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Job Search

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Students - Current Students - Career Guidance -  - Job Search

The job search can be an intimidating process. Many people share concerns about putting their name out there in the search for employment and then facing the real possibility of not being accepted. There are also many stories or personal experiences of not finding the right job for months, or sometimes years.

Personal confidence and the chances of finding employment increase the more people know about proven methods searching for employment. Below are different methods and basic instruction to help you feel confident about your job search and shorten the time it takes to find the right job for you.


Networking is the most effective method of job searching. More people connect with employment through their network than through any other method.

Your network is a composition of the connections you have with other people, whether that is through work, social avenues, church, family members, clubs, or professional organizations. The activity of networking includes contacting everyone in your network to get assistance in learning about job openings. Let them know you are looking for work and in what areas you are looking. If they know of openings that fit, they will be more than happy to give you leads to look into. If they don’t have any current leads, they will still keep you in mind. Should they learn about openings in the area in which you are looking, they will likely pass that on to you.

Networking requires work. It is phone calls, visits, and following up on leads. The people in your network cannot pass along openings they learn about if you have not connected with them. Some people are concerned that their acquaintances will think less of them for being unemployed. The reality is that most people understand. The natural reaction to finding out someone is looking for work is not one of ridicule, but of concern and a desire to help.

So, get out there and connect with people. Go out of your way to meet new people and expand your network. Join Linked In and utilize it as a networking tool. Post your situation on Facebook and message your friends. Then, follow up on any and all leads your network provides you.


Contact the Employer Directly

There are many ways to contact the employer directly. One effective method is to drop-in for a quick visit. Be prepared:  have your resume in hand, be dressed as if going to an interview, and have knowledge of the workplace. When you arrive, ask to see the hiring manager by name. Present yourself and your resume to the hiring manager and let them know you are looking for work. Do not take up more than a few minutes of their time. They may not be hiring, but they will remember you and have your resume on file.

Another version of this drop-in contact is to formally request a meeting with the hiring manager and use this meeting to interview them about their company and the work they do. Acknowledge that you know they may not be hiring, but ask that they keep you in mind if an opening becomes available or if a colleague is looking for a good employee. This make a solid and positive impression, one they will not soon forget and one they will think of when that job opens up.

Other methods of directly contacting employers include simple phone calls or checking their websites. Most people in smaller companies know of openings or who to speak with about potential openings. In larger companies, jobs are posted online and questions can be answered by their Human Resources office.  In either case, you can get all the information you need to apply from contacting the company directly instead of going through a third party.


Want Ads

Most job seekers first look to want ads. Local newspapers may have job postings, and many businesses are now posting online on Craigslist or general job sites like or There are also specific job post/job search websites for every profession, which can be found through a simple Internet search. For instance, for jobs in higher education, one can search; for jobs in construction, one can search States and the federal government also have their own websites for posting openings.

Keep in mind that because of the wide reach of the Internet,  more people will be applying and getting the job will become more competitive.

It’s true that answering want ads may not be as effective as networking or contacting the employer directly, but it should not be overlooked in the job search, as many people have found employment this way.


Employment Agency

Public employment agencies like Colorado Workforce can be helpful locations. Employees are trained in assisting people on writing effective resumes and to guide them through the job search process. They have job postings through and work to help people get employed. Depending on your situation, you may also qualify for money to help in training or gain work experience through one of their programs.

Temp agencies find employees on a temporary or permanent basis. It is in their interest to get the right people to companies who are looking for specific types of employees. Many times, companies use a temp agency specifically to test out an employee before they decide whether or not to hire them. If the work is unsatisfactory or it’s not a good match, the temporary employment is cancelled. However, the opposite can also happen. If the work is done well and the match is good, temporary work can become permanent employment. This can be a great way to impress potential employers, to build your resume, and generate referrals. Hopefully, it leads to that great full-time job.

Private employment agencies cater to either businesses or individuals. Those that cater to businesses are contracted to find quality applicants for their businesses. Companies that utilize these agencies generally do not directly accept employment applications. If a business you would like to work for uses one of these agencies, effort should be made to communicate with the agency. Private employment agencies that cater to individuals will do much of the job search for the client, submitting resumes and letters. This can be expensive up front, or may include a percentage of future employment salary for a specified time period.


Professional Organizations/Publications

There are some companies that do not post specific jobs on general web sites. They are looking for people with specific skills and experience, so they advertise their positions through professional organizations and publications. Most professional organizations have a listserv, a professional email network used to connect and problem solve. Job openings are frequently posted on listservs.



In an internship, you work for a company in a designated position. Some are paid, but most are not. In either case, it’s worth the effort for two main reasons.

First, internships are a great way to get your foot in the door. Through your hard work, you are building references in the company, building your network. Supervisors are people in the industry that you may reference to potential employers.

Some may consider spending time in an unpaid internship as a step backward. However, it will allow you to take several steps forward. In many cases, a company does not want to lose a good intern who has proven their value. They may create a position, or hire the intern to fill a vacancy. At the very least, the internship is something you can put on your resume that adds to the value of your excellent education.

Second, internships are a great way to discover if a certain type of employment is for you. You will quickly discover if you enjoy the work and will learn if the commitment of time, intellect, travel, and other requirements are really where you wish to spend your energy. You’ll also know more about the jobs you will want to apply for in the future.


Contact Information

When searching for employment, it is important to follow a few guidelines in regards to your contact information. First, make sure your contact information is reliable. Changing your phone number after giving it to several employers or providing an email address you don’t check can result in being dismissed as an interview candidate.

Second, make sure your voicemail message and playback tone is appropriate and professional. Funny, cute, or insulting messages on your voicemail may cause an employer to hang up and move on to the next candidate.

This same recommendation fits for your email address as well. If you have a cute or funny email address handle, like or, create a new email that won’t raise an employer’s eyebrows.

Finally, make sure you include your physical address. The US Postal Service is still used in some ways to communicate with applicants.


Searching High and Low

Most people attend community colleges for one of two reasons: excellent pricing and proximity to home. When it comes to the job search, many people are guided by these same ideas. They want to work close to where they live because it is more affordable than commuting and they may not have the desire or means to move away from extended family or the community they grew up in. If this is the case, employment opportunities are much more limited; a smaller community means fewer employment opportunities. Having an Associate degree will change the types of jobs  you can apply for, but it does not open up more jobs. If you can extend your job search to the entire state or nation, there will be more opportunities for employment.  Each individual needs to evaluate where they want to live and work and take that into consideration when they go into the job search.