A successful job hunt begins with a plan. Provided below are some specific steps that you can follow to make your job search successful. For more information or assistance, please contact a Career Services counselor.
Identify the traditional approaches to finding employment.
- Career Services: The Career Services office offers an extensive on-campus recruiting program during both the fall and spring semesters, full-time job listings and a career resources library. We welcome you to use all of these services.
- Direct Mail Campaign: Also known as a mass-mailing campaign, this method involves randomly mailing hundreds of resumes to companies.
Advantages: You might uncover unadvertised job openings.
Disadvantages: Statistics indicate that out of every hundred resumes mailed, only one to four interviews result. Furthermore, it is an expensive and time-consuming method.
Tips: Mail a resume focused to your career objective. In other words, be sure that you relate the content of your resume to the position for which you are applying. Mail both your resume and cover letter to the person in charge of the department in which you would like to work. Follow up with a telephone call to ensure your resume has arrived and to ask for an appointment.
- Classified Ads: This traditional method of finding employment involves reviewing job listings in the local newspapers, on the Internet and in professional journals.
Advantages: A wealth of job vacancies can be found in these resources.
Disadvantages: Most jobs listed are clerical, commission sales, and technical requiring up to five years of related experience. Very few professional entry-level positions are listed. Competition for these advertised jobs is keen.
Tips: Persevere. Most job hunters give this method up in two weeks or less. Apply for positions even if you do not meet all the qualifications, as jobs are often filled by people who only partially meet the qualifications. Remember to focus your resume to the requirements of the job.
- Employment Agencies: Utilized by both job hunters and employers, these firms will charge a fee to either the employer or you. Most positions listed in these agencies are clerical and administrative.
Advantages: You have access to a variety of available job openings.
Disadvantages: Very few jobs are entry-level professional openings. You could be charged a placement fee. Most listings require a significant amount of work experience.
Tips: Utilize several agencies to increase your chances of finding a job. Before you sign on the dotted line on the contract, be sure to find out who will pay the placement fee - you or the company.
- State Employment Offices: These offices serve entry-level job seekers as well as professionals. They have a nationwide network wherein you can inquire about job opportunities in other cities and states.
Advantages: If you plan to work in another city or state, they could be of significant assistance.
Disadvantages: Most jobs listed with these offices are clerical, blue-collar and professional positions requiring experience.
Tips: If you plan to use these offices, be sure to visit them often, as the best jobs are filled first.
- Executive Search Firms: Also known as "head hunters," these firms are retained by employers who want to hire top executives and managers.
Advantages: These firms can be very helpful in locating middle and top management positions.
Disadvantages: For each position listed, approximately one hundred to five hundred resumes are mailed in; thus, competition for each job is extremely keen. Also, because most employment counselors working in these firms receive a significant commission on each vacancy filled, they are usually more concerned about your placement than about your job satisfaction.
Tips: Because of the variety of firms, specializations and reputations, it would be wise to ask for recommendations of good firms from your friends and associates. You can also ask the firms for references of satisfied former clients.
- Personnel Offices: Company personnel offices are most commonly known for their job placement function within an organization. Unfortunately, they seemingly do a better job SCREENING OUT job applicants than assisting them with job placement.
Advantages: Theoretically, personnel offices are the central clearinghouse of all job vacancies in an organization. Therefore, a job hunter should be able to find a systematic listing of job vacancies which may or may not be advertised outside the organization.
Disadvantages: In reality, however, most personnel offices do not have a complete listing of all vacancies. Sometimes weeks will pass before a job vacancy reaches the personnel office. Why? Sometimes managers are too busy to complete the necessary paperwork required by the personnel office. And if they do complete it, weeks may pass before the paperwork is processed. Often, when managers have an opening in their department, they simply begin an informal search for a new hire by getting word out in an informal network of associates. It is also important to note that personnel offices DO NOT hire for professional openings, but rather they recommend good prospects to managers, who do the actual hiring.
Tips: If possible, bypass the personnel office and seek out the manager of the department in which you would like to work. How? Simply call and ask for the name of the manager of the given department. Then mail your resume and cover letter to that person, typing "personal" on your envelope so that the secretary will not open the correspondence.
Understand the nature of the "hidden job market."
Defining the hidden job market
Most job hunters are familiar with most of the above resources for finding employment. But, experts say that as much as 80% of job vacancies are not found through any of these resources. Instead, they are acquired informally through contacts, also known as "networks." Most specifically, the "hidden job market" consists of a great majority of job vacancies that are informally advertised through word of mouth.
The key to the hidden job market: Networking
The term "networking" may be new to you, but it is a process that you have been doing most of your life. Think about the times when you needed a recommendation of a good mechanic, movie, or restaurant. You simply asked a family member or friend for their advice, right? Simply stated, networking is the process of gathering information from people whether it be for a good movie, a restaurant, or a job.
Develop a list of people who might be able to provide you with information about jobs.
Potential Networks Friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, professors, spouses, fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, campus clubs, church, synagogue, community and special interest organizations, career counselors, parents, alumni association, past employers, etc.
Your most important resource
Before contacting your referrals, prepare. Know what you are going to say. You might want to prepare a few questions beforehand. Also, keep a log of the referrals you speak to. Your log might contain the following information: Contact's name, position title, company name, company address, telephone, other referrals given to you by your contact, etc.
Persist in your job hunt.
Job hunters usually approach companies only one time for a job. For example, they might mail an unsolicited resume to a company and never receive a reply. Thus, the job hunter assumes that the company is not interested in them. But, what if the person to whom you sent your resume never received it? Mailing services in companies lose correspondence all the time. Make sure that you call after mailing your resume and cover letter to ensure its arrival. Some companies act indifferently to job hunters because of their philosophy that truly interested job seekers will persist. It is not uncommon to hear of applicants being rejected several times before being accepted. The question arises: How many times should I approach a company before giving up? It is hard to say. A lot depends on how much you want to work for a given company. If it is a certain job or industry you are after, pursue several companies. Much of getting hired depends upon a "chemistry" between you and the interviewer. Persist until that "chemistry" occurs.
Job hunting is a difficult process. Reward yourself every time you complete a major task, such as mailing out a number of resumes. Treat yourself to a movie, ice cream (if you are not on a diet), hike to the "M", or anything else that provides an emotional break from the task of job hunting.
STEP SEVEN: Have a strategy.
There are many things to do in job hunting: preparing resumes, writing cover letters, contacting people, etc. Develop a plan of how you intend to get everything done, including tasks and timelines.