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Landing A Job

Thousands of young men and women across Kentucky will be graduating from high school and college in a few months, hoping to land a job in what’s considered a “tough” marketplace. Like the adage “the early bird gets the worm” suggests, a speedy start is important if a person is to beat the competition to the best job.

Therefore, now is the time to polish up your resume, make networking connections, and practice interview techniques.

To find the jobs that are available that meet your needs, talk to people, lots of people, and let them know you’re looking and you’re capable. Make a list of friends, teachers, previous employers, church members, etc., who might know someone to contact.

Join or attend organizations catering to the professions in which you are interested. Collect business cards, and ask if they know of someone to speak to about job prospects and requirements.

Networking is Key

Due to the increased costs of classified advertising and recruiting in general, only 14 percent of available positions make it into the newspaper, according to a recent hiring survey.

Networking personal contacts accounted for 70 percent; people hire and recommend those they know, like, and trust.

The survey found that executive-search firms accounted for 11 percent of job placements; mass mailing of resumes landed jobs for 5 percent.

Polish the Resume

For many job seekers, their resume is the initial contact with a prospective employer.

A resume is a brief description of your education, work experience, skills, and accomplishments; its main purpose is to get to the next step: an interview.

Human-resource managers say they spend only 30 seconds to four minutes reading a resume, so to improve your chances, make the resume a well-honed document that gets attention. But don’t use orange or bright yellow paper!

The resume should list your four strongest relevant skills, abilities, or knowledge, plus past accomplishments that illustrate each. Don’t stretch the truth. The facts are easy to verify, and lying can ruin your professional life.

Be lively. Use words that convey action and enthusiasm. Make certain you use the “language” of the industry or profession to which you are applying.

If you have an e-mail address, include it.

Don’t offer extraneous comments, such as this one received by Robert Half, founder of Accountemps: “I’m a hard worker, but don’t do well with change, such as mergers, acquisitions, downsizings, relocations, and new phone systems.”

When you’ve finished, have someone you trust read the resume for grammatical flaws and spelling errors.

Prepare for the Interview

Success: you’ve been invited for an interview. Now what?

Learn all about the company you are interviewing with, including trends in the industry and specific challenges the company faces.

Dress appropriately and arrive on time. This is your chance to make a good first impression.

Listen to questions carefully, answer them directly. A good interviewer will ask questions that require some thought. Responding with an “uh” and a blank look probably won’t get you a callback.

Ask questions to find out if the job fits your expectations, but avoid asking about salary, vacation, and sick leave. These are subjects that should be discussed only when you’re called back for a second or third interview.

On the Job

You got the job! What are some things you can expect during your first days on the job?

You will attend an orientation, during which you will be introduced to employee policies. You may be asked to take a drug test or physical exam, and you’ll fill out federal and state tax forms and paperwork for health and life insurance.

You will be assigned to an office or work area, and meet co-workers.

Socialize with fellow workers during lunch or after work. Find out who the “key” workers are–they can serve as good role models and offer advice for your own success.

WEB JOB SEARCH HELP

There’s plenty of general, as well as personalized, job-search assistance and information on career planning and resume creation online on the Internet. Check out:

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