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Whether you just started looking or are an old pro, you can always improve your job-hunting skills! This guide will show you what sort of tools the library has to offer, and how you can use online tools to maximum advantage.
Last Updated: Feb 1, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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This guide will be a quick overview of some of the resources, online and through the library, you can use to find and apply for jobs.


Step into Learning Online Databases

Looking at a new database and feeling overwhelmed? Wondering if you're using the library databases to their full potential? Come to the computer lab (311) at MLK on Friday mornings at 10:30 AM, and learn how to use the databases from our librarians! We switch topics every week so check the calendar to see what's next.


How Long Have You Been Looking?

How long have you been looking for a job?

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Getting Started

Job hunting in the internet age is a whole new world--and a whole lot easier, if you know how to use the tools at your disposal! In this guide, you'll learn where to:

  • Research careers, jobs, and possible places of employment
  • Use keywords to find the most jobs
  • Use free search sites like Indeed to their full potential

Research Places You Want to Work

Knowing your audience makes a big difference. Each company has its own values and priorities, and this affects who they hire. By understanding the companies you're applying for (and those dream employers that just might not be hiring yet), you can make your applications stronger and be the first to know when they're hiring.

By researching companies, you can know how many employees a company has, what kindof employee turnover they have, and any complaints people have had about them.

  • Reference USA
    • This database, provided by the library, has data on over 14 million U.S. businesses. You can search by geographic location, type of business, and more. The best part is that your searches can be visualized through a fun chart tool--you can look at how many employees work at law firms in the area, how much they sell, and where in the city they're concentrated.
  • Dun and Bradstreet's Global Reach (in library only)
    • Also known as the Million Dollar Database, Dun and Bradstreet has information on U.S. and international businesses. You can also see how corporations are related to one another through their corporate family tree feature. This resource must be used while in a DCPL location.

  •, Glassdoor, and more
    • These sites are all places where you can find job listings, but they're also places where people rate their employers and give reviews. This information can be really valuable--if a company has 1 star out of 5 on Indeed and a ton of bad reviews about how they exploit their employees, you can deprioritize that application or throw it out all together.


Find Your Keywords

Keywords will help you find all of the jobs in your area that may fit. They're easy to find--they're already in the job listings you've found. HR representatives use keywords to cull resumes, but you can reverse this and use the keywords to find jobs that simple searches won't catch.

You'll be looking for two kinds of keywords:

  • Job Title Keywords and
  • Tasks and Skills Keywords

Job titles aren't standardized--an HR representative can call a job whatever they'd like! For our example of "administrative assistant", the same job can also be called an "administrative associate", and "office assistant", or a "secretary". All of these might not come up in a search for "administrative assistant". Look through jobs that fit your skills and make note of all the different job titles that fit what you want to do.

Tasks and Skills Keywords describe what you actually do on a job. These can be software applications, hard skills like statistical analysis, soft skills like customer service, and more. Usually these are in the job description under what they'd like you to do, or qualities they'd like an ideal candidate to possess.

A good way to get your keywords is to find some job listings you like the look of, and highlighting or circling terms that apply.

This list will grow as you keep searching, so pay attention whenever you're reading job descriptions. These are search terms you can use to find all of the jobs, even if they don't know yet they need someone with your degree or skill set!

You can also find keywords using the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This resource from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has information on any job you can think of, with job duties, prospects, and salaries listed.


Make Search Sites Work For You

Job sites like Indeed are free and you've probably used them before--but did you know that by creating an account, you can turn them into powerful tools? These sites pull jobs from all over the internet--news sites, Craig's List, professional association lists, and more.

All you need to create an account is an e-mail address and a password. Once you've created an account, you can start to search as normal.

But once you find a job you like, you can "star" it to save it under your "saved jobs". That gives you a nice list to pull up to see what jobs you want to apply to, links to the original descriptions, and the closing dates.

Having an account also means the searches you did with your keywords will be saved and will pop up each time you sign in to the site. When there are new jobs that meet your search criteria, it will be highlighted in orange next to the search terms.

You can also store resumes and apply for some jobs directly through Indeed.


Jobseeker Events

Checkout our clinics and events just for job seekers at our 26 locations around the District.

Job Search Sites

Here are some job search engines to get you started! They're all different, so find the ones you like.


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