Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
  Home:  418 North Sunny Lane (ph. 309-734-5431, cell 309-333-5447)

Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

Description Syllabus 2012 Portfolios Course Resources Assignments Career Planning COMM Major Goals

Key Elements of the Job Search
by Lee McGaan, Monmouth College

  1. Knowing Who You Are

    1. Determine your interests, life-style needs, workplace preferences.  Focus on skills you want to use and workplace styles you will enjoy.

    2. Prioritize.  Do you value $, location, hours, benefits, kind of work, kind of associates?

    3. Develop a "Marketing Yourself" plan

    4. Remember, in the job search, "Getting a job" IS your job

    5. Hiring is business.  It's not personal. (So don't take it personnally)

  2. Finding Leads

    1. The Internet ?  (Try or WackerleTrack or CareerBuilder) but only 5% of jobs are found there.

    2. Networking !!!  (61% of jobs are found this way)

      1. Try friends (at home and recent MC grads), family, family friends, etc.

      2. Talk with internship supervisors about possibilities they may know of.  (And keep in touch!)

      3. Consider "Information interviews" and try for referrals.

      4. Check out the MC Alumni office, professors, etc.

      5. Keep in touch with your network.

    3. Placement Office (Wackerle Center)

    4. Publications !!

      1. General

      2. By profession

    5. Job Fairs - personal contact is always an advantage.

  3. Making Contact -



    2. Research potential employers (if possible)

      1. Check out the company web site.  Look for key words to use in your cover letter

      2. Use internet search site research (see my links)

      3. Think of smaller companies these days.

      4. Consider Government Jobs -- esp. for PR and Media Relations positions and staff assistants.  General Government Job Information (all levels).  Federal Jobs.

    3. Have someone (your advisor?) look over your application materials.  Triple check for errors

    4. Cover Letters are sales letters -- They are One Quick Shot to get attention and differentiate yourself from the pack!!!

      1. Individualize each one! - make references indicating how your skills match the job description and indicate you know the company and/or industry and are interested in it.  [ a 71% advantage ]

      2. Follow directions in application materials or ads carefully.

      3. Be positive and promote yourself without exaggerating or ego-tripping.

    5. Resumes - individualize as best you can

      1. The point of resume entries is to show what you can/will do.  Can the reader see that?  Will your resume show you can potentially create value exceeding the cost of employing you?

      2. Structure the resume around what each employer is looking for.  Use multiple skill lists to do that.

      3. Generally COMM majors should start with education and skills at the top, then relevant / work experience.

    6. References

      1. Don't list references on the web.  Do list them on print copies with all contact information (ph., email, address, title, firm).

      2. Pick three to five people who can speak authoritatively as to what you can do.  Several should have been in a position to rate your work.

      3. Talk to your references in advance and, if possible, let them know what to expect.  Give them a copy of your resume.

    7. NO ERRORS

    8. Follow-up!  Contrary to reports, few firms will keep your resume "on file" and contact you later as jobs open up.

  4. Interviews - Prepare!!!

    1. Research the employer and industry (for sure)!!

      1. Check out the company web site.  Look for key concepts, strategies, terminologyproducts, attitude.  Research the products, their features, sales, etc.  Look at available annual reports if you can.  Know the company size, revenues, product lines, number of employees, service regions/countries, mission statement, previous five years record, rank in industry, etc.

      2. Use internet job search sites for company research (see my links)

      3. Monitor industry news and track some recent stories events to talk about.


    2. Prep answers to likely questions

      1. Make eye contact!  Focus on one individual at a time in groups.

      2. Be friendly and show some humor (but not so much as to look unserious or too casual).  If they like you, they will often find a way to hire you.

      3. Use short stories (memorable) to make points about what you have done and can do for the employer.  Use as many concrete examples in your answers as you can.

      4. Keep things simple.  Don't talk too much.  Let them talk quite a bit if they seem to want to.

    3. Prepare questions you want to ask.  You may well be evaluated on that. 

      1. Ask questions that show you want to know how you can contribute.

      2. Beware of looking too self-centered.

      3. Do try to find out if this is a place you will be comfortable.

    4. Be sure you know the arrangements, how expenses are paid, etc.  Get an itinerary and ask if you need to bring anything or prepare anything special.

    5. Focus on impressions you want to make and information you want remembered  [ sound bites ].

      1. Look conservative (buy an interview suit),  professional (for the type of job), well groomed, and on-time.

      2. Bring a briefcase. Have extra resumes on hand.

    6. Attitude!!!  Positive, motivated, thoughtful, confident.

    7. REMEMBER:  They can only hire you if the value you add to the organization is greater than the cost of your salary, benefits, training, etcYour task is to prove you are at least that valuable.

    8. Thank you notes

      1. Always send them to all those you met after an interview within a day of the interview.  (Collect business cards for this purpose and later contact.)

      2. Use them to reinforce those things that make you most attractive to the employer.

      3. Make reference to specifics of the interview and interviewer.  It shouldn't look canned.

      4. Handwritten is most personal but legible is most important.  Email is becoming OK.

    9. If you don't hear back in a reasonable time, touch base with the firm.

  5. Job Offers

    1. What to Consider - Understand what the offer is

      1. Compensation

        1. salary and other cash, stock participation

        2. insurance: health care, dental, life, disability

        3. retirement:  type of plan, vestment

        4. perks:  cars, day care, memberships, subscriptions, etc.

      2. Understand all the duties you will be expected to perform

      3. Lifestyle - Find out during the interview

      4. If you are in a new city, check out the cost of living (esp. housing)

      5. Chat about the offer will people you trust and who know you.

    2. What to ask for when you receive a job offer

      1. Determine which features above are most important to you and consider the WHOLE offer not just money.

      2. Check the Salary Calculator under Job Search Tools at or some similar service for salary range ideas. (by job title and city)

      3. On salary questions, at first  say you are open and see if the company will name a figure or range. 

        1. You can ask for a salary range. 

        2. After you have received a job offer, if you want to negotiate, try saying "I have some hesitation over 'X' part of your offer."  then wait to see what they say and go from there.

        3. Be aware companies and negotiators vary in their ability to be flexible.  Less so now than in past years.  Use your judgment as to how much negotiating you can do.

        4. For questions about your salary "requirements," be realistic (research again) and state a range.  Appear flexible.  Salary history is not likely an issue for you, but don't state it unless asked.

    3. Polite Refusals --

      1. Be positive about the offer and appreciative. 

      2. Be honest and indicate you are declining because of a better opportunity for you or to seek a better fit for your talents.

      3. Always keep the door open for future relationships.

  6. Still Stuck After Graduation?

    1. Try another internship!

    2. Ask for a "free" tryout

    3. Go part-time or temp at places where you can build skills or get an inside track on a full-time job

last updated 10/26/2010