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Land A Job In A Tough Economy. Janet Civitelli, Ph.D. Associate Director State of the Union. 2009 – College hiring for new grads is down 22% 2009 – February unemployment rate is 7.6% 2008 – Highest annual job loss (2.6M) since 1945

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Land A Job In A Tough Economy

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Land A Job In A Tough Economy

Janet Civitelli, Ph.D.

Associate Director

State of the Union

  • 2009 – College hiring for new grads is down 22%

  • 2009 – February unemployment rate is 7.6%

  • 2008 – Highest annual job loss (2.6M) since 1945

  • 2008 - Underemployment rate is estimated at 12.5%

How The Economy Affects Job Search

Houston, TX

Austin, TX

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

Raleigh, NC

Seattle, WA


Top 5 Labor Market Areas: 2008



Health care


“Green” employers

Industries That Are Hiring

Jobs Seeking Employees

  • Nursing

  • Sales and Business Development

  • Mechanical Engineering

  • Software Design and Development

  • Account Management / Customer Support

  • Accounting


More Jobs Seeking Employees

  • Administrative Assistant

  • Counseling and Social Work

  • Accounting & Finance Executive

  • Networking / System Admin

  • Store Management

  • Finance Staff


The Big Picture

  • Interests – What do you love to do?

  • Abilities – What are your strengths?

  • Values – What matters to you?

  • Personality – Who are you?

  • Labor Market – How is the economy?

What Does It Take To Get Job Offers?







Candidate #1: I can do anything. Please hire me.

Candidate #2: I’m a marketing major who completed internships at Disney and ABC. I’m seeking to use my communication and project management skills in a public relations role.


  • Work history of on campus or off campus employment

  • Internships

  • Volunteer work

  • Leadership positions with student organizations

  • Team leadership from class projects

Attitude: Optimism

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Colin Powell

  • Optimism is helpful but not required.

  • Optimism facilitates greater sense of control and well-being during a job search.

  • Optimism can be learned.

Attitude: Courage

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

Attitude: Persistence

“It is not that I’m so smart…it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Albert Einstein

Dr. Seuss’ first book was rejected 27 times by publishers; he went on to write 60+ books and sell 222 million copies

Attitude: Persistence


  • 22 hours per week is a good goal

  • More hours = diminishing marginal returns

  • Talk to everyone you meet about your specific goal


  • Pretend your job search is a semester-long school project

  • Use techniques from project management

  • I can predict who will land jobs by looking at a job seeker’s written plan

Research careers and companies – UCS pays for and CareerBeam subscriptions for students – log in at

Use The Internet:

Use The Internet:

  • Visit company Web sites

  • Get contact information

  • Online networking like listservs and

  • Personal job search agent at

More Internet Tips

Stay off line during the valuable time of the business day

Do not hide behind the computer screen

Focus on niche sites for specific careers, such as,, etc.


  • Human nature hasn’t changed

  • The more people you know who like you, the better your chance of being hired

  • You can make connections through work or non-work avenues

Homework: Have Conversations

Every week, describe your job goal and your skills to five people.

Example: How To Start Conversations

“I’m an English major graduating from UH and I want to find a position where I could use my writing and project management skills. I’d like your advice about which companies in the advertising industry might be hiring.”

Connect Through UCAN

UCAN = University Career Advisory Network

Professionals with experience, skills, and ADVICE

Available through

Graceful Networking

It is always a good strategy to ask for advice and information, which are free to give. Jobs are not free to give.

Practice Conversations

Career counselors are great at role playing networking conversations until you become comfortable doing them in real life.

Internship programs

Co-op programs

Campus recruiting

Employee referrals

Career / job fairs

Professional associations

Faculty contacts

Direct application to the company’s Web site

Student organizations

Job advertisements


Where Employers Find New Hires

Resume 101

Include a Career Summary that tells what you have to offer and what you want to do:


Mathematics major with strong analytic skills seeking entry level position in the actuarial field.

Resume 101 (cont.)

  • An ad, not a legal document

  • Tailor each resume and cover letter

  • Ask faculty, professional contacts, and career counselors to critique your resume

  • No spelling or formatting errors!

Resume Grade

A resume gets an A+ if it lands you interviews!

Interviewing Tips

  • Prepare!

  • Two column method

  • Practice with a career counselor

  • Practice with a voice recorder

Interviewing Tips: C A R

Challenge – Situation you faced

Action – What you did about it

Result – The outcome

Survival Strategies for a Long Job Search

  • Temp

  • Volunteer

  • Survival job

  • More education or specialized training

  • Self employment or consulting

  • Portfolio career

A Word of Warning!

Never pay thousands of dollars to anyone who says they can introduce you to potential employers

University Career Services

  • Individualized Career Counseling

  • Workshops

  • Campus Recruitment

  • JOBank

  • Extensive online resources at

Walk In Hours For University Career Services, Spring Semester

  • Monday and Tuesday, 9 am to 11 am, 2 pm to 6:30 pm

  • Wednesday and Thursday, 9 am to 11 am, 2 pm to 4 pm

  • Please come visit us!

Questions & Answers

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