The Central New York market now has a link between employers and job seekers: CNY Employment Guide.
ComForce | Fri, March 16th, 2007
1 Job Hunting is a Full Time Job!
Every game has rules, so decide to plan, organize and implement your search carefully. Since your financial growth and personal develop-ment are at stake, you’ll have to spend full days on a consistent basis in your pursuit.
2 Define Your Career Goal
Write your own job description based on your education, experience, innate talents and what you’d like to do. Knowing where you want to go will help you get there. If this is your first job, outline your education,
internships, summer/part-time jobs, clubs, volunteer work or affiliations which will enhance your resume to show experience, leadership, stability and commitment.
3 Sell Yourself Through Your Resume
A professionally presented resume on quality paper and attractively formatted should be no more than two pages. This is the first step to selling yourself. If economics are a factor, your local library or the internet can provide you with information on how to write a resume. If you can afford it, a qualified resume service may be the answer for you. Be honest, accurate and realistic.
4 Lead With a Customized Cover Letter
A cover letter should accompany all mailed or faxed resumes. This short one-page letter should highlight only your experience and personal assets from which the targeted company would benefit. Be sure to spell the name
of the company and the person to whom you’re directing your resume correctly. Naturally, proper grammar, spelling and punctuation will all be viewed as positives.
5 Prepare a Reference Sheet
If you are stating that references will be furnished on request, be sure to have them ready for when you’re interviewed. Paper and type style should match your resume. Let your references know that people will be calling them so that they are prepared to discuss your association with them.
6 Look in the right Places
It is much easier to market yourself in the same industry where your most recent experience lies, preferably using most of your proven skills. Do not waste time applying for positions for which you have no experience or to companies you have no desire to work for either because of size,
location or stability. Networking leads the list of best ways to get a job. However, leads for companies who might hire you can be found in a systematic fashion:
•Internet Job Boards •Business Directories
•Classified Ads •Yellow Pages
•Personnel Agencies •Alumni Associations
•Search Companies •Industry Associations
•Temp Services •College Placement Services
7 Choosing the Right Personnel Agency
If you decide to use a personnel agency, use one where the fee is paid by the prospective employer and which specializes in your field of expertise.
Look for a well established agency with a good reputation.
8 The Best Time to Look for a Job
The most opportune time to look for a job is when you’re employed. Being employed gives you more confidence and leverage when negotiating with a prospective employer. It will give you more time to see all the opportunities which are available and you’ll avoid making “gunshot” decisions.
9 Start Looking Immediately If You Suddenly Become Unemployed
One month for every $10,000 in salary is a rule of thumb for the amount of time it will take to land a new job. So, regardless of severance packages, unemployment benefits or personal assets, avoid embarrassing gaps of unemployment on your resume. Long periods of unemployment could blur your credibility and professional image.
10 Work for a Temporary or Contract Consulting Service
Temping is a wonderful opportunity to look at a potential company from the “inside.” It will help you decide whether you like the corporate culture, but more importantly, it will help you to showcase your skills.
11 The Telephone Interview
This is your ticket to the in-person interview. Sound alert and interested, keep background noise down, have your resume handy along with a list of companies and names of people you’ve sent letters to. When you make an
appointment, be sure to write down the correct date, time, name and title of person you’ll be seeing, address, phone number and directions.
12 Be Flexible When Scheduling an Interview
Flexibility is a key asset in any employee. Hassling a prospective employer on an appointment time does not make you look like you’re in demand. It makes you appear difficult.
13 Have Realistic Expectations
Don’t expect a prospective employer to pay for the raise you were about to get on your current job. Asking for any amount more than 10% above your current salary is not realistic. However, asking on an interview to define a
career path, opportunities for promotion and review date, is realistic. You might have to take a step back to take two or more steps forward.
14 Do Your Homework
Researching the company before your interview will help you to determine whether this is a company you’d really like to work for, their position in the industry, financial stability, etc., etc. In addition, it will give you the opportunity to sound knowledgeable during the interview. Don’t ask what they do. Know beforehand what they do, how successful they are and how you can contribute.
15 The Importance of the Receptionist
Recognize the receptionist as the bridge between you and the interviewer, and sometimes getting the job. Be courteous and friendly. It’s guaranteed that any negatives the receptionist perceives about you will be passed on either verbally or through body language to the interviewer.
16 Package Yourself
Dress in a businesslike manner. Appropriate business clothing, which is clean and well pressed, goes a long way toward making a good first impression. Personal grooming is critical: cleanliness, hairstyle, makeup, and cologne are all part of your personal image and are very important to your success on the interview. A rule of thumb is to dress appropriately to the business setting, the time of day and your personal stature. If in doubt, leave it out. Do not overdress or overaccessorize.
17 Complete the Application
Fill out the application completely, accurately and as quickly as possible. Have your resume along so that all information compares exactly. Do not refuse to fill out the application even if you have previously submitted one, applied online, or are attaching a resume to the application. The application is a legal document, so make it neat and accurate. It will be part of your permanent
personnel file should you be hired.
18 Know What Your Resume Says
Even though you have it with you, be prepared to cite your background accurately from memory. Be prepared to describe gaps in your employment history. A capable interviewer will question them. Don’t give every detail and
ramble on. Be concise about your specific responsibilities if asked.
19 Be Positive Throughout the Process
The task of job hunting can be wearing. Maintaining a positive, enthusiastic manner will help you get the job. The interviewer will sense your self confidence and attitude. An air of discouragement, desperation or overaggressiveness will make you an undesirable commodity. It is necessary at every stage, from cover letter to follow up letter, to remain upbeat and optimistic, even in the face of a turndown. Remember, above all else, that being anxious is normal. It will help you to keep your guard up and to be alert.
20 Listen! - Listen! - Listen!
Don’t talk yourself out of a job! Answer questions as concisely and succinctly as possible. Avoid elaboration unless requested to do so. Keep your conversation directed at your previous experience and responsibilities. Avoid
discussing company politics, your former supervisor, or any negatives about coworkers, events or the company.
21 Watch for Body Language
Body language will show you how you’re doing. Red flags to look for are:
the interviewer looking bored, annoyed or distracted. If you notice any of these signs, stop or change direction. Ask if you are answering the question properly. To go on in the face of these obvious warning signs can be lethal.
22 When to Show Your Portfolio
Samples of your work should be brought along, if appropriate. Show them only if you are asked. Do not divulge confidential information about a previous employer to a prospective employer. This is unethical and will
reflect poorly on you. However, if you’re asked to take an on-site skills evaluation do so without hesitation.
23 Stick to Business
Unless the interviewer asks about your hobbies or your activities after hours or on weekends, do not volunteer. Conversation should be kept to the matter at hand: your professional background and expectations. Do not ask the
interviewer any personal or non-business questions.
24 Cover Your Weaknesses
Be honest about your strong suits whether they are skill― or personality related. However, you must show the maturity to have insights into those facets of your skills, personality or work habits which you have had to
develop or perhaps need some more work on. No need to put your worst foot forward such as telling the interviewer you have a bad temper or are a procrastinator, but be prepared with three weaknesses that are not camouflaged strengths. Skill related weaknesses are acceptable such as your desire to gain more math or computer proficiency, as long as they are not directly related to the job for which you are applying.
25 Watch Your Manners
At every step of the process you are on display. Good manners are never old fashioned; shaking hands, saying please, thank you, or may I sit down?, go a long way in enhancing your profile. Don’t take privileges such as smoking, leaning on someone’s desk or chewing gum. Don’t invade the interviewer’s space. You might be eliminated and never know why.
26 Prepare a List of Questions
At one point in the interview you’ll be given permission to ask questions. Try not to interrupt the interviewer’s questions with yours. If you are not given the opportunity to ask questions, it is appropriate to ask for permission
at the summation point. Questions related to job responsibilities, career path, your place in the organization and other growth opportunities are
advisable at this time. If you are not informed when a hiring decision will be made, it is also appropriate to ask at the end of the interview.
27 Be Sure to Follow Up
Similar to a sales situation, a short hand-written follow up note will set you apart from the other applicants. Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to speak with him or her and express your sincere interest and enthusiasm for the position, the company and industry. Close the sale by expressing how you look forward to hearing from them on the agreed upon date.
28 Ask Questions Before You Accept
Accepting a position is a verbal contract. It is appropriate, before you say yes, to discuss salary, review dates, benefits, pension, stock options, etc. Ask to see a job description before accepting and discuss to whom you’ll be reporting. An established company will have an employee handbook. Negotiate for concessions which are most important to you in a nonantagonistic
manner. What’s most important is an opportunity for personal and financial growth. A defined career path and how you might accomplish your goals should be uppermost in your mind.
29 Ask for The Offer in Writing
If you are leaving a job for this new position, it is important to receive an offer in writing before you hand in your resignation. This acceptance letter is a contract on the part of the hiring company and should outline starting date, salary and any other out-of-the-ordinary benefit concessions you were able to negotiate. If you’re turned down for a job accept it gracefully; you
never know what the future opportunities might be. Always leave an open door.
30 Give Proper Notice to Your Former Employer
Never close doors behind you. Your previous employer will be asked for references long after you are gone. Show a commitment and work ethic equal to that displayed during your tenure. Your new employer most likely will check
your references after you have resigned. Without proper notice, their reference may be less than enthusiastic. If you tell a prospective employer you’ll leave your current position without notice, it telegraphs your unreliability.