Increase Chances of Getting Employed
Looking for Employment in All the Right Places
The first step in finding a job that is a good fit for you is to look for your job in the right places. You may want to do something different with you life, and that is possible, too, but you need to know where to look.
If you are looking within your field of experience, look online. Don't just look in the employment section of your local newspapers, very few jobs are listed there now. Do pick up free employment and education newspapers if you have access to them. Sometimes, they have very good job leads.
Next, when looking on the internet, look at employment agencies, state employment agencies, and, yes, temporary employment agencies. Sometimes, a good temporary agency also does matching for permanent hire as well. When you fill in your paperwork and complete your interview with personnel in the office, make it clear that your preference is to work towards permanent or temp to hire positions.
If you know of companies in your desired job field, go on their website. They may have a listing of jobs. Even if a company does not have specific job openings currently, if there is a place to submit your resume or fill in an application for employment, take the time to do so.
Use more than one search engine when looking. The results may vary greatly.
Make a list of who you have applied to. You don't want to lose points for professionalism by sending several resumes to the same company. I was once very excited during a weekend of job searching to learn of many jobs on different web sites that listed an opening in my field of interest. They were all in a city that I was interested in. Excited, I filled in every single application. The company was not listed. Guess what? I applied to the same job over 30 times. I did not even get a call back. If a website does not list the name of the company, I would not apply to any jobs listed on it for that very reason.
If you are looking for a job that you are not certain if you are qualified for, look online to get better descriptions of the job so that you can make sure that it is a good fit for you. No experience necessary and will train are phrases that you want to look for.
The CV or Resume-How to Make Yours Valid and Stand Out
In other countries, it is called a CV. Here in the United States, we call it a resume.
A resume is a detailed history of your work life from start to finish. It tells the employer where all you have been, progress you have made in your career, and gives an idea of your staying power within a company. A resume gives the employer a snapshot of you, and helps them make the decision of whether or not you will be progressing forward to getting an invitation to interview.
Your resume should be neat and clean. Free of errors, it should also be printed on nicer quality paper. Nice paper is not paper that has graphic designs in the background, nor is it the paper that is designed to look like parchment paper. Unless specified, do not mount your resume into a folder or a notebook. This is not a presentation you are submitting to a boss of a completed project you worked on. This is a quick glance at who you are. Don't cause the nice people in HR to take more time looking at your folder. It will most likely be cast aside.
Before you create a resume, create a timeline for yourself. Start with your most recent experience and work backwards from there. Write down what you did at each job. Note what you learned there as well. Don't go word crazy. You don't want to submit a resume that is several pages long. Keep it to one page. I have had people in HR share with me that the longer the resume, the less likely it is to be read.
When done with work experience, list your educational achievements. Attending college without completion is not a college degree. If you are not a current student, only list what you have completed, unless you are specifically asked to list college courses that you did not complete in a resume.
When asked to list educational accomplishments, this includes education that resulted in certificates. Any special classes that resulted in additional skills are valuable. At a job interview, I got a job on the spot because of a very specific course that I took. When listing completed classes and degrees, always have the full address of where you took it, the issuing body, the person to contact if there is one, web address and phone number.
List any extracurricular groups and organizations that you belong to that show contributions to society. This can include social organizations, civic organizations, and even religious ones if they serve a purpose to better society in any way other than only religious. List how long you have been a member of the organization. If you serve a specific purpose, please make sure to list it as well. Explain the purpose of the group if the title does not make it clear. If you have several titles in an organization, list the highest title, not all of them.
If you have skills that you feel you should mention, such as CPR training, list them separately. Note where you received your qualifications as well as when you were certified. CPR certifications, for example, are only viewed as being current within a certain window of time after the course is taken. Just knowing certain skills is not enough when it comes to certifications.
If salary is requested, list it when you list your jobs. Otherwise, don't list it. If references are requested, list the person's name, address, phone number, email address, and best time to contact them. State how you know them and how long you have known one another. Make sure you speak to any and all of your references before you list them. I once had a friend list me on a resume as a personal reference. I did not know her legal first name as I knew her only by her nickname and last name. When the potential employer called, I declined knowing her. She did not get the job because none of her references checked out. Tell your references if you have a different name than the nickname they know you by before you list them! ASK before you list someone as a reference. Remind them every few months if you are still listing them.
Make sure that you have all of the documents that are requested from you before you send in a resume. If the job says you will need a passport when you apply, go and get it. You will be asked to provide it anyway, and if you don't have it, you will not get the interview, or, if you get the interview, you will not get the job.
Cover Letter or Motivation Letter
The cover letter is a most often underused document. In the cover letter, you are allowed to get slightly more personal about yourself, your goals, and any unique qualities that you possess. Style guides abound online about cover letters, and some of them are very industry specific. Do submit a good cover letter with your resume.
Make sure that the cover letter looks identical to your resume in terms of the paper that you use, the font and font size, and your contact information. If your resume and cover letter are separated, your contact information will allow them to be pieced back together. I have heard horror stories from several friends in HR about finding the perfect fit only to have no contact information to reach them at.
If you are delivering your cover letter in person, please sign above your name in blue or black ink.
Job Interview the Different Types of Interviews
There are many different types of interviews, and you need to be prepared for all of them.
If you will be interviewed on the phone, make sure that when the time for the call comes, you are in a quiet place with a working pen and ample paper to take notes on. Why do I mention this? When I did recruiting for a job, the main things that irked all of us on the HR team were the following scenarios:
- Loud background noise that was inappropriate. What is inappropriate background noise? Loud televisions, radios, party or bar sounds. Loud sounds of sporting events. Babies or children crying/asking for help with something/wanting to speak to us on the telephone.
- Lack of preparation on the part of the applicant. Examples? "My pen does not work. I need a piece of paper. My phone battery is almost dead. My baby is not napping/is napping right now." We heard these over and over. A person would surely advance with us if their pen and paper were present during these moments.
- Not understanding what the position they applied for entails, even if the applicant stated extensive experience in their application.
- Poor grasp of English language.
Make sure members of your household know that you will need to be left alone for at least 2 hours to assure you adequate time for the call. When the call comes, write down the name of the person, their title and the name of the company. Listen carefully when they speak, and do not interrupt. If you have questions, write them down and ask at the end of the interview.
Answer all questions honestly and to the best of your ability. If you do not know the answer, don't make up an answer, admit that you do not know. Best answer I heard from an applicant? "I do not know that. If you give me a chance, I will know everything that there is to know about your company." She got the job.
If you are asked for a time to have a face to face interview, already have in mind what times are good and convenient to you. Have your calendar in front of you if need be. Write down the time, address, and who you will be meeting with. Confirm it with the person by repeating it. Thank them for their time, and end the call.
You may be asked to do an online camera interview. The company will suggest a software program for you to use. If you are familiar with the software that they suggest, say so, otherwise ask questions before you proceed. Skype is a popular choice for some companies.
During an Internet interview, you must have a quiet place to conduct your interview from. Make sure that your family/roommates understand that this is for a job and not to joke or kid around. Remember to look behind you and see what your potential employer will be seeing. Clutter, mess, pets, inappropriate posters are not what you need to show off here. If you cannot come up with proper surrounding, ask a friend or a relative if you can use their home or office for the interview. If that is not possible, call your local library and ask if they offer wireless internet access, and if you can conduct a job interview there. A library near me offers rooms for use by appointment. They are comfortable and quiet, and a sign on the door as well as a lock keep others from breaking in on your interview.
Do dress professionally in your online interview, all the way down to your socks and shoes. Make sure your face and body are clean, and that your hair and teeth are brushed. Bring paper and a pen to take notes. Have your resume in front of you, as well as any other relevant information. Dress up all the way down to your toes. Turn off your cell phone. I know of at least one employer who will not advance a candidate who is dressed casually for the internet interview.
Face to Face Interview
Arrive early by at least fifteen minutes, but to be honest, thirty is better in case you have some forms to fill out.
Wear clothing appropriate for the interview. Shoes should be clean, stockings for women, trouser socks for men. Hair should be groomed and styled. Basically, you should look clean and presentable. Turn off all electronic devices before you walk in the door. Don't turn them back on until you away from the business. Learn the names of the people or person who interviews you. Bring a copy or several of your resume with you. Look over it once in the waiting area to quickly review. Don't speak to others in the waiting area about your great ideas, or things you are hoping to share with the interviewers. You don't want your great ideas coming out of someone else's mouth and landing that person the job that you hope to get.
During the interview, listen. Take notes. Don't ask questions until the end. Do not ask salary questions until you are offered the position.
Remember to write and mail thank you notes to everyone. It really does make a difference.
The Follow Up
During all of your interviews, unless you are told that you are hired right then, or told that you are not a good candidate, it is appropriate to ask when the decision should be made. You can ask if candidates will be contacted either way.
About contact from the company: If you are told one week, wait two before contacting the company. A short phone call or email is sufficient. "Hello, I am calling about the x position. Is it still available?" Is sufficient.
If you are ever told by a company not to contact them, don't. You may disqualify yourself.
What Not to Do
You may go to a job interview where they give you an application to fill out. DO NOT WRITE "SEE RESUME" or anything similar. It is a sure way of making sure that your application will not be seen. Sometimes, you are asked to fill in an application to see how well you complete directions or to see if you remember what you wrote in. Many people mess up on their application process.
Bring your resume, copy from it and fill out the application. No one will object to this.
Don't send flowers or lavish gifts to the HR people. It is awkward and almost guarantees that you won't get the job.It smacks of bribery on your part, and if you are selected, it could be taken as favoritism. Just don't. A thank you letter is sufficient. A woman once baked cookies for everyone in an HR office, where she insisted on pestering everyone to try them. We all declined, and she called every day for over a week, every single time mentioning to us that she was "the one who brought in the delicious gourmet cookies" when she asked about the job. We declined her a position, and she then shared that she could have laced the cookies with anything. Well, that was the reason that we did not eat the cookies in the first place!
I mentioned it above, but please turn off all phone and media when you are interviewing. A man sat across a desk from me, happily texting while we talked. He assured me that he was listening to me as we spoke. I wrote a sentence or so on a piece of paper and folded it into a tent so that he would see it when he looked up. What did it say? "As safety director, you cannot be distracted in your job. You are distracted during the interview. Don't text and drive on your way home. Thanks, Bye." He was not amused, but I think he got the idea I was trying to convey.
Don't wear so much cologne that everyone can smell you. It is distracting. If someone has allergies, it can be dangerous.
Don't wear jewelry that reflects your beliefs.
Don't ask when vacation is, how many sick days there are, or how soon the probation is over.
Don't ask about drug testing, criminal background checks or anything else like that.
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