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How can I succeed in finding a job in such a competitive market?

Ask the Employer

Members of the Frederick County Workforce Development Board (WDB) represent both public and private sector organizations and provide ongoing leadership to Frederick County Workforce Services and the local workforce development system.

Recently, board members were asked to offer advice to job seekers on how to succeed in finding a job in today’s competitive labor market. Here's how they responded:  

“Do your homework!  Know before you walk in the door what the company does, what their history is, what is important to them.  Research some of the acronyms of their industry.  Just 30 minutes of research can go a long way in “speaking the same language” as your interviewer.   The more you understand about the company, the better you can match your experience to their needs.”  - Christine Demas, Director, Fort Detrick Business Development Office

“First, be sure to research the company with whom you are interviewing.  Share your background and how it fits into their organization.  Second, one resume doesn't fit all. Be sure to highlight your skills based on the job for which you are applying.  And third, you must sell yourself. Don't sit in front of the individual and short change yourself. You are your best advocate.  No one else can sell you better than you can!” - Rose Davis PHR, HR Manager, Canam Steel Corp

“If you are currently unemployed, make your time off count.  Do something worthwhile, volunteer during your unemployed time.  If possible, volunteer for a cause related to the field/job you are pursuing. If that is not an option, then volunteer for something new and list your volunteer efforts on your resume.  Employers will see you as someone who is able to handle change and “make lemonade out of lemons”.  Change is inevitable, and employers like to talk to people who are able to deal with change in a positive manner.  And through volunteering you could quite possibly find your dream job.” - Karen Barry, Aeroflex Weinschel

“Tell the employer that you’ll be early for work, will work late, will work like you own the company and will work toward owning the company. Keep in mind that there are many successful small businesses that do not have anyone to “take over” and fulfill the role of owning and managing the company. Employers to whom this applies will especially value these qualities.” - Mike Bowersox, Ben Lewis Plumbing

“First impressions are very important, so be prepared and look the part.  Make eye contact at all times and give direct answers.  If you do not know the answer, be honest and say so.” - Blaine Young, President, Board of County Commissioners

“Make sure to research your target company and make reference to your research in your application materials. Indicate the specific company values that link to your values. Candidates that demonstrate sincere interest and respect for the target company’s products, services, awards and civic participation may stand out favorably among the others.” - Charles Hunt, Labor Exchange Administrator, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

“Be sure to prepare and practice for each “audition”.  There is only one small window of opportunity to create that memorable first impression.  An interview is not a good time to wing it.  When you practice interviewing, preferably with an experienced professional, you’ll get invaluable feedback on the image you create.  And be sure to turn off your cell phone during the interview!” - Sophia Dobransky, SPHR, Frederick County Human Resources

“Don’t send out the same resume to all employers; customize it for the particular job.  A one-size-fits-all resume is no longer the norm.  To be attractive to an employer and stand out from the rest, make it look like your resume is only for that one employer.  Highlight the specific skills they ask for in the ad or announcement by showing how you have done them in previous jobs.” - Darlene T. Carver, MBA, Merlin & Associates, Inc.

“Most jobs are filled through referrals and networking. All things being equal, if you are referred by someone who works at a company you have a better than average chance of making it to the top of the pile. Work with your contacts to identify someone who works at the targeted company, or find someone who knows someone. If you do not have a contact at a targeted employer, try to schedule an informational interview. Ask the person in charge of the appropriate department if they can schedule an interview to provide you some guidance in your career search. Most individuals are willing to spend that time. But when you go, be respectful of their time. While at the interview you can ask for their guidance in how to secure a position, but the interview should not be used as a direct appeal for a job.”  - Terry O’Malley, VP, Human Resources, Frederick Memorial Hospital

For more tips and advice, contact Frederick County Workforce Services at 301.600.2255 or visit