JOB SEARCH TOOLKIT DISCOVER IT EXPERIENCE IT REACH IT

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1 JOB SEARCH TOOLKIT Finding a job is very much like a full-time job in and of itself. It is a long, drawn-out process with a lot of record keeping and details to keep track of. To be successful, you must have the best tools available, just like when you went to kindergarten, you school box was ready with crayons, pencils, and glue. Career Services has developed this toolkit to provide you with the tools to be successful in your job search. Use them to help streamline the process and keep your information in one location. Doing this won t guarantee you a job, but it will help you manage the process of finding a job more comfortably. DISCOVER IT EXPERIENCE IT REACH IT

2 DISCOVER IT EXPERIENCE IT REACH IT If you have given full and careful thought to the activities and information in previous guides, you have already accomplished much of the work now it is just details. You are now ready to develop an action plan to help you acquire a position that matches your specifications. Remember that the average job search, according to the Department of Labor, will take 6-9 months in a good economy. Planning ahead will help you immensely the best-prepared and most persistent job seekers often acquire the best opportunities. Conducting a job search can be time consuming, so prioritize the work that needs to be completed. Set aside several blocks of time each week to focus entirely on your job search. JOB SEARCHING When the job market is tight, you need to use a variety of strategies to find the opportunity for you. Only one of every four jobs out there are ever advertised, yet most job seekers spend a majority of their time responding to job ads in newspapers and online. According to a recent NACE survey, some of the most effective ways companies recruit college students include: Hiring through internship or co-op programs; Referrals from current employees; Sourcing through college career centers; Responses to postings on their own website; Sourcing through job fairs; and Sourcing through professional associations. As you can see, a company s most effective recruiting methods do not include online job posting sites or newspaper advertisements. Therefore, consider the following general tips: Use several methods but invest your time according to the probabilities of success each method offers. In other words, don t spend all your time responding to ads, but networking and getting involved. Conduct an intensive search. The more employers you contact directly, the greater your chances for uncovering leads more quickly. Contact small enterprises. They create a significant number of new jobs each year. According to the US Census Bureau, the average workplace has just over 16 workers and 54% of workplaces have fewer than 5 employees. Consider service industries. They will account for most new jobs in the new economy. Get organized, keep good records, be consistent and persistent in your efforts, and show consideration through effective follow-up. Know your interests and skills and be able to communicate your value to employers. Be positive toward yourself and others. Remember that getting hired is a social process that depends upon your ability to deal effectively with others. JOB SEARCH STRATEGIES Networking Networking is a job search strategy that can be done weather or not you are actively seeking a position. The premise of networking is to meet people in the field you are looking to enter. When you are ready to make a move, let it be known within your network that you are looking for a job. It is estimated that 65% of jobs are filled through networking strategies. An important aspect of networking is following up with your contacts. Use the Network Contact Tracking Sheet on page 3 to help you in this area. Mass Mailing Perhaps the least effective job search strategy is to copy a large quantity of generic resumes and cover letters and send them to various employers. The impersonal nature of this method is a definite way not to succeed in your job search. Targeted Mailing Contacting employers directly with a highly personalized letter to inquire about employment opportunities is a strong strategy. Identify potential employers and learn as much as you can about them and the positions they have available. Find a name and address of the manager hiring for the position you desire. You can often use networking contacts to find this information. Prepare and send a personalized cover letter to the manager expressing your interest and requesting an appointment. Close the letter by stating that you will contact them to set up such a meeting. Include a copy of your resume. If you are not able to secure an appointment, request that your resume be kept on file. If you see a position that interests you in the near future, follow up with another letter. Telephone Campaign A telephone campaign can be effective when conducting a long-distance search. Expect a high percentage of dead ends and negative responses. This method is based on a premise that at any given time, a certain percentage of employers will have openings. Canvass a large number of employers to uncover any appropriate leads, then follow up accordingly with a targeted letter, resume, and/or application. When a lead is uncovered, request a meeting to learn more about the job and organization. Want Ads Only about 14% of job seekers find employment through the want ads, however, the results may vary widely depending upon the type of work you are seeking. Actively use the want ads, but do not rely solely on them, use a variety of strategies. Internet The internet is a strong resource for job seekers. Not only can company research 2 Urbana University

3 JOB SEARCH TOOLKIT NETWORK CONTACT TRACKING SHEET Name Company/Title Address Phone Fax Mobile Home Website Referred by How they can help me Date Discussed Follow-Up Date Career Services 3

4 DISCOVER IT EXPERIENCE IT REACH IT be conducted online, but jobs can be found and resumes uploaded. For the best results, consider these tips: Use sites with a proven history. Focus on sites in the geographic regions you are considering. Once you find a position, instead of sending your resume through a mega-job site, consider looking at the specific company s website. Your resume will get a better and faster review than going through the third-party site. According to research in CareerXRoads 2002, online job boards such as Monster.com account for only 1.4% of new hires. Use sites specific to your field. Often, professional associations will list openings from members on their site. Some even have resume and/ or networking functions as well. Career Fairs Attending job fairs can be an overwhelming activity in your job search, but one that is well worth the time and energy. Where else will you be able to share your qualifications with so many employers in so little time? To make the most of your time at a job fair, you must be adequately prepared. Refer to the Job Fair section later in this guide for more information. Employment Agencies Many employment agencies try to lure candidates in with grand stories of riches. Many employers use such agencies to supplement their recruiting efforts. The best data available expects that they help only 5% of their clients find meaningful employment. The best advice here is to be cautious! Research companies to find one specializing in the type of work you are looking to enter. Avoid agencies where you pay the fees. There are plenty that are paid by their company client. Be sure you understand the financial arrangement before signing any documents. Professional Associations Much of the hidden job market comes from knowing people in your chosen field. One of the best ways to expand that network is to join and participate in professional associations at the local, regional, and/or national level. A searchable database of professional associations is available online (the link can be found at Career Services website) Chambers of Commerce Most communities have a Chamber of Commerce that includes organizations of all types. Many will have print and online resources available about their community and the business climate. Their websites usually have great information and they will likely provide a newcomers packet if you let them know you are relocating to their community. Business Journals Many major cities publish weekly or monthly business periodicals. Oftentimes, they also have corresponding Books of Lists that includes the top businesses and organizations in that city. You can use these resources to learn about specific geographic regions and/or the business climate in that community. The most popular link for business journals is Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Depending on your personal goals, motivation, financial situation, skills, and experience, self-employment may be a viable option. To investigate what is required to start your own small business, check with your local chamber of commerce and the state department of commerce. Temporary Work Temporary work may give you an opportunity to gain experience, refine your work skills, investigate various work settings and develop professional networking contacts. Consider temporary work as a post-graduation internship. It may turn out that you can convince a potential employer that you are worth hiring on permanently. ATTENDING CAREER FAIRS Before attending a job fair, you should have a strong idea of what you would like to find. The first question you will likely be asked by most recruiters is What are you looking for? Through this question, they are attempting to ascertain what type of employment (full time, internship, other) and/or what type of position/career are you seeking. Note that something related to my major will not be helpful here have specifics in mind. Attending Organizations Before you go, do your best to find out who will be at the event and do some brief research on those organizations. Include learning about companies that you have never before heard of. Also, develop a list of one or two questions that you could ask that organization s representative. By taking this step, you will stand out among the other candidates at the job fair. What to Take Have your resume critiqued and finalized ahead of time. Be sure to show up with plenty of copies on nice paper. If you have a couple job targets in mind, you may want to have a couple versions of your resume to better market your skills and knowledge. Cover letters and references are not necessary for a job fair setting. It is also encouraged that you take a padfolio to store your resume and record notes about various employers. Have an over-the-shoulder, professional looking attaché that could help in holding the vast materials you will receive throughout the day. If you do not have one, chances are extremely likely that at least one employer will have some type of bag go to that table first. Introductory Statement Prepare a 20-second self-marketing presentation before attending a fair. This statement will summarize your qualifications and career goals and emphasize what you have that is unique. For example: 4 Urbana University

5 JOB SEARCH TOOLKIT JOB SEARCH POSITION REVIEW Position Company Source Date Applied Deadline Materials Sent Contact Description Requirements Strengths Obstacles Career Services 5

6 DISCOVER IT EXPERIENCE IT REACH IT JOB SEARCH CONTACT LOG Title Company Primary Contact Date/Time Person/Contact Outcome Follow Up Date By Whom? Date/Time Person/Contact Outcome Follow Up Date By Whom? Date/Time Person/Contact Outcome Follow Up Date By Whom? Date/Time Person/Contact Outcome Follow Up Date By Whom? 6 Urbana University

7 JOB SEARCH TOOLKIT Hello, my name is Joe Smith and I am a senior at Urbana University. I am currently studying communication arts with an emphasis in public relations and hope to find a full-time position in a PR or marketing firm. In my internship, I was able to develop press releases and supporting material for a new product rollout. At this point, you will turn the conversation over to the recruiter with a question about their organization. Examples (from Wetfeet.com) include: What s the organization s culture like? What might a person in this position like most? Least? What are the most important characteristics of the person you are looking for? How is the organization responding to (fill in with a current event)? By having an introductory statement prepared and using it, you will be able to bypass much of the small talk recruiters go through in these miniinterviews and get to the meat of your qualifications. This helps put you in the top 10% of candidates they will see at the fair. Your Arrival Before heading out to the fair, make sure you know what time it begins and ends. Often, employers are still setting up at start time and may tear down before the advertised end time. Therefore, you want to leave plenty of time to talk with the organizations in which you are interested before they leave. Attire Professional dress should be worn to all job fairs. For men, this includes at least a shirt and tie, preferably a suit. For women, a pant suit is typically okay. Be sure to wear stockings that match your outfit. Comfortable shoes are a must as you will spend the better part of the day on your feet. What to Expect Expect crowds, a lot of noise, and potentially long lines at job fairs. Use the time waiting to jot down notes on previous conversations or speak with other job seekers. You may end up in line next to someone who just came from an organization looking for a candidate with your qualifications. Working the Crowd When you approach a booth, you will use the introductory statement that you have prepared to introduce yourself to the recruiter. Remember to focus on what impresses you about the company, not what the company can do for you. This is a chance to highlight your oral communication skills. As you speak with a recruiter, they may make notes on your resume to help them remember you. Listen to what other job seekers are sharing with employers you will get a sense of how your skills compare on the market and may get a few of your questions answered. Be sure to ask recruiters what role this fair plays in their recruiting process will they be interviewing from the candidates they see today or are they simply trying to get the word out about their organization? When returning from the fair, organize all the information you received and reprioritize your contacts based on what you learned. Follow Up Send thank you letters to organizations of particular interest to you to emphasize your qualifications and interest. If an employer requested no phone calls or s, remember to respect that request. Develop An Action Plan Finally, make a plan for any future action that is necessary. Perhaps you need to apply through the organization s website or follow up with a new networking contact you met while waiting in line. Being timely in your follow up can strengthen your candidacy considerably. CAUSES OF UNSUCCESSFUL JOB SEARCHES When a job search is struggling, the cause can be attributed to one or more of just a few items. Your Background The first place to look in a slow-moving job search to determine if your background is appropriate for the type of work you are seeking. Look again at your Pre-Design specifications and the notes from the Design phase. Consider the following questions perhaps you will need to reconsider the direction you are going. What qualifications are necessary for this type of work? Do you require further training and/ or certification to enter this profession? Are there any barriers to my receiving the appropriate training and/or certification? Is your level of experience appropriate for the positions for which you are applying? Should you be considering positions with more or less responsibility? What feedback have you received during informational interviews or employment interviews? Often, you may pick up on clues from others that can help you answer the previous questions. Your Resume Many candidates are not considered because their resume does not appropriately address the position or type of work they are seeking. Are there any spelling or grammatical mistakes on your resume? Is the length appropriate for your level of experience? Does your resume flow well? Is there uniformity and consistency in the details of the resume? Have your resume critiqued by Career Services to be sure it is as strong as it can be. Career Services 7

8 DISCOVER IT EXPERIENCE IT REACH IT Your Presentation If you are getting interviews but no job offers, your presentation may need some work. Consider these major areas: Do you have professional attire that is properly maintained? How are your grooming techniques? Are your oral communication techniques (grammar, pronunciation) appropriate? Do you adhere to socially acceptable norms when interviewing and dining? Do you show enthusiasm and interest in the position while interviewing? The good news is that many of these causes of unsuccessful job search can be overcome with minimal assistance. Use the individual career coaching, including practice interviews, available in Career Services to help! 8 Urbana University

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