Conducting an Effective Job Search

If you're gearing up to start a job search to help you land a job after graduation, or if you're thinking of switching jobs, it's time to take a close look at the most effective job search engines and employment services available. As you dive into job search mode, make sure your resume and online portfolio or career website are up to date. And if you need some help deciding where to begin, career counseling -- either through your high school, college or university, or professional career coach -- may be a good resource to start with. Once you know which career path you are headed down and have at least a resume at your fingertips, you're ready to start looking for the perfect job for you.

Job Search Engines

Online job search engines are a great place to search for jobs in your geographical location, or in areas you would consider relocating to.

Some popular job search engines include:


Some of these sites focus on a set of specific industries, while others aggregate job listings from multiple sources across the web. Be sure to research the appropriate search terms for your chosen field and all jobs within that field that you would consider.

Some job search sites also let you post your resume online, allowing potential employers to contact you if you meet the qualifications they need for an open position. You should never have to pay to post your resume online, so beware of any sites asking for payment information. They are scams. Also beware of job posting scams. Often these promise too-good-to-be-true sounding salaries for work-at-home positions or offer few details about the employer, the position, or the necessary qualifications. They entice job hunters with promises of high salaries, rapid advancement, potential partnership, and other goodies and ask the job seeker to call a hotline for more information. These job posts are rarely legitimate.

Social Networking

When searching for a job, it doesn't pay to be shy or quiet. Now is the time to reach out to your professional, academic, and social networks and let them know that you are looking for a job. Take advantage of social and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter:

  • Find employers you are interested in on social networking sites and follow them to keep an eye on job openings or signs that they may be hiring soon.
  • Be sure to tailor your privacy settings so that personal posts and professional posts stay separate. Better yet, simply avoid posting anything online that you would not want a potential or current employer to see.
  • Put the word out on social networking sites with links to your online resume or portfolio.
  • Join professional discussion groups on LinkedIn and comment on industry blogs to start building a professional networking community.

Career Placement Services

If your own job search and networking efforts fail to turn up a job you want in a reasonable amount of time, you may want to seek the help of a job placement service. Career placement companies (sometimes called executive search or head hunters) help match employers with staff who have specific skills, experience, or capabilities. A career placement service can be very helpful and will almost always result in some form of employment for those who enlist the help of a placement company, but it's important to keep in mind some overall expectations:

  • Never pay a career placement service to find you a job. In most cases these companies are paid by employers to do the recruiting for them, which takes a huge burden off of the employer's human resources department. Job seekers should not have to pay these agencies. If you encounter a company that asks for payment, it's likely a scam.
  • While the placement service is very likely to find you a job, it may take some time (weeks or sometimes months) for the right position to come through. Be prepared to be patient, just as you would be if you were searching on your own.
  • The first job you are offered may not be the dream job you've imagined. You may choose to keep looking, or it may be a good stepping stone to another, more ideal, position. In some cases they first job you are offered will be a temporary position that may (or may not) lead to a permanent job. Keep some flexibility in mind, but know what you are willing to accept and what your thresholds are for pay, type of office environment, opportunities for advancement, etc.
  • Be prepared to be interviewed by a representative from the agency, and to answer questionnaires and possibly take some skills tests. The interview is designed to help the agency understand exactly what you are looking for. It is also a good opportunity to practice your interview skills before going into job interviews. Skills tests and questionnaires are used by the agency to help assess your skill level in certain areas and your aptitude for specific jobs.

Job search engines, social networking, and career placement services are all great ways to help you get on the path to finding the perfect job. But keep in mind that if there is a specific company or organization that you have dreamed of working for, it never hurts to reach out to them directly. While many human resources departments filter job inquiries in one way or another, if you can find a contact at the company, stay in touch and be persistent. Patience and persistence generally pay off, in time, when looking for the perfect job.

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Career Advice

  • If you have served (or are currently serving) in the Army, chances are your military experience has given you many skills that can be applied to careers in the field of criminal justice. Criminal justice professionals are highly sought after and career opportunities in this field continue to be relatively strong in many markets. For those with military experience, the field of criminal justice can be an exciting and rewarding path to a fulfilling civilian career. And, those seeking degrees in criminal justice can often get course credit for previous military experience.

  • Did you know that any company that has a Federal contract worth $100,000 or more have agreed to programs and hiring practices that not only encourage veterans to apply for jobs, they actually give vets an advantage in the hiring process?

  • If you're thinking about which career path is the best road for you, seeking the advice of a career counselor may help you narrow down your options -- or even point you in a good starting direction.

  • If you're gearing up to start a job search to help you land a job after graduation, or if you're thinking of switching jobs, it's time to take a close look at the most effective job search engines and employment services available. As you dive into job search mode, make sure your resume and online portfolio or career website are up to date.

  • The Army has more jobs—in a variety of areas—than you would ever expect: over 150 jobs for Soldiers on Active Duty, and 120 jobs in the Army Reserve. From working with computers to assisting physicians to fixing helicopters, there's an Army job right for you.

    If you want more info about jobs than what is below, you can look up or scan through the full list of US Army Active Duty and Reserve MOSs/jobs on our Army Jobs page.

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  • If you're graduating from college soon or have been in the job market for awhile, chances are you will soon embark on a job search in your chosen field. While searching for the perfect job can be time consuming, it doesn't have to be a stressful endeavor. Arming yourself with the right tools for your job search can help keep stress at bay as you seek out a new position that will set you on the right career path.