High Life: A WEEKLY FORUM FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS : Treat Job Search as a Job in Itself

Associated Press

While summer job searches continue, economic forecasters say new entrants to the job market are likely to fare better than last year's job-hunters--but that doesn't mean finding a good position will be easy.

"The market was at its absolute worst last year, so anything's an improvement," said Tony Lee, editor of National Business Employment Weekly. "1993's going to be a little bit better, but nothing like the boom in the late '80s."

Since recession blues still hang over California, teen-age job-hunters can be successful, but they will have to put in more effort and creativity than they would in a time of great economic growth.

"The key to success is persistence," Lee said. "You've got to look at job-hunting as a job itself, spending eight to 10 hours a day doing it."

Hiring increased by 7.7% this year, according to research commissioned by Dow Jones & Co. While service companies plan to boost recruiting by 12.5% nationally, manufacturers expect to decrease offers by 5.4%.

Some recruiters and job placement counselors say applying to small and medium-sized firms is the best way to find a job because growing companies are often those with 100 employees or less.

Some job-hunting suggestions:

* Create and polish your resume. Use action verbs to sell your strengths; be concise and be obsessive about proofreading. List a high grade-point average or awards you have won, but go easy on listing extracurricular activities.

* Establish contacts. Some of the best jobs are found through networking. Teachers, personal or family contacts, former employers and summer internship supervisors may be helpful, too.

* Do your homework. Researching the employer before you send out your resume will enable you to write a much more focused, intelligent resume or letter, and it will help prepare you for an interview. Know the company's products, services and competitors. If possible, speak to current or former employees to get a sense of the employer's expectations, the general work atmosphere and whether the job would suit you.

* Prepare for your interview. Before an interview, think about your strengths and weakness, what makes you different from and more qualified than others, and what you have learned in high school and in past jobs. Come with a few questions about the job or company; you'll usually be asked if you have any at the end of the interview.

* Don't underestimate the value of temporary employment and internships. Some companies regularly make job offers to temps who do well because it is a cost-effective way to try out entry-level employees. At the same time, you can try out a few different positions within the company. Internships can also lead to jobs or contacts who lead to jobs.

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