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Job Search: 1994 vs. Now

The Hiring Process The Local Job Market


The last time I looked for work was 1994. Has anything changed since then?


In a word, yes.

It would be easier to tell you what has not changed than identify what’s different now. But here are a few things:

In 1994, we typed our resumes on our Selectric typewriters, then took them to the printer and made however many copies we feared we would need. We walked around town, looking for “help wanted” signs, and handed out copies of those resumes to local employers, and asked if they were hiring. We looked for ads in the newspapers that sounded like good jobs for us. Nowadays we use job boards, like, and social media, especially LinkedIn, to find leads.

In order to apply for a job in 1994, you might go into a business, fill out an application, chat with a Human Resources person, and start work the next day. Nowadays, you’ll probably have to do online applications or email your resume and cover letter to a company. The application process may include some kind of test: aptitude, skills or even a personality assessment. Or you might be approached by a recruiter by way of LinkedIn or other social network.

If all went well in 1994, you had a chance to interview. You would meet with the employer (or possibly two or three managers from the business), and answer their questions, showing why you were the perfect person for the job. The questions would usually be along the lines of “What’s your greatest weakness?” and “Sell me this pen.” Nowadays, you’ll get some of those questions; you’ll also get behavioral questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you dealt successfully with a difficult customer.” And the whole interview may occur on Skype.

A few things that we did in 1994 still work. Networking is, and probably always will be, the way you will most likely find your new job. Employers prefer to hire someone they know; if that doesn’t work, the next best choice is someone recommended by a current employee. Nowadays this often happens by social networking, mainly LinkedIn. But that person-to-person network you’ve always had is still a very valuable resource.

Another similarity: FCWS was in the job search business in 1994 (though under two different names: Maryland Job Service and Frederick County Job Training Agency.) Our staff has been keeping up with the trends, and we’re available to update you. We have seminars on the topics you’ll need to job search in this decade, such as Resume Express, The LinkedIn Connection, and Conquer Online Applications. Check the current FCWS Calendar of Events for the specifics. We also have Employment and Training Specialists to make sure you are making the best use of this new information. If you need training in new skills or software, we may be able to help with that too.

As always, employers are looking for people who will help them succeed in their mission, whatever it is. Show that you are such a person, and that you are prepared for this decade and the next.




About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.