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This job market is not for the faint of heart.

Updated on February 18, 2014
Don't let filling out applications scare you.
Don't let filling out applications scare you. | Source

“Back in my day – “ is an automatic shut off for anyone under 30, despite how accurate the information, or how sage the imparter. However, it is true that the job market, and the way it is navigated has never been more of a challenge. Despite high-tech methods, World Wide Web exposure, and numerous online job sites that offer everything from entry level job listings to Fortune 500, six-figure executive jobs, some of the “old school” practices are still worth taking a look at.

One of the best ways to find a career path, whether the goal is entering the workforce for the first time, discovering strengths, weaknesses, and the most beneficial direction to continue on, or even a complete career change, is to take a Career Aptitude and Personality Trait Test. These are pretty common tests that help a job seeker get on the right path from the beginning of the career search; as well as, helps prospective employers place new hires where they will be the most productive for the company and the most satisfied individually. The United States military administers this kind of test commonly known as the ASVAB or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. Many job placement agencies offer similar types of testing, and you can find several online sites that offer such testing.

On-line applications can be a dead end.

  • Construct Your Resume

The next step is to construct a clear, concise, and informative resume. It does not matter if it’s applying for a crew member position at a local fast-food restaurant or the career of a lifetime; a good resume is a must. There are many websites that can help with everything from resume templates, formats, layouts and tips, to resume writing experts who make the applicant shine – for a price, of course. One of the better sites for the beginner is the resume help site from

  • Eye Catching Cover Letter

Now that the resume has been perfected, a cover letter is the next step. Too many job seekers do not take the importance of the cover letter seriously, but this introductory letter can make the difference between a resume’s position at the top of the stack, or in the reject pile. Of course, there are many good websites to help the candidate create an eye-catching cover letter.

  • Follow Up

Online applications can be a dead end if all the applicant does is – enter information – click the apply button, and – wait for a phone call. The probability of a job seeker receiving a call, based solely on filling out an online application, is slim, considering the large number of applications submitted in any given day. The savvy employment seeking individual will follow up with a personal visit to deliver a strong resume, with cover letter, to the H. R. director. Attaching a face and a hard copy to the on the online application gives a real advantage.

If it is not possible to make a personal visit to a prospective employer, make a follow up call by phoning the HR department after (10) days. This assures you that they have received your application and alerts the employer to your level of interest.

Jeans are NEVER appropriate to wear.

  • Make a good first impression

Perception is everything and making a good first impression helps everyone get ahead. These are more “old sayings” that ring true, and should be headed when entering the job market; which brings up the subject of clothing. Jeans are NEVER appropriate to wear. Whether the candidate is just stopping by a Kiosk in the mall to secure a job application, or for an interview, business attire is the only acceptable attire.

If an applicant happens to “pop in” to the local discount store to snap up a job application wearing a pair of jeans with the knees sliced, (regardless if that’s the style) a tank top, and a pair of scruffy shoes, they may as well take the application home and throw it in the trash. Regardless of how “laid back” the business or business owner may be, it is the responsibility of the applicant to convince the owner that they are the man or woman for the job. As cliché as the statement “You have to sell yourself,” is, it is very true and even more so in the economic environment of today. Purchasing at least one set of “business attire” is a wise investment in the first step of “selling yourself.” Clothes alone will not make the man, or woman, if some personal grooming is not included. A good haircut, clean, short nails, freshly brushed teeth, and maybe even a breath mint, is a good idea. Smile, be willing to shake hands, speak clearly and answer questions as well as you can.

Tenacity is trait most employers admire.

  • Follow Up

Follow up is often overlooked or considered a form of pestering, but once the application has been filled out and submitted, whether online or in person, and a resume and cover letter have been sent or delivered, a follow up plan needs to be made. Seven to ten days is an average time to begin follow up. A short phone call to the H R Director inquiring as to the status of the job in question shows real interest, and initiative. There is nothing wrong with being aggressive, as a matter of fact; tenacity is trait most employers admire.

  • Prepare for your Interview

Once an applicant is called in for an interview, he / she must convince the Company, H R director, and anyone involved in the interview process, what they, the applicant, has to offer the company and how hiring him / her will benefit them. There are many great websites that give practical advice about job interviews. The wise candidate will do some research and be well prepared.

Confidence and a positive attitude go a long way during an interview, as well as, projecting a willingness to learn. In entry level jobs, it’s not always the applicant that knows how to do a job, but the one who is willing to learn how this company wants the job done.

The present job market is not for the faint of heart. It is a highly competitive place where the applicants are many, and the jobs are few. It takes the right tools, an aggressive approach, confidence in one’s self and abilities, and a positive attitude to maneuver through it all and find the right job.


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