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Getting a Job: Step-by-Step from Start to Finish Guidance

Updated on May 23, 2014

Keep a Notebook

  • Stay in touch with employment agencies. Be fresh in their minds.
  • When you get an offer, take it! It’s better to be employed and looking for a job.
  • Set a schedule. Use a planner of some kind to keep on track and move toward your career goals.
  • On your voicemail, be very professional and short.
  • Join Linked-In, a professional version of Face book.
  • Go to to get all the information you need.
  • Keep a list of where you have applied, how you applied, the date you applied, the position, the company, your log-in information, and any other descriptive information you may need later.

The Position You Want

  • Make sure it is something you will like doing for a long time.
  • Make sure you have the proper experience for the position.
  • Check that they are offering you the proper wage for the position. A minimum wage to accept can be found at
  • Make sure you choose the industry you are most interested in. Research industries.
  • Know whether you what size company you want to work for, how far you want to travel, if you are willing to work overtime, if you are willing to relocate, and the level of responsibility you wish to have.

Professional Industries


Non-Professional Industries



Make your voicemail pleasant and short. Smile while you are talking. Be professional. Say something like, “Hi, This is <first and last name>. I am sorry I missed your call, but if you will please leave me a detailed message, I will return your call as soon as I can.” “Thank you for calling and have an excellent day!” Always have pen and paper handy when taking down notes from voicemails so that you catch all the details. You may even want to purchase a phone message pad so that you can keep up with who you have called back and who you still need to call back.

Answering Your Phone

Always answer your cellular or home phone with a smile. You never know who it could be. Be sure to pronounce words clearly, be polite, talk slowly, and smile. Use the caller’s name as many times as you can during the call. That shows that you are listening and that you care. Toward the end of the conversation, repeat back any important information they gave you to ensure you wrote it down right. Also, depending on the situation, assure them that you will get the issue taken care of or get them the information they need as soon as possible.

Using Email as a Means of Communication

Technology has shown that today electronic mail has taken over face-to-face conversations, telephone calls, and in person contact. Therefore, it is important to master email, knowing how to be professional and expressing yourself clearly. Here are some tips in using email during your job quest:

  • Since you cannot express a concerned tone or a genuine facial expression, whatever message you are trying to convey needs to be done in a professional manner that shows your feelings on the subject without causing drama or unnecessary or unwanted negativity.
  • Email messages are often interpreted in a negative tone, so constructive criticism, suggestions, or changes you need to have made should be diplomatic. Often, depending on the subject, it is best to discuss these items in person or via the telephone. If your message is communicated incorrectly, you may lose the respect of the person you are emailing. Be sure to include plenty of “pleases,” “thank you's,” and “appreciate.”
  • If a potential employer emails you, respond back as soon as possible. If you need time to research the answer, or if it will take some time to come up with the material they are asking for, politely let them know you will be back in touch as soon as possible. Do not just wait until you have the information. Give them a heads up that you are working on it for them.
  • If you receive a disheartening email from a reference or potential employer, take a bit to compose yourself before returning the email. Otherwise, you may let your emotions get the better of you, and you may say something you regret.
  • Always use proper grammar and spelling. Double check what you wrote before you hit send in case you used the wrong words.
  • Don’t send scriptures, jokes, or personal items with a professional email. Make sure you use a readable font at a reasonable size. Treat email correspondence just as you would your cover letter to the company.

A Continual Job Search Plan

  • Develop a solid “Daily Job Plan.” Write it out. When you get up and going each morning, go to your plan and begin. List on your plan all of the things that you need to do every day of job searching.
  • Keep track of the latest postings on the career sites.
  • Used LinkedIn. Build your Network, but don’t make it personal. Save your personal information for your Face book. Only add professional contacts. Add the friends of your friends. Upload your resume on the site.
  • Don’t sit in your pajamas all day every day. Get outside daily and talk to someone. Strike up a conversation. You never know. They may just be the key to getting your dream job.
  • Get up early each day as if you were going to work. Get dressed and put your make up on. Do your hair. Don’t slum out, or you will eventually be a bum. Now, get busy! THIS (Job Searching) is your job. Treat it no differently than any other job.
  • Don’t cope alone if you are having emotional problems. Join a support group. Go to workshops at your local unemployment office. Be around people who are going thru the same thing, and you may get just the advice you need. This is also a great way to network. Your local unemployment office should offer you at least one to two courses per week you can attend to learn more about making yourself marketable.
  • Go to to find out all the information you need regarding the job you are after, the salary you want, and where to find the job. This site is very comprehensive.
  • If you have the time, help others. Volunteer. This is a great way to network. It will give you many opportunities to be around people and hit upon any job lead or contact. Plus, this gives you a great “job experience” to add to your resume, and it looks great if you happen to meet your future employer while helping others. This shows you have a strong character.
  • Keep a notebook full of employment agencies, job postings, where you applied, when, the duties, salary, email address, how you applied, etc. Keep track of who you talk to on the phone, what you talk about, the details of upcoming interviews, who you have sent thank you notes to or follow up notes to. Continuously keep this up every day.

Job Fairs

Job fairs are organized events where employers set up information about their company. It is a great opportunity to meet employers from all sorts of industries. To find out about them, check your local newspaper.

You will be meeting employers and telling them about yourself, like a brief, on-the-spot interview. It gives you a chance to practice interviewing. Give them a brief synopsis that sells your skills and abilities. Treat the job fair like an interview situation.

Be prepared for the job fair by bringing multiple copies of your resume printed on nice, bond paper. If you know what companies will be there, research the company just as you would if you were interviewing with them. Be prepared for them to ask briefly about you and your qualifications. Take a portfolio or briefcase for carrying your resources and for putting brochures and pamphlets in it. Dress professionally, and be well rested. Always get their business cards, and add them to your network.

What to tell each employer:

Your name

What your experienced career is and how many years you have in a particular industry

Your strengths and accomplishments

Your interest in their industry

Your career goal

Talk to about 10 companies that you are not interested in just for practice. You don’t have to give them your resume, but you can get their business cards. Then, go to the ones you really want and give them your resume. Try to just get their business cards so you can later tailor your resume to match their company’s style or the position’s requirements and send it to the email address on the business card. You can open with, “I met you at the job fair in Sand Springs on May 24.”

Any face to face time is important. Make a professional first impression. Do not take anyone with you, including your children. You want to make an excellent first impression and show you are serious about getting a job.

Temporary Employment

Often, job seekers must obtain temporary employment to get by financially until the permanent position they are looking for becomes offered to them. Also, temporary work can turn into permanent work if an employer has an opening and is impressed with you as a temporary employee.

A benefit of temporary employment is that you can learn new skills through different assignments, which you can then add to your resume. For example, if the temporary company you were assigned to uses a computer program you have never used, you will then have experience with it and can add it to the computer section of your resume. Also, temporary employers can be added to your network. They may be valuable assets in leading you or referring you elsewhere to find the perfect job.

Temporary assignments are also nice if you are unsure of the industry you want to focus your job search on. It gives you a chance to try different career avenues without permanently committing to them. The variety you experience may led you in the right direction and help you clarify your career goals on your resume.

Not only do you can valuable new work experience with a temporary assignment, but you also continue to keep your resume full. If you are worried about gaps due to temporary assignments, offer potential employers a brief explanation about the temporary work and explain the valuable experience you gained.

Information to Have on Hands at All Times

This will truly help you when filling out job information. You don’t want to have to look up this information for every application you fill out.

  • Driver’s License Number and expiration date
  • Previous employer, their address, their phone number, your dates of employment, your duties, your supervisor and his or her title, your title or titles (and dates of each), and the employment agency that sent you there
  • References: Full name, occupation, place of business, address, phone number, how long you’ve known them, and their email address
  • Your high school and colleges: Full names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  • All of your user name and passwords for job search websites.
  • “Good” reasons as to why you left your former jobs.

When You are Hired

  • Be Prepared. Ask in advance what you need to bring.
  • Over-dress. Although everyone may be dressing casually at the company, you should dress business casual on the first day.
  • Bring a notebook and pen.
  • Bring proper identification. Bring 2 forms of identification.
  • Bring a set of headphones in your purse in case you can listen to music.
  • Bring your phone charger.
  • Don’t forget any medications you take during the day.
  • Have a change of clothes in the car in case you spill something on your outfit.

Questions to Ask Your First Day

  • How does lunchtime work?
  • If I am sick or something comes up, who do I call?
  • Who is my supervisor, and what is their phone number?
  • Do I need to bring anything?
  • What is the dress code?
  • What all will I be doing my first week?
  • Where should I park?


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