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What to do when looking for a job

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A university student sent an email with the following request.

• Q. I am about to start sending out applications for jobs, but my problem is I don’t know the professional way of doing applications or anything that is associated with finding a job. I never worked, since I came straight to university from college. What should I do? {{more}}

Signed Shavorn.

• A. Finding a job takes time, strategy and preparation. Before you begin your job search, you will need a resume, visit www.careerbuilder.com for samples of a good resume. Your resume is basically your advertisement to a potential employer, it should make them interested enough to invite you in for an interview.

For students who have never worked before, you still need to develop a resume. You can list your volunteer work, special projects you were involved with while in school and any special recognition you may have received during your college years that’s related to your field. A resume for recent college graduates should be just one page. If you’ve worked before or had an internship by all means include that.

As you write your resume, be careful to check for grammatical and spelling errors, as it probably will end up in the trash if it does. The use of trendy computer fonts is another turn off for employers; stick with Times New Roman or Arial in 12 point, as these are good fonts to use when writing your resume.

Be careful not to embellish your resume, this is not the time to sound bigger than you really are as the employer will see right through it and you will not be hired. Do not include information about a desired salary on the resume, and make sure that your contact information is accurate and current.

There are other resume writing tips, so do a search online to gain more insight and view examples at www.monsterboard.com. Don’t forget to include a well-written cover letter.

Once your resume is in order, take the time to research the industry you want to enter. Look for new developments and trends so you are up-to-date on what’s happening. Once you’ve researched your field, begin to network.

Call up family, friends, acquaintances or alumni from your university and request an informational interview. The purpose of this interview is NOT to ask for a job but to make a connection. Ask for advice on finding a job, suggestions on other people to talk to. If you make a great impression you may be referred to a job but do not ask for a job.

Invest in at least 2 or 3 conservative business suits so you look sharp when you actually do have an interview. Have a mentor or your career centre conduct a mock interview with you and videotape it. This will give you an idea of what you look and sound like when interviewing. Watch your body language and please use proper English when communicating.

Remember finding a job is a process, the more you learn the better your chances of landing the job you want.

•Karen Hinds works with companies and professionals to develop their competitive edge through effective communications, image management and customer service. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected]

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