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Time to Get Paid. Beginning the Search for A Job. Searching for Jobs. Most job search advice focuses on a very narrow part of becoming a professional: writing a job letter and résumé in order to get that first full-time job.

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time to get paid

Time to Get Paid

Beginning the Search for A Job

searching for jobs
Searching for Jobs
  • Most job search advice focuses on a very narrow part of becoming a professional:
    • writing a job letter and résumé in order to get that first full-time job.
  • Documents, and your job search, are only a small part of the overall process of employment searching.
    • Your preparation for the job search begins when you start plotting your career course,
    • when you select a major,
    • when you choose certain courses (but not others),
    • when you start working in high school.
    • Once you have a job, your development as a professional doesn’t end.
  • Most people will switch jobs five, six, maybe twelve times in their careers.
  • Most people will switch fields over the course of their professional life.
  • Keep in mind that you’re not a career professional, but a vibrant, educated, individual with specific life experiences.
developing yourself as a professional
Developing Yourself as a Professional
  • Much of your success in a job search depends on how you prepare yourself as a professional
    • This is a process that takes years and that begins well before you ever start hunting for full-time employment.
    • It formally begins with your selection of a major in college.
    • The part-time work experience that you hold in order to pay the bills (e.g., waiting tables, working fast food) does not signal your professional identity
    • Such work experience is important, because it provides evidence that you have worked, that you have held a job, that you were punctual and effective in your work, that you got along with coworkers and customers, etc.
  • What can you do to develop yourself as a professional?
    • Selecting a major is one choice (one you may have already made).
    • What kinds of courses and concentrations are you selecting?
    • Are you protecting your GPA by shying away from tougher courses, or are you seeking out challenging courses that might give you valuable learning?
    • Are you just getting the generic version of your major or are you developing specialized skills or pursuing concentrations that will give you a distinctive identity?
    • How are you distinctive from everybody else? What perspectives, skills, and knowledge do you have that makes you different, and hirable?

Work experience is important, but few are able to secure work experience relevant to their developing professional identity

  • You can gain valuable work experience in your field through other means.
    • Seek out courses which do workplace simulation or client-based projects that can give you "real experiences" in your courses.
    • You can also do volunteer work for an organization or non-profit that could give you valuable experience
  • How else are you developing your professional identity?
  • Do you belong to the professional organization in your field?
  • Joining the student chapter of a professional organizationcan be helpful in forming your professional identity.
  • Any activities where you develop your credentials as an effective organizer, planner, collaborator, money manager, etc.
researching job opportunities
Researching Job Opportunities
  • There are a wide range of job search directories, portals, and tools on the interne including many job search sites, career advice sites, and résumé-posting services.
  • Many of the available resources are pay sites: You have to pay a fee to receive "career counseling," to get your résumé custom-tailored, or to have your résumé posted to a job bulletin board.
  • You are just as well off sticking with the free sites and services, which provide reasonably good advice and helpful information and assistance.
  • You can use the general directories and meta-lists to track down jobs, but you should also try to find a more specific, tailored directory
  • Do not rely solely only on a Web-based job hunt.
  • Use a variety of sources and methods— including print resources, the professional group or organization(s) for your particular field of study, and personal networking
  • Consult with teachers, friends, and other professionals in your field to find out the best search strategies for your professional area.
  • Keep in mind that where and how you look for jobs varies from field to field

Most people start a job search by looking for listings

  • Don't limit your search to those tools!
    • The career placement office at your university
    • The professional organization for your field
    • People you know working in the field
    • Professors in your major.
    • Career fairs
  • Another approach to searching for jobs is through your university placement office.
    • Typically you register with placement and send that office your résumé
    • They distribute your profile to employers that specify an interest in credentials that match yours.
  • Contact companies directly.
    • You can generate a list of companies that you'd like to work for
    • See if they have job openings on their website, for which you might be qualified.
    • Cold call companies without openings or websites
    • Even if they don't list openings, you can send in your résumé and perhaps attract their interest that way.

Once you've found a job that interests you and that you plan to spend some time applying for, research the job.

    • Ideally, you want to collect information about the job, about the company, and about likely reviewers of your application.
    • The job description or advertisement itself is your first clue to how the company thinks about itself and about work.
    • What particular credentials the company is asking for?
      • Make sure that your job letter addresses those credentials directly!
  • What clues can you find about the company values?
    • Do they mostly value technical skill?
    • Is ability to work with others important?
    • Do they seem to want an innovator, a creative thinker?
  • Beyond the ad itself, you can also research the company by locating that company's profile
    • Think rhetorically: How do you research the individual reader who's perusing your application?
    • You probably can't research that person directly
    • You can make some intelligent guesses about that person.
      • Do you know professionals in this field?
      • If so, then you have a possible model of the person likely to be reading your application.
      • By knowing your professional field, you can make some intelligent guesses about the likely reader(s) of your application documents.
timing is everything
Timing is Everything
  • You don’t want to miss out on opportunities while on the job market
  • As time goes on, you’ll start to panic and begin to make mistakes. Don’t.
  • To give yourself ample opportunity designate 2-3 different job categories to search and apply for
    • Long-shot dream jobs
    • Difficult, but practical jobs
    • I need some more experience jobs
  • If you keep your eye out for these three types of jobs, you’ll be more likely to not miss a decent listing
  • Also, keep an eye on the posting date of the specific job to be sure it is still relevant
in class exercise
In-Class Exercise

Using your internet browser, do research on the following:

  • Find the website of a professional organization in your career field
  • See if that organization hosts a job listing (if not, search for another organization in your field that might)
  • Find the website of a free general job list (monster.com is an example, though I don’t think they are particularly successful)
  • Perform a search for a job you would be interested in applying to
  • Find the website of a company or organization you would like to work for
  • Search the website for a “careers” or “employment” tab that might list available jobs directly
  • Make list of friends, family members, or associates that might know someone in your career field.
  • What’s your relationship with them? Can you ask them for some contact information?
  • Do some research to find a company that you’d love to work for
  • Write down a phone number, fax number, or address that you might use to contact


    • Using the materials gained from the in-class exercise, find three job openings that you wish to apply for
    • Read PWO>Documents>Employment Documents> The Rhetoric of Employment Documents