Finding a Job Opening
Where to Learn About Job Openings
  • Personal Contacts
  • School career planning and placement offices
  • Employers
  • Classified Ads
    • National and local newspapers
    • Professional journals
    • Trade magazines
  • Internet Resources
  • Professional Associations
  • Labor unions
  • State employment service offices
  • Federal Government
  • Community Agencies
  • Private employment agencies and career consultants
  • Internships
Job Search Methods

Finding a job can take months of time and effort.  However, you can speed the process by using many methods to find job openings.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that people who use many job search methods find jobs faster than people who use only one or two.


Personal Contacts.  Many jobs are never advertised.  People get them by talking to friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, teachers, former coworkers, and others who know of an opening.  Be sure to tell people that you are looking for a job because the people you know may be some of the most effective resources for your search.  To develop new contacts, join student, community, or professional organizations.

School career planning and placement offices.  High school and college placement offices help their students and alumni find jobs.  Some invite recruiters to use their facilites for interviews or career fairs.  The also may have lists of open jobs.  Most also offer career counseling, career testing, and job search advice.  Some have career resource libraries; host workshops on job search strategy, resume writing, letter writing, and effective interviewing; critique drafts of resumes; conduct mock interviews; and sponsor job fairs.

Employers.  Directly contacting employers is one of the most successful means of job hunting.  Through library and internet research, develop a list of potential employers in your desired career field.  Then call these employers and check their websites for job openings.  Websites and business directories can tell you how to apply for a position or whom to contact.  Even if no open positions are posted, do not hesitate to contact the employer; You never know when a job might become available.  Consider asking for an informational interview with people working in the career you want to learn more.  Ask them how they got started, what they like and dislike about the work, what type of qualifications are necessary for the job, and what type of personality succeeds in that position.  In addition to giving you career information, they may be able to put you in contact with other people who might hire you, and they can keep you in mind if a position opens up.

Classified ads.  The "Help Wanted" ads in newpapers and the internet list numerous jobs, and many people find work by responding to these ads.  But when using classified ads, keep the following in mind:

Follow all leads to find a job; do not rely solely on the classifieds.
Answers ads promptly, because openings may be filled quickly, even before the ads stops appearing in the paper.
Read the ads every day, particularly the Sunday edition, which usually includes the most listings.
Keep a record of all ads to which you have responded, including the specific skills, educational background, and personal qualifications required for the position.

Internet resources.  The internet includes many job junting websites with job listings.  Some job boards provide national listing of all kinds; others are local.  Some relate to a specific type of work; other are general.  To find good prospects, begin with an internet search using keywords related to the job you want.  Also look for the sites of related professional associations.

Also consider checking internet forums, also called message boards.  These are online discussion groups where anyone may post and read messages.  Use forums specific to your profession or to career-related topics to post questions or messages and to read about the job searches or career experiences of other people.

In online job databases, remember that job listings may be posted by field or discipline, so begin your search using keywords.  Many websites allow job seekers to post their resumes onliine for free.

Professional associations.  Many professions have associatons that offer employment information, including career planning, educational programs, job listings, and job placement.  To use these services, associations usually require that you be a member; information can be obtained directly from an association through the internet, by telephone, or by mail.

Labor unions.  Labor unions provide various employment services to members and potential members, including apprenticeship programs that teach a specific trade or skill.  Contact the appropriate labor union or state apprenticeship council for more information.

State employment service offices.  The State employment service, sometimes called the Job Service, operates in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.  Local offices, found nationwide, help job seekers to find jobs and help employers to find qualified workers at not cost to either.  To find the office nearest you, look in the State government telephone listings under "Job Service" or "Employment."

Federal Government.  Information on obtaining a position with the Federal Government is available from the U.S. Office of Personal Management (OPM) through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system.  This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724-1850 or TDD (978) 461-8404.  These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result.

Community agencies.  Many nonprofit organizations, including religious institutions and vocational rehabilitation agencies, offer counseling, career development, and job placement services, generally targeted to a particular group, such as women, youths, miniorities, ex-offenders, or older workers.

Private employment agencies and career consultants.  Private agencies can save you time and they will contact employers who otherwise might be difficult to locate.  But these agencies may charge for their services.  Most operate on a commission basis, charging a percentage of the first-year salary paid to a successful applicant.  You or the hiring company will pay the fee.  Find out the exact cost and who is responsible for paying associated fees before using the service.  When determining if the service is worth the cost, consider any guarantees that the agencey offers.

Internships.  Many people find jobs with business and organizations with whom they have interned or volunteered.  Look for internships and volunteer opportunities on job boards, career centers, and company and association websites, but also check community service organizations and volunteer opportunity databases.  Some internships and long-term volunteer positions come with stipends and all provide experience and the chance to meet employers and other good networking contacts.


Courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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