Find a Job

You’ve probably heard that finding a job is a job in itself. You’ve got free time, but make sure you spend that time well. Find something you like, not just something easy to pay the bills. Below are some ideas on how to begin a job search:

Tell everyone you’re looking. One of the best ways to land your first job (or any job for that matter) is to be referred by someone who knows you. So tell your family, friends, and neighbors what interests you, what kind of job you’re seeking. And don’t be afraid to ask questions or for advice. If you know people who are in your career field of interest, ask them how they started out. Make sure to write down any names, numbers, or information that might help you in your search. And remember to make note of who gave you the referral. Be sure to follow up with everyone. Try to set up meetings with these people, even if you’re simply asking for information. Be honest, be yourself; the rest will come. And don’t forget to thank anyone who helps you, even for the smallest of favors. This is called networking. It is a powerful tool, and it works!

Check the local newspaper, especially Sundays. Your town’s newspaper can be an indispensable source for the local job market. Search the classified ads in the Sunday edition or find the newspaper’s Web site and do a search by job type if possible. Perusing the classifieds will give you a good sense of what’s out there. If you find something that catches your eye, do exactly what the ad instructs you to do, whether it be to call for an interview appointment or to send a rÈsumÈ and cover letter.

Use online resources. There are many useful sites that focus on career planning and job searching. To find them, learn to use the major Web search engines. Use words like “entry-level jobs,” “internships,” “volunteering,” “first job,” or a word or phrase (like engineering, veterinary school, or photography) indicating the kind of job for which you are searching. Here are a few starter sites:

You can also check the job board in the Career Center at L-S for possible job opportunities.

Be bold. Walk right in and ask. If you have a place you’d love to work, get your resume together, dress appropriately, and head in. As long as you look presentable, have a good resume on hand, and stop by during working hours, it can’t hurt to drop in at a few places of business to ask about jobs and opportunities there. Select a handful of places you think look interesting and go for it. Ask for the human resources department and be prepared to tell them some good reasons why you’re interested in working at this place. Before you go in, think about why you are interested in this company or organization. Why would you like to work there? What could you contribute? What sets this place apart from other similar companies? Before leaving the meeting, make sure to get the name and direct telephone number of the person with whom you spoke. And make sure to follow up within a week.

Keep in touch with your school’s guidance counselor. Graduating from high school can be an exhilarating and challenging time. For some people, deciding not to go right to college or to take time off is the right decision, but it is not to be taken lightly. Your school guidance counselor can be a wonderful resource, helping you uncover your skills, your strengths and weaknesses, your interests, your personality. Based on that, the counselor can offer many tools, books, CD-ROMs, or vocational software to help you get started searching for a job or honing skills for a future job or internship. Be sure to ask about school-to-work internships, plans for Career Day, and when the Military Services are visiting your school. The door is openótry walking through, even if you don’t quite know what’s on the other side.

Use libraries to research. Or use the Web. Or check the newspapers. Most public libraries have a variety of career reference materials, and over 500 are online. Many libraries are hooked up to a huge library system so that books or resources can be borrowed from another branch. Before you go, make a list of the kind of information or position you want to find. The more specific you can be, the better. Take a notebook and pen, and be prepared to spend time perusing books and materials and taking notes. Also, don’t hesitate to ask a research librarian for guidance to get you started with brochures, an online hookup, books, newspapers, or videos. Be sure to write down carefully the names, titles, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of all prospective employers and key people (and their titles) you want to contact.

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