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Sunday Morning News

How do You Find a Job in Today's Economic World?

Aired February 4, 2001 - 8:24 a.m. ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Amid falling consumer confidence and rising unemployment, many workers remain concerned about layoffs. Last month the nation's unemployment rate rose to 4.2 percent. That's the highest level in 15 months and some economists now predict the rate could rise to 4.5 percent by summer.

These numbers lead the wise and wary worker to consider the options. How best to look for a new job, even if you still have one? The answer has at least two parts, using traditional and newer methods.

For some insights on job hunting, we turn now to two guests. First, sitting beside me here in Atlanta, James Boone, President of the Americas Division of Korn/Ferry International, the big head hunting firm, and Dimitri Boylan, the Chief Operating Officer of

Dimitri, let's begin with you, if we could. You represent sort of the new era of job hunting, Internet job hunting. How much does the Internet help folks these days who are looking for jobs?

DIMITRI BOYLAN, HOTJOBS.COM: Well, I think the Internet helps people in a lot of ways. But probably the best way is by providing a lot of information, much more information than was available from the print classified advertising that job seekers depended on up until now.

O'BRIEN: When you say that, in other words, doing homework, for example, on a company. You want to be well prepared before you go into that interview.

BOYLAN: I think being prepared is really important, but it's more than just being prepared for a single company's jobs, but actually understanding where you fit in the spectrum, in the economy, what companies are looking for and how that can be benchmarked against your own skills and experience.

O'BRIEN: Jim, give me a sense here of where the jobs are and where the layoffs are. We get the sense that manufacturing is being disproportionately hit, but that generally is the case. There's a lot more jobs there anyway. The vaunted service industry in this country continues to generate jobs, but also the perception is that the pay is less there. All those things true? And if so, how can people factor that into a job hunt? JAMES BOONE, KORN/FERRY INTERNATIONAL: Well, that's an excellent question, Miles. Basically, if you look at the industries today, the industrial sector is still strong despite the layoffs. Health care is another area that continues to see robust growth this year. Of course, the technology sector is off from where it was originally, but still doing quite well when you consider all the growth aspects of that vertical segment.

Other areas like energy, of course, are coming back quite strong because of the increase in gas prices in general. So overall it still looks pretty good.

O'BRIEN: Would you recommend to somebody seeking a job, though, to sort of follow those economic patterns or is it best to start off with an honest self-assessment first of where your skills and strengths are?

BOONE: Right. I think always you have to look at yourself first. The people that know themselves, look at where their strong suits are and then you match that to the opportunity. And some opportunities present themselves across various spectrums. Like if you're a human resource executive, well, that is very applicable to a wide variety of industries whereas if you're a C++ programmer or you know DSL, a very technical area, obviously that's going to keep you more focused in the technology sector.

O'BRIEN: Dimitri, give us a sense of the time frame. Everything seems to have sped up these days in the Internet world. Does the job hunt also speed up depending on -- of course I guess it depends on what sector you're in. But do, does a prospective job seeker have to have just as much patience as ever?

BOYLAN: I think that you still have to have patience because you want to make the right decision, but your access to jobs and to people who are actually looking to make hires is probably compressed by the Internet.

O'BRIEN: How so? Like how much would it be compressed? Can you quantify it in any way? I mean are we talking about jobs within a matter of days or weeks as opposed to months or -- give me a sense of it.

BOYLAN: Well, we certainly have discovered that on people can come into the system and they can apply to 15 or 20 jobs across an entire industry, across the entire country, in 30 minutes. And that wasn't really possible before the Internet. And your resumes now go directly to the corporate recruiters. I think the turnaround time has really decreased significantly.

O'BRIEN: Jim, let me ask you this, would a job looker be remiss if they just sort of went to the Internet and -- no offense against Hotjobs or any particular site -- left a few resumes and just sort of sat back and waited? I've always heard that one of the key things is to make looking for a job a job unto itself?

BOONE: Absolutely. If you are unemployed then you have a new job and that's finding a new job and you have to address it in that fashion. And I think not only can you use the Internet, which, as Dimitri said, was not around in 1990, so that's a huge, huge plus, but also you have to be proactive in calling companies, trying to get person to person interviews, networking, associations. You must use a variety of things to really find that key job for you.

O'BRIEN: And you sort of have to set benchmarks for yourself, because this could be a very lonely job that you're doing.

BOONE: Right. Well, we always recommend to individuals, again, if you view this as a full-time job, that means bright and early on Monday morning you're at it and you should set goals during the week of what you want to accomplish. And once you hit those goals, reward yourself. Take off for the weekend.

If you take that approach and if you also pace yourself -- a lot of people unfortunately don't realize that because the economy has been so good that they may not find a position right away so they tend to panic too early.

O'BRIEN: All right, let's take a look quickly at some of the Web sites that you can go to., of course, is what Dimitri was talking about, and you just sort of pick your area and start finding out about what's available and putting your skills online, as well, and hopefully you'll find a match there.

And then Jim's company, Korn/Ferry executive recruiters, tend to be on the higher end of recruiting, but you can check them out as well for information about finding jobs, particularly if you've got a little more seniority and tenure in your stated profession.

Gentlemen both to you, thank you very much for being with us on CNN SUNDAY MORNING and this is advice we hope not too many people have to use in the future, but we do appreciate it nonetheless.

BOONE: For sure. Thank you for having me.

O'BRIEN: All right.



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