Career Tip of the Month

Where to Find Job Openings

One of the underemphasized aspects of job searching is where to look for job openings. In a good economy, when there are many job openings, graduates do not have to look any farther than their college's job fair. But in a tough economy, where there are more applicants than there are positions, graduates need to expand their search beyond the borders of their career center to find openings.

Most people believe that all companies advertise openings and search for candidates in the same way. Much of the advice we hear on the news may be appropriate for business students or those entering a corporate world but not necessarily for students in other majors. To successfully find a job in your particular major, you need to understand how jobs are advertised? what I call the "hiring culture" of that industry or career.

When I speak to dental assisting students who are about to graduate, I ask them to take a moment and think about how they are going to find job openings in their field. In other words, where do employers in their career field advertise jobs? Dentists, for example (at least in my part of the country), primarily advertise their job openings by placing an ad in the newspaper or contacting the career services office. Unlike other industries (e.g., engineering firms and IT companies), dentists usually do not

list their openings on Monster (although a few large clinics may) and they generally don't attend job fairs. Why? Because the majority of dental offices are small, privately owned practices and the cost of attending a job fair would be prohibitive. So if you are a dental assisting or hygiene graduate and you spend all of your time looking for jobs online at Career-Builder or Monster, you would be missing the majority of the job announcements in your hometown.

The key is to know the "hiring culture" of your industry. Some industries, like the federal government, publicly funded institutions, community colleges, and state-funded colleges and universities, need to be very transparent in their hiring practices and advertise all their openings in the paper or on their web sites. They rarely advertise positions via social media. However, for other positions, such as those in business, marketing, or sales, word-of-mouth advertising is preferred. The HVAC, automotive, or restaurant industry may simply put a "help wanted" sign in front of their business. Many of these companies do not have the funds to advertise in the newspaper, or are not equipped to handle the volume of calls they may receive in response to an advertisement. They prefer to have applicants apply in person and fill out an application - that's how it's done in their industry. Some companies, like call centers, often hire large numbers of employees at a time. Because their turnover is relatively high, they use a different method of sourcing employees by relying recruiters to scour the countryside for applicants. One company that frequently recruits at my college, a nationwide insurance company specializing in handling retirement benefits for customers, advertises positions for their call center in the paper, attends job fairs, and recruits on college campuses. Recruiters for companies like this one also use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to connect with possible candidates.

Here are some additional places to look for job openings:

1. Public employment services such as your One-Stop Career Center, your local chamber of commerce, and community job posting sites.

2. Internet job boards, job search engines, company websites, and websites for specific industries or occupations (niche job boards).

3. College or university career offices and alumni organizations.

4. Women's centers and community-based career services for people who belong to a particular "special populations" category, such as single parents, displaced homemakers, or members of an underrepresented

group based on gender or ethnicity.

5. Trade magazines and professional organizations.

6. Employer directories such as Standard and Poor's Register of Public Companies, Hoover's online,, or geographically based directories like the Job Bank series.

7. Job or career fairs in your local or regional geographic area.

8. Executive recruiters or employment agencies (also called staffing or personnel agencies). When using these agencies, find out whether they charge you, or the employer, a fee for their services.

As a new graduate, you will have more success finding openings in your field if you know where and how to look for them.

From: Working in Your Major: How to Find a Job When You Graduate by Mary E. Ghilani