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Keri Aaver: What does it really take to achieve employment?

Entrepreneur's Corner

Posted: March 21, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 20, 2012 7:01 p.m.

As a career adviser, I often work with frustrated job-seekers who “can’t seem to get a job no matter how much time and effort they put into their job searches.”

The first step I take in trying to help them is to find out what they’ve actually been doing to find a job. The biggest issue I see over and over again is that even the most diligent job seekers spend most of their time looking for employment on the Internet. Frequently, 80 percent or more of their time is being spent searching the Internet for job openings and applying online for jobs.

Unfortunately, this only leaves 20 percent of their time to spend on targeting employers and networking. If you are using this approach, you may be sabotaging your efforts.

Want to get a job in the least amount of time possible? These are the two main things you should do. First, you need to target employers. Second, you need to network your way to the person doing the hiring.


Targeting employers

In the current economy, employers are inundated with resumes from hundreds of applicants for each job they post. Thus, as a job seeker, one of the best ways to find a job is by targeting the employer.

In order to do this, you need to be able to answer the following questions: What kind of job do you want? And what types of companies have those jobs?

You also need to be clear on how far you are realistically willing or able to commute for work, and what skills and experience you have to offer the employer. Once you have those answers, you will be ready to begin an effective job search.

Targeting an employer means choosing specific employers that have the types of jobs you want and focusing on getting employment with their companies.

Start by researching companies that have the types of jobs you are looking for. Check out their websites for more information about them. Search online to find out if they are in the news, maybe that company is going through a re-organization, or were just bought by another company. Learn all that you can about the employer.

Doing this ensures that your cover letter and resume will not only reflect your qualifications for the position, but show that you have an actual interest in working with that specific employer.

Finding a list of employers to target can be done by using a simple internet search such as “dentist Valencia CA.” You could also just pick up the local Yellow Pages at your local library and look under the correct employer categories.

Your next step in an effective job search is to figure out how to contact the actual person who is doing the hiring.



Professional networking is not asking someone to help you get a job.

Instead, professional networking for employment is connecting with someone to find out about the company he or she works for, or to inquire if he or she knows someone who works for the company you are targeting. Your objective is to somehow make a firsthand or secondhand connection to the person doing the hiring for the position you want.

Nearly everyone you know may be part of your primary network: friends, family members, co-workers, people you know from the gym or church, vendors that provide you services, classmates and neighbors.

Your network also includes people you may not currently know but that may be connected to you through those that you do know.

Let the people in your networks know that you are looking for a specific type of work, and reach out to anyone who can connect you to someone within the companies you are targeting. 

It is frustrating plugging away at something that does not appear to be moving forward, and a job search that lasts for a long time can wear you down. Just know that even in good economic times finding the right job can take several months so maintain a positive attitude. That attitude will translate into self-confidence, which is an absolute necessity in the search process.

Keri Aaver is the interim director of the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center at College of the Canyons. The WorkSource Center can help you conduct an effective job a search and show you how to network like a professional. Aaver’s column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. For more information about the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center services and workshops, call (661) 799-9675 or visit 


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