PROJECT 14: The Independent Job Search Strategy


Chapters 14 and 15 in the textbook focus on the job search process. Students who are seeking employment soon after college in a given locale or in a specialized job function often use the independent job search strategy. They typically would not be seeking employment with the medium- to large-sized firms that typically recruit on campus. Job location is often the driving decision.

The majority of job growth in the world comes from firms that employ 20 or fewer employees. The specialized employment opportunities are located in smaller boutique-sized firms or specialized departments within larger firms. Rarely do budding entrepreneurs seek career options from the type of firms that recruit on campus.

Chapters 14 and 15 discuss the common methods that are used by candidates who desire to interview for nontraditional jobs, smaller firms, specialized jobs, not-for-profit organizations, and start-up options. If you find yourself with needs that fit these employment options, you need to use this independent job search approach.

The first step in the search process is to clarify the type of employment options you are seeking. This usually means that you have created some type of job description using an outline like Figure 9.1 in your textbook. You have summarized this into a few job titles and brief job summaries similar to the career objectives shown in Figures 11.3 and 11.4.

With your qualities in mind, this project asks you to create a job search plan and implement several components of it. You probably already have a cover letter and resume as part of your tool set. You will now be asked to identify the jobs and create a plan that fits your unique talents, timetable, and future plans.

If you are going to graduate school, you can use this process to review the process that you will use to seek employment (or an internship) after you complete your advanced degree.


Read Chapters 14, 15 and 16 in the textbook. Figure numbers listed with the project refer to Career Planning Strategies: Hire Me! (5th Edition).

Browse several of the websites in Career Links and from the UCSO website under Career Resources. The following websites are examples of ones you may find useful in this project:

Your finished project should fulfill ALL of the requirements below.



A.     Prospect Cards: Read Chapters 14 and 15 thoroughly. Your main sources of job leads will come from publications, third parties (agencies), job fairs, and web job boards.

Identify your needs: job title, job description, location, industries, job functions, array of potential employers, and target markets. What is your most likely market to sell your talents to? Using publications, websites, job fairs, employment agencies, etc., identify at least five potential employers in your field or geographical area. Using Figure 15.3 as a guide, complete a prospect card database on each of the five employers.

You may use a copy of Figure 15.3, Outlook contacts, Excel, or any other methods to organize your search projects.

B.     Job Leads: How do you propose to identify an even broader list of job leads? According to Chapters 14 and 16 in the textbook, you will need to research publications, websites, job fairs, newspaper classifieds, and other productive job lead producers.

Given your background and interests, review the various job listing resources that are most likely to generate job leads for you. List the three resources that your research has shown to be most useful for you. Most are shown in Figures 15.1 and 15.2 in the textbook.

In three to four paragraphs explain why you feel that these three top non-campus resources are likely to produce the most job leads for you.

C.    Ad Response/Research: After using one of the three sources of job leads in your targeted job market(s), select one of your choices and use it. Identify and copy three jobs that result from your research. These would be in the form of a recruitment advertisement, preferably from a website that you can cut and paste into a Word document.

Under each of the three job advertisements, discuss why you feel that you would likely be among the top 10 candidates who might apply for this job. Describe your specific competencies that best fit the parameters noted in the ad and what you know about the more detailed job descriptions behind the recruitment ad.

In other words, you are writing your own ad, usually in the form of a cover letter with attached resume. What parts of your background would go into a one-page cover letter? For each of the three jobs identify the top three to five characteristics that you feel would entice this potential employer to select your application from among scores of others who might also think they are excellent candidates. These points can be in short paragraphs or bulleted listings. Consider the sorts of ideas you would put into the body of a cover letter. Make the points especially relevant for each of the three job ads that you have resourced.

D.    Web Job Analysis: After conducting this research and analysis, describe how successful these approaches are likely to be in your job search. Critique your sources.

If you used a website as one of your search vehicles, criticize the website that you used. How should it be changed to better meet your needs? Jobsites such as MonsterTrak, Career Builder, JobWeb, Monster, HotJobs, etc. all have pluses and minuses. Will you now likely use these?

If you used other non-website approaches in sourcing job leads, please do a similar critique of those sources.

Deliverables: Turn in to your Career Counselor:

      Five prospect cards, preferably in Word, with contact information filled in

      Description of three best job resourcesand sites used--for your interests

      List of three real jobs and three to five of your competencies that you would describe in a cover letter for each job.

      Critical analysis of your three identified job sources for your specific goals.