Job hunting for dummies

Unemployed? Check. Looking for a job? Check.

With the economy in its current state, it can be difficult to know what the changing job market is looking for, especially when you are a college student looking for a job to fit your already tight schedule.

Craigslist, an online city-based classified ad listing, is a good source for job-hunters, offering postings by both employers and those seeking employment. Although Craigslist is a decent source of flexible job opportunities, the number-one resource for University students in need of some more cash flow is the Career Center.

Offering career counseling, help with cover letters and resumes, interviewing and networking assistance, and a list of available jobs and internships, the Career Center covers all the bases for college students in need of employment advice. The UO JobLink acts as a liaison between local employers and University students by directly connecting job opportunities to specific students.

“This summer we did something a little different,” said Rick Guerra, associate director at the Career Center. “We started doing community outreach. We sent someone from our office to local businesses. A lot of jobs are word-of-mouth, and we’re trying to open that up to our students.”

By going directly to the business, the staff at the Career Center could hear what employers want and what students are up against in getting a job.

Kirsten Cooper, a graduate student who works as an office coordinator and part of the development and job outreach project, had some advice after speaking directly with business owners and managers of businesses within walking distance of campus.

“I found that a lot of places were hiring, but they weren’t necessarily advertising because they were being bombarded with resumes,” she said. Although some businesses were receiving 10 to 15 applications a day, she was optimistic about what this meant for University students. “I found it really hopeful. Consistently businesses were preparing for fall. They have positions that need to be filled.”

Cooper found that if anything is changing, it is the number of references that employers are asking for and the need for more follow-through by employment-seeking students. “It’s not just about people turning in an application anymore,” she said. “(They want) more reference, going above and beyond; and it’s because of the wealth of applications they’re getting.”

Michael Gann, the dinner manager at the Glenwood, is responsible for the hiring during his hours. Having worked at the popular campus-area restaurant for more than 18 years, Gann knows what to look for when hiring student workers.

“Consistency is really, really important,” he said. “Also perseverance, especially with the way the job market is now. I don’t mind one bit when people check in every week or two. I have a big stack of applications this high.” He held his hand a foot above the table. “It keeps their application on top of the pile.”

Gann also looks for people who are well-dressed and make an immediate impact. “A lot of it is that initial first impression. If you go out looking for a job, you should dress as you go to church,” he said.

He also places high value on the approachability of the potential employee, because the job requires talking to and interacting with complete strangers. “I hire a lot on gut instinct, how comfortable I feel talking to them after five minutes,” Gann said. “You can tell when someone is comfortable with themselves.”

Although being presentable and having good interviewing skills are important, it is often finding a job opening that can be the biggest hurdle. Guerra offers the same advice to students that he offers to anyone looking for a job. “Use a variety of resources. There’s talking to people, networking, face-to-face encounters, not just going online.”

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