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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Advice For Job Searching

   
Author Topic: Advice For Job Searching
Marie
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Hey everyone [Smile]

I actually created an account with Hatrack a long time ago and posted once or twice as Kelly(was mostly a lurker), but have long since forgotten my password and login info.

I know many of you are probably going through the same soul-sucking horror of looking for a job, and I remember another thread posted by someone else a while ago but couldn't find it, so here goes...

I am a college graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Spanish and International Studies, and due to a certain chain of events I have been living in a small suburb of Ocala, FL full of rednecks and retirees and working a logistics sales job that I truely and honestly do not like that simply does not pay enough. Although I have been applying and going to interviews for over a year now, it seems virtually impossible to get a job even for bigger cities like Tampa or Orlando. Because I work during the day I don't have time to go out and meet people or see what other opportunities might be available.

Is there anyone here who might be able to offer some advice for standing out better to employeers, in particular for areas where jobs are very hard to come by and everyone else is begging for work too?

/tired and frustrated rant.

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Tinros
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I can't give too much advice, since I'm a recent college grad myself, but a certain book was helpful to me in finding the job I have now, called Knock 'em Dead. Particularly, his book on Resumes was a GREAT tool for sprucing mine up, and has a lot of tips on what to do if you don't have a lot of work history, etc.

Good luck!

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CaySedai
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I work in a (continually short-staffed) newsroom. On the rare occasions that we are actually hiring, I get to hear snippets of conversation about various applicants and what they did wrong.

  • Not finding out exactly to whom to send the resume/cover letter and how they wish to be addressed (my boss uses two last names and woe to the person who shortens her first name).
  • Raving about how good you are at copy-editing - in a letter full of typos and grammatical errors.
  • Not doing any investigation of the company you are applying at. A cover letter that basically says "I am so desperate for a job I'll look anywhere but don't know anything about your company" doesn't endear you to said company.
  • Wearing jeans to an interview. (obvious, and yet ... )
  • Going through the interview process and then pulling out a deal-breaker (BTW, I can't actually be around children {legally} - is that a problem?).
  • Bringing a family member, friend or significant other to the interview (I'm not aware this has happened where I work, but I've heard of it).

Just for fun and good advice.

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Jake
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Years ago, a friend of mine was part of a panel interviewing candidates for a reference librarian job. One of the people he interviewed told the panel how many steps it was from the curb to the room where the interview took place. That did not win him any points.

Another guy was personable, intelligent, and well qualified for the position, and they more or less decided that he was who they were going to hire. Though they were going to go ahead and conduct the rest of the interviews they currently had scheduled, doing so was mostly a formality. However, after the interview my friend spotted the guy back in the library's stacks.

He was licking books.

He didn't get the job.

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Marie
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Jake, I may not be perfect but I've made sure not to develop any bad habbits like that [Smile]

Cay, I think I know what book you're talking about. Is it by D.P. Roseberry?

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CaySedai
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Marie, that was Tinros.
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scholarette
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I am unemployed and haven't even gotten a call back (though some of the jobs I have applied for have like 200 applicants for 1 position) so not sure how valid my advice is. With the resume, I tried to personalize. I would look at job responsibilities/qualifications that were listed and then tried to work in as many of the keywords as they had listed into my skills, prior experience section. I would try to match up what I put as closely as possible, so if it was like clear data recording, I would use that wording instead of like good documentation skills. If they wanted a specific skill, I would list that instead of a more generic term (PCR instead of molecular techniques). Try to get as many hits as possible when they do a search against those 200 resumes since I think they just search resumes for certain words instead of actually reading and thinking about it.
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Dan_Frank
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I know it's a long shot, but there are still jobs out there that do read and care very much about your cover letter. It means a bit more reading for whoever is doing the resume combing, but it gives a lot more information that a list on a resume does, and if they expect a lot in the letter also provides a small barrier of entry, as many people mass-applying won't bother with the extra work. But usually, if you're a good communicator, you can very quickly stand out if you're applying to the right people. The best advice I can give for finding said people is to see how much emphasis they put on the cover letter in the listing itself.

Obviously this will depend on your field. I tend more towards fields where being a good BS Artist is a premium skill (financial, marketing & PR, writing, teaching, etc.), so you can always take what I'm saying with an appropriately sized handful of salt. If you're looking for a job in chemical engineering then they may care less about your ability compose a concise and engaging letter to them.

[ December 09, 2011, 01:05 AM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]

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Marie
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Thank you everyone for your replies! I always find it useful to see what other people have to say on issues like this. I almost always use both a cover letter and resume for the jobs I apply for, but in areas like where I live where they just aren't doing much hiring, the whole thing gets a little old.

Cay, I just noticed that. It's been a long, sleep-deprived week...

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Years ago, a friend of mine was part of a panel interviewing candidates for a reference librarian job. One of the people he interviewed told the panel how many steps it was from the curb to the room where the interview took place. That did not win him any points.

Another guy was personable, intelligent, and well qualified for the position, and they more or less decided that he was who they were going to hire. Though they were going to go ahead and conduct the rest of the interviews they currently had scheduled, doing so was mostly a formality. However, after the interview my friend spotted the guy back in the library's stacks.

He was licking books.

He didn't get the job.

Were they at least cooking books?

Or maybe a children's book with some jam on it or something, since kids are always sticky with various foods?

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kwsni
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Make sure your resume is no longer than one page. If you have a lot of skills, consider a core competencies style highlighting your skills and achievements instead of a chronological one. I can send you examples, if you like.

Get a resume critique from a professional. One critique turned my job hunt around. You don't have to pay them to rewrite it; pay them for their insight, sit on it for a couple of days to take the sting off, and then rewrite it yourself.

I typically don't send references out with a resume, it makes everything feel drawn-out and bulky. Put a note on the end of your resume that they're available upon request, if you must.

Tailor your resume and cover letter to every single application. Don't get lazy and copy/paste.

Apply both above and below your skill level. You might find someone who is willing to train you (like I did) or someone who will give you a job where you have room to move up.

Think outside the box. Brainstorm areas where your skills would be useful that aren't exactly what you've been looking for.

ALWAYS SEND A THANK YOU CARD. The rule about personalizing applies here, too.

Go on lots of interviews. I'm convinced that the way to have good interviews is to be more comfortable being interviewed than the person doing the interviewing.

Go to interviews prepared. Have a few copies of your resume, and a few copies of your references, and some paper to take notes in. Many of the interviewers i encountered couldn't place me at all until I jogged their memory with a copy of my resume.

If you must make ends meet, settle for something that pays enough, and advances your skills in some way, but keep looking.

Hang in there. Keep working the job you hate, keep getting yourself out there, and something will come up. I worked for a year and a half looking for a job, andwent on probably hundreds of interviews. Now I have my dream job, with an employer who is willing to pay my way to a Vet Tech degree(!).

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scholarette
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Well, I just got a call back. Except the woman didn't give me an extension and no overall secretary there. So, I returned her call leaving a message with the general mailbox.
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Geraine
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As far as getting a recruiters attention, it really depends on the company. Many large companies will hold job fairs, and invite numerous candidates for an initial meeting. I was a payroll / HR manager for a large (now out of business) computer chain and I was applying for a payroll position at a payroll company. Fifty people had applied, and there was one position open.

We watched a couple of videos, took a personality profile quiz, as well as a timed math test. For the math test I knew they were looking for speed and accuracy and I went through all three pages answering all of the questions I knew off the top of my head, then went back for some of the more difficult ones.

For the interview process, it is OK to be a little nervous. Many interviewers look at it as a positive thing. It shows you really care.

You want to sell yourself but seem humble about it. If your success was tied to a wonderful mentor you had, let the interviewer know how much the mentor helped you. It shows that you are willing to learn, but also shows that you know how to apply that knowledge.

Most companies now load all of their resumes into a program who chooses candidates for them based on certain key words. I don't know any tips to help you there, but there may be some resources online.

Good luck with your job search!

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MattP
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quote:
Make sure your resume is no longer than one page.
This isn't as much of a firm rule as it used to be. Because of this:
quote:
Most companies now load all of their resumes into a program who chooses candidates for them based on certain key words.
2-3 page resumes are pretty common where I work.
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Dan_Frank
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Yeah, my experience concurs with Matt. What he and Geraine mentioned plus the simple fact that your resume often will never even be viewed in paper format means that the 1-page rule is not such a big deal many places.
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scholarette
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I've got an interview on Wednesday. Fingers crossed and all that.
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rivka
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Good luck!
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Marie
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Good luck Scholarette!
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Geraine
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w00t! Good luck. I hope it goes well for you.

I just got promoted at my job, found out this morning. I won't start until next month, but instead of working on the payroll side of things I will be an HR Advisor for our clients. That means I'll be able to work from home if I need to and my job will be primarily visiting clients and giving them advice on HR related matters.

I'll be going through a couple months of training to get me caught up on all of the HR stuff I've forgotten over the past few years. Hopefully I'll be able to give better advice in a while. [Razz]

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scholarette
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I think it went well but it is hard to say. They would have preferred a different skill set I think but not much I can do about that. By different skill set, I mean a slight shift, not a big difference. They spent a lot of time covering hours I would work and a longer discussion on pay than I expected, which also went into how many future opportunities there will be at company once I am trained. Got a couple laughs (on work hours I said We're scientists, not bankers and talking about myself and family I said 2 kids is enough because I don't want them to outnumber the adults). The break in my work history seemed to go over well with the women (stayed home with kids) but them men seemed to dislike that.
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rivka
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Good luck!
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scholarette
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I am changing my statement to it went well. They asked me for a list of references and a one page autobiography.
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rivka
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Yay!
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King of Men
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Resumes are good, but don't neglect networking. My wife had been searching for a job for several months by sending out resumes; what eventually worked was to make a new friend at a completely non-job-related event, say "unemployed" when he asked what she did, and have him say "Hey, the company I work for is hiring, and it sounds like you'd be qualified".
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Marie
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Just completed my second interview for Transamerica in Saint Petersburg today (bonus pay if I can get a position that's bilingual [Big Grin] ), I won't find out if I actually got it until mid January though...wish me luck??

Scholarette, that sounds like a good sign. I hope you get it!

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scholarette
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I got an e-mail asking me for an extra reference in a specific area (which I had actually sent them already but it didn't go to the right person). He said I had a thoughtful and well written personal statement and they just needed to talk to one more person that had worked with me in a lab setting. An hour later, the person I gave them as an additional reference e-mailed me and said she just finished giving the reference and she will be shocked if I don't get the job. She has been in charge of hiring at like 3 different companies so not just a random person. So, now I am really anxious and excited but trying not to be excited.

Congrats Marie! Hope you get the job.

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scholarette
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Second interview with CEO (small company) on Friday! No clue what to expect but excited and super nervous.
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rivka
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Luck!
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scholarette
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Did my interview and they said they would let me know on Tuesday so I called today at end of day and they said, oh CEO didn't leave comments. They'll let me know on friday when he gets back in town. I figure that is medium response. If I was an absolute no or yes he would have said so but as is maybe he is interviewing some one else and then deciding.
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krynn
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Marie,

I spent January through November of last year unemployed. Here are some tips I can give you from my own personal efforts.

- Keep your Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com resume current, and update it regularly. I did monthly.

- Make sure you're resume is easy to read and has plenty of keywords for the type of job you are searching for

- Get involved in the industry you want to work in. There are loads of associations that you can become a member of and go to their networking events. **This really helps if you don't have much experience in the field you want to get into**

-Have a LinkedIn account, and start networking there. IF you have any coworkers you are on good terms with, ask one of them to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Of course, they would have to be OK knowing you are looking, so maybe not your boss.

- There are usually networking events specifically for people who are out of work. These are good for people looking to change jobs too. THey give you search tips and can help you with your resume and interview skills.

I spent about an hour every morning doing the internet search thing. I attended networking events when I could. Updating my resume and posting it on Monster/CareerBuilder/LinkedIn is what got me my job. I changed what I was looking for from a Marketing Coordinator to a Marketing Analyst and almost immediately had people calling me for interviews. My strengths and skills are definitely a better fit for my new role.

Good luck and keep posting with any question we can help with!

EDIT: just read your last post. GOOD LUCK! Yes, being bilingual can really boost your chances!

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