Job Hunting Humdingers
By Chelse Benham
“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of
rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome.” – Helen Keller
Nearly 80 percent of all jobs are not advertised according to Luis Janda, Ph.D.,
clinical psychologist and author of The Psychologist’s Book of Self-Tests. The
passive, nonassertive person who waits on the side lines to find the perfect job is
likely to be unsuccessful in their job search. Job hunting requires savvy and
knowledge. Preparation is the key to success.
“Not preparing sufficiently is the number one problem students have when job
hunting. Also, not collecting their thoughts, knowing what to say when they are in
the interview is another problem,” said Lourdes Servantes, placement specialist
at The University of Texas-Pan American’s Career Placement Services Office.
“We do mock interviews, workshops and provide literature to help prepare
students for the interviewing process. This is free to students and alumni.”
Dr. Heather Becker at the Career Counseling Center at the University of Texas
and author of the Assertive Job-Hunting Survey, proposes useful tips to finding
the perfect job. Dr. Becker recommends that people do the following:
• Decide first what kind of job you want and look for that. Don’t check out
what jobs are available before deciding on what you want to do.
• Don’t take just any kind of job out of desperation.
• If you don’t have all the requirements for a position apply for it anyway.
• Before pursuing an interview, contact an employee of the organization
that you want to work for to learn more about that organization even if
there is no job opening listed.
• Contact the person directly for whom you will be working, rather than the
personnel department of the organization.
• Politely ask for another interview if you think the first one went poorly.
• Consider volunteering or interning at an organization to get your foot-in-
• Network extensively to develop useful contacts and resources.
At the Work Source Washington at www.wa.gov they offer a step-by-step
process to maximize your job hunting experience. After you have created your
contact list through networking be sure to:
1. Target your resume to the specific employers who will receive it. For
tips on writing the best resume visit www.wa.gov or www.alec.co.uk
2. Be prepared. You should have a copy of your resume with you at all
times. You may even want to consider making business cards to hand out
during the networking phase.
3. Create a contact database. Write down all the employers you have
contacted, date you sent your resume, the names of people you have
spoken to, and specific information given regarding the position and
4. Make a “to do” list every day. This may include researching the various
companies, calling prospective employers, writing cover letters and
sending resumes, scheduling interviews, writing a list of questions for the
interview, making follow-up calls and sending thank you letters.
5. Learn how to talk about yourself. Look into a mirror or speak to a family
member or friend and practice speaking about your talents and abilities.
Interviewing is not the time to be modest. You are out to sell yourself and
land the job that you want.
6. Brush up on current events. Learn interesting facts about the company
and anything that will help you ease into conversation with the people you
7. Research, research, research! Find out everything there is to know
about employers and companies in your field. Remain current on any
issues or developments in the field through trade journals, magazines and
8. Follow up immediately with leads. If you find out about a position call on
it immediately. You can never be sure when they began interviewing for
9. Be prompt and professional. Always arrive early for the interview.
10. Always dress appropriately for the interview.
11. Stay confident, motivated and energetic. It is the most effective means
to present the best first impression no matter where you are.
According to Richard N. Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?, the
number one worst job search method is trying to find a job on the Internet. The
success rate for this method is about 4 percent. Out of every 100 job hunters
who use the Internet as a search method, only four of them will find a job if they
use only this method. If you are seeking a technical or computer-related job like
finance or engineering, the rate of success rises to about 10 percent, but for
others the success rate drops to 1percent. In looking at four resume posting
sites, Bolles found one with 26,644 resumes and 41 employers looking during a
90 day period. Another had 40,000 resumes and 400 employers looking. The
third had 59,283 resume and 1,366 employers looking. And, the fourth had 8,500
resumes and 850 employers looking. Bolles offers the Five Best Ways to Find a
Job and it starts with networking.
1. Ask for job leads from family members, friends, people in the community,
and staff at career centers. Ask them this one simple question: Do you know
of any jobs in my field? This method has a 33 percent success rate.
2. Knock on the doors of any employers, factories or offices that interest you,
whether or not they have vacancies. This method has a 47 percent success
3. Use the Yellow Pages to identify areas that interest you in or near the town
or city where you live and then call the employers in that field to find out
whether they are hiring for the position that you can do - and do well. This
method has a 69 percent success rate.
4. In a group with other job hunters, implement method #3 (above). This
method has an 84 percent success rate.
5. Do thorough homework on yourself. Know your best skills, in order of
priority. Know the fields in which you want to use those skills. Talk to people
who have those kinds of jobs. Find out whether they're happy, and how they
found their jobs. Then choose the places where you want to work, rather than
just those places that have advertised job openings. Thoroughly research
these organizations before approaching them. Seek out the person who
actually has the power to hire you for the job that you want. Demonstrate to
that person how you can help the company with its problems. Cut no corners;
take no shortcuts. This method has an 86 percent success rate.
Bottom-line: finding a job is like any major decision in your life. As you wouldn’t
jump into a marriage, a mortgage or moving without first being sure that it is the
right thing for you, finding a job that’s suitable to you is important and immensely
rewarding. Remember, you are investing in your future so take a little time to plan