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College Grads: Get Moving and Get Focused

Your front-page article "Looking For Work: Old College Tie May Not Suffice in Job Market," June 7, was accurate but incomplete. First of all, facing a grueling job search after college is nothing new. After graduating in 1987 with an advertising degree from Michigan State University, I worked for seven months as a "temp" before finding full-time work in my field. The problem, I later learned, was neither the economy nor the advertising industry; it was not even a lack of credentials on my part. My job se arch simply lacked focus. This same statement holds true for many 1993 graduates.

In the marketing firm where I worked for nearly five years after graduation, we would receive hundreds of resumes for a single entry-level position. More often than not, however, our search proved fruitless. When we asked candidates why they wanted this particluar position, most of them had no idea. These candidates often boasted good grades and experience, but when it came to what we, the employer, cared about most - what these candidates offered our company - they drew a blank. Other business leaders a cross the country have had this same frustrating, recurring experience.

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So if there's such a surplus of job-hunters, as the article suggested, why is it so difficult for employers to find good employees? The problem is not a "tougher labor market," the problem is a mismatch between workers and jobs. While this problem affects both employer and employee, it is the job-hunter who must take responsibility for correcting it.

The solution, then, is not to wait for things in Washington to improve. Nor is the solution to send out more resumes (which, by the way, employers hate to read). My advice to job-hunters and even those still in college is to treat the job search like a full-credit class. If you wait outside for conditions to improve while denying your own power to take charge of your career, you will be bitterly disappointed - and more likely, you will be underemployed. Gina DeLapa, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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