The ABC's of 'Hire' Learning: Effective Job Search Strategies. (2001 Career Planning & Job Search Guide)

Article excerpt

Recently published articles have left collegians unsure of how to handle his unpredictable job market. Some discuss extraordinary job offers, like Grammy Awards tickets, $500-per-night hotel suites, signing bonuses and six-figure salaries. Others tell how some graduates have been affected by a slumping market, including a group who were recruited, hired and fired, given three months severance pay and use of the company's outplacement services, all before they even put in a day's work. But the effects of a new presidential administration and a downward spiraling economy are finally beginning to stabilize, thereby creating a more positive outlook for job hunters. "The job market will be better in the next two to three years than it has been in the past two to three years. There were some employers who were hiring a small, select group for outrageous salaries and the impact was that it scared other employers away from hiring college grads," says Steven Rothberg, president and founder of "H owever, they didn't realize that the vast majority of graduates were still willing to take the same salaries as usual. Fortunately, many of those companies now have hiring freezes or no longer exist." So, what's in store for African-American collegians who are planning to begin their professional lives upon graduation? Notwithstanding with the positive outlook for employment possibilities, the job market may still be somewhat unpredictable. But never fear scholars, you can conduct an effective job search campaign, as long as you become well-versed in the ABC's of 'hire' learning.

Assessment Brings Clear Direction

Figuring Out the right job objective requires looking both ways (inward and outward) before you cross over from the academic world into the professional one. Selfassessment (looking inward) and labor market research (looking outward) are the two most important steps of making this transition, and should therefore not be done haphazardly. "Too many job seekers do not take the time to properly assess their competencies, interests and values. Career Services Offices are staffed with career counselors who are trained to help job seekers better understand the kinds of positions that would best suit them," says Rothberg. Self-assessment instruments like the Strong Interest Inventory, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Business Careers Interest Inventory (BCII) can help you narrow down which careers and industries you might want to explore more fully.

Equally important, labor market research helps you see where these newly identified interests, skills and values fit into the professional world. For example, if you love working with numbers and with people, being an accountant who crunches numbers behind a desk all day will certainly crush your zest for work. By researching the market, you might find more interesting accounting careers such as teaching budgeting courses, training accounting assistants, or being a college financial aid officer. Or, you might find that you'd be a better match for the banking or financial services industry, rather than for the accounting industry. For a closer look at career and industry reports, visit or the occupational outlook handbook at

Establish Feasible Goals

Simply put, you have to know where you are going, in order to plan how you'll get there. Collegiate job hunters should take full advantage of the career development center and all its associated activities to find out what the job search process will entail. Career counselors can help make sense of the process, assist with establishing short and longterms goals, and help develop a strategic plan. Then, the time management and planning strategies you have already developed in juggling your current load of academics, extra-curricular activities, and work will come in handy. "The way that students prepare for exams or presentations is the same way that they should look at the planning process for job search success," says Terri Moore, assistant director for Career Outreach Services at the University of Virginia. …