Job Doc

Narrow your focus before starting search

Q. I am interested in finding work in Boston and was wondering what jobs you would suggest I look for as an English undergraduate with limited job experience. I am currently unemployed and looking to move to the Greater Boston area with an easy commute.

A. Many job seekers approach the job search just as you are, with little focus on what they want, and even less focus on what they have to offer. Before you start getting frustrated with the hiring process, take time to develop a strategic ­approach to the job search. A liberal arts education can be very valuable when presented to hiring managers in the right way.

 Here are some tips:


Focus. You can’t run a successful job search if you’re looking at any job in any industry. Pick an industry and a position that requires the skills you consider valuable.

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Identify your skills. Assess whether you have good writing, presentational, analytical, or data entry skill, as well as organizational and other abilities that employers need. You have limited experience, but you have some. Identify the environments in which you have had some experience and build a list of similar firms.

Resume. Your resume must answer the question, “What can this potential employee do for me?” If it doesn’t, keep working on it.

Communicate. Talk to people about what you can do in the workplace. Let everyone you know that you are eager to find a job using the skills you have identified. Post this on your LinkedIn page, your professional-looking Facebook page, and start networking.

It’s all about the employer. Don’t focus on your desire for an easy commute. This does not promote the impression of a hard worker interested in a great job opportunity. In all ­interviews, tell the potential employer what you can do for them.


Time and numbers. The job search takes time and a number of people, opportunities, connections, and rejections before it all works out. Typically it is not fast, so dedicate yourself to the process.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.