Job Seeker Assistance
Assessment Tools & Career Exploration
What will you be doing on the job? What career is right for you? Do some research.
When you need assistance see the Resource Specialists in the Smart Centers.
The first step in your job search is
identifying your strengths and skills. What accomplishments help set you apart from the crowd?
What qualities and characteristics make you a valuable employee?
The following websites are good sources of online information:
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Search for key words, job titles or occupations.
America’s Career InfoNet
Occupational and economic information
Detailed descriptions of the world of work
Some fun, insightful self-assessment tools you may do free online:
These online assessments only help guide you towards your chosen career. They do not provide concrete answers to your questions.
When you find an occupation you’re interested in, check the labor market information in your Local Area Profile.
Transferable skills are those skills you have gathered through your jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, or other experiences that result in your gaining skills.
5 Steps to help identify transferable skills:
- Write down a list of jobs you have held, hobbies you have pursued, training you have received or special interests.
- Complete the worksheet (link at the right) for each individual item on your list and break down all the duties and skills you have attained.
- Review the completed worksheets and compare to the checklist (link at the right) and mark those skills you have identified as your strong points.
- Determine the skills needed in the jobs you may be interested in by dissecting job ads and searching O*Net. Are there any skills you forgot to include in your list? Are there any skills you need to brush up on?
- Lastly, group your transferable skills into related topics, such as: Communication, Research and Planning, Human Relations, Organization, Decision Making, Clerical, Dealing with Data, Computer, Instruction, Mechanical, etc.
Transferable Skills Worksheet
Selling Your Skills
Effectively showing and selling your transferable skills is key to changing your career, pursuing that specific position, getting your first job, and reentering the workforce.
One way to do this is to create a skills-based resume (functional or combination), rather than a chronological resume. Use the grouping you have created to select three skill topics you may want to utilize in your skills-based resume.
Also showcase your transferable skills at the top of the resume, by listing a few of the transferable skills you have identified that apply to the position you are targeting. These highlighted skills should be specific to the career you are pursuing.
- Career Planning: Using Transferable Skills
- When Changing Careers: Highlight Transferable Skills
- Collection of Transferable Job Skills Resources for Job-seekers
Networking: An Important Part of your Job Search
Networking is known as the #1 way to get a new job,
because most available jobs go unadvertised.
|Networking is about reaching out to and informing the people around you of your availability for job opportunities.Networking is not about having people hand you a job, it is about collecting information and letting others know you are looking for that job opportunity.||A lot of employers would much rather talk to someone who is recommended because it saves time and money.Receiving a strong referral from someone they trust saves the employers a lot of effort in advertising the position and sorting through resumes.|
|How to Network Successfully
(4 Key Points)
|Point #1: Getting Over the Fear
First practice with people you know well, who may have information or leads that can assist you in your job search. These people can be:
This process isn’t about “selling” yourself. It is about knowing what your strengths are and having the confidence to modestly express your strengths and qualifications to others around you.
Then, when you are somewhat comfortable with the networking process, move onto cold calling those connections that may be able to better help you gather information on your chosen industry and get that desirable job.
Volunteer in an industry you are interested in or join a local organization. This is a great way to get out in the community and meet people that can be an integral part of your networking process.
Point #2: Be organized / Have the right tools
Take a good look at your address book and email contacts. Make a list of people to call such as your friends, family, colleagues, former supervisors, and social contacts. Every one is an important contact in your networking circle.
As you reach out to your existing contacts you should be gaining leads of new contacts to follow-up on. Keep organized, and write these leads down in your networking address book.
|Point #3: Making the First Call
Recognize that time is of the essence. Develop a short message about your career experience and professional opportunities you may be interested in.”Use empowering words such as successful, accomplished, driven, implemented, skilled, experienced, leader and team-oriented.”
(Source: smithjames.com)Things to remember:
Some sample phone scripts are available at Smith James Group, Inc. under “How Do You Network”
Point #4: Follow Up on Calls
- Networking & Your Job Search
- Networking Your Way to a New Job
- Successful Job Search Networking
- Proven Networking Techniques
- The Art of Career and Job-Search Networking
Your application is the first impression an employer has of you, the applicant.
It often will make crucial difference in whether or not an employer will interview you for a job.
|10 things to remember
Acceptable reasons for leaving a job:
References: Be prepared with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three personal references. Never use family members. You may wish to list teachers, ministers, friends or former employers. Make sure that you have their permission before using them as a reference.
Create a master application -Take it with you
This is an application that is already completed, checked for accuracy, spelling, correct addresses, correct hire and termination dates from previous employment. Take it with you and use it when you are filling out application forms. It is much easier to complete a well-written application if you have something to refer to.
A resume should be only one page.
It should not be too crowded – it should be easy to read. It should be typed neatly with no errors or whiteout.
Be sure to have someone else proofread your resume before submitting it to an employer!!
|Parts of a Good Resume|
You need to include your full name, your complete address, and your telephone number. Make sure that the telephone number is one where you can be reached at all times. Do not include personal information, such as your age, marital status, height and weight, and hobbies.Job Objectives
This is a statement of the type of work that you are seeking. Make it specific, such as “seeking a position as a cashier”. If you are applying for a specific advertised position, use the employer’s job title written word-for-word.Assets/Qualifications and Experience
List skills you have that would show the employer that you are qualified for the position. Consider your skills from school or previous jobs. You may include specific machinery that you have operated, the fact that you are mechanically inclined, leadership ability, organizational ability, good with detail, work well with people, etc.
List all jobs you’ve held and the length of time on each job. You may also include volunteer positions held and part-time summer jobs.Education and Training
List the schools you have attended and the dates, the main courses you took, and the degrees you received. You may also list scholarships or honors, and extracurricular activities related to the job for which you are applying.
A resume is an essential tool in a job search. This tool is used to market or sell yourself to an employer. It should only be a short summary, not the whole story. The following are general guidelines for writing different types of resumes. This information changes geographically and varies according to the person and the profession.
- length should be one page, but never exceed two pages
- make margins (top, bottom, left and right) approximately 1-inch
- there should be plenty of white space and it should be easy to read
- font size should be 10 or 12 using conservative font styles
- layout should be easy to follow and information easy to locate
- appearance should be neat and clean, no errors or corrections
- paper should be 20-25 weight bond, rag or linen and of neutral color
- envelope and cover letter paper should match resume paper
- left justified with dates on the left
- use black ink and/or fonts that are easy to read
- show responsibility and results that relate to the needs of the company
- give examples of accomplishments and the ability to solve problems
- show statistics and numbers
- be honest, positive and specific
- use category headings: objective, professional highlights, education, training, skills, professional associations and organizations, honors and awards, references
- avoid jargon an abbreviations, don’t use sentence format, instead use action verbs and a few words with a lot of impact
- include volunteer experience, languages, internships, and certificates that relate to the position
- research the company and know what information would impress them
- if you attach a reference sheet take off the statement, “provided upon request”
- use industry terminology
- write your own – start by writing down a list of everything you’ve done, your work record, education and all your accomplishments, do not use a resume writing service because they usually appear too slick
- leave off salary information and only provide it when requested
- do not mass mail resumes – it is the worst thing you can do
- do not include post cards for employers to return
- use a computer or type your resume
- some occupations don’t need resumes, but it is always good to have one
- never provide names of references on the resume – either attach a reference sheet or provide references when requested
Types of Resumes
There are two primary types of resumes used – chronological and functional. Use the information below to determine which kind of resume is most appropriate for your particular situation.
View a Chronological Resume
Best Used By:
- individuals with a steady work record
- individuals with experience that relates directly to the position applied for
View a Functional Resume
Best used by:
- individuals with no previous employment
- individuals with gaps in employment
- frequent job changers
- individuals who have developed skills from other than documented employment
- emphasizes skills rather than employment
- organizes a variety of experience (paid and unpaid work, other activities)
- disguises gaps in work record or a series of short term jobs
- viewed with suspicion by employers due to lack of information about specific employers and dates
- de-emphasizes growth/job titles
View a Combination of the two
Best used by:
- career changers or those in transition
- individuals reentering the job market after some absence
- individuals who have grown in skills and responsibility
- individuals pursuing the same or similar work as they’ve had in the past
- highlights most relevant skills and accomplishments
- de-emphasizes employment history in less relevant jobs
- combines skills developed in a variety of jobs or other activities
- minimizes drawbacks such as employment gaps and absence of directly related experience
If you are applying for a job that requires a resume, you should write a cover letter to accompany your resume. The purpose of these letters is to tell how your job talents will benefit the company, to show why the employer should read your resume, and to ask for a job interview. Use these guidelines when preparing a cover letter and keep a copy for your records.
Your cover letter:
- Is a sales pitch, and an attention getter. Identify the single most important reason why you should get further consideration for the job.
- Should enable the reader to make a connection between him/herself and your background.
- Identifies mutual acquaintances or company employees if you know any.
- Expresses your knowledge of the company.
- Is a personal communication between you and the employer.
- Does not repeat, but can highlight information in the resume.
- Is short and to the point – no more than half a page.
- Mentions why you would like to work for the company.
- Must have perfect grammar and spelling.
- Identifies relocation issues (willing to relocate).
- Uses the same bond paper as your resume.
Make sure your cover letter is specific to the person you want to talk to
(the person who would actually supervise you), and specify the position
you are seeking and how you heard about the position.
Your Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Date of LetterEmployer’s Name
City, State, Zip CodeDear (Employer’s Name):Introduction Paragraph: You want to tell the reader why you are writing and name the position or department for which you are applying. You also want to capture the reader’s attention. Mention how you heard about the organization or the opening. Name someone you and the reader know in common or someone in the company that knows you. Show you’ve done some research on the company by talking about new projects the company has taken on, the particular management philosophy they use, or citing something you’ve read about them.Body: In this section you want to build a connection between your background and the company’s needs. If you have any directly related experience or education, summarize it here so the reader can be looking for it in your resume. If you have used skills or have accomplishments that relate to the job, mention them here. You are effectively summarizing your skills as they relate to the company research you have done. Be sure to do this in a confident manner.Concluding Information: Indicate your interest in working for the company and hearing from the reader. Thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.Sincerely,Your SignatureYour Name Typed
Sample Cover Letter
10 Emerson Drive
Capetown, Florida 33333
(101) 555-1234February 5, 2010Ms. Mary Smith, Personnel Director
Accounting Software International
5678 East Doral Street, Suite #1200
Lockridge, Tennessee 77777Dear Ms. Smith;In response to your ad in the Lockridge Examiner, dated January 30, 2010, I am enclosing my resume for consideration.I was particularly attracted to your position because of my interest in accounting software and the opportunity to use my computer skills in a more specialized career.I have extensive experience and skills that are relevant to this position. My particular expertise is in implementation and training conversions to new computer software systems and programs. I strongly feel that my talents could be valuable to Accounting Software International when achieving corporate goals.I believe I would be a good candidate for your position as a service representative and look forward to hearing from you soon.Sincerely,James Donaldson
Most hiring decisions are made at the first interview. How you present yourself in that interview could be as important as your experience and job talents.
Immediately after the interview send either a handwritten or typed thank you letter to the interviewer. Use the following sample as a guide. You can also mention a topic discussed, a problem you can help solve or something you may have forgotten to mention in the interview.
Sample Thank You Letter
123 Main Street Apt. C-3
St. Paul, MN 55050
(123) 123-4567February 6, 2010Mr. Vincent Kelger
Research and Development Manager
11234 West Ivanto Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55051Dear Mr. Kelger:I wanted to thank you for the time you spent reviewing and discussing my skills for the computer analyst position. I enjoyed learning more about your company and plans for the future.The position sounds very interesting, particularly since it would be an opportunity for me to use my skills and experience in computer programming and troubleshooting.I will call you in a few days in the hope that you have reached a decision favorable to both of us.Sincerely,Ronald Morgan
Finding work is a full-time job. That means you must:
People use a variety of methods to find information about job openings. Some may read the want ads, others ask friends or relatives, and still others may contact employers directly. Successful job seekers use a wide variety of methods but focus most of their time and energy on the more effective methods.Consider the advantages and disadvantages of some of the more common methods used by job seekers.
Network of Contacts
A lot of people do not like to do this because they see it as advertising the fact that they are unemployed. If this bothers you, remember, you are not asking these people for a job. Tell them you are looking for work, and that you need information. Most people will not have a job to offer, but they will have valuable information to offer.
Try to get at least one piece of information from every person you contact. This way, you keep building your network of contacts and gathering information.
|You can set up a free e-mail account to use for your job search on the public computers at the Smart Centers or on any computer with Internet access. You will be able to send and receive your e-mail on any computer with Internet access, like those in:
How will this help your job search?
– Email could help you get a job! –
Other Community Resources
Did you receive a layoff notice because of a company downsizing or closure? We may be able to help you with:
- One-on-one Intensive Job Search Assistance
- Work-site Training Opportunities
- Hidden Job Market
- Upgrading Current Skills
- Further Education
- Cal Jobs – California’s Job Listing and Resume System
- Experience Works for Older Workers
- The Disabled | Veterans
- California Newspapers | U.S. Newspaper List
- Government Jobs – Military Careers
- Employer Locator
Job Seeker’s Guide
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