In a constantly evolving society with an ever competitive job market, no one job search strategy guarantees positive results. Conducting a job search is not easy. A good job search requires on-going preparation, commitment, hard work and even luck. It can be challenging, exciting and discouraging all at the same time.

Simply finding a job to put food on the table is shortsighted. For the long term, one needs a job to prepare for the next job, and the next and the next. This means you have to find a way to match your skills with an employer's needs. You must show how your education and previous work experience relate to an employment opportunity.

Where to Start

Before you begin applying for jobs, it is important to do some planning and preparation. Self assessment is a must as two things one must know before beginning a job search are:

  1. What do you want to do?
  2. What can you do?

In simple terms, what strengths, skills and interests do you have that can fulfill a potential employer's personnel needs? If you do not know yourself, it is impossible to know how you can assist a potential employer in solving their problems.

Developing a Plan of Attack

In order to develop an organized plan of attack, several questions must be answered:

  1. What resources are available to you?
  2. Why do jobs become available?
  3. Who gets hired?

When thinking of all the aspects involved in the job search, it is easy to become overwhelmed with detail. To overcome this barrier, it may be helpful to simplify the process. These steps may be of use to you to stay on track.

As previously stated, the first step in the job search is to identify your interests and skills. The step many job seekers get stuck on is identifying potential employers. Once employers have been identified, the next step is self-marketing through resumes, cover letters, interviewing, etc. Follow-up includes thank you letters and telephone calls to check on the status of one's application. The final step is either the job offer or recycling back and identifying another group of potential employers and possible changes in the "self-marketing" plan.

Why Jobs Become Available

  • Employee turnover
  • Environmental challenges
  • Expanded technology
  • Increased business demands
  • Legislation
  • New inventions
  • New management
  • New products
  • New social problems
  • Plant relocation
  • Retirements
  • Social trends
  • Terminations
What is the importance of knowing why jobs become available?

Because 70% - 80% of the job market is HIDDEN.

It usually takes anywhere from two weeks to a month or longer for an organization to go from realizing a need to actually advertising. Often positions may be filled before they are advertised, or they may never be advertised. If you can identify a position before it is advertised, you can make contact ahead of the pack, eliminating much of the competition.

You can create an important advantage for yourself if you are willing to do the hard work necessary to identify prospective employers not on the basis of employment advertisements, but on the premise that if you contact enough of the right people in the right organizations, you will uncover opportunities that are not public knowledge.

Where Should You Look

Realizing that everyone has limited resources including time, we know that one can only utilize certain selected options in their job search. Each individual must assess which strategy(s) will bring the greatest chance of positive return based on their personal circumstances. The following is a list of potential strategies/resources for job seekers:

1. College Office of Career Development
2. Direct mailings
3. Employment agencies
4. Internal campaign (internships, co-ops)
5. Job opening lists
6. Internet
7. Job search club
8. Networking/Information interviews
9. Professional organizations
10. State job service
11. Telemarketing
12. Temporary employment agencies
13. Volunteer/Bridging Position
14. Walk-ins/Cold Calls

Keys to a Successful Job Search

  • Develop an effective marketing strategy - The development of a professional resume (identifying your skills to solve employer problems), cover letter and other job search correspondence is essential. Often these "tools" are an employer's first contact with you. If your "tools" are sloppy, chances are your work performance will be as well.

  • Telephone skills - Telephone skills are extremely important. It can be quicker (though not always as effective) to "network" over the phone. Good communication skills are needed by all employers.

  • References - As early as possible, begin developing your list of professional references. Faculty members, work supervisors and co-workers typically provide the best information as to your potential work performance.

  • Dress - People make judgments about you almost instantly. These judgments are often based on your attire. First impressions are hard to overcome, so always dress appropriately. If you are unsure of what is appropriate, the best solution is to see what others at the potential place of employment are wearing. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

  • Be Organized - Organize yourself in a manner which is meaningful to you. If an employer calls you on the telephone, it is important that you not act confused as to what the position is, who the employer is, etc. This information needs to be at your fingertips, so that if you don't recall the specifics, you can quickly look it up without the person on the other end of the telephone line knowing you are doing so. The example job search organization form below may be of help to you in doing this.

Job Search Organization Form (Example)

Position Applied For: (paste ad here if available)

Where Heard of Position: Juniata College Career Development Office

Job Description:


How Apply: Send Resume, Cover Letter, and List of Professional References by 05/23/21

Date: Correspondence/Phone Call/Response
05/20/21 Sent Cover Letter, Resume, & List of References.

Called Personnel Office to see if my materials were received.

  • Interviews will be set up for week of June 10th.
  • I should hear this week if I am selected for an interview.
  • It is anticipated that 3 out of 37 applicants will be interviewed.
6/5/21 They called me. Interview scheduled for 1 p.m. on 6/11/21.
6/11/021 Interview seemed to go well. Talked with (....) Hiring decision will be made by 6/15/021.
6/12/21 Follow-up thank you letters sent.
6/16/21 I called to see if a decision had been reached yet. Was offered position. Asked for a week to consider offer.
6/23/21 I called and accepted position. Also sent written confirmation of agreed upon compensation.

Company Research Literature

One of the most important activities in a job search is finding out about the company you want to work for. Knowing facts about companies before you interview will help you answer questions about why you want to work for them and what you have to offer them if you are hired. It will also give you some information and insight into the organizational structure and future plans of the company so you can assess its potential in terms of your future growth and development.

Most information about companies is readily available at libraries through various directories and resource materials, or on the Internet. However, if you have difficulty locating materials, do not hesitate to check with the local area Chamber of Commerce or call the company directly and request materials.

Many of the resources used to find background information on companies may also be useful in identifying potential employers. Be resourceful and do your homework, your future may depend on it! The following print resources are available in the Juniata College Office of Career Services or in the Beeghly Library Reference Area.

Activists Almanac - Gives information on the leading advocacy organizations in the United States. Includes contact information, brief history, membership and financial resources.

Almanac of American Employers - Alphabetical and by industry indexed directory of 500 companies which were selected based on the likelihood that these employers would provide long lived jobs to the greatest numbers of employees. Includes rankings for salaries, benefits, financial stability and promotional possibilities. Provides contact information, location, number of employees, etc.

Almanac of International Jobs and Careers - Provides addresses, telephone numbers and information on services provided by federal employers, international organizations, associations, businesses, consulting firms, non-profit organizations, colleges/universities and embassies.

Almanac of Sports Contacts - Broken down by categories such as Business, Collectors, Athletics, Media, Hall of Fames, Publishing, etc. This publications provides information on hundreds of sports related employment opportunities/contacts.

American Almanac of Jobs and Salaries - Provides general salary information on American employees. Indexed by occupation, industry and geographic location.

American Salaries and Wages Survey - Alphabetically presents average salary levels by occupation, industry and geographic location.

America's Fastest Growing Employers - Provides information on 700 of America's hottest companies including information on contact persons, types of available positions, qualifications required and amount of expected growth.

Business Employee Directory of Huntingdon County - Alphabetical and by category indexed directory of 518 employers which are members of the Huntingdon County Office of Business and Industry. Includes contact and product information.

Career Directories for:

  • Business and Finance
  • Computing and Software Design
  • Environmental Careers
  • Healthcare
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Medical Technologists and Technicians
  • Mental Health and Social Work
  • Radio and TV
  • Therapists and Allied Health
  • Travel and Hospitality

A series of directories that provides information specific to employers within the titled field.

Cities of the United States - Provides information and background on a variety of cities (mainly large) in the United States.

Computer Industry Directory - Provides information on 6,400 computer related employing companies.

Directory of Educational, Health & Social Services for Children with Disabilities - (Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin Counties): Provides information on nearly 300 service organizations within the four county area. Contact information, services/programs available, etc. provided alphabetically and by county.

Directory of Foreign Manufacturers in the United States - Names and addresses of 4,800 foreign owned, U.S. companies engaged in manufacturing, mining and petroleum.

Directory of International Internships - Lists of international internship opportunities including contact information, types of positions, etc.

Directory of Public School Systems in the U.S. - Identifies employing officials at more than 14,000 public school systems throughout the United States.

Good Works - Provides contact information and profiles of companies doing work in areas related to social change.

The Hidden Job Market - Provides brief demographic information on 2,000 fast growth, high technology companies.

Hoover's Guide to Computer Companies - Provides information on 750 computer related employers including in-depth profiles, contacts, products, locations and key competitors.

Hoover's Handbook of American Business - Lists and rates the largest companies by industry type and profiles over 500 major U.S. based enterprises. Includes an overview, short history, amount of sales, names, places, products and key competitors.

Hoover's Handbook of World Business - Lists and rates the largest companies worldwide by industry type and profiles 300 companies. Includes an overview, short history, amount of sales, names, places, products and key competitors.

Hoover's Master List of Major Companies - Provides contact information and brief backgrounds on over 6,000 major companies.

International Directory of Company Histories - Provides detailed information on the development of the worlds largest (minimum $500 million annual sales) and most influential companies. To date has covered more than 1,600 companies in 8 volumes. Includes names, addresses and additional research resources.

International Directory of Volunteer Work - Provided information on over 500 worldwide organizations offering volunteer opportunities. Includes information on long term and short term opportunities and residential and non-residential opportunities. Indexed by category and country.

Internships 1996 - A comprehensive directory of internship opportunities in the U.S. and abroad providing detailed, pertinent information on internship positions in nearly 30 career areas.

Job Opportunities in Business - Directory indexed alphabetically, by industry and by geographic area, this publication provides contact and brief descriptive information on over 2,000 employers.

Job Opportunities in Engineering and Technology - Information on over 1,000 engineering and technology related employers. Alphabetical, by industry and by geographic area.

Job Opportunities in the Environment - Information on over 1,000 environmentally related employers. Alphabetical, by industry and by geographic area.

Job Opportunities in Health Care - Alphabetical and by industry indexed publication providing information on over 1,000 health care related employers.

Jobs and Careers with Non-Profit Organizations - Provides information, including purpose, activities, budget number of employees, of over 200 non-profit organizations.

Moody's Directory of the World's Largest Service Corporations - Provides information on over 200 firms broken down into 14 service grouping areas.

Moody's Manuals - Guides that cover more than 15,000 companies listed on the U.S. Stock Exchange in a variety of business areas. Information on each company includes a brief corporate history, subsidiaries, plants and properties, business and products, officers, comparative income statements, selected financial ratios and balance sheet ratios.

National Directory of Addresses and Telephone Numbers - Indexed alphabetically and by subject, provides telephone numbers for 137,000 employers.

National Trade and Professional Associations - List of associations, address, phone number, executive director, annual budget, members and history.

Official Museum Directory - Provides information on museums located worldwide.

Pennsylvania Directory of Manufacturers - Lists manufacturers in the state of Pennsylvania indexed by county, city, alphabetically, type of product and parent company. Includes names, addresses and number of employees.

Places Rated Almanac - Rank orders top "places" in the U.S. on a variety of characteristics including health care, crime rates, culture, housing costs, etc.

Private Companies - Profiles over 500 private U.S. enterprises. Provides an overview and tells who, what, when, where and major competitors.

Private Secondary Schools - This publication profiles over 1,300 secondary schools in the U.S. and abroad. Includes general information, student/faculty profiles, student life and contact information. Indexed alphabetically and by state.

Standard and Poors Register of Corporation, Directors and Executives - Volume 1 of this set lists 45,000 corporations with addresses, offices, stock exchanges, annual sales and employees.

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers - Provides contact information and other brief information on American manufacturers.

World Business Directory - Provides contact, sales information and brief descriptions of 142,000 employers. Indexed alphabetically and geographically and ranks companies by state.

World Chamber of Commerce Directory - U.S. Chamber of Commerce, States Boards of Tourism, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Foreign Tourist Information.

Worldwide Franchise Directory - Offers information on over 1,600 franchising opportunities.

Yellow pages in telephone books and Chamber of Commerce - For addresses, phone numbers and services of local businesses.

150 Best Companies for Liberal Arts Graduates - Alphabetical index which provides information on 150 of the best companies for liberal arts graduates. Includes contact information, product information, number of employees, salary levels, pluses, drawbacks, philosophy, profiles, career paths and "reports from the trenches".

Tips for a Successful Job Search

  • Work hard at finding a job
  • Be patient and persevere
  • Be honest with yourself and others
  • Develop a positive attitude toward yourself
  • Be energetic and enthusiastic
  • Set goals
  • Plan
  • Get organized
  • Ask questions and listen
  • Be polite and courteous
  • Maintain a professional stance
  • Demonstrate your intelligence and competence
  • Do not appear to be desperate
  • Learn how to write an effective resume and cover letter
  • Develop good interview and telephone skills
  • Line up good references
  • Learn to accept rejections and job offers
  • Don't get discouraged
  • Use all resources available to you
  • Tell everyone you know that you are seeking employment
  • Let employers know what you can do for them