Your Alt Text


Research is a frightening word to many of us. When you are conducting a job search many of the frighteningly and complex implications of the word “research” seem to jump out. But it does not have to be that difficult. Think about this phase, not as research, but rather as accessing the research of others.
Much of the research you will be doing is looking up information on various industries, finding company names and addresses and the names of executives at those companies and then prepping yourself on a company and its industry prior to a meeting or interview.
Think about it this way . . . in your last position you would look up information in files – either paper or computer files to prepare for a meeting, phone call or business trip. Now you will be looking up information in reference books, business periodicals or the internet to prepare for a meeting, phone call or an interview.


Networking is, by far, the most effective method of uncovering job and career opportunities. It is so important that an entire chapter is devoted to it.
Your local and regional newspapers will print many help wanted ads each week. National publications carry many ads, generally for higher level positions. The internet is a good source of leads on jobs but not the best avenue to pursue those leads. Less than 5% of jobs are filled through the internet so pursue any openings you find through other, more traditional approaches.
Many professional journals and trade magazines have classified ad sections. And many professional associations publish openings in their local newsletters.
Competition for advertised jobs is stiff because of wide distribution and the tendency of too many people to answer ads for which they are not qualified.
The prior chapter, on resumes and letters, covers the topic of answering help wanted ads.
Professional Associations
Most professional associations have some form of job bank and/or resume clearing house function, usually internet-based. Some maintain a file of active resumes that they will screen for candidates when a company makes a request for resumes. Others will let you know which positions are available and let you decide if you want to pursue it. Some organizations do both. Each will have its own system ranging from informal to formal and from effective to ineffective. Some will charge a small fee to defray costs such as $5 to $25 per quarter.
Some professional associations’ job bank systems are remarkably good. If you do not already belong to the better associations in your field, join now for the networking contacts you can make and for the source of job leads. How a job lead bank is handled varies tremendously among different organizations. Some print a list of openings, some have resumes available for companies to review and others match your qualifications with the requirements for a position and contact you when they believe a fit exists.
Recruiters and Executive Search Consultants
Many jobs are available only through recruiters. There are many highly professional people in these two disciplines. But there are also some that you need to be cautious with. You will want to work only with recruiters who are paid by their client company rather than by you.
If you are at a senior level you should contact retained firms – executive search firms. Otherwise you will want to contact contingent recruiters who are paid only when and if they provide the candidate who is successfully hired. Contingent firms often compete among themselves for the same contingent assignment whereas retained firms always have an exclusive assignment.
Retained and contingent firms can be located in a variety of sources including the Directory of Executive Recruiters (usually called “Kennedy’s Red Book” and usually available in the reference section of your local library), Sorkins’ Directory and the Yellow Pages.


Here are some guidelines to working with recruiters:
Do not sign a contract.
Do not give permission to be presented to a company without discussing the position with you first.
Do not tell a contingent recruiter what jobs you are interviewing on. They could present other candidates to that company and you will have given yourself additional competition.
Do let them know your salary. This is an exception to the general rule of not discussing former salary. You will not likely find a recruiter who will work with you unless you reveal your salary.
Do let them know what kind of job you want and what you do not want.
Respect their time. Do not expect that they will want to talk with you unless they have a job opportunity for you. They are not being rude, just very busy.
Do not expect them to “Place you.” The better recruiters recruit for their client companies that have openings rather than attempting to place candidates.
Do not expect them to follow up with you unless they have an opportunity for you.

College Placement Offices

Most college and university placement offices provide help to Alumni. Some will publish openings, submit your resume for appropriate positions or do both. The effectiveness of these offices varies greatly and depends upon the staffs’ relationships with the community. It is a base you may want to cover, but do not expect too much from your alma mater.

Networking Groups

There are many networking groups, generally for middle management. These are informal and generally self-led or have volunteer leaders – many are church related. They are excellent groups to participate with especially when there is no other support. Be on guard, however, for negative people who would rather complain than to take constructive steps toward getting a job. Some have good to excellent job lead banks. An example is Businesspersons Between Jobs (BBJ). Among their many other services, they publish a brochure of mini-resumes of their members which is mailed to several thousand organizations. They also maintain a rather sizeable listing of job openings which organizations have submitted to them.

Direct Mail Campaign

This is a weak approach to uncover opportunities. There is a great deal of luck involved when this method succeeds. If you do pursue this route there are a few things which will increase its effectiveness. Address the letter by name and title. Make certain the address, name, spelling, etc. are correct. Mention in the letter that you will follow up by phone in a week to ten days. Then make the call when you said you would. A letter sent but not followed up with a call is a waste of your time.
Send the letter to the person two levels above the position you seek. If you send the letter to the person one level above, the person who receives it can all too easily get rid of it. But if it goes to his or her boss, who in turn sends it down, the manager has to pay more attention to it. Also, if the boss’s boss intends to replace the boss, you could be a great fit for the position and land on your feet very well off.

Researching Industries and Companies

We have covered many of the sources to locate job opening. During your search you will also want to find what companies belong to a certain target industry or learn more about a specific company prior to approaching them or before a meeting.
There are many sources of this information that you can most easily access in the reference room of the main branch of your public library. If you are looking locally, the Sorkins’ Directory will be your best source of information. If you are mounting a regional, national or international search you will need to locate the best sources of this information for your industry or profession. You may be steered toward reference works, periodicals, books or other sources depending upon your field of expertise.
One very valuable source of information will be association membership rosters that are not often found in libraries. Your network contacts should help you to identify the best and will loan you their copy or make a copy for you.
To find search firms by industry or functional specialty, consult the Directory of Executive Search Consultants, commonly called the Kennedy Red Book. IT is available online and in the reference section of the library.

Sorkins’ Directory

The Sorkins’ Directory of Business & Government is an invaluable tool for information for eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. Sorkins also covers the Kansas City/Western Missouri and the Chicago/Northern Illinois areas. Sorkins-On-Line includes all three. No other comprehensive source of information will be as good or simple to use. But, as with anything else, you will find that there have been changes since the publication date.

Job Search
CEN News

St. Gerard Majella

Career Development Series
The Benefits of Using a Recruiting Firm in Your Job Search
When: February 20, 7:15-8:30pm
Where: St Gerard Majella
Catholic Church Building 2005,
Parish Meeting Room 224
1971 Dougherty Ferry Rd
St.Louis, MO 63122
Please join us at our next Career Development Workshop, where Craig Lavelle will discuss the benefits of using a recruiting firm in your job search.  He will also provide key insights into:
  1. Job interview preparation
  2. How to avoid 7 interview mistakes
  3. Likeability factors and interest level in a job search
  4. Sample behavioral questions.
Craig is Vice President, Permanent Placement Services at Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half International (RHI), the world's largest specialized staffing firm.  The specialized staffing divisions of RHI place professionals in accounting and finance; technology; office administration; law; and the creative, marketing and design fields. Craig has been with Robert Half for 15 years.  He is an experienced recruiter and business consultant whose primary focus is helping both candidates and clients achieve their respective career goals and organizational recruiting needs.  Prior to joining RHI, Craig received his Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Louis University and spent 20 years in various accounting roles, including the President and CEO of Gimbel Vision in Calgary Alberta Canada. We hope you will join us so we can continue to help and support each other!  If you have questions, please contact us at  There is never any cost for our service.

Holy Spirit

CEN welcomes Holy Spirit, Maryland Heights, as their newest CEN parish, offering support for employment seekers. If you are looking for work or would like to volunteer your help for our newest startup, contact Jeff Pattison, 314-853-6197.

CEN Parish Support

All job seekers are invited to contact any CEN parish for job support information. Just check links under Parishes.