The Job Search

The Job Search

Entering the job market can be a very challenging experience. Whether debuting as a first-time professional, considering a change in careers or a graduation is around the corner, searching for the right job and all the preparation to land an initial interview may be a daunting task for some. In today’s fast moving business climate, every advantage counts when applying for a job. 

This section is designed to provide information to take the job applicant through the job search process and provide an overview of the level of professionalism expected on the job.

Understanding Personal Career Goals

An applicant searching for a job could be asked about their interests or skill sets. Being able to provide definitive answers about your experience, interests and skills will help others know how to direct your interest for a new job. Vague answers like you would “do anything” or you “really like to work with people” are ineffective and show a lack of focus and understanding. This would not provide enough information for potential jobs and would lead the person being asked to feel there is lack of focus and understanding on the part of the applicant.

Taking time to determine possible career fields for consideration is an important exercise. College students can make an appointment with a counselor at the school’s Career Center. There are online assessments and other useful information there.

For people out of work or wanting to transition to a different field, there are One-Stop Career Centers in each Maryland county with counselors assisting job seekers in gaining clarity.

In addition, look at these resources:

  • What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Bolles, updated yearly. This is one of the best books written to help people determine what they want to do. It will likely be available in the library, but is worth owning a copy.
  • Visit the What Color is Your Parachute website, which has an extensive list of additional resources.
  •, also helps people explore career options.
  • Visit, which is a free browser for advanced career search that will match your education and skills along with allowing you to search for any job and receive all the skills, education/courses, specifications, and average salary.

Starting the Job Search and Where to Look

Fortunately, there are many excellent resources available. For college students, there is often a campus career center or office that can provide coaching and assistance. For students and young alumni, it is smart to make visiting that center the first stop. When you want to change jobs or are currently unemployed, each county in Maryland has a Workforce Center to help establish your job search.

In the past, a newspaper’s classified ads were the most common way to look for a job. Today, classified ads account for a smaller portion of what is available.

Consider consulting these places to determine which jobs are available in your area:

  • Job fairs. Watch for those dates (if you are in college, the career center can help) and look at the list of companies attending to find out what they do and how your skills can help them.
  • On the Internet. There are a variety of job boards covering different industries. Some are free and others will make you pay a fee. Free sites include Indeed, Glassdoor, Google and industry specific sites such as Crunchboard, Dice, Github and Stack Overflow.
  • Specific companies. Job openings are often listed directly on a company’s website rather than on the major job boards. It is worth taking a look to see what openings are available.
  • Through networking. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of open job positions are never advertised. These positions are found in the “hidden” job market by speaking with people, learning about an opening, and being referred or getting the contact information. The skill of networking is important throughout everyone’s career.
  • LinkedIn. Setting up a profile allows people to connect with contacts they know such as school alumni, family friends, and past employers. One of the best features is to enter the name of a business in “Companies.” People who work at a particular company and are connected to a person (1st or 2nd) will be identified. A job seeker would be able to contact those people to ask for an informational interview to find out about the company, the job opening, and what advice they might have. Depending on the strength of the relationship between the two people, the contact may also be willing to submit the job seeker’s resume.

Check out the resources below to help you with each step of your search: