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Job Seekers' Guide

Suggestions and strategies to get the most out of your job search

Introduction to This Guide

In this guide you will find numerous resources to ease the frustrating job search. If you still need further assistance, our contact details are linked in the side navigation or find Job & Career programs currently offered by the Boston Public Library at bpl.org/job-career-success.

In this guide you will find resources and suggestions to help you manage your job search including:

                                                Researching Careers                       Resumes                                 Interviewing

                                          Job Hunting Sources                        Cover Letters                      Resources for skill building

Start Here

Below are self-guided websites that allow users to research careersdevelop new skills, or keep skills current via online learning. These sites are a good place to start because they give users an idea of all the free resources available to help Boston residents start or advance their career. Click around and see what what interests you most!

The Basics

When you begin to look for a new job:

  • Let your network (friends, family, colleagues) know your are searching: If you became unemployed recently or are looking to switch organizations/careers, let your network know. If you are currently employed, be careful who you share your decision with to avoid potential conflict at your current workplace.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile and resume: If you completed any recent projects or taken on any new responsibilities, add these to both your LinkedIn profile and résumé. If you don't have LinkedIn account, consider making one. 
  • Join a professional organization: Many fields and professions have organizations that provide resources to their members including job postings, continuing education, and networking opportunities. For example, see this Massachusetts library organization website.
  • Create an email specifically for job searching: It should be a professional email and have part or all of your name i.e. johnqpublic@email.com. Make sure you keep track of your usernames and passwords for your email, and any site that requires a profile to submit a job application.

Upcoming and Recent Graduates:

  • Join regional alumni groups and attend events: Many opportunities are found through networking. Get involved with alumni events and/or get involved with young professional networks such as Boston's Young Professional Association.
  • Reach out to your school's career center: Many have job postings that only students and alumni can see. Some also offer career advice, resume help, and more. 
  • Look at current job postings: See if your skills match up with the current market. If you are missing key skills start exploring internships, volunteer opportunities, or coursework that will boost your skills.

When pursuing an internship:

  • Do your research: Learn all you can about the organization and the industry.
  • Read professional trade journals and magazines: Keeping up with your industry is a good habit to get into. Identify trends and skills that will make your more employable when you graduate.
  • Be prepared to do some grunt work: Remember there are menial tasks included in all jobs. Pitching in and doing your share will establish better teamwork and goodwill among coworkers.
  • Ask questions: You are there to work and learn.
  • Find a mentor: Professionals enjoy sharing their expertise and want to assist new professionals entering the field.
  • Be professional: Maintain a professional image and avoid gossip and office politics
  • Read our Internship Seekers' Guide.

Tips for Career Switchers:

  • Take a continuing education course: By updating your skills you learn valuable experience you can apply on the job. This is also an excellent networking opportunity.
  • Keep an eye on competitors using LinkedIn and library databases: Competitors might be engaging in new and exciting projects where you can lend your skills and expertise. 
  • Identify transferable skills: Often sales, technical, and customer service skills can be applied across many industries.
  • Attend conferences, networking events, and trade shows: By making connections at other companies you can expand your opportunities beyond job boards. Just remember to reconnect with them through LinkedIn or email and stay in touch.

Resources for Re-Entering/Staying in the Workforce:

After an absence from working life it may feel intimidating to re-enter the workforce. Most people have career gaps for one reason or another, do not let this stop you from pursuing a job you want.

Featured Job Search Books

What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

In today's challenging job-market, the time-tested advice of What Color Is Your Parachute? is needed more than ever. Recent grads facing a tough economic landscape, workers laid off mid-career, and people searching for an inspiring work-life change all look to career guru Richard N. Bolles for support, encouragement, and advice on which job-hunt strategies work--and which don't. This revised edition combines classic elements like the famed Flower Exercise with updated tips on social media and search tactics. Bolles demystifies the entire job-search process, from writing resumes to interviewing to networking, expertly guiding job-hunters toward their dream job.

The Job Closer: Time-Saving Techniques for Acing Resumes, Interviews, Negotiations, and More

As a career consultant, Dalton has found that job seekers routinely overinvest in trivial aspects of the employment hunt while underestimating the important ones. In this guide, you’ll learn how to avoid wasted effort and excel in all areas by using tools such as: The FIT Model, which helps job seekers nail the answer to “Tell me about yourself” using principles from the world of screenwriting; The RAC Model, perfect for writing efficient cover letters and answering “Why this company or job?” in an interview; The CAR Matrix, designed to help you craft compelling interview stories and deploy them in the most powerful way; [and] The Prenegotiation Call, which takes the awkwardness out of asking for more and turns your negotiator from an adversary into a partner. [This book] will leave you with more time for networking, making meaningful connections, and showcasing your unique talents, so your odds of success in landing the perfect job improve exponentially."

Get Hired Now!: How to Accelerate Your Job Search, Stand Out, and Land Your Next Great Opportunity

"Accelerate your job search, stand out, and land your next great opportunity. In Get Hired Now!, ZipRecruiter founder and CEO Ian Siegel tells you exactly how to find a new job fast. With an insider's view of how over a million employers really make hires, Ian pulls insights from the data to give you step-by-step instructions for writing a resume that works, finding the right jobs to apply to, acing a job interview, and negotiating a job offer. -Debunk the conventional wisdom -Break the unconscious habits that are sabotaging your success -Get hired in record time. Relevant for every stage of your career and for every industry, Get Hired Now! is a one-stop resource for job seekers looking to level up, stand out, and land the job."

Next Job, Best Job: A Headhunter's 11 Strategies to Get Hired Now

"This decade opened with a global health crisis, mass unemployment, political disruptions, federal budget deficits, and unprecedented economic uncertainty, with even the most optimistic predictions anticipating delayed economic recovery and uncertainty into the 2030s. The Covid-19 pandemic has both decimated the job market and permanently changed the future of the workplace, with tens of millions of qualified, competent, and loyal employees fired, furloughed, job eliminated, or restructured. Getting a new job is more competitive than ever. Headhunter Rob Barnett has the answer. Next Job, Best Job goes beyond the tired, old job search methods and provides a blueprint to easily rewriting your entire work history and building a resume and LinkedIn profile that will sell you better than ever. Barnett shares the secrets of how to master the perfect, 30-minute job interview, and imparts priceless advice on how to negotiate the best offer and close like a pro. With a mix of straight talk, much-needed humor, and compassion, Next Job, Best Job offers concrete steps that job seekers can take to best position themselves in a transformed marketplace. With a steady dose of love and practical wisdom, Rob Barnett will inspire readers to stop whining, start winning, and find the job of their dreams"

Take the Leap: Change your Career, Change your Life

The ultimate road map for landing your dream job, packed with true inspiring stories from more than sixty people who made profound changes in their lives and careers, plus practical advice from experts. “If you are ready to go for the life and the job you really want, Take the Leap is the go-to book for anyone making a career change” (Bobbi Brown).