Search the Job Market
Specific job requirements change from industry to industry, business to business, and hiring manager to hiring manager. Whether you're still planning your future career or getting ready to enter the job market, getting a well-rounded understanding of what employers are looking for in job candidates is always helpful. The more research you do in understanding job and employer requirements and preparing yourself to meet those needs, the better positioned you will be to land your dream job. Some steps you can take include:
- Read job postings - Get online and search to find what kinds of jobs are out there. Places to start include: NCWorks Online, Indeed, and LinkedIn Jobs.
- Research the occupation - Make sure you understand the occupation and its potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook and CareerOneStop have thorough descriptions of hundreds of occupations with data on wages and job growth.
- Research the industry that interests you - Whether you're preparing for an interview or just trying to better understand a career, learn what you can about the business's industry or occupations. By doing this, you will gain understanding of the opportunities and challenges in this field. Is it growing and successful? Are global or technological changes likely to affect future jobs in this industry? Search engines can help you find information. Look specifically for industry associations -- either national or state chapters.
- Find local employers - Reviewing job postings will likely help you start to identify employers. However, remember that not all companies will be hiring at the moment and not all will post jobs online. Another way to find employers in your area is to use CareerOneStop's Employer Locator tool. Or you can conduct a simple Google search for businesses in your town or city. Limiting your search to specific industries (such as: advertising agencies, machine shops, medical clinics) may be more helpful than just looking for occupations (social media specialists, welders, nurses).
- Research the company - Before ever contacting a potential employer, do your homework and learn what the company does. The more you know about their business, the more impressive employers will find you when you talk with them. Start by reading the company's website and social media pages. If the business is especially large, it may post an annual report on its corporate website. Conduct a Google News search to gather other information about it.
Ask for an informational interview - Talking directly with someone in the company
is the best way to learn about what a business does and what the employer looks for in job
candidates. Check with friends and other people that you or your family know to see if someone
could introduce you to a company employee. If no one within your network is familiar with the
business, call it directly. Explain that you would like to know more about the company and its
jobs. If you're patient and polite, employers will often find 20-30 minutes to meet and talk with a
student or someone who wants to get into their line of work. Make sure you come prepared with
questions, don't ask for a job, and be respectful and appreciative of the person's time. CareerOneStop has tips on
networking and conducting an informational interview.