working with “people”, analyzing “data”, or manipulating “things”).
• Aptitudes – What are you good at doing?  What might you be good at doing in the future?
• Capabilities – Do you have any physical limitations that would eliminate certain kinds of employment?
• Skills – What knowledge have you acquired through your education, employment experience, or volunteer activities that would be transferable to your career field?
• Personal Qualities – What personality traits do you have (like “industrious”, “self-starter”, “reliable”, etc. that would make you successful in a work setting?

Whether you are just beginning your career, changing jobs or advancing in your current position, you will need to begin identifying those specific organizations which hire individuals with your academic major.  Even a company with no growth can be expected (based upon national averages) to experience a 14% TURNOVER IN STAFF DURING ANY GIVEN YEAR.  Reliable information may be found in newspapers, company literature, professional journals, business trade publications, and in conversations (i.e., informational interviews) with organization representatives.  Keeping a filing system for future references of everything you learn may be one way to organize the information you gather.

The following organizational variables should be considered:
• Size of the organization in relation to others in the field (number of stores, employees, plants, etc.)
• Structure of the organization
• Potential for growth (new products, research, and services)
• Economic stability and reputation of company
• Career paths and employee training programs

A large percentage of job openings are never advertised in the newspaper or professional journals, given to employment agencies, or the Department of Labor.  They become vacant and are filled by someone who has heard informally that the position will be open.
Methods of Finding a Job
48% - hired through networking
24% - hired through direct employer contact
13% - hired through a combination of networking and direct employer
5% - hired through classified advertisements
2% - hired through state employment agencies
1% - hired through employment agencies

A popular method of searching for employment is to apply directly to an employer.  This will require the development of a cover letter, resume, a system of record keeping for your contacts, and consistent follow-up.

1. Prioritize the employers you would like to contact.
2. Write letters of inquiry to the organization and include your resume. Remember to address your letter to a specific person, if at all possible.  Do not send just one letter but mail copies to several people within the organization to cover all of the possible avenues.  This list should include the president, vice-president, personnel director, a recruiter, or the individual who would be your direct supervisor.  This approach would minimize your chances of having your letter going straight into the trash.
3. After approximately a week to ten days, follow up your letter with a phone call.  Speak directly to the person to whom you addressed the letter, if possible, to make sure they received your resume and investigate the possibility of scheduling an interview.
4. Be persistent but tactful.  Sincere enthusiasm does pay off.

One of the simplest and most ignored rules of getting ahead in the job search process is to thank people for their help and interest.

• Always follow-up by letter or telephone any business contacts you have made.
• Send thank you letters after every interview within 24-48 hours.
• Keep the people who are helping you informed about the process of your search.
• Follow through with any information you are asked to provide.

No matter how good things look, you must continue to job search.  You have to always maintain activity with those companies with whom you are in consideration with.  But do not forget about your marketing schedule.  Even if an offer is pending, you must keep working towards achieving your goal.  Never stop searching for a job until you have it in writing, have started working and the first pay check has cleared the bank.

A job search is one of the toughest and yet can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.  Try not to let rejection discourage you.  Almost everyone has to experience it first-hand before they find the right opportunity.  PREPARATION is the key in a job search and devoting time and effort to the process will produce the job offer you are seeking.
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