USES screens applicants to make sure they possess the basic qualifications the employer is looking for. USES counselors then call the employer and sell the applicant in order to arrange an appointment.
Applicants find out about jobs by looking at the listings which are posted on a bulletin board in the USES office, or by viewing the job listings on microfiche. The job listing includes the job title, basic du ties and required experience, the city or area the job is in, and the salary range. It will not provide the name of the employer.
To get referred, an applicant must then write the job on a form and wait his or her turn. The counselor will then look up the job in the counselor's microfiche, which contains additional information. If the counselor is relatively certain the person would not be accepted for an interview, the counselor will explain why. If a person insists, the counselor may call, but will probably not make a heroic effort to obtain an interview. The counselor has the name of the company, address, phone number, and the name of the contact person. The counselor also has information regarding when the job order came in and how many people have been referred to that position. Sometimes the counselor will indicate that the job is 45 days old and 32 people have already been referred for one opening. This implies that either the job is about to be filled or that the employer may not be serious about filling it. In many states, USES also runs free job-finding workshops. They provide information on resume writing and interviewing, as well as tips on how to utilize the hidden job market.
About 5% of all job seekers find jobs through USES. The quality of the jobs USES handles has often been criticized. One survey revealed that over 50% of the people who had been placed by USES were no longer on the job 30 days later. Despite their efforts, very few USES offices have managed to draw large numbers of professional, technical, or managerial job seekers, probably because they have found difficulty obtaining those types of job orders. While overall, about 5% of all job seekers obtained their current job through USES, the statistics for specific types of occupations range from less than 2% of all engineers to about 8% of all equipment operators and blue-collar service workers.
Tips on Using USES
You can only use USES if you are unemployed. The service is free. Regardless of the type of position you are seeking, you must make one or two visits to your local USES office to determine whether it should be a part of your job search. You will find addresses in the blue pages of the telephone book in your state government section.
On your first visit, you will fill out the forms and meet with a counselor. Ask the counselor how you can make the best use of their services, based on your background and the type of work you are seek ing. You will not be assigned a counselor. Each time you go in and find a job you are interested in, your name will go to the bottom of the list and whichever counselor is available when your name reaches the top is the one you'll meet with that day.
The most frequent comment you may get about USES is that it's depressing. That's not surprising; everyone waiting around the office is unemployed. The counselors usually get high marks for caring, but job seekers quickly realize there is little time for personal consulting. USES offices are typically understaffed and waits of over an hour are not un common. Counselors often meet with 20 or more people per day. That doesn't give them much time to provide a lot of individual attention.
If you make USES part of your regular search, the best recommendation would be that you stop by twice a week. This will give you a chance to be referred for almost all of the positions you would have an interest in. Also, by visiting that frequently, you'll miss few openings. Go first to the bulletin board since that will have the newest positions. Use a spiral binder to keep track of jobs you've looked at. Simply write down the title and a phrase or two about the job so if you see it a week later, you'll know that you've already looked into it. Then check the microfiche listings. Track those jobs just as you did the posted positions.
Find out what days and times of the day are least busy and visit the office at those times. Work your visits into your job search. If the nearest office is ten or more miles away, stop by anytime you are in the vicinity. Because your visit is likely to involve some time waiting to see a counselor, use your time wisely with activities such as writing thank-you notes.
Some USES offices have microfiche data bases that cover job openings outside of your state. One microfiche, for example, lists jobs in the airline industry and tells you where to apply for these positions. Another microfiche lists federal job openings that do not require federal civil service exams. The offices also often collect state and local government job announcements. These data bases and the collection of job announcements do not require the help of a counselor, so even if you are employed these resources could be helpful to you.