These days staying fresh in the ever changing job market is easier than it’s ever been. You have so many online tools right at your fingertips. All you have to do is log in.
I work in my own chosen field on a regular basis, but even I feel the need to stay fresh and informed. I read about other studies being conducted all over the world. I like to read about work that is similar to work I’m doing, but also about projects that interest me in different venues, for instance institutional studies versus visiting a study participant in their own environment.
But enough about me!
It doesn’t matter if you’re working full time, or part time, it always pays to stay fresh in the job market. Besides, it’s fun to hone your resume and your spot out there. I treat it like a game and use the information I gather to beef up, or sometimes to tone down, my own resume. It also gives me an indication of the areas where I might be lacking, or an area it might behoove me to start networking.
To get started you have to have a resume. Making one might seem like a daunting task, but once you get started the information will all fall into place. I like one page resumes, but some folks might need two pages. You might consider making a Personal Contact sheet and a Salary History sheet to keep on hand in case they ask for this information during the interview process.
I keep the Personal Contact sheet separate and I only provide that if they ask for it. Always call your contacts to make sure they are willing to vouch for you. Rarely have I had a contact turn me down, but you want to make sure. Add contacts that you trust to give you a good recommendation. If you suspect someone might throw you under the bus, it’s probably a good idea not to include them.
Make sure your Salary History is up to date and factual. A prospective employer can, and often does, call your past employer to ask about your past salary. There are laws that protect your privacy about other information on your resume, but salary and money is not one of them.
All that a past employer can legally say about you to a prospective employer is how much they paid you and how long you worked there. Did you know that?
There are numerous websites online that will give you step by step instructions on how to write a great resume and many of them are free. I’d strongly suggest you check out a few of the free ones first. There’s no sense paying for something that is as easy as writing about yourself.
Once you have your resume ready, you’re prepared to start plugging it into job sites and sending it to companies you might like to work for. This is the easiest part and the most fun! Let your imagination run wild! Where do you see yourself in five years? Would you like to work at Disney World or design cartoons for LucasFilms? If you have the qualifications then why not pursue it?!
Try doing a regular Google search for some of the job titles that suit your experience and look for companies with the potential for growth. Once you find a few with jobs listed, just visit the online classified and follow the directions for submitting your resume.
When I say follow the directions…I mean just that. Don’t skip any steps. Don’t take any shortcuts. If they say to include a picture of a bear, then you include a picture of a bear. I used to be a recruiter and I can tell you that recruiters get dozens of resumes every single day. If the people submitting them didn’t follow my instructions exactly the way I stated them, I deleted their resume without even looking at it. I didn’t care if they met the qualifications like a King! The mere fact that they could not follow those simple instructions meant they would most likely be a problem employee, someone argumentative, dismissive or too arrogant to comply. It was never a good sign or the right foot to start out on with a new employer.
Then wait for the calls to start pouring in!
That day will come when you get called in for an interview. Make sure you ask the right questions when the recruiter calls you! Repeat the appointment time back to them and ask what you need to bring with you to the meeting. Find out who you’ll be meeting with and ask if there’s anything special you can do to be prepared. Where should you park your car and the best way to get into the building are also great questions to know the answers to.
Dress neatly and professionally.
Arrive a little early in case you have trouble parking, or finding the place.
You could always do a dry run the night before and scope it out.
Sit quietly and with confidence while you’re waiting to be called. Don’t fidget!
When you’re being interviewed try to relax and just be yourself. After all, there was something about your resume they really liked, or you wouldn’t be there. Keep in mind that they need someone to fill a crucial spot in their organization and out of all the people out there, they wanted to talk to you. So have a little pride in your accomplishments, but be humble when you talk about yourself.
I knew this graphic artist and all she ever did was brag about how great she was. When it was time for her to find a new job she realized that no one wanted to hear about how great she had been because her kudos were many years old and repeated to ad nauseum by then. They wanted to know what she had that would take them into the future instead. Since she had spent so many years coasting on her past, she had nothing new to contribute to the conversation and decided to stay in the same stale job she already had.
Don’t let that be you!
Stay fresh in the job market and practice doing interviews so you’ll know what the upcoming market expects of it’s newest additions.
Until next time this is Madeline Laughs and I think staying ahead of the game when it comes to the beastly job market is always a great way to keep growing and learning. Good luck out there!