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Iowa Workforce Development
Region 8
Using Technology For A Work Search

Iowa Workforce Development - Work With Us®   

Using Technology for a Successful Work Search

I. Ways To Make Your Computer Work For You

  • Word Process Your Résumé and other employment related correspondence.  

  • Hone Your Skills by practicing your typing, word processing, or presentation development skills.

  • Develop a Web site and post your résumé there. 

II. Use Internet Resources - There are a number of helpful sites job seekers can utilize: 

  • - Mirriam-Webster on-line.  Look up the meaning of a word or access their thesaurus.

  • - O*Net online is an occupational information site that is helpful when writing your résumé.  Gives general information about occupations along with descriptions of common tasks.

  • - The Riley guide is an on-line resource for career related information.

  • - by the National Labor Exchange

  • - links to statewide and local Labor Market Information, jobs in Iowa, and jobs with the State of Iowa.

III. Schedule Your Time

  • Use a calendar to track more than just your interviews. Many of the e-mails you establish have calendar features.  Make the most of your calendar to plan your week.

  • If you are unemployed, make getting employment your full time job.  

  • Schedule your time and then follow the schedule. For example, you can plan to fill out applications at employer sites in the morning (keep in mind, you will probably not be able to hit more than 3 in a 4 hour period of time)

  • Schedule follow-ups; this includes calls and letters.

  • Schedule internet work search time.

  • Track any "send-outs" you do. Note the company name, address, telephone number and contact person.

IV. E-mail Tips

  • Set up a professional sounding e-mail address using one of the free e-mail services.

  • If your e-mail address is corny sounding, you may be taken less seriously as an applicant. Avoid things that sound unprofessional.

  • Avoid using a friend or relative's e-mail address.  This way you can access the account from various locations and don't have to depend on someone else for access. 

  • An e-mail account is easy to set up and there are a variety of sites that offer free accounts.  

  • Know your e-mail address and be sure you note the password so you can remember it.  Giving out an incorrect e-mail address is like giving out an incorrect telephone number.

  • Check your e-mail on a regular basis - if you are a serious job seeker, this means at least 3 times a week.

  • If an employer left a message on your answering machine, return it in a timely manner. If you e-mail a résumé to an employer or complete an application online, it is reasonable to assume the employer may try to contact you through your e-mail address.

  • E-mail your résumé to yourself and to a friend for review before sending it to an employer.

  • You don't typically know what kind of software programs a perspective employer has.  You can copy and paste your résumé into your e-mail, or attach your résumé to your e-mail.  If an employer specifies a format, try to send your résumé in that format.  If there is no specified format, rich text or text formats work well.  Before you e-mail the résumé, send it to yourself and to a friend.  Open it.  Does everything still look as you intended?

V. Ways to Apply for Jobs On-line

  • E-mail

  • Electronic forms/Résumé Builders

  • Via the World Wide Web as a Web Page

VI. Résumé Preparation

The employer you are applying to determines how you prepare your résumé for electronic submission. For electronic résumés there are three popular file formats, all coded in ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange:  plain text, rich text, and hypertext.

  • Plain Text:  Advantages:  it is the most popular ASCII format.  Microsoft Notepad is a common text editor program - pc's, Macintoshes, UNIX  Workstations and mainframe terminals recognize these text files.  Disadvantages:  a plain text résumé is just that - plain -- there is no formatting.

  • Rich Text:  Advantages:  it provides formatting options that plain text doesn't.  It is compatible across word processors.  Disadvantages:  Destination computers may not recognize a rich text file.  Rich text is not supported by some e-mail editors and sending a rich text file in the body of an e-mail will result in unreadable text.

  • Hypertext:  Advantages:  You can publish your résumé directly to the world wide web and take advantage of HTML tags used by search engines to index pages of information.  Disadvantages:  You have to have a web browser, internet access, an HTML converter application or knowledge of manual HTML.  Web résumés must attract the interest of employers and recruiters on their own.

VII. Responding to Internet Job Listings

  • Read the application instructions and follow them.

  • Use the e-mail address from the ad.

  • If a job code is specified, make sure you include it.

  • The employer may ask you to send your résumé as an attachment in a particular format - i.e. a Word document.

  • Use the right Subject. In the Subject line be sure to use the job title or job code cited in the ad.

  • Include a cover letter in the body of the e-mail message. The cover letter introduces you and encourages the reader to look at your résumé.  It should not be a summary of your résumé.

  • Make sure your résumé is formatted for e-mail. If you copy and paste your résumé into the body of the e-mail, make sure it will look good in all e-mail systems.  Shorter text lines are important so that text doesn't wrap in funny places.

VIII. One Résumé -  Four Versions

  • Print Version - The "attractive version" is one you print and mail or hand to contacts and interviewers.  Contains styles and formatting:  bullets, italics, bold.

  • Scannable Version - No fancy design highlights, may have bulleted lists.

  • Plain Text Version - This version is ready to copy and paste into on-line forms or post in on-line résumé databases.  Advantages:  you can spell check what goes into the résumé builder, you can easily build résumés into a number of sites by copy and paste instead of having to type information in separately on each one.

  • E-mail Version - Another plain text copy, but formatted for the length of line restriction in e-mail.

IX. Preparing Your Résumé for E-mail

  • Open your formatted, "attractive" résumé.

  • Select all the text and change the font to a non-proportional 12pt, such as Courier 12.

  • Save your résumé as a "text only" file.

  • Open this new file in Notepad.

  • Set the margins to 1 inch all around if they aren't already.

  • Review your résumé carefully - replace unsupported characters.

  • If you see long lines of text, use the word wrap feature under the Edit menu to insert "hard" returns.

  • Copy and paste the text of the résumé into the body of a test e-mail message.

  • Create a short cover letter and insert this in the message.

  • Send a test copy of this e-mail to yourself and to a friend who is using a different e-mail program before sending it for the position you are applying for.

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