Actions

You will be ahead of most job seekers if you build a foundation of assessment, exploration, and decisions (goal setting) before you take the final action step to look for work.

Present yourself as a true professional, regardless of the occupation you choose, and demonstrate your job search skills are equal to your on-the-job skills. When you are fully prepared, your job search will be shorter, less frustrating, and more successful.

Resumes and Cover Letters

A resume is your professional marketing tool. Develop a core resume with well-written statements that describe your achievements in previous jobs. When you identify a job you want, customize your core resume so that it becomes a targeted resume specific to one job. Every job you apply for should have a separate, targeted resume developed from your core resume.

Include a cover letter with your resume. A cover letter is an additional opportunity to provide evidence about your experience and explain why you are good fit for the job. When you distribute hard copies of your resume and cover letter, use lightly colored high-quality paper.

Interviews

An interview is an excellent opportunity to market your services to a potential employer. Unfortunately, lack of preparation is usually obvious to the person or people interviewing you, so be certain you are ready. You must prepare so that you'll appear comfortable, articulate, and confident.

Networking

Networking is a terrific way to find out about job opportunities, including jobs that are not advertised. Networking requires interaction with people (sometimes strangers), which can take practice and time. Often, even after you have been hired, networking is an important strategy to continue, since it is an important element to build reputations, networking can also help with job security.

The biggest impact on networking in the last few years has been online social media sites, which are becoming increasingly popular. A search for "facebook job search" or "twitter job search" will yield thousands of links to tips, hints, and lessons on how to use social media for job search networking. However, offline vs. online networking is still the leading source of connecting with people who could influence your job search.

Staffing Firms

Staffing firms can be a great source of both temporary and permanent employment. Include companies that best suit your skills in your job lead sources.

Customer Service

Essential customer service skills have always been an important part of the workplace. With fierce competition for jobs today, it is very important to demonstrate that you are customer-service oriented. Good skills include having a positive attitude and having the ability to put other people first. Work toward developing (or sharpening) soft skills such as verbal and written communication; listening, and basic business writing procedures by taking classes and reading books.

Internships

An internship is a short-term, practical workplace experience with potential for long-lasting results. You can gain experience; discover more about a job; gain confidence in your skills and knowledge of an industry; discover you strengths (and weaknesses), and make good business connections that could lead to a permanent job or a positive reference. Internships can be formal or informal, paid or unpaid, and last an average of 6 to 12 weeks. Many private businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations and government entities offer internships. The internet is a great place to research your options.

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