Iowa Workforce Development - Work With Us®
Hints for Job Seekers
It shouldn't come as a surprise that looking for work can be a lot of work, especially if you haven't been in the job market for awhile, or if you are changing careers. If you need help putting together a résumé, aren't sure how to answer some questions on a job application, or are scared to death at the prospect of a job interview, you've come to the right place. Here are some hints to make the job search less frightening and more productive.
Do Some Research!
Find out what the employer does - this lets you ask intelligent questions during an interview and lets the employer know you are really interested in a job. It can also help you decide if you really want to apply for the job. Friends who work there can be a good source of information, along with the local chamber of commerce, Iowa Workforce Development, and the local newspaper or library. If the employer or company has a Web site, that's also an excellent place to find good information about what they do. You can always call the company to ask if they have a Web site, check local community Web sites for possible links or use one of the many Internet search engines.
Here are some questions you should ask:
Fill In The Blanks!
Employers tell us that a lot of job applications are incomplete, messy and downright hard to read. You don't want that first impression to be the wrong one, so take a minute to review these suggestions:
Why Did You Leave?
There is usually a section on job applications for prior work history. If you've had several jobs, you obviously left one or it left you. The prospective employer will want to know what happened. Be positive and avoid negative responses such as:
If the company was sold or there was a change in management, say so. New owners/management often clean house, and it doesn't necessarily imply any fault or blame on your part.
A Lasting First Impression
You never get a second change to make a first impression. Don't blow it by showing up at the employer's business in dirty clothes, bare feet and bright green hair. You might be there just to pick up an application, but that first impression may prevent you from getting an interview.
Ask yourself these questions:
Employers can learn a lot about your at a job interview, and not just from your answers to their questions. Remember, your first goal is to not get eliminated from consideration. Here's what we mean:
Job interviews can be frightening, especially if you're not sure how to answer a specific question. Think before you open your mouth, and review these suggestions for possible responses to common questions:
Be prepared to ask the employer questions as well. Be positive, and avoid asking questions that give the negative impression that you are only interested in what the employer can do for you. Sometimes your questions will get answered during the interview, but here are some suggestions.
Bring these questions along to the job interview:
It's usually best to save the "what's in it for me" questions until the end of the interview. If the employer hasn't volunteered this information, ask them about the rate of pay, fringe benefits, and any probationary period.
After the interview is over, and you've sent a thank-you note expressing your appreciation for consideration, wait a couple of days and make a follow-up call to see if the employer has made a decision. If you got the job, congratulations! You'll probably find out when you'll start, etc. If you didn't get the job, don't be afraid to ask why not in a non-threatening manner. If the manager hasn't made a decision yet, find out if there is anything else you can do, but don't be pushy and don't beg.
The rules for résumé preparation come and go. Today's résumés are often skill-based, meaning they focus on what you can do, and not where you did it. This is the format requested by many major employers.
In the past résumés also included information on your age, your marital status, your height and weight, and where you went to church. All of that is highly discouraged since it can inadvertently give the prospective employer information that could be used to discriminate against you.
Today's résumés may also have to be electronically scannable. An electronically scannable résumé is specifically designed to be entered into a computerized database using an optical scanner. The scanner "reads" the résumé and stores it in text form as a computer file. Visually appealing résumés usually don't convert well to a scannable format. The ideal scannable résumé is clean and clear, with no graphics, bold-face type, italics, or bullets, and is unfolded with no staples.
Contact your local Iowa Workforce Development office for copies of materials on how to construct a résumé, or come in and use one of our Resource Centers. We have PCs, easy to use résumé-building software, and free paper, as well as information on websites that list job openings, career exploration tools, and employer data.
More information is available at your local Iowa Workforce Development office. Call or stop by for some one-on-one help with your questions or ask for copies of these helpful publications.
Iowa Workforce Development Region
An Equal Opportunity