gradtabaThis column, along with other job-hunting tips, is in the Graduate Salute section of today’s edition of The Monroe Evening News:

By Paula Wethington /

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter sent me an email with the subject line “look at this. hmm.”

It was a job description, one more lead in her lengthy search for full-time work in her chosen field. She started searching during her senior year as an undergrad, and continued to search even as she pursued a master’s degree during the past two years.

This particular job was such a good fit that she asked me to ship her business bag to her apartment in Iowa in hopes she would be contacted quickly for an interview. In the meantime, she asked me to review her cover letter and we brainstormed who would be the most appropriate references to list.

My daughter has asked for my input multiple times on job leads and applications. But to be honest, she has worked mostly with the career services centers at both her undergrad and graduate campuses. Those professionals have helped with formatting her resume, reviewing cover letters, forwarding job announcements, and providing tips on how to stand out as a candidate.

Career resources are not limited to placement offices at the four-year and graduate schools. There also is free help right here in Monroe County:

  • Monroe County Community College has an Office of Workforce Development that is open to any Monroe County resident. All you need to do is register at  In addition, the MCCC Office of Lifelong Learning schedules seminars on resume preparation and interview skills.
  • Monroe County Library System provides resources such as fax and photocopy services and meeting rooms. Other services for job seekers include a business and company resource center database, and a job board at the Bedford Branch Library.
  • Michigan Works! offers career center services that include fax and photocopy machines, and a library of job search tips. The workshops include resume writing, interviewing skills and how to use the Michigan Talent Bank. The staff also provides templates for resumes, cover letters and thank-you notes.

Even with help, today’s job seekers such as my daughter can expect put a lot of time and effort into a search. The job posting databases in particular can be time consuming to search, as the keywords employers tend to use may not be the keywords job searchers would think of first.

It’s also worth noting that career professionals recommend expanding the search beyond the job boards to networking and cold calls. I know of success stories for both of those examples:

About three years ago, I sent a “Did you see this?” message and a posting in the classifieds to one of my unemployed friends. It let her to a job that she was happy to land.

I also know someone whose cold call contact eventually led to a job. Although there was no hiring then, his resume was kept on file. When an opportunity opened up, he was called for an interview, and was hired pretty much on the spot.

Readers may contact Paula Wethington at or (734) 240-5745.

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