Just because school’s out, and everyone is leaving town to beat the heat, it doesn’t mean it’s time to take a vacation from your job search. In fact, the timing couldn’t be better. The economy is getting stronger and employers are starting to hire once again. Here is some information to ignite your job search and get you the position you’ve been looking for!
Do you have access to a phone and an e-mail address? It’s imperative that potential employers have a convenient way to contact you, otherwise, they may move on to the next qualified applicant. If you don’t have a phone, ask a trusted friend or relative if you can use their number to put on applications and your résumé. Make sure they know that if an employer tries to contact you through them, that it’s essential that you get the message ASAP! If you don’t have a computer at home, your local library has computers with internet access for you to use free of charge! You can set up a FREE e-mail account with Hotmail.com or Yahoo.com. Check for e-mail messages frequently in case an employer is trying to contact you.
Is your résumé “package” current? A basic resume package includes a resume, cover letter, reference sheet, and thank you letter. (Yes, a thank you letter!) Is your contact information up to date on everything? Does your resume reflect your most current skills and work experience? It needs to communicate duties and responsibilities, followed by sold accomplishments that prove your ability to be successful in your position. Your resume should also include keywords relevant to your industry and avoid any unnecessary words. Sometimes you only have 15 to 30 seconds to show a prospective employer your value and possible contributions to their company before they move onto the next résumé in the pile. A well written cover letter will include the position you’re applying for, express your interest in the position and the company, outline your qualifications and accomplishments in comparison to the job description, and ask for an opportunity to interview. Your reference sheet will have both professional and personal references that an employer can call to verify your character and work habits. Include their name, mailing address, and a phone number where they can be reached. Make sure the individuals that you include on your reference sheet will be able to paint a positive picture about you. Finally, a simple thank you note to the person(s) you interviewed with is a nice touch and should thank the interviewer for their time, once again express interest in the position, and reaffirm your qualifications.
Network, network, network! Everybody knows somebody and somebody knows about a job somewhere! Tell your friends and family that you’re looking. More than likely, they would love to assist and will help you brainstorm! Join a job networking group. Your place of worship, the library, and the unemployment office are great resources for finding out about these groups.
The internet is your friend, but not your only one. A lot of jobs are posted on the Internet, but also utilize your local newspaper, job publications such as The Job Examiner (distributed at grocery stores and gas stations) and watch for career fairs. If you are a recent graduate or alumni, your school may have a career services center. Many schools often have relationships with employers who are looking for newly graduated students. Consider an internship. They can turn into a regular position. Target companies that you would like to work for and pay them a visit. You may not get past the receptionist, but you could come away with an application and a job lead that wasn’t announced anywhere else. Temporary agencies are also a good avenue. Find one in the phone book that specializes in your field of work. Headhunters are also another source as they are often retained by companies to fill vacant positions.
Get organized! Keep track of resumes you have submitted, applications you have filled out, and companies you have interviewed with. You should know where you are in the process for each and every job you apply for. Key information to track is:
- Position title, company name, address, phone number, and point of contact.
- How you heard about the position, date applied, and the method (fax, e-mail, internet, in person, or mail).
- Any information you have about the position and the company as well as any notes from conversations or interviews you’ve had with the point of contact.
Do something positive everyday for your search. By doing something everyday you will be moving forward, gathering momentum to get you that job that you’ve been searching for!