Job Search Strategies in a Tight Economy


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Workshop presented at IPFW on 3/11/10

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Job Search Strategies in a Tight Economy

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