HOW TO FIND A JOB
You have probably arrived at this page because you are interested in finding a job. And you may already have realized that finding a job is NOT always easy. It takes WORK to find WORK. And, reading through this material will take some effort but you will find it worth your time.
You need to prepare yourself before you even begin looking for a job. Once you have prepared yourself to start the search, you must be willing to be diligent about your efforts to find that job. Finally, there will be an employer who is also looking for someone who is willing to work and is prepared for the task.
As you can see from the above paragraph, the process of finding a job is a negotiation procedure between two people who both have a need. So, let's begin by making sure you are prepared.
THE APPLICATION INFORMATION SHEET
The most important piece of paper you need to carry with you on a job search is NOT a diploma. And, it is NOT a resume. It IS what MrKent calls Application Information.
If you have searched diligently for a job in the past you may have encountered a situation like this:
You walk into a business and inform them that you are looking for a job. You may even ask if they are hiring. If they consider you as an applicant for work they will hand you an application form. Or, set you down at a computer and ask you to enter information about yourself.
The question is: “What did you do with that application form? or, what do you say when they ask you to enter information into a computer?”
If you fold up the application and walk out of their business with it, or the computer asks for information you don't have available at the time, you may have cancelled out any opportunity of ever being hired. Whereas, if you would have sat down right there on the spot and began entering information accurately, your chances of being hired were increased by 1000%.
That's why you need to prepare yourself an Application Information sheet to carry with you. When you have it completed you fold it up and put it into your pocket to take with you when job-hunting. Then, instead of folding up an application form to take home and fill out later, you sit down on the spot and fill out the job application using the data you have brought with you on your Application Information sheet. The impression you make by filling out an application form on the spot is immeasurable. You'll find your job much faster and easier by carrying your application information with you.
I realize that many of the big-box businesses require you to apply for a job online. You may be saying, “Why then would I need the application information sheet?” Please let me relay a story that actually happened to a young man I was helping to get a job:
This young man had been on drugs and was trying to recover. He had never been able to hold a job for very long from the time he was a teen-ager. But he had turned over a new leaf and was serious about finding employment. I told him about this web page and suggested he put an information sheet together. Then I met him at a Wal-Mart store where I had previously worked and knew the manager well.
He met me at the store and we walked in, and over to the kiosk provided for prospective applicants. As he began entering his information I asked if he had brought his information sheet with him. His reply was, “I don’t need one.” OK, I stood by his side for a few more minutes until he reached a point in the process where he didn’t remember the information needed. Wal-Mart has a button in that application page that allows you to log out and return later with the information. He logged out and we agreed to come back later.
When we returned with that information he entered it and continued for a while until another similar snag arrived. To make a long story short, after returning another time, or so, their database failed and couldn’t find his previous information. At that point I took him to the manager and he couldn’t even find anything. Lesson learned? HAVE THE INFORMATION WRITTEN DOWN AND KEEP IT WITH YOU.
This is not a replacement for your resume. You will want to carry a copy of that also. But many employers are more interested in what you put on the application form than what is on your resume - especially if they are seriously considering hiring you.
Now, what information do you need to keep on that sheet? Take a look at the sample similar to what MrKent carried when he looked for work. The information displayed is fictious but represents the kind of information he carried with him.
The top section contains the employment history starting with the most recent employer. Notice that every piece of information that may be requested is waiting to be copied over to an application form. (The name of the business, the address, telephone number, beginning and ending earnings, his position, who to contact. The contact information is by far the most important information to have available. The work phone, home phone and mailing address are vital to your prospective employer.)
Your employment history is one of the first things your prospective employer is interested in. Make it EASY for him or her to contact your previous employers.
The next section on the Application Information sheet contains information about your education and training. Include anything that may be of interest to an employer. Even if you don't believe it to be important to you, put it down. You would be surprised at what some application forms want you to include about yourself, your hobbies and your interests.
Finally, MrKent's Application Information sheet contains a list of nine people that he KNOWS will provide positive feedback when contacted by a prospective employer. You need to spend some time compiling your list. The names may not come to mind rapidly so give yourself a couple of days to come up with the best references you have.
DO NOT use family or relatives as references. Be sure to include every piece of contact information for each reference. (Street address - incase they cannot be reached by phone, home phone, work phone, email address - if they do not mind) BE SURE to call each of your references and let them know that they may be contacted by a prospective employer. This will give them a head-start on how to answer any questions that may be asked. There is nothing worse than to have an employer call one of your references by surprise and hear them say something like, “Let me think, I'm trying to remember who that was!”
Get started on your Application Information sheet right away. And give yourself plenty of time to consider who you ought to add to it.
re-su-me (A set of accomplishments, A brief review)
Many employers require you to submit your resume before they will consider granting you an interview. Generally, the more professional the position, the more likely it is that you will need to submit your resume. The less professional the position, the less likely you will need to submit your resume. Regardless, you should always have an updated resume on hand incase it is needed.
Also, if you are not entering the job market for the first time and are sending your resume to several different potential employers, be sure to take time to re-write your resume to make it match the needs of the employer you are contacting.
The bottom line is this: What you think should be included on your resume and what should actually be there may not be the same thing. Your best bet is to put a draft together and have several people review it before submitting it to an employer. This provides you with two very important safety safeguards: 1) People who know you well may have ideas on what to include which you may have neglected. 2) You will want your resume to be proof-read before sending it out with any errors.
MrKent made a huge mistake the first time he was required to submit a resume. He had held his amateur radio license for several years as well as his commercial radio operator's license. At the time, he was the chief engineer of a broadcast station. A local electronics distributor was looking for a part-time employee to work in his store. The applicant was to apply in person and bring along a resume.
By the way, this was in the day before ink jet printers and word processors. So, MrKent listed all of his accomplishments in order and printed them off onto the old fan-fold paper (without using a word processor). On the day of his interview he handed the employer his resume which was three pages long on fan-fold paper which had not been torn apart. The employer unfolded the resume holding the top sheet with one hand, held high above his head while the other two sheets dangled down to his lap.
After looking over the list, which was impressive but much too long, the employer said, “I believe your are over-qualified for this job!” And that was the end of the interview.
So, what was wrong with MrKent's resume? A lot! For one thing, it wasn't concise. For another, it was sloppy. And, it was not fashioned in the form of a standard resume. So, let's begin by discussing how concise your resume should be.
Limit your resume to ONE PAGE! If you have a vast background of experience save it for the interview. An employer will be much more likely to hire you if you continue to surprise and astonish him or her during the personal interview. Your resume should simply wet the appetite of an employer by silently saying, “I've got what you are looking for.” The employer may not have hung out a “Help Wanted” sign but that's what he is saying when he posts an opening for a position in his company. We'll cover more about this later.
Next, you DO NOT want your resume to appear sloppy. Don't try to impress an employer with fancy page formatting. Stay away from what is known as Ransom Note Formatting. Stick with one font throughout. A simple, neat layout that is easy to read will get YOU more attention and that's what will get you the job. Some applicants mis-believe that the resume should draw attention to itself. In the process they do things that try to boggle the eyeballs of the reader. In the process the reader-employer's mind is distracted from the facts written on the sheet. Think of your resume as an express messenger that has the answers to the questions an employer is looking for.
Finally, build your resume using the standard form that an employer will be able to easily follow. The top of the resume should contain your contact information. (Your name, telephone number, email address, fax number, street address) Below that you should state the position you are applying for. Don't take it for granted that the employer only has one position open and that you are the only person applying for it. Be specific. Label it as your Objective to be considered as the person to fill that position.
Next, provide a brief list of the positions you have held along with any accomplishments you believe would help your chances of being called in for an interview. Start with your present, or latest position and work backwards through history as you list them down the page. Remember, you do not need to list every detail or even every position. Your Real Objective here is to be called in for an interview. Include just enough information to make that happen.
Following the list of positions you have held you should show the highest level of education you have obtained along with the name of the institution and the date achieved.
Finally, your resume may also include information about yourself that will help the employer understand you better. It is appropriate to briefly list your interests and hobbies.
THE MISSION STATEMENT
Take the time to create your mission statement. Take a look at MrKent's (www.mrkent.com/mission.asp) mission statement if you are unfamiliar with what it should contain. You can do a Google on the internet to find web sites that actually help you create your own mission statement. Your mission statement should be short, concise, and above all honest. Any prospective employer will be deeply impressed when you present him or her with a copy of your mission statement during the interview.
You can improve your chances of making a good impression during an interview if you carry your portfolio with you. A portfolio is a neatly compiled notebook containing examples of some of your previous work. This can be sample documents or photographs, or both. If you decide to compile a portfolio be sure to spend the extra cash to enclose it within a handsome binder.
THE NOTE PAD
One final tool that can be to your advantage is to carry some kind of note pad and pen or pencil. Here are a few reasons why this is important: Suppose you are at a job interview and the interviewer gives you a call-back number or some other piece of information you need to write down. What are your chances of getting the job if you have to ask for a pencil and paper, compared to the interviewee who pulls the same out of his or her own pocket? Also, if you use a smart phone become familiar with using the Memo App. Using it rather than pencil and paper is a good idea.
Also, suppose you are on your way to an interview and you travel past a “Help Wanted” sign that contains a telephone number to call. Are you willing to risk a possible job opportunity because you forget the number?
A lot of people scoff at the idea of carrying simple writing material on their person. The rest of us successful folks don't mind it at all.
YOUR INTERVIEW SKILLS
We have now covered all of the physical tools you need to find a job. Let's begin talking about the social and intellectual tools that will make finding a job easier.
The key to a successful interview is to mentally concentrate on the “Help Wanted” sign. The prospective employer may not have a physical Help Wanted sign posted, but you wouldn't be at the interview if that were not the case.
Consider a time in your past when you really needed HELP. What kind of person were you looking for at that point? You were NOT looking for someone who was arrogant, or someone who could only give you half the help you needed, or someone who was unconcerned about your situation.
You were looking for HELP! And you should remember this during any job interview. Your demeanor should display an attitude that says, “I have the skills you need and I am anxious to help your company by giving it my best effort.” You may never have the opportunity to say this but if you walk in to the interview with a heart-felt attitude like this the interviewer will pick up on it.
Whereas, if you walk in to an interview with an attitude that says, “I need this job,” who is the one asking for help? Even if you do need the job you probably won't get it.
You do want to walk in to the interview with some amount of self-confidence. But there is a big difference between pride and self-confidence. One thought that will help you during the interview is to consider yourself to have already gotten the job. Of course you will tend to be nervous. Nervousness can hinder your ability to give good answers to the questions presented by the interviewer. The best way to overcome this issue is to mentally consider yourself already hired.
How can that help? Suppose you have held that job now for the past six weeks. You know the employer well by now and you have learned many of the in's and out's of the business. At this point in time you would have no reason to be nervous when visiting with the boss. Therefore, during the initial interview, consider yourself as having been hired several weeks ago and you are simply having a friendly visit with the boss.
The great mystery of job hunting is, “What should I wear to the interview?” The best answer to that question is, “It's better to be over-dressed for the occasion rather than being under-dressed.” This does not relate to the amount of clothing you should wear to an interview. It relates to the appropriate type of dress you should wear.
For instance, if you are applying for a job at some kind of financial institution you would want to be dressed in something very formal such as a suit. But, if you are applying for a job as a machinist or welder you would do much better to be dressed neatly in casual attire. Most employers now-a-days don't expect you to be wearing a suit and tie when you show up for an interview. But they will look you over as soon as you walk into their presence. Therefore, be sure you are clean smelling and dressed in clothing that doesn't look like you have been wearing it for the past week.
Finally, remember that employers have no idea where you live and whether or not you are looking for work. So, as Doctor Phil has popularized the saying, “If you are out of work, your current job is to find a job!” That simply means you take the same approach to finding a job as you would if you already had a job. You get up early and spend eight hours each day looking for a job. It will pay off.
Also, don't accept “NO” for an answer! Suppose you walk into an establishment and ask if they are hiring. They will most likely say, “NO!” A better approach would be to say something like . . . “Hello, my name is (your name) and I'm looking for employment. I don't know if you are hiring right now but I would appreciate an application form that I can fill out.” By greeting the receptionist in this manner you have permeated their mind with a more positive impression. Now it is more difficult for them to refuse to supply you with an application form. Then, when you sit down right there with your Application Information form and completely fill out their application you have many more points in your favor.
But what if they say they are not hiring right now! Well, it's your job to find a job, right? So you wait a week or so and return to the same establishment. You greet the receptionist and remind him or her of your interest in working for them and ask if anything has come up. They will most likely say, “No!” Do not be discouraged at this. Wait a week or so and return again to let them know you are still interested in working for them.
By the way, by now, if you have been filling out applications at several other establishments, you spend your day returning and reminding each one that you are still looking for employment.
Remember, it is your job to find a job. So, make this a regular practice until something comes up - and it will!
Sooner or later one of these employers will have some kind of opening. And, who will be the first person they think of when that happens: It will most likely be the person who has been coming back over and over and reminding them that he or she wants to go to work.
This system REALLY DOES WORK! MrKent saw it happen many times during the years he was teaching this subject.
You will find a job if you make it your job to do so. Don't get discouraged. Just remember that the more effort you put forth the sooner you will have spending cash in your pocket.