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Job Search Strategies in a Tight Economy


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Workshop presented at IPFW on 3/11/10

Workshop presented at IPFW on 3/11/10

Published in: Career, Business

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  • 1. “ Job Search Strategies in a Tight Economy” Spring 2010 Jill Parker, Director of Career Services Karen Obringer, Career Counselor in Career Services
  • 2. Overview of Workshop
    • Job Search Strategies in a Tight Economy Workshop
      • Resumes & Transferable Skills
      • References
      • Cover Letters
      • Networking
      • Job Searching
      • Interviewing
      • Coping with Job Loss
    • Discussion / Questions
  • 3. Why do we need a resume?
    • The purpose of a resume is to get an interview , not a job.
    • Once you get in the door, it's your personality and discussion of your education and lifetime of experiences that will get you the job.
  • 4. Two Types of Resumes
    • Chronological
    • This format is good for people with extensive work experience either with one company or a few companies, usually in the field in which they are seeking employment.
    • Work and educational experience is listed in reverse order of occurrence, beginning with the most recent dates and working back.
    • Combination
    • This format is good for career changers, those with gaps in employment and those who want to clearly sell specific skills paralleling the needs of the employer. (Page 25)
    • This focuses on skill clusters, rather than describing the jobs as you list your work history.
  • 5. Formatting / Appearance
    • NO Templates!
    • Make your name stand out with a bold, larger font size (usually 14-20 point font)
    • Use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier
    • Type Size: 10 – 12 point font
    • White, beige, or light gray quality bond paper
    • Length should generally be one page unless you have extensive experience or graduate school work. If you go to a second page, put your name and p. 2 at the top right
    • Don’t use “fun” or “cute” graphics or logos
  • 6. Formatting / Appearance
    • Make it “reader friendly” (15-30 seconds)
    • No high school information – Keep things current!
    • Only go back 10 years, UNLESS it is relevant—then, the dates can be listed as “prior to 2000”
    • No personal information (family, hobbies, date of birth, etc.)
    • Don’t use first-person language (I am seeking a job, my education…)
    • Use action verbs
    • Adhere to the Rule of Thumb
  • 7. Sections of a Resume
    • Contact Information (appropriate email address)
    • Objective or Summary of Qualifications
    • Education
    • Relevant/Work/Professional/Volunteer Experience
    • Honors/Awards/Activities
    • Professional Affiliations
    • Professional Development (Workshops / Conferences)
    • Skills (Languages / Computer)
    • **Please note that this is for a typical chronological resume. The order may differ for a combination resume.
  • 8. Contact Information
    • Name
    • Address (Present and Permanent when appropriate)
    • Phone Number
    • Email Address
    • 123 Any Street
    • Fort Wayne, IN 46835
    • (260) 555-1212
    • [email_address]
    CHRIS SMITH 83 Prospect Road  Fort Wayne, IN 46807  (260) 432-8975 
  • 9. Objective
    • Avoid vague statements- be specific
    • Keep it employer-focused
    • No first-person language
    • Sample Objective:
    • Special Education position with Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • 10. Summary of Qualifications
    • Summary describes your qualifications
    • Tailor to the job description
    • Example:
    • Career Guide example, pgs. 10 & 25
  • 11. Education
    • List colleges and universities beginning with the most recent first
    • Name the institution(s) including city and state (i.e., Indiana University - Fort Wayne, IN)
    • List degree and date anticipated
    • List GPA if 3.0 or above
    • If it has been more than 5 years since you graduated, you can delete the date
    • Example:
    • Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education , May 2007
    • Indiana University, Fort Wayne, IN
    • Concentration: Adolescent/Young Adult
    • Minor: Language Arts
  • 12. Work / Professional Experience
    • List all significant experience that pertains to the job you are seeking
    • Begin with most recent or relevant experience (see Career Guide)
    • Categorize your experiences in a way that pertains to the job you are seeking (i.e., Student Teaching Experience, Coaching Experience, Related Experience, skill clusters on a combination resume, etc.)
  • 13. Work / Professional Experience, cont .
    • Action Verbs
    • Quantify and Qualify (i.e., how many)
    • Bullet points should answer WHAT and WHY
    • Go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook:
    • Look at an old job description
  • 14. Volunteer Experience
    • Hospitals, Non-Profits, Fundraisers, etc.
    • What was your role?
    • **** Just make sure that it is relevant!
  • 15. Sample – Work Experience
    • Example:
    • Fort Wayne Community Schools, Wayne High School, Fort Wayne, IN
    • Student Teacher, Fall 2006
    • Assisted in educating culturally diverse high school students (9-12) in the area of English
    • Effectively used comic books and other unconventional resources to build grammar and punctuation skills
    • Demonstrated organization and planning in preparing daily lessons
    • Adapted teaching style to meet the needs of all students’ learning styles
  • 16. Skills Clusters in a Combination Resume
    • Transferable skills (p. 14 & 15)
    • Examples: Customer Service Skills, Communication Skills, Management Skills
    • Within each skill cluster:
      • list the relevant job duties
      • don’t have to mention to which job it applies
  • 17. Professional Development / Activities
    • List the name of the organization along with your status (treasurer, member, etc.) and year of membership (since 2006) in reverse chronological order
    • List activities you have done or are doing that would be of interest to the employer
    • Example:
    • Activities and Honors
    • National Council for Exceptional Children, member 2006- present
    • Educators for Excellence, IPFW, member, 2005- present
    • National Collegiate Education Award Winner, 2006
  • 18. Skills SKILLS Language: Conversant in Spanish Computer: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • 19. Additional Resume Resources
      • Occupational Outlook Handbook
      • IPFW Career Services Website- Sample Resumes / CV’s
      • Resume Critique Appointment with a Career Counselor (Express Lane)
  • 20. References
    • Typically 3-4 people who you know professionally
    • Not friends or family members
    • Give references a “heads up” that you are job searching so that they are prepared when they get phone calls, and send them a copy of your resume
    • Use a separate page for your references—don’t make it part of your resume (see Career Guide)
  • 21. What is a Cover Letter?
    • Personalized introduction of yourself to a specific employer
    • Demonstration of your written communication skills
    • Explanation of how your skills and experience fit the requirements of the position
  • 22. Should I always send a cover letter?
    • Strongly encouraged by some employers, downplayed by others.
    • Bottom line: It doesn’t hurt to send one.
    • Address the specific ways in which your skills and experiences match the needs of the position. Pick out what the ad says and address it in the letter.
  • 23. Cover Letter Format : Paragraph 1
    • Name the position for which you are applying, and how you learned about it.
    • Mention the name of a person (if any) who referred you to the organization.
    • If no position is currently open, indicate that you’re interested in learning more about opportunities with their company. ( Letter of Inquiry)
  • 24. Cover Letter Format : Paragraph 2
    • Explain how your skills/experiences match their needs.
    • Give examples of skills and achievements and how they will transfer to the position.
    • Comment on your knowledge of the company, and why you’re interested in working for them.
  • 25. Cover Letter Format : Paragraph 3
    • Refer to the enclosed resume.
    • Tell the contact person that you will call on a specified date, and that you are available for a personal interview at her/his convenience.
    • Make it easy for the person to contact you. Re-state the phone number and email listed on your resume.
  • 26. Cover Letter Tips
    • Be specific, target and tailor your letter for each position! Never address a cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern.” Do your research, and address the letter to a specific HR person. Spell names correctly!
    • Have someone read through a draft of your letter to make sure it’s concise and error-free.
    • Follow-up as specified in your letter.
    • For an example of an email cover letter, see p. 39 in the Career Guide.
  • 27. Before You Begin Your Job Search…
    • You need to start dealing with the loss of your previous job.
    • Not dealing properly with the job loss can negatively affect your new job search.
  • 28. How Employers Hire
    • Recruitment (job fairs, word of mouth, and internal posted positions, advertisements – page 47)
    • Screening – narrow the pool of applicants (desired / preferred)
    • Selection – get interview = you are qualified…looking for a “fit”
    • The Hiring Structure – varies depending on company size and industry / # of people you meet with and hiring timeline
    • Today’s Job Market = More Structured & Selective. Online databases
  • 29. New Tactics!
  • 30. Tapping ALL Resources
    • A job search is like a full-time job…
    • Job Fairs (NICE Expo – April 15 th @ Ivy Tech)
    • Yellow Pages
    • Newspaper
    • College Career Offices
    • Workforce Development Offices
    • Community Agencies
    • Employment Agencies
    • Social Networking Sites (e.g., LinkedIn)
  • 31. Tapping ALL Resources Cont’d
    • Professional Associations / Listservs
    • Volunteering
    • Online Websites:
      • (JobZone)
      • Websites that allow you to post your resume:
  • 32. Tapping ALL Resources Cont’d
    • Chamber of Commerce
    • Write a “Letter of Inquiry” – Page 37
    • * You never know whose desk your resume may land on when you send it in…
  • 33. Networking
    • The MOST SUCCESSFUL way to get a job!
    • Tell people that you are looking for a job and ask them to keep their eyes and ears open.
    • Networking Events / Social Clubs
    • * Cc: Me, YLNI,
    It’s not what you know, but who you know and who knows you.”
  • 34. Informational Interviews
    • Informal way of getting to know someone in a particular career field
    • Way to learn more about their career and how to break into the field
    • It’s an opportunity to NETWORK – this is not a job interview!
  • 35. How do you get your foot in the door… One Door! Many Doors!
  • 36. Job Search = Frustration = New Techniques
    • Make sure your technical and communication skills are as strong as possible
    • Engage a "kind critic" to honestly assess your image as a job candidate
    • Become an active user of (a social networking website)
    • Play up your assets, whatever they are
    • Don't ever put yourself – or your age – down
    • Networking = conferences, workshops, seminars, etc.
  • 37. Tips for the Job Search
    • Think of your job search as a job: Get up, shower, get dressed, go to a place where you can “work” on the job search.
    • Plan, set goals, and use a spreadsheet to track your activities and progress.
    • Stay positive…if you really want to work for a particular employer, check back with them every few months.
    • Always follow up.
    • Be polite to the receptionists / clerical staff.
  • 38. Tips for the Job Search
    • Target an industry
      • What kind of job do you want?
      • Does it match your values?
  • 39. Researching Companies
    • Read their mission statement, goals, strategic plans, etc.
    • Read the “about us” on the web site and see what degree/ background people have
    • Look over the annual report.
    • “ Google” the company, or check the local online newspapers ( ) to see if there have been any recent news articles about the company.
    • Check out for company information, insider info about interviewing process, etc.
  • 40. Interviewing!
    • Preparing for the job interview:
    • * Know yourself—be prepared to talk about anything on your resume.
    • * Market yourself—they want to know if you’ll be a good fit with their organization or program.
    • * Practice answering questions with a career counselor, trusted family member/friend, mirror
  • 41. Professional Dress
    • Professional Dress vs. Casual Dress
    • Tips: Coat, purse, keys, folder, etc.
    • Jewelry, perfume…
    • “ Dress one step up!”
  • 42. Before the Interview
    • Practice, practice, practice! You don’t want to sound rehearsed, but you want to have practiced enough to feel confident that you can answer the questions well.
    • Bring extra copies of your resume.
    • List of your top “selling points”
  • 43. The Interview
    • Make sure you arrive a few minutes early.
    • Greet the recruiter by Mr./Ms./Dr. and his or her last name.
    • Offer a firm handshake and a smile.
    • Make eye contact with the recruiter and answer questions in a clear voice.
    • Work to establish a rapport with the recruiter—engage in small talk to break the ice.
  • 44.
    • Don’t Bad-Mouth Anyone (including the company that laid you off):
      • This will only make YOU look bad—your goal is to always remain professional.
      • Answer all shaky questions honestly. Employers can find out what is and if it is not the truth—don’t risk your reputation because you don’t know how to handle a difficult question.
    The Interview
  • 45. Techniques & Tips
    • Rephrase the question
    • Say, “That is a good question…”
    • Ask them to repeat the question
    • Go “full circle”
    • Maintain eye contact comfortably
    • Mirror them
    • Do NOT ask about salary or benefits
    • Mention your “selling” list
    • Say, “I noticed on your website…”
  • 46. Behavioral Interview Questions
    • What you did in the past will predict how you act in the future
    • SOAR Model – Page 65
  • 47. Questions to Ask the Employer
    • Remember that you are also interviewing the employer.
    • Bring a list with you (usually 3-5 questions) = interested and prepared!
    • Hint: Ask what the next step is in the hiring process
      • gives you an idea of how quickly they will make the decision, and allow you to restate your interest in the position
  • 48. Final Interview Advice
    • Reiterate your interest
    • Show your excitement
    • Thank them for their time
    • Ask them when you can expect to hear from them
    • Sell yourself….your skills, education, experience
    • Send a thank-you letter (24 hours)
  • 49. Coping with the Loss of a Job
    • Talk to a counselor, pastor, etc. to vent and process the feelings resulting from your job loss.
    • Set daily or weekly measurable goals to ensure that you are making progress with your job search.
    • Take a break from your job search to regroup and stay positive. Engage in activities you enjoy (working out, cooking, etc.) to keep a positive outlook.
    • Keep a journal.
  • 50. Expectations
    • Expect rejection…Don’t take it personally. Call and ask for feedback. Maybe they hired an internal candidate.
    • Expect the process to move SLOWLY.
    • Take the initiative, follow up, etc.
    • Expect to expand your search outside of Allen County, or even outside of northeast Indiana.
    • Expect to become frustrated (if you aren’t already), but have a plan / goal to keep you focused and moving forward.
  • 51.
    • Questions?
    • Office of Career Services
    • 260-481-0689