Just when the job market seems to be loosening a bit, job
seekers have never acted more discouraged, say Barbara and Bob
Siegel, authors of a new book on finding a job.
People "are realizing how much more difficult it is to get a
job," said Bob Siegel. "In the last few years they've run into less
success, and they have to be more determined and more persistent."
About halfway through last year, employment analysts started
seeing an increase in the monthly job count for the metropolitan
area, said Russell Signorino, an analyst here.
By December, the area had 1.1 percent more jobs than the
previous December, and January will probably show some increases as
More jobs may be coming open, but the market has changed
forever, say the Siegels, of Creve Coeur.
Their book, "5 Secrets to Finding a Job," is published by
Impact Publications of Virginia.
Bob Siegel, 49, heads the St. Louis office of Bernard Haldane
Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firms. Barbara
Siegel, 50, has her own consulting business, the Career Consulting
Both have had experience in changing jobs. He began as an
elementary school counselor, joined a company that gave training
seminars for large corporations, then moved into employment
counseling. She worked as a marketing rep for Haldane and other
career-development companies, before writing the book and quitting
her job in the Washington University alumni office.
"We see more openings," Bob Siegel said. "But I don't think it
will ever get to the point that you can just answer ads in the
They attribute part of the change to the type of employers
creating new jobs. While large companies have been "downsizing,"
smaller companies are hiring.
Such employers are looking for enthusiasm as well as skills,
says Barbara Siegel. If they find someone with the right attitude,
employers may be flexible on credentials.
And employers are taking longer to fill positions, Bob Siegel
says. They're requiring more interviews and more meetings before
Nearly eight in 10 job openings are not advertised, the Siegels
say. Successful job hunters will sidestep the traditional methods
of only going after posted jobs, or blanketing the area with
A key approach is the informational interview. The Siegels
encourage job seekers to ask decision makers in a field or company
to meet with them briefly to talk about duties, skills and hiring
outlook. Getting information is the first purpose of the interview,
and job seekers usually feel freer to ask questions about salary,
for instance, or the impression they make. …