Homework Before Mounting a Job Search
AUBURN, May 25---The
inability to get started on a job search is a common problem among
job seekers. This is especially true for firsttime job hunters or
those who have not changed jobs in several years.
where to begin is the first step in what can be a long process, says
Dr. Jacquelyn Robinson, a community workforce development specialist
with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
overlooked step in the overall process is doing your homework before
mounting a serious job search," Robinson says. "Knowledge
is power, and the more you know about the type of job you are
looking for and the types of jobs available, the better your chances
of finding the right job that fits your skills, personality and
occupational goals and objectives are essential to maintaining your
focus during a job search. Determining the type job that best fits
you helps ensure both you and your new employer will be happy.
First, make a list of
potential companies and include all pertinent information. The types
and amount of information necessary will vary depending on the job
For service or technical
jobs, the exact name of the company or business, the name of the
person with hiring authority, the product(s) sold or produced,
current employee expectations, and current working conditions are
critical pieces of information.
For higher level
positions, information related to profits, market share and
expansions might be desirable.
Employer information can
be found through a variety of sources. For example, local newspapers
can provide a wealth of basic information about current happenings
within a business, such as company contests and who won, donations
to local charities and community involvement. More advanced
information may be found in national newspapers such as the New
York Times or national business journals such as The Wall
Street Journal. Professional trade journals and the Internet are
also valuable sources of information. These sources can also provide
job leads such as companies planning to locate within a particular
area or current position openings.
If you are looking for
your first job, a part-time job or are thinking about switching job
types, learning about specific job requirements will help in making
career decisions, says Robinson. As a job seeker, you have
requirements, and prospective employers have specific qualifications
and requirements for employment. For example, if you love the
outdoors, you might not be happy working in a warehouse with no
windows. The local parks and recreation facility might be a better
place to look for a position.
Gather all the
information necessary for selling yourself to a potential employer.
Organize the information into a data sheet. Information needed
includes educational history -- name of schools, addresses, phone
numbers, years attended, degrees or diplomas and contact persons;
and your employment history -- names, addresses and phone numbers of
employers, beginning and ending dates of employment and job titles.
This information should be organized with the most recent listed
Next, evaluate your
skills. Make a list of all the skills you have, Robinson adds. Go
back to the prepared data sheet and for each diploma or degree
earned, for each extra course taken or training received, and for
each job held, list skills you performed. Then divide the skills
into two columns -- one for skills you do best, and one for the
skills you enjoy performing. In addition to evaluating the skills,
examine your values and interests. Enjoying your work and feeling
good about what you do are key ingredients to job satisfaction, says
SOURCE: Dr. Jacquelyn
Robinson, Extension Community Workforce Development Specialist,
Alabama Cooperative Extension System (334) 844-5353