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Job Hunting in Liverpool NY

Career Planning

Why spend time on career planning?

  • Each application takes valuable time. Make sure it counts.
  • Increase the odds that your unique skills will be noticed.
  • Harness the advantage of your genuine excitement for the job.
  • Convince the employer that your desire for the job is well informed, and you won’t call it quits when you learn what it actually entails.
  • Avoid spending years of your life in the wrong job or career.
  • Start building experience relevant to your ideal job today!

What does career planning involve?

  • Assessing/Re-examining your strengths, weaknesses, priorities, and risks.
  • Exploring possible career fields and roles.
  • Seeking guidance from career counselors, advisors, and mentors.
  • Identifying target organizations to keep an eye on.
  • Researching any organizations that you have applied to.
  • Mapping out a personal development strategy to pursue during a job search


CNY Works

CNY Works is a local non-profit whose mission is to help CNY job seekers skill up and enter the workforce ready to hit the ground running. They nurture community partnerships that can help you overcome educational and financial barriers to employment, providing High School Equivalency test prep, resume workshops, one-on-one meetings with advisers, and even tuition assistance for qualified training providers.


Career One Stop

One of the best websites for a comprehensive review of all the steps of the career planning, and job-seeking process. Compare sectors and occupations, take skills skill assessments, find certification and scholarship opportunities, learn all about writing resumes and cover letters, and the list goes on. An especially good resource for veterans.

Published by the Goodwill Community Foundation, has a comprehensive, streamlined, and brilliantly designed series of tutorials, supplemented with videos and quizzes. It covers all aspects of a job search, including career planning, job searching, resumes, and interviews. Valuable for job seekers and those who provide assistance to job seekers. GCF is also a phenomenal website for learning many common technologies that you might come across in your everyday life.



A fantastic all-purpose career planning website with videos and data about various career fields, skill and interest assessments, and information about colleges and majors. Also features a decent resume builder, although you must register with an e-mail account first. For more tips on how to use this website to its full potential, check out their youtube page.

A successful self-assessment helps you...

  • Prioritize your goals, passions, financial needs, preferences, and dealbreakers.
  • Come up with ways to resolve or work around your individual challenges to employment (Lack of experience, disability, bias, criminal record, etc...)
  • Create a thorough inventory of your skills, strengths and weaknesses, and a plan for how you will market them.
  • Learn to describe yourself as a "Complete Package", even under pressure.

Be open minded but stay true to yourself.

  • This assessment is for you alone. You're not answering these questions to impress a hiring manager. Don't just fill in what you think others want to hear.
  • You may discover an interest in a jobs that you didn't even know existed.
  • Jobs you thought you wanted may come with unexpected dealbreakers.
  • Focusing only on the tasks you are passionate about may not give you financial stability in the long term. Besides, turning your hobbies into your full-time job may not be the best thing for your creative side.
  • On the other hand, a career path that leads to burnout and apathy is no good. Promotions go to those who radiate authentic excitement for their work.


What Color Is Your Parachute?

This book took the career search world by storm with its uncompromising focus on helping readers find the careers that are truly right for them. The trademark "Parachute" refers to the multicolored chart (Flower Diagram) that results from completing the book's comprehensive assessment of personal needs and values. It struck a chord not just with first-time job seekers, but with people looking to make career changes partway through their lives. Even if you know everything there is to know about writing resumes and nailing the interviews, there are valuable questions and challenges in this book that will prompt you to reconsider what you believe about the next step in your career.


My Next Move

My Next Move - Veterans

The MyNextMove interest profiler lets you rate different job duties according to your preferences. It then suggests career zones based on your responses, and links you to more information about them. You can also search directly by keyword and industry. There is a special version of the website specifically for Veterans which helps to match job seekers with civilian-equivalent roles of military positions.


UPenn Authentic Happiness Project

Recommended by the author of What Color Is Your Parachute, the University of Pennsylvania's Authentic Happiness Project features personality surveys and free resources about Positive Psychology. These questionnaires will help you think more deeply about what motivates you, how you make friends, how you develop the resilience to overcome adversity, and more. Though registration is required, there is no charge to take the questionnaires.

16 Personalities

You've probably heard people describe themselves using a four-letter abbreviation like ENFJ or ISTJ. The famous Myers-Briggs test breaks people down into 16 personality archetypes, and gives them an overview of how their traits may impact not just their careers, but their relationships with family, friends, and partners as well. There is some debate about whether this method is as useful as it's been made out to be, but it has nonetheless remained a popular way to analyze people's strengths, weaknesses, and career comfort zones for decades.

Truity features a number of popular self-assessments including Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram, and Holland Code, all of which are frequently used in career counseling services. This website will eventually try to get you to pay for the expanded results, so your mileage may vary, but there is enough free content on the site to make it worth recommending.


Why take time to do self development?

  • Time spent investing in yourself is never wasted, no matter how many rejection letters you get.
  • Sharpens your skills and improves the quality of your resume and cover letter.
  • When you know you can do the job well, you exude confidence in interviews.
  • Improves your market value, giving you more negotiating power and greater chances for promotions.

How are you going to grow during your job search?

  • Develop basic computer skills (Email, Word, Excel, Zoom...)
  • Improve a career-specific skill (Complete a small project, create a portfolio)
  • Pursue a certification from a professional organization.
  • Improve your public speaking skills.
  • Develop self-care techniques and habits that help you maintain a goal-setting rhythm. (Declutter, update wardrobe, healthy meal prep, exercise...)


LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is a massive resource - useful even to seasoned job hunters, veteran entrepreneurs, and top executives. It provides accessible video tutorials, sample exercises, and progress tests for more topics than we have space here to list. You just need your Library Card and PIN to log into it.

Some of the classes are short, between 30 minutes to an hour to cover the basics of a given topic. Others are 6, 10, 20-hour college-level courses on topics including Word, Powerpoint, photo-editing, video production, accounting, personal finance, public speaking, 3D modeling, and more. If that sounds daunting, don't worry. Each of these videos is conveniently broken up into 2-5 minute chapters, easily clickable and skippable so that you can focus on learning just the parts that help you further your goals. The videos also feature fully hyperlinked transcripts, allowing you to click any word to warp right to the point in the video where the line is spoken. Better than closed captioning!



The Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services is your local resource network for adult and continuing education. They provide full-time certification programs, business and industry training, and literacy and high school equivalency including English as a Second Language. You can register for a comprehensive certification path to careers like the trades, IT, Cosmetology, and nursing, or check out their a-la-carte offerings if you just want to take a few classes on topics like painting, cooking, home finance, or pet ownership.

Between the rising costs of a college education, and the pressures of a pandemic, remote learning is experiencing something of a renaissance. There are dozens of astonishing websites that feature premium educational content at fees much cheaper than even community college - sites like Udemy, Skillshare, Masterclass, and Wondrium. However, these sites paywall most or all of their best content. Open Culture curates and indexes the troves of free content and courses that can be found scattered throughout the web, including free sample courses offered by the pay-sites, links to the best totally free sites, courses by independent instructors on youtube, and colleges that publish open syllabi. You can also find links to public domain content like art, music, books, and lectures by notable speakers.

Khan Academy was the original website that first made net-savvy millennials say "Do I really need to pay for more college when I could learn this on the web?". And plenty of the ones who did go to college owe their diploma to Khan Academy because their snappy and straightforward lessons often made more sense than the professor's! Khan academy has only gotten better with time, now featuring content for elementary school onwards, and plenty of free standardized test prep material. This home-school parent's lifesaver is indispensable for those looking to brush up on those basics and get their GED's.


Mango Languages

Mango Languages features interactive lessons on over 70 languages. Whether you plan to travel abroad for business, learning English as a second language, or expand the skills list on your resume, you can take advantage of this expansive multi-platform tool. It is available for free with your Library Card and PIN when you follow the link from our library website.



Coursera partners with universities and businesses to deliver asynchronous online learning. Some of the courses are available for free, while others you have to pay for.

How To Research Career Fields

  • Occupational Websites
  • Professional Textbooks
  • Memoirs and biographies from industry leaders
  • Industry conferences and professional organizations
  • Recorded webinars and podcasts
  • Social Media Groups
  • Talk to people. Ask questions!


O*Net Online

Sponsored by the US Department of Labor, the Occupational Information Network (O*Net) provides descriptive profiles of what tasks a job entails, the skills and personal attributes it demands, education requirements, and of course, wages and job market data. It is a seriously underrated tool for writing your resume. Look up the job you want to apply for, and see exactly the bullet points that you need to hit when you craft your resume and cover letter. Look up your past jobs roles, and find all those professional-sounding phrases that let you tell your story in the brightest light possible.


Princeton Review - Majors and Careers

The annual Princeton Review is on every high school counselor's bookshelf for its famed, long-running college ranking series. When people are thinking about colleges, they're also thinking about future majors, standardized tests, and long term plans for special certifications. If you are considering making a change in your career, and think you might need additional formal education, the Princeton Review can help you find colleges that are aligned with your goals. You can look for many of their guides within our collection, or browse the website, which has enough content to get you started.


UBLS Occupational Outlook Handbook

Published by the US Department of Labor, the Occupational Outlook Handbook "provides information on what workers do; the work environment; education, training, and other qualifications; pay; the job outlook; information on state and area data; similar occupations; and sources of additional information, for 324 occupational profiles, covering about 4 out of 5 jobs in the economy." The "Outlook" part refers to their future-facing projections of how the job market might grow or shrink in response to market forces. If you want to get the most out of the site, spend a little time viewing the many different ways in which data can be presented by browsing the Data Tools tab. - Professional Associations

Every profession has professional associations - organizations at the local, regional, or even global scale, devoted to connecting individuals within a profession to exchange resources and best practices. They organize conferences where professionals socialize, present on special topics, exchange best practices, rub elbows with recruiters, and get wooed by niche industry merchants bearing free samples and lanyard flair. They also run Listervs (e-mail blasts), perform advocacy, write industry-specific news articles, and host webinars - many of which are posted online for free. The trick is finding them, which is where this specific link-list on comes in.

Keep in mind that some professional organizations charge dues in order to access the bulk of their content. That may not be worth it unless you're 100% serious about one specific career path. If you are returning to the workforce after a long absence, and are intimidated by all the ways your industry has changed, there's no better place to get caught up.


The Balance Career's How To Use Facebook Groups for Networking and Job Search

To be clear, nothing you hear on Facebook should be taken as gospel. But if you want to know what the day-to-day life of a person in a given profession looks like, joining a Facebook group devoted to that career is a great way to take the pulse of the industry. It's how you become the fly on the wall next to the office water cooler. People like to talk to their peers about their jobs. They like to share their triumphs, joke about common experiences that no one else would get, exchange resources and best practices, and (against all good advice) vent about all the frustrations that the boss never warns you about in the job description. Some invite-only groups may be wary of random unemployed people joining, but if you come in with a good attitude and a genuine spirit of inquisitiveness, people are usually pretty eager to give their opinions to anyone willing to listen.

Consider these questions when conducting research for your chosen career field:

Future Outlook

  • How high is the demand for these jobs? How has it changed over time?
  • Is there a shortage or surplus of workers in the field?
  • What salary and benefits are typical in this field?
  • Are the jobs available locally or would they likely to require travel, or relocation
  • How likely is it that the job will be automated or off-shored?
  • How long do people stay in this field, and where do they go from there?
  • Is it a broad field with a wide variety of employers, or is the field controlled by only a few organizations?
  • Is there a limit to how high you can progress without a certain degree/credential?
  • Do you advance in your career simply by getting better at the task, or by learning to supervise/teach others?

The Day to Day

  • How are most organizations that do this work structured? Would you answer to yourself, a boss, multiple bosses, a list of clients?
  • Does the career have a special ethical code? Can you lose your license if you break it?
  • Does this career require security clearance?
  • Are there random drug tests?
  • What kind of customers are you interacting with? The general public? Other fellow professionals? Niche enthusiasts?
  • What kind of personality types are your colleagues likely to have? Will you feel pressured to change your personality to fit in?
  • Is there a dress code or uniform? Will you have to maintain certain appearance standards?
  • How are people in this career typically expected to act on social media?
  • Does the career prevent you from engaging in political advocacy?

Work/Life Balance

  • What hours and shifts are typical for this job?
  • Can you work remotely if you want to? Do you have to work remotely when you would rather be in person?
  • Are most positions hourly or salaried? Are you expected to work outside of work hours?
  • Are there unexpected costs that the employer expects you to cover out of pocket?
  • Does the career support your plans regarding family, your social life, continuing education, travel, or volunteer work?
  • What are the values of the organizations involved in this field?
  • Is this career dangerous? How frequently do workplace injuries or fatalities occur?
  • Are there emotional and psychological risks like compassion fatigue or exposure to disturbing scenarios or imagery?

Why Research Your Employer?

  • Perform better in the interview as you gain understanding of what the organization really needs.
  • In a salary negotiation, knowledge is power!
  • Get a better understanding of what your future will look like as an employee.
  • Discover things about the job the employer may not tell you.
  • Avoid taking a job that you will regret having to leave later. Leaving organizations always comes with a cost.
    • If you quit or get fired a few months in, you'll have to explain a job gap and/or list a reference who will likely leave a less-than-glowing recommendation.
    • If you quit voluntarily, you may lose unemployment benefits.
    • Talking negatively about a previous employer never works in your favor.
    • You can't pretend you never worked there. A background check will reveal it.



GlassDoor lets you read reviews and testimonials from employees and former employees of businesses and organizations. It is also a job search engine and application portal that collects salary data from reviewers. You do have to register an account to do much of anything on the site. Also Keep in mind that reviews here are anonymous and unverified. Whether positive or negative,  there is no guarantee that they are written by someone who actually worked at the company, or that their reviews are accurate and unbiased. Larger employers also have an upper hand in that they have the option to flag reviews they don't like, and can follow up with legal challenges if they really want something gone.


Data Axle

The Data Axle Business database contains information on more than 70 million businesses gathered by professional analysts. Their business profiles contain information on a company's history, its executive team, financial performance, store locations, and job openings.



LinkedIn is a professional social network where you connect with colleagues, managers, potential employers, fellow professionals in your industry, and business experts and influencers. If you want to learn more about the culture of a company, you can look them up and learn more about the folks who work there. You may even find the person who just left the position the position that you're applying for. It is not the most objective place to get information about a company, since everyone is on their best behavior, but sometimes, the surface-level context is all you need to know. If you're trying to build rapport, it is way more appropriate tell your interviewer that you liked that cool article they posted on LinkedIn, as opposed complimenting the pictures of their fishing trip you saw while stalking their Facebook.


Cision PR NewsWire

Cision PRNewsWire is a clearinghouse for all the company-produced media that the industry wants you to see. You won't encounter anything negative about any company featured here, unless it's an apology and a promise to do better, or the occasional trash talk between corporate rivals. What you do get is an idea of what topics are currently important to that company - what initiatives they've started, what accomplishments they want to brag about to their shareholders, and what products they're excited to tell the media about. For those of you in retail and sales, this is a golden cheat sheet featuring exactly what to say when they ask you how you would go about selling their product.


Google Reviews

If your company has a physical location, you can use Google Maps to look them up and discover what people are saying about them on the Reviews section. Your mileage may vary depending on how much traffic the page gets, and how honest the customers are when they talk about their experiences. If people are consistently raving about the friendly customer service and quality of the products, you can deduce that this is a company that cares about doing a good job, and that usually means they treat their employees well. If people seem unhappy across the board, or if the manager gets combative on the internet against negative reviewers, you may be looking at some red flags.

Consider these questions when evaluating a potential employer.

Keep in mind that it might come off as confrontational to ask some of these questions at the interview. That's why it pays off to do the research yourself.

Professional Culture

  • What does the organization do to support work/life balance?
  • Do managers fall back and trust workers to direct their own efforts, or do they take a more hands-on approach?
  • Do changes come from employee and customer feedback, or from outside consultants and investors?
  • Is the organization investing in its tech infrastructure, or struggling with slow outdated systems?
  • Do they rely on tried-and-true methods, or do they innovate and disrupt?
  • Do they promote from within or bring in outside talent?
  • Are minorities represented at various levels of the hierarchy?
  • Does the organization pursue a political agenda you disagree with? Is it neutral on an issue that you think it should take action on?

Working Environment

  • What is the physical work environment like? Cubicles? Open floor plan? Is it clean, well-lit, and ergonomic?
  • What does the organization do to promote accessibility for people who need special accomodations?
  • Does the organization invest in their employees through additional training opportunities, or subsidized tuition?
  • Do they respect basic human needs like bathroom breaks, doctor visits, parental leave, or flexible hours for taking kids to school?
  • Does the organization provide adequate safety gear, and take accident precautions seriously?
  • Does the organization have a history of sudden layoffs?
  • Do they quickly replace the people who leave the organization, or transfer the workload to the remaining employees?
  • Do they change health insurance providers every couple of years?
  • Are you allowed to join a union or talk about starting one if you want to?
  • Are you expected to participate in a union when you'd rather not?

The Bottom Line

  • Does the company actually make profits yet or is it relying on investor cash for income?
  • Is the organization publicly traded on the stock market? If so, how has that been going lately?
  • Is the organization facing pressure from a major competitor, government regulators, supply shortages, budget cuts, or public backlash?
  • Is pay merit-based or equal pay for everyone? Commission? Overtime?
  • Are workers allowed to discuss their pay?
  • Is there room for negotiation in the pay structure?

The Day to Day

  • How far in advance will you know your work schedule?
  • If you get sick, is it your responsibility to get your shift covered? What if no one volunteers to take your shift?
  • Will you be pressured to cover someone else's shift or take back-to-back shifts?
  • Where is it located? Is there anywhere nearby to get food?
  • Is there heavy traffic? Where do you park? Is parking free?
  • Do they give you a company device for remote work, or expect you to use your personal equipment?
  • Do they use keyboard/mouse tracking software to make sure you're working at your computer?
  • Are there unpleasant tasks that you are expected to perform that the organization is avoiding highlighting in the job description?
  • Does the boss think the customer is always right, at the expense of customer service staff?
  • Does the boss think the customer is always wrong, and pick fights with upset customers on public review websites?