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Get Suitable Job Leads

There are many effective ways to look for jobs.
We suggest you use them all.

How do you find available jobs?  You can get good leads from many different sources:

  • want-ads in the local newspaper
  • "Help Wanted" signs in store windows
  • periodic “job fairs” (usually advertised in the newspaper)
  • state- or federally-operated employment centers (sometimes called One Stop Career Centers)
  • word of mouth

In addition, the Internet provides thousands of  job-finding leads and resources, including:

  • private employment agencies (such as Kelly Services, Manpower)
  • "job banks" that list available jobs from a large number of different employers 
  • individual businesses that post their own job openings, including any forms needed for applying

We need to warn you that a lot of time can be wasted if you try to work with too many websites at once, especially if they ask you to formally register with them or fill out out personal information forms.  It's better to spend only 15 minutes or so at any site you first visit, to see how useful and "user friendly" they are, including:

  • whether any jobs are specifically listed for your local geographic area
  • how much information is provided, such as when they were posted, what the job duties include, and pay rate or salary range

From this quick review, you could select perhaps four to five sites for closer attention and regular monitoring. 

Job-Search Resources gives links to and short descriptions of a number of sites in the greater Monterey area that may be of interest.

Deciding Among Several Jobs 

Let’s say that you have been regularly reading the newspaper want-ads, visiting  the One Stop Career Center, checking your web sources, and through these or other means have located quite a few available jobs that you are potentially interested in.

The next step would be to pare these down to a smaller, more manageable list of jobs that you would like to seriously follow up on.   Three important considerations are that the job:

Pays a Reasonable Amount of Money 

It's true that if you’re just getting back in the job market and are applying for an entry-level job, you may have to settle for a lower salary or hourly rate than you have been used to (or are hoping for).  Nevertheless, you should make sure that the amount being offered is close to the "going rate" for similar jobs in the area.

If the other major features of a particular job (its location, work hours, and so forth) seem to be “right” for you and the starting pay is generally in line with that kind of job, you should probably go ahead and take the job if it is offered, rather than agonizing over whether this is the right decision.

Later on, if you have been doing an excellent job on an ongoing basis, you may be in a good position to ask for and get a raise, or be promoted to a better-paying job in the same company. 

And if you decide to work somewhere else at a later time, your record of successful (and fairly long-term) work with your current employer will be a big "plus" in your employment résumé.

Is Something You Enjoy Doing 

Perhaps “enjoy” is not be the best word to describe a job you might take at the beginning of your employment program.  However, in any case, the job should involve the kinds of work you are comfortable doing and are reasonably good at.

For example, if you like to work in situations where you meet and interact with other people, an office job that puts you alone all day at a computer or calculator would not fit very well with your personality or style.  On the other hand, a receptionist or information-desk job might be ideal.

As another example, if you don’t like being cooped up in a building but are more comfortable in outdoor settings, you should probably concentrate on looking for outdoor jobs, or for indoor jobs that require a good amount of walking or other active movement. 

Has Some Opportunity for Growth

Even entry-level jobs can have growth potential.  For example, store clerks who learn the detailed "ins and outs" of the operation and show that they are willing to work hard can often move up to team leader or some other supervisory position.  During the job interview, you may want to ask about opportunities for promotion or advancement if you do high-quality work on a regular basis.

An important caution:  Although you should carry out a thorough job search based on the above recommendations, don't spend an excessive amount of time looking and waiting for the "ideal job."  This search for perfection will probably slow things down and keep you from finding a job that is at least OK within a reasonable amount of time.

Exercise:  List all the ways you are presently looking for job leads.  How hard are you working on this?  What additional approaches could you use?

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