ERIC Identifier: ED429189
Publication Date: 1999-00-00
Author: Wagner, Judith O.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education Columbus OH.

Job Search Methods for the 21st Century. ERIC Digest No. 207.

During the past several years, the job hunt has changed. The World Wide Web has become an important source for job information and career development (Brown 1998; Wagner 1996, 1998, 1999). This Digest combines updates of LOCATING JOB INFORMATION. ERIC DIGEST NO. 85 (Wagner 1989) and JOB SEARCH METHODS. ERIC DIGEST NO. 121 (Wagner 1992).


The first step in looking for a job is to decide what type of a job you are looking for. Determine what skills you have that are marketable and match them with available jobs. A variety of methods for determining what job is best for you are described by Athanasou and Hoskiug (1998), Carney and Wells (1994), and Martin (1998). Job leads can be found through employment agencies, career centers, the public library, the newspaper, on the Internet, and through networking. It may be necessary to use more than one method when looking for a job ("Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998).

Many public libraries, universities and colleges, and high schools have job/career/occupational centers that include a variety of books and materials related to the job search. Information about choosing the right career, finding information about available jobs, applying for jobs (application, resumes, and cover letters), and interviewing will be available at these centers. Although titles may vary, these agencies will all have materials similar to those listed here. In addition, they may have people who can assist you either in workshops or on a one-to-one basis.

State-sponsored, one-stop career centers provide the resources necessary to succeed in the 21st century workplace. They offer services such as unemployment benefit application, state employment agency registration, free job search assistance, and training program information (Mariani 1997). A list of one-stop centers is available on the World Wide Web at <>.

To locate companies who offer positions you want, the following websites offer electronic editions of company information resources that you will also find in public libraries:

HOOVER'S <> Includes features such as company information, stock quotes, investor resources, top officers, and a career center.

THOMAS REGISTER OF AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS <www.thomas> Contains information about thousands of companies.

"85% of all job openings are not advertised, posted, or otherwise made available to the general public" (J. Michael Farr) ("Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998). Networking and personal contacts are very important when looking for a job. Companies would prefer to hire someone who is known or recommended to them rather than a stranger. Personal contacts also benefit the job seeker who is more apt to get an interview when referred by a colleague of the employer (Wagner 1992). In addition to networking, you can find information on job openings through want ads in the newspaper, employment agencies, and the Internet.


Resumes offer information about you that a typical application form will not. In addition to information such as your name, address, and phone number, a resume should include a job goals statement; your educational history; work history including student employment, volunteer experiences, and military service; and any memberships that relate to your job objective. The purpose of a resume is to sell yourself to a potential employer--make it positive and short because "the average employer will spend 7-10 seconds reading your resume" ("Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998).

In today's job market, an online resume is essential. Many job websites provide assistance in preparing electronic resumes and will post them at no cost (Wagner 1999). One source for information about submitting an electronic resume is America's Talent Bank <>.


Once you have found a job opening that sounds promising, you must apply for it by filling out an application form or sending your resume with a cover letter. A cover letter is an introduction to the person who will hire you. You should have a strong opening statement that gives your strengths. Look at the interview as a sales job; a typical employer will make a hiring decision within the first 7 minutes of the interview. Helpful steps for the interview include the following (Tips on Finding and Getting a Job" 1998):


-anticipate questions

-organize answers

--Make a good first impression

-dress conservatively but one step up from what is usually worn on the job

-be well-groomed

-be on time or even early

-use a firm handshake

--Be positive

-do not discuss negative feelings

--Ask questions

--Convey information about yourself that you want the employer to know

--Close the deal

-find out next steps in the process

--After the interview, send a thank-you letter

-restate why you would be good for the job

-mention your strongest skills

-mention what you liked about the company

-call (but only once) to find out about the status of the hiring process


The resources listed here offer information related to the job search and include sample resumes, cover letters, and interview tips as well as information about specific jobs.

AMERICA'S TOP MILITARY CAREERS. Indianapolis, IN: JIST Works, nd. Includes basic information on the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard and the jobs that are offered in the services. Includes job descriptions, training needed and available, work environment, civilian counterparts, and opportunities in the Armed Forces.

Athanasou, J. A., and Hoskiug, K. USING A CAREER INTEREST CARD SORT FOR VOCATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND COUNSELLING. 1998. (ED 419 960) Describes a vocational exploration procedure to be used with adults.

Bloch, D.P. HOW TO HAVE A WINNING JOB INTERVIEW. 3D ED. Lincolnwood, IL: VGM Career Horizons, 1998. Discusses the purpose of an interview, getting and preparing for an interview, what to expect, and good questions and answers.

Carney, C. G., and Wells, C. F. DISCOVER THE CAREER WITHIN YOU. 4TH ED. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks-Cole, 1994. (ED 377 337). Provides a series of basic steps for effective career planning.

Farr, J. M. AMERICA'S FASTEST GROWING JOBS and AMERICA'S TOP JOBS FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE. Indianapolis: JIST Works Inc. 1999. These books include descriptions of the fastest growing jobs in the United States and jobs that do not require a four-year college degree, information on career planning and job search techniques, important trends in the labor market, details on 500 major occupations, and reviews of career-related materials.

Farr, J. M., and Ludden, L. L. THE O*NET DICTIONARY OF OCCUPATIONAL TITLES. Indianapolis, IN: JIST Works, Inc. 1998. <> Includes information on hundreds of jobs such as a description, salary, necessary education, necessary skills, and job characteristics.

Fisher, H. S. AMERICAN SALARIES AND WAGES SURVEY. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1997. Looks at over 4,000 occupations and their salaries and employee statistics. Compares salaries for the same job in different parts of the country.

FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO WORK: 150 GREAT TECH PREP CAREERS. Chicago, IL: Ferguson Publishing Company, 1998. Includes detailed information about specific jobs including education level, salary, work environment, and requirements.

Griffith, S. TEACHING ENGLISH ABROAD. 3D ED. Princeton, NJ: Peterson's Guides, Inc., 1997. (ED 419 251). Offers advice on how to find English teaching jobs and presents country-by-country look at where to find the best opportunities.

Hamilton, L., and Tragert, R. 100 BEST NONPROFITS TO WORK FOR. New York: Macmillan, 1998. Includes nonprofit agencies that have a minimum of 100 employees, an operating budget of at least $1 million, are at least 3 years old, and have a record of following through with their stated purpose. Includes a description of the organization, the best way to start with them, and what to expect.

Hammer, H., ed. ARCO CIVIL SERVICE HANDBOOK. New York: Macmillan, 1996. Includes information on working for the federal government, the U.S. Postal Service, and state and municipal government agencies such as job announcements, examination announcements, jobs descriptions, requirements, and advancement opportunities.

Harris-Bowlsbey, J.; Dickel, M. R.; and Sampson, Jr., J.P. THE INTERNET: A TOOL FOR CAREER PLANNING. Columbus, OH: National Career Development Association, 1998. Includes websites for assessment, databases, career information, and communication as well as information on potential problems and ethical concerns, models of use, guidelines for the use of the Internet in career services, and standards for the ethical practice o f Web counseling.

THE JOBBANK SERIES. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corp. Offers information on finding jobs in 32 major cities. Includes information about local industries, primary employers, regional professional associations, and the job outlook. Discusses the basics of job winning, resumes and cover letters, and is arranged by occupation.

Maki, K. E., and Savage, K. M., eds. PROFESSIONAL CAREERS SOURCEBOOK. A GALE CAREER INFORMATION GUIDE and VOCATIONAL CAREERS SOURCEBOOK. A GALE CAREER INFORMATION GUIDE. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1997. Both guides include job descriptions, salary information, employment outlook. Lists career guides; professional associations; certification agencies; test guides; educational directories; awards, scholarships, grants, and fellowships; periodicals; and conferences and meetings.

Martin, M. JOB SOUP FOR WOMEN: 80 JOB BITES YOU CAN SINK YOUR TEETH INTO. Circleville, OH: Melissa Martin, 1998. (ED 419 144). Provides job search tips and teaches women about their personal job power.

OPPORTUNITIES IN...SERIES. Lincolnwood, IL: VGM Career Horizons. Volumes cover different occupations, including a job description, related careers, professional associations, opportunities, and training and education programs.

RESUMES FOR... PROFESSIONAL RESUME SERIES. Lincolnwood, IL: VGM Career Horizons, 1993. Provides resume and cover letter writing tips for a variety of occupations and situations such as midcareer change, high school graduates, sales occupations, engineers, reentry workers, and business management.


Brown, B. L. THE WEB: CREATING AND CHANGING JOBS. TRENDS AND ISSUES ALERT. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1998. <> (ED 417 294)

Mariani, M. "One-Stop Career Centers: All in One Place and Everyplace." OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK QUARTERLY 41, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 2-15.

Rosenthal, M. "Making Short Work of the Job Search." LIBRARY JOURNAL (September 1, 1997): 145-148.

"Tips on Finding and Getting a Job." ICPAC INFORMATION SERIES. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Career and Postsecondary Advancement Center, 1998. (ED 419 080)

Wagner, J.O. LOCATING JOB INFORMATION. ERIC DIGEST NO. 85. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1989. (ED 308 398)

Wagner, J.O. JOB SEARCH METHODS. ERIC DIGEST NO. 121. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1992. (ED 346 318)

Wagner, J.O. WIRED: THE ELECTRONIC JOB SEARCH. ERIC DIGEST NO. 172. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1996. <> (ED 399 411)

Wagner, J.O. CAREER PLANNING ON THE INTERNET. TRENDS AND ISSUES ALERT NO. 3. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, 1999. <>

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