Thursday, January 27, 2011

Looking for work? Tips for how to find a job.

I received a couple of requests about how to find a job. I'm a teacher by trade, but currently I'm a stay at home mom. I didn't think I was the best person to write this article so I enlisted the help from a few people I know who either hire personnel, are looking for a job, or have recently found a job. Here is their collective advice.

Don't waste any time. If you are getting unemployment benefits, they run out after 99 weeks. It seems like a long time, but for someone dragging their feet, it comes up pretty quick and before you know it, your benefits have run out, your skills are rusty, and a possible message you are sending is that you lack ambition. Some employers such as Los Angeles County or anything in the aircraft industry have a long hiring process with tests, exams, background checks, etc.. it could take several months to get from the application process to actual employment, then up to a month more to the first paycheck.

Get your resume ready. If you don't have one, create one. Have a few people look it over, take it to a resume workshop to be reviewed. Save it as a Word or PDF file for sending to prospective employers. Spell check and proofread your resume. Write a cover letter specific for each job you are applying for. Don't repeat things that are in your resume; instead focus on how your experience makes you a good candidate for the position. Do not leave the cover letter out, companies are getting hundreds of resumes for very few positions. One of the ways to whittle down the number of candidates is to toss out any resumes without a cover letter. Spell check and proofread your cover letter.

Practice for an interview. Look up common interview questions such as, "What are your strengths and weakness?" and prepare answers. Have someone with experience interviewing give you a mock interview.
If you get an interview, dress up. Suits for men, business attire for ladies. Do not wear cologne or perfume, and minimize the jewelry. Cover up any tattoos and remove excessive piercings. Leave your cell phone in the car. Take three copies of your resume with you and answer the questions truthfully. Have a reasonable expectation of how much money you expect to make. Research the company, know what they do, and come up with a few questions to ask, because the interviewer always asks, "Do you have any questions?" Steer clear of questions about trivial matter such as break time, when benefits kick in, how long it takes to get a raise, or how much the job pays. Once you've been extended an offer, then you can ask those questions and specifics about compensation. At the end of the interview if you think you'd like working there ask for the job, tell the interviewer you think you'll be good for the position and give them a few reasons why.

Use online resources,,,, Do a search of these sites everyday because companies post a job, get hundreds of replies, then simply stop receiving resumes. Replying the first day means the company will look at your resume with interest. You should not have to pay or enter your social security number to run an online job search. Craigslist warns, "Do not submit to credit checks or background checks for a job until you have met the interviewer in person."

Don't dismiss the Sunday paper. The LA Times employment section may only be two pages, but some companies are still in the stone age when it comes to technology. If anything, there is a weekly job search advice column that's pretty good.

If you get a call from an interviewer that you did not get a job offer ask if they thought there are any areas they think you can improve upon that may help you find a position with another company. Maybe it was something you said or didn't say in the interview, then take the advice to heart and improve for next time.

Review your facebook, twitter, and myspace page. Either edit your privacy settings or edit the content of your page. Many employers run background searches on their prospective employees, which may include social networking sites.
Tell your friends and family that you are looking for a job, if they hear of anything they will pass it along to you. If you were trained at an institute/academy or have a degree from a college/university contact the career center and see what services they offer their alumnae. If you are looking for a part time job, keep your eyes open, I see stores and businesses every where I go saying, "Now Hiring".

You may need to get training in a new trade. Look into the programs the community colleges offer, some work source programs offer free training or licensing programs. The ROP program at high schools are open to adults for a cost of only $50 a class.

Sign up with a temp agency. Some companies never post open positions, instead they hire certain positions solely from temporary agencies. Check out,,

The LA County Library has online tools for job seekers including job listings, resume assistance, interviewing skills, cover letter writing, business and company research services, job training, and more.

Good Luck! I'm rooting for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment