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What about job vacancies:

Today, in most countries, there is a measure of unemployment, which is worse in some countries – or areas of a country – than in others. Therefore, in general it is a matter of being selected to fill a particular vacancy – from amongst possibly many other applicants equally anxious, and often determined, to be selected. Particularly in times of high unemployment, only very few people are lucky enough to have a job “handed to them on a plate”; all others have to work at securing work.

For many jobs, and especially the most attractive ones – those offering good salaries and/or fringe benefits, good prospects for advancement, and so on – there is bound to be competition from others. The existence of this competition requires that an applicant for a vacant post prepares himself or herself to gain the approval of the prospective employer; to ‘pass’ as it were, in exactly the same way as preparation is required for an examination, or a driving test for example.

The possession of knowledge, skill, experience or qualifications does not automatically secure a person the most satisfactory employment; even the cleverest or most skilled or talented people may be left in poorly-paid positions, or in jobs with little prospects. Of course, the possession of knowledge or experience or a skill or an ability or a talent (or more than one of them) is important, but it must be complemented by the knowledge of how to find and to secure the best jobs.

We shall start with the first point –  how to find out about vacancies which exist and which you feel you would be suitable to fill.

There are a number of difficult ‘sources’ from which to find out about vacancies which exist, although some may not be applicable in some countries or circumstances. The most common sources are: –

Introductions: You may be fortunate enough to have a friend or a relative who knows of a suitable vacancy in the enterprise for which he or she works, and who is willing to introduce you to the person (the owner or manager or personnel officer, for instance) who is responsible for filling the vacancy. Some organizations like to fill some vacancies by introductions (provided that those introduced are suitable) because introductions tend to show that a good ‘work climate’ exists; an employee is unlikely to want to introduce a friend or relative who would be unhappy working for the organization concerned.

Careers Offices/Advisers: employed by schools, colleges, and other training establishments generally maintain contact with employers who are likely to have appropriate vacancies for those who have completed their education/training at the establishments concerned.

Employment Offices/Job Centers (either government run or privately run) generally receive from employers basic information about vacancies to be filled. In many cases such an organization will do some preliminary matching between an employer’s requirements and the individuals who are currently registered with them, or who respond to any advertising (on notice-boards, in windows, etc.)) carried out by the organization.

Government run organizations provide a free service to both employers and potential employees, whereas privately owned secretarial agencies, staff/personnel bureaux, etc. make a charge, although often do more in the way of ‘screening’ and matching potential employees to vacancies. Some of the latter organizations specialize in just a few professions and/or skills, or finding people for ‘temporary’ or stand-in work.

Whether an employment agency (by whatever name it is called) is state owned or privately owned, you can provide lists staff with information about yourself –  knowledge, experience, skills etc. – and details of the sort of job which you are seeking. As stated about, this information will be ‘matched’ with information about vacant posts supplied by employers; if no suitable vacancy exists at the time, your particulars will be retained ‘on file’ until one is notified to the agency, at which time you will be contacted. In some cases, temporary jobs may be offered whilst a permanent post is being sought for you.

Advertisements: are often placed in local and national newspapers by employers, and some private recruiting agencies, giving information about vacancies. Some advertisements appear in ‘Situations Vacant’ or ‘Appointments’ columns in the ‘classified’ sections, whilst others may be larger ‘display’ advertisements. Where specific skills, experience, qualifications, etc. are required, advertisements may also be placed in the relevant trade journals and/or publications of professional institutes, associations, etc. (such professional bodies quite often maintain registers of members seeking appropriate employment).

Notices: advertising vacancies are often placed on notice-boards in offices, factories, etc. In many cases this source is available only to those already employed by the organizations concerned, and who are seeking transfers and/or promotion (which topics will be dealt with later on), although in some cases notices are placed in shop windows or outside factories for all to see.

Observation: If you notice that a new enterprise is being established or that an existing one is expanding, a carefully worded letter to an executive inquiring whether new staff are to be recruited and, if so, whether you could be considered (specimen letter will be posted later) may produce the desired results. After all, those concerned with the recruitment of staff often like to see initiative being displayed (and, of course, if a vacancy can be filled without the expense of advertising it, the enterprise will benefit).

Advertising for a job will be dealt with fully in another post.

First step job search

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