When Job Hunting, What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

By McBride, Pamela M. | Diversity Employers, February 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

When Job Hunting, What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

McBride, Pamela M., Diversity Employers

Knowledge is power---that's why you opted to go to college isn't it? Financial power, professional power, and power to get the job you want. But even though you'll have a degree and the job market is in your favor, there're still some things you need to know to get a job by commencement. Despite the presumed tediousness of self-exploration it can't be worse than being in a job you don't like. So buckle down and get to know yourself before you go any further. Although it may sound simplistic, conducting a thorough self-assessment now, will pay off later.

Take a close look at your values, interests, skills, and personality. Most school career centers administer assessment instruments like Career Values Card Sorts, the Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and others to help you determine where to start. Next, based upon what you learn or confirm about yourself, decide, commit to and write down at least one career goal and job objective, neither of which has to be written in stone. Mary Spencer, associate director of Placement at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, suggests using the career life plan assessment tool to help develop short and long-term goals and the steps you need to take to accomplish them.

Explore the world of work by experiencing it. "This can be accomplished through internships, doing volunteer work and getting involved in student chapters of professional organizations," notes Spencer. The results? You can learn first-hand whether the field is right for you and gain networking contacts. Furthermore, whether you decide to stick with or make adjustments in your career goals and job objectives, you will still have valuable work experience for your resume. Remember, it's as important to decide what you don't want to do, as it is to decide what you do want to do. But, it all begins with getting to know yourself.

Know Your Market

In addition to knowing what you want, it is critical to understand different aspects of the job market and how its conditions will affect your job search. Effective research will help you uncover what employers really want, and thus enable you to market yourself more effectively. Ultimately, you will be in the position to make satisfying career decisions, if you know what you're up against. For example, today's dynamic work force presents challenges as well as opportunities for the well informed. In general, current reports show an abundance of job openings and a low unemployment rate. Specifically for 2001 African-American college graduates, the market is excellent, yet extremely competitive.

"Employers are aggressively seeking to develop a diverse work force. Many are concerned about not being able to meet their hiring needs with enough qualified minority candidates, therefore multiple offers are possible," predicts Spencer. "But, remember graduates, no matter how good the job market is or how great the employer need, they are still being selective in who they hire," she warns. So, how will you know what specific employers are looking for? Again, research is the key. Employer Web sites have annual reports, press releases, job descriptions and salary ranges, which can give you insight on how to market yourself for that particular work place. Then, tailor your resume to demonstrate how well you fit their needs.

Jovon Smith, a June 2000 graduate of Santa Clara University, relocated to Los Angeles from Pennsylvania because her market research uncovered a multitude of job opportunities for marketing majors there. The tons of job listings on the Internet indicated which skills to highlight on her resume and how much employers were willing to pay for them. Based on those criteria and the cost of living in LA, (which she also learned about through market research) she applied only for those jobs that would compensate her fairly.

Efficiency Doesn't Happen by Accident

Just like professors write out syllabi and students outline research papers, job hunters must have a plan.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

When Job Hunting, What You Don't Know Can Hurt You


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?