Job Hunting

Much of my work background is in personnel. In my secretarial temping I’m often in personnel offices. I even do some temping in the office of the temp agency through which I’m employed. Through the years I’ve learned a lot about job hunting. I’ve learned what to do and, almost more importantly, what not to do. Since so many people are job hunting right now, I thought I’d share some of those insights. Feel free to print these off and share them with someone else.

Before you step outside your door or go online to look for a job, you’ll want to put together a resume. Your resume can be fancy or very simple. The most important thing about your resume is that it needs to tell the person reading it what they need to know about you.

First and foremost, make sure your complete contact information is on your resume. If you don’t have a phone, find someone who can take messages for you. Just be sure to indicate that it’s a message only phone. Include your email address. If your email address tells everyone how hot and sexy you are, create a separate email address to use for job hunting. Make sure you include your starting and ending dates (month and year are fine) for each employer. Print several copies of your resume and take them with you when you go job hunting.

When you go job hunting, take several things with you. Take along a pen so you won’t have to borrow one. Take along a list of references with complete addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses for each reference. It’s good to have three business references and three personal references—people who are not related to you. You might want to take a couple of copies of your references in case you want to leave one with a prospective employer. Also take with you a list of every job you’ve had. Yes, I mean every job. This list should include the address, phone number, and your supervisor’s name. This list will help you in filling out applications.

Dress neatly and cleanly. Don’t wear heavy cologne. Brush your teeth and comb your hair. You don’t have to be dressed up, but you shouldn’t look like you’re headed to the barn to do chores or out to do yard work.

Go alone. Don’t take your mom, your spouse or significant other, your friend, your children, or anyone else. If someone is job hunting with you, don’t sit and chat while you’re filling out paperwork. Believe me, the receptionist or secretary you’re in front of has easy access to the person making the hiring decision. Your behavior toward that person and in his or her presence will be reported to the person you most want to impress.

Some places will accept resumes. Most will not. If you are asked to fill out an application do not ask if you can just leave your resume. This can make you sound lazy and unwilling to follow instructions—not exactly the way you want a prospective employer to think of you. Fill the application out completely.

As you leave, be sure to thank the person you hand your resume or completed application to. Unless they volunteer the information, ask if you should call to check back. If you are told yes, be sure to do that. When you get back to your car make a note to call that place of business. Most places will tell you no. If they say no, do not call. I have worked at more than one place that kept a list of people who called in after being told not to call. Those resumes were pulled and discarded because they did not want to hire someone who did not follow directions.

If you follow these common-sense tips, you will stand out from the crowd. I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the job of your dreams, but at least you won’t be shooting yourself in the foot in the attempt.


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