The first step, whether you’ve been working somewhere for a few years or haven’t, is to update or write your resume. Regardless of your experience level, your resume has to show your skills, job history and potential as a quality employee. There are numerous online resources to help with resume building, but there a number of people you know who can help. The best way to start is by gathering as much information about your previous employment, education, training you have received and general interests. After acquiring all of those old addresses and phone numbers, putting all the information in the right format will be easy. Parts of your resume will change for each job you apply for, but the bulk of the document will work for all your applications.
After polishing up your resume, begin reviewing tips and techniques for interviews. The main thing to keep in mind is having reasonable expectations. If you are looking for jobs in a variety of fields or something unrelated to your previous employment, entry-level positions are your best bet. There are a variety of pay rates for entry-level positions depending on the field, but as an employee just starting out, you can’t expect the world to be at your feet. Also, know what you are qualified for and what you are not. Some fields (food service, customer service) don’t have a lot of requirements about previous experience. Many jobs do, so if you want to apply for those positions, don’t expect an interview from every application you submit. In fact, online applications don’t garner even a 50% response rate from employers.
There are numerous online websites with job listings, most allow the job-hunters to apply through the website itself, so the process has become far easier for the public. Keyword searches allow you to sift through the thousands of job profiles in your area. Other than Yahoo Hot Jobs, Monster and Career Builder, Craigslist.org is another great resource. There are traditional jobs listed there, but also temporary positions and non-traditional jobs such as dog walking, sales, house cleaning, etc. If you aren’t looking for a typical 9-5 employer, Craigslist.org or your local newspaper might be your best bet.
After editing your resume and mission statement over and over again for all the different positions you have applied for, be prepared to wait for responses that may or may not come. Online employers are notorious for getting tons of resumes through email, so they can sit back, toss aside 95% of them and respond to only their choice applicants. One tactic is to research the company (a good idea anyway) and find their fax number. If you fax your resume with a good cover letter about the position you are applying for, it will separate you from the herd. After submitting everything, if you fail to receive emails in response or a call after a few days, it is a good idea to call over there and see what is your application’s status. There is no point in holding out or waiting for a position you really want if they have no intention of corresponding with you.
When you do get job interviews, make sure you ask questions during the meeting as well. Most people are so concerned with impressed everyone in the interview, they fail to get adequate information about the position. The ideal situation is to gain enough knowledge that you can give them a solid yes if they call you with a job offer. The job search process is not an easy one, but with preparation and perseverance, you can begin a new job that you will enjoy within a reasonable amount of time.