Regardless if this is your first time looking for a new job or the 100th time, it never seems to get any easier and in a former position as a hiring Manager I have seen the same mistakes made over and over again. Here is a list of things you should remember when you go out into the workforce to make your mark and things you really should avoid. Please have your Pen ready to take out the following Notes.
Know your strength and weaknesses before you start looking.
Most of us are not in the position in the beginning to make too many demands when it comes to finding a job, but you don’t have to put your-self into a position where work becomes a daily torture. Take a piece of paper and draw two columns on the page, then write all the things that interest you and you are good at in one column and all the things you dislike and are bad at in the other. If you for example are afraid of dogs and hate dealing with people, you shouldn’t look for a job as a costumer representative or as a clerk in a Pet Store. If on the other hand you talent is cooking or you are great at building things, you may want to try finding a job as a Cook or in Construction. As you see, by finding the things you like and have strength in you have just narrowed your search down quiet at bit. Now make a list of jobs that fit your talents and interests. You may be surprised just how many items will be on this list when you are done.
Know your target pay rate.
This is not the dream pay rate, but the target pay rate. Write down all the bills you need to pay yourself on a monthly basis, include groceries, emergency money, if you smoke make sure to include money for cigarettes, savings and don’t forget a little bit extra for yourself and your family if you have one. This is really important, if you don’t you will soon hate working more then you normally would. You have to see something for yourself. Now take that amount, divide it by 4 and again by 40. The number is your target Rate per hour. Try to get as close to this Rate as possible on the minimum site and of course you can double it on the plus side if you have a chance.
Get your Resume in Order.
Now you know what jobs you may like and how much you need to make. It is time to brush up your Resume. Perhaps this seems a very old fashioned Idea, but with jobs being listed on the internet all the time, you will need one. Even if you never had a job before, you can write a short version of the Resume including your scholastic achievements and volunteer services you may have had. I always preferred applicants that brought a Resume to attach to their Applications since it made them look more prepared and professional. To me it telegraphed that his person was willing to put a bit of extra effort into a process.
Are you willing to relocate, travel etc.?
Plan ahead before you apply to a job that will take you 1hr to get there and another hour back only to make $7.00 an hour. You will pay out a lot of money in gas and have even less time for your private life. Not to mention the problems you may have if your car ever breaks down. Yes, that too is something to consider ahead of time.
What perks are you looking for in your job package?
Pay and hours are only two of the things which will be important to you in the long run. Another thing to consider is if you are looking for an hourly pay, commission jobs with its feast and famine structure, salary with the endless hours at time or a combination of the above. Are insurance and health benefits important to you? What about vacation pay?
Now since you are all planned ahead it is time to make those phone calls.
Unless you are planning on walking from store to store to put in applications you will need to make phone calls to find out about application hours, interviews etc. Before you sit down to make those calls, be sure you don’t have the Radio or TV up load in the background, no kids running in and out tucking on your cloth or dogs yelping behind you. With other words, make sure you are not distracted. Have a notepad and at least 2 Pens or Pencils sitting ready to write down the information.
Application Information request etiquette.
Make sure you know which job you are applying for and if possible who to talk to. When calling for the information you want to ask for the person and state what it is in regards to. Make sure you speak clearly and with a pleasant voice. Rudeness, slang or stutters are not a good idea. Once you have the right person on the line, identify yourself by name and once again state the reason for your call. You are dealing with a possible future boss, so be polite. Write down the information and get directions if you are not certain where the place is located. A good idea is to repeat the information back by stating: “Just to make sure I have this correctly. You are located at XYZ and accept applications from ZYU.” At this point you have already made a good impression and you can judge the phone behavior of the other person as well. If he or she seem irritated, are rude etc you may want to consider if you even want to try. Yes, everyone has a bad day sometimes, but most of the time the phone etiquette of both parties is a good indicator of their work ethics and personalities.
Putting in an Application.
If you haven’t heard a thing I said up to now, please make sure you will read the next few statements very carefully. Put them in your memory bank and by all means turn them into your mantra.
Don’t bring your kids with you. Please find a baby sitter. Family members, unless they are applying along side of you will not give your prospective employer a good picture of you. I have been known to ask an applicant to come back when he or she was able to pay attention to what he or she was doing. With other words, come alone. You won’t be bringing your family to work with you, are you?
Have a couple of well working black or blue pens with you. Not pink, not green and no pencils. Worst yet is coming to fill out an application without a pen at all. I refused applicants the loan of a pen to fill out an application if I knew that they came that unprepared. It says you don’t care enough if you get the job to begin with to have your things together. You Pen runs out of ink, that is a different story, but that is why you should always bring more then one.
If you bring your Resume, have it neatly in a folder. Make sure there are is no grease, smudges etc on it. No wrinkles or the like either please. If you want to be really prepared bring some paperclips in a little bag with you to clip it to the application.
Dress casual and clean. Hair and makeup done understated and professional looking, guys please be well groomed. If you come in sweats, a shirt that allows me to see your nipples, ripped jeans, hair that hasn’t been washed in weeks you will find your application at in the dumpster out back. Depending on the job you apply to, you may find it necessary to wear a suite for the guys and a nice dress for the ladies. However, most companies are just as happy with a clean pair of slacks and a nice shirt.
Check your breath before you speak. Onion and Garlic is great on my food, but not in my face. Don’t chew gum while filling out the application. Why do this at this step? Because you never know if you will have an interview directly after.
A nice firm handshake and a non aggressive direct look are best. You don’t need to break the person’s hand, but by shaking it as if you have a hand made out butter you signal that you are weak minded and not trust worthy. A direct look says I have nothing to hide and am interested to find out what I may. You don’t have to grin like a maniac, but a smile goes a long way.
When asking for the Application take a look at the person you are dealing with. If you see a name tag, use that person’s name. If not, Mam and Sir are not outdated.
Fill the application out there if at all possible. This will show that you are interested in getting the job. By taking it home, they don’t know if you or your mother has filled it out. Write clean and neat, if you have to use block letters. You should already have all your contact information, references and past employment ready. All you need to do is transfer the data. When finished it is ok to ask if the hiring manager is present or how the application process is handled. Don’t forget to thanks the person that handed you the application for their help. Believe me or not, future co-workers can give you a hand up if you have made a good impression or talk the manager out of it.
If you haven’t heard anything from an application after about 10 days it is ok to call back and check on it. You will find out that the position has been either filled or they are still looking. If they are not done processing the application yet, your phone call will remind them of your name and show that you are indeed interested.
On the other hand, if you have already been through an interview and have been told they will call you when they have a new training class or when they have something else open, please don’t hold your breath. If you are hired you will be scheduled for a second interview, a training class or will be called back within less then 1 week. After that it is just a nice brush off. Don’t make a fool of yourself and just move on to the next one.
If you are currently looking, I wish you good luck. Hopefully this will help you in your job search.