A job search is a structured and straightforward process. Too often, job seekers use a haphazard approach, and the results usually show it. To greatly improve your chances of landing the job you want, follow these basic steps:
- Goals. What type of job do you want? Who do you want to work for? Where do you want to work? Your job search begins by defining three key factors: function, industry and location. To conduct a successful job campaign, you need to be focused. Decide what type of job you want, the type of company you'd like to work for and in what part(s) of the country you'd prefer living and working.
- Search. To conduct a comprehensive job search, you should cover all your bases. Respond to advertised positions. A good starting point is advertised positions with job postings from actively hiring employers. Always include a cover letter indicating the name of the publication, date and job title. Do not be hesitant about looking for employment in your immediate neighborhood as well as utilizing the yellow pages and internet search engines.
- Limit resumés to no more than two pages. A resumé that is two pages or less, provides plenty of opportunity to identify your accomplishments, and only under special circumstances should they exceed two pages.
- A well-written resumé is a must. Use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. If in doubt, give your resumé to someone whose writing skills you respect for review.
- Resumés should be error free. Check all data, company names and spellings for accuracy. Errors send a strong message that you may not be accurate in your work or disciplined enough to correct errors. Have others proofread your resumé for typos and other errors. Errors will automatically land your resumé in the "No" pile.
- Tell the truth. Do not fabricate or use misleading statements. If employers are interested in you, they will check your references.
- Make it neat, clean and legible. Have your resumé printed on heavy bond paper or submit it electronically when available. Resumés should be visually attractive and easy to read.
- Use a career objective only when focusing on a particular employer's need. Many times the objective statement is too limiting or too broad.
- Start with your most recent employer first and work chronologically backwards.
- List experience first. Unless just out of high school or college, list experience first -- before education. Begin with the most relevant information. (Make certain to have a data sheet available for job application purposes to include dates of employment and other pertinent employer information, that you can take with you as you are applying for employment.)
- List specific accomplishments. Results-oriented resumés backed with facts and figures are highly advantageous.
- No pictures. Do not include a picture of yourself or personal information. This is unnecessary information that is not job related.
- References should be work-related rather than personal..
- Don't forget the cover letter. Always include a cover letter, which reinforces your credentials and accomplishments.
- Always contact your vocational rehabilitation counselor and/or employment specialists if you have questions.
What makes a good cover letter?
1. No spelling or typing errors. Not even one.
2. Address it to the person who can hire you. Resumes sent to the personnel department have a tougher time of it. If you can find out exactly who is making the hiring decision, address the letter to that person. Be sure the name is spelled correctly and the title is correct. A touch of formality is good too: address the person as "Mr.", "Ms.", "Mrs.", "Dr.", or "Professor".
3. Write it in your own words so that it sounds like you--not like something out of a book. Employers are looking for knowledge, enthusiasm, and focus.
4. Show that you know something about the company and the industry. This is where your research comes in.
5. Use terms and phrases that are meaningful to the employer. If you are applying for an advertised position, use the requirements in the ad. Make sure your cover letter contains each of these requirements and shows how you measure up.