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Top 5 things you can do to improve your job search

9 August 2011

Dr. Laura Guerrero, an Associate Professor and researcher at the UTEP College of Business, shared these insights on job searching that she has found through her research.

When you are looking for a job, everyone has advice for you.  “You should search for eight hours every day.” “You should apply to everything.  You never know.”  “It’s who you know, not what you know.”  But how do you know whose advice you can trust?

The good news is that a substantial amount of research has been conducted in this field.  These are the most stable findings in job search studies.

1.  It pays off to be active.

Research shows that job seekers who are more active (engage in higher levels of job search intensity) are more likely to get job interviews and those with more interviews get more job offers to choose from.

2.  Be confident in your abilities to engage in a good job search.

Researchers consistently have found that job search self-efficacy (confidence in your ability to perform job-seeking activities well) predicts job search intensity and job search outcomes (job interviews and job offers).

3.  Know what job you want.

Researchers have also found that job search clarity (knowing what job you want, how you will get it and when you can expect to get it) predicts job search intensity and job outcomes.  Job search clarity is related to goal-setting in that you have to know specifically what you want and devise a plan on how to achieve it within a timeframe.

4.  Some connections are better than others.

Everyone has connections.  Some of our connections are strong such as those with close friends or family members.  Other connections are weak such as those with acquaintances and colleagues.  Intuitively, you may think that strong connections may be more beneficial in every way.  However, when it comes to job search, researchers have found that the opposite is true.  Weak connections are more likely to yield job referrals.  Researchers believe that the reason for this is that our strong connections are likely to have the same information that we have, whereas our weak connections know about jobs that we have not heard about.

5.  If English is your second language, improve your fluency.

My own research shows that even when immigrants are relatively fluent, small improvements lead to higher levels of job search clarity and job search self-efficacy.  These in turn lead to higher job search intensity and better job search outcomes (job interviews and job offers).

Dr. Laura Guerrero’s research interests include the job search of immigrants in the US and Canada.  This blog entry is based on her forthcoming publication titled ‘Antecedents of Underemployment: Job Search of Skilled Immigrants in Canada’, which is due to appear later this year in the journal Applied Psychology: An International Review.


Comments (1) -

Daniel United States
8/9/2011 4:12:49 PM #

On a slightly more specific level, I would suggest students seek out internships during their first year as a crucial step towards maximizing the probability of achieving their post-MBA career goals.

"Data suggest that one of the best ways
for job candidates to prove themselves is
to intern at a company in their targeted
industry of employment. In 2010, the
average number of interns employed per
company, worldwide, was 28. Of those
interns, an average of 20 applied for a fulltime
position, and of those who applied for
a full-time position, 12 received a full-time
job offer."

       -GMAC®: Corporate Recruiters Survey