Connie Wanberg

The Job Market-Academically Speaking: Job Searching…What Research Says

Monday, June 4, 2018

Most of Work and Organizations Professor and Industrial Relations Faculty Excellence Chair Connie Wanberg’s research centers around unemployment and job search. She has done work on predicting unemployment insurance exhaustion, how unemployment insurance levels affect job search and job quality, and challenges involved in job search.

“One current project I am working on involves the development of an online intervention to help individuals learn how to use networking,” she says. “Compared to individuals in a control group, individuals who participated in the intervention became more confident with networking, got more benefits from networking, and found work faster.”

For the past 20 years, she has been researching predictors of reemployment speed and quality. For those who are seeking a full-time job with fixed experience and background, what does the research suggest they can do best at that point? Wanberg offers her top five recommendations:

1. GOAL CLARITY MATTERS. Have a clear understanding of the type of job you want. Research has shown that a “bullet” approach (carefully targeting the experiences that fit your interests) is more effective than a “shotgun” approach (applying for many things in hopes that something will hit). Research shows that higher goal clarity is associated with finding jobs sooner and being happy with those jobs.

2. PREPARATORY JOB SEARCH MATTERS. Preparatory job search activities involve having informational interviews, refining one’s resume, attending information sessions, and practicing for job interviews. These activities are critical. Carlson students and alumni are lucky to have a premier job search center offering on-site interview rooms, resume review, career advice, and interview practice. I urge them to use these services to enhance their preparatory job search activities.

3. NETWORKING MATTERS. Although many students have access to job postings through Carlson, networking can serve other functions such as to help a job seeker find solutions for issues they are facing, help the person think about their job search in a different way, or provide support or confidence to the job seeker. It is worth learning about networking and advantageous to cultivate your networks.

4. RESILIENCE MATTERS. When you are applying for jobs, you have to have “tough skin.” You may get multiple rejections. Believe in yourself and the value you can add to an organization. Finding the right job takes time, but you will succeed.

5. DEVELOP A ROUTINE. If you are unemployed and looking for a job, you don’t have the normal structure of a working day. Job seekers find it effective to develop a routine for their job search. Example: Morning—review job boards and target companies for new job postings. Lunch—networking meeting with a previous colleague or other contact. Afternoon—submit any new applications or research specific companies.

This article appeared in the Spring 2018 alumni magazine

In this issue, we explore how the Carlson School's Career Center is helping point the way from education to career.

Spring 2018 table of contents