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How to Conduct an Effective Job Search

Get organized.
The job search process begins with taking an inventory of interests, values, skills, goals, and objectives. Some self-assessment tools are available on the Internet at no cost. The key to a successful job search is to know what you want from a job and what you can offer to prospective employers. Develop an action plan to help you start on the right foot. You can find a suggested action plan for your job search in the Employment Counseling section of Dartmouth HR's Web site.

Research career fields and employers.
Once you have conducted your self-assessment, research the career fields that match your skills and goals. Target organizations that interest you. Many companies have their own Web sites where you can learn more about their values, culture, and available job opportunities.

Use multiple strategies.
The most effective job search strategy is to explore various avenues such as job boards, professional organizations, newspapers, placement agencies, and local/national career fairs. Consider working as a temp for a company. It may lead to a long-term opportunity.

Networking, which simply means talking to people, has been proven to be valuable in a job search. Create a contact list, starting off with family members, friends, acquaintances, and past employers. Let them know you are job searching. They may know of job openings that may not necessarily be advertised at all or refer you to people in your targeted industry or organization.

Keep a record.
Keep track of your job search progress. Maintain a detail record of the jobs you have applied to and include interviews, referrals, and follow-up actions. Consider using the Job Tracking Sheet found in the Employment Counseling section of Dartmouth HR's Web site.

Be patient and persistent.
Looking for a job is hard work and it takes time. If your current search strategy is ineffective, try a different approach. Do not give up.


Last Updated: 2/5/09