You can secure the job you want. It's out there somewhere, waiting for your
personal blend of talents and training. Yet, today's successful job search
requires more of you than simply filling out an application or two and
waiting for results. Even Help Wanted ads only announce 15-20% of the jobs
available; frequently the best jobs are never advertised. The current job
market is more competitive than ever, and the successful candidate
undertakes a carefully planned and executed job search strategy to acquire
the position which best utilizes his or her abilities and provides the
opportunity for advancement.
The RESUME, which presents your career history and professional
accomplishments in words, is a vital sales tool in a search for a better
career opportunity. A professionally prepared resume is written to present
your background and qualifications in a manner that will make a favorable
and lasting impression. It will enable you to gain the competitive edge
throughout your job search.
In today's business world, resumes save countless hours (and money) for
both you and the employer. You can capture the attention of many
prospective employers each day by mail. Send your resume to companies in
which you are interested (most companies are always looking for good people
and spend thousands of dollars in recruiting costs each year).
Answer advertisements, many of which your resume will fit exactly ... Send
resumes to Employment Agencies and Search Firms ... and give copies to your
business associates and friends to build a solid job search network.
In addition, your professional resume has significance beyond the job search, technical certifications and personal loans among numerous other functions. ... Be sure to maintain an
updated resume reflecting your current achievements and qualifications.
The Self Marketing Campaign
After the Interview 8
Career Insurance Policy 9
The Resume is the most vital tool in the search for a new and better career
opportunity. Employers usually receive hundreds of applications for a
single position. Therefore, It is obvious that an attractive, well-written,
and aggressive resume will separate you from the goats and open doors that
otherwise remain closed.
So what do employers want to see? There are numerous myths regarding
employer desires, and the subject is somewhat like politics: you'll get a
different opinion from everyone you talk to! The answer, then, becomes
clear: Design a resume that will please most employers most of the time.
AAPSI Resume Services, and the A Better Resume Group has carefully
researched this issue through employers and professional recruiters, and is
pleased to offer you these basic guidelines:
*Length is not the question. If it takes two pages, or in some
cases even three, to sell you effectively,USE THEM! The job market
is highly competitive, and the more relevant information you can
provide, the better your chances are for landing an interview. If you
have to delete important facts just to keep your resume to one page,
you're selling yourself short!
* Employers want important facts to be readily available. You have
an average of 10 SECONDS to capture the employer's attention. A
summary of qualifications, placed immediately after a specific,
concise objective, is the best way to get the attention you deserve.
The summary should include, in a half-page or less, exactly what
you have to offer in the way of experience and education. In this way, you
can get to the qualified file in a minimum amount of time. An
employer won't have to read your entire resume to discover your
* After the employer selects the applicants with appropriate
qualifications, he or she will want more detail to determine
who he wants to interview. Emphasis should be placed on
accomplishments - a proven track record will show the employer what
makes you special, and help to answer his #1 question: What can you do for
* A list of your experience and education is a very important part
of your resume; it tells the employer about your career progression
and longevity, as well as basic responsibilities and
professional training. This information must be both honest and
diplomatic; lies will come back to haunt you, but carefully deleted or de-
emphasized information will ensure the largest number of
interviews so you have the opportunity to sell yourself in person.
* Objectivity is critical with respect to resume preparation.
Whenever possible, enlist the aid of a professional resume
service, or at the very least, that of a business acquaintance
with hiring authority. They can assume an objective stance. If you
try to tackle the project by yourself, you'll discover you can't see the
forest because of the trees.
Undoubtedly, the most popular job search method involves waiting for the
Sunday newspaper classified ads, and sending out one or two resumes a week.
However, these advertised positions account for ONLY 15-20% of the total
So, what is a person to do? First you need to find out where you would like
to work, and send them a resume. If your resume crosses the right person's
desk - at the right time - you may well get an interview even if the
position they need to fill hasn't been advertised yet.
Therefore, the best way to become employed is to find yourself an employer,
submit a resume (either in person or by mail), and follow-up with that
employer on a regular basis. In this way, you'll be considered for openings
before they're advertised, simultaneously indicating to the employer that
This section of our Job Search Kit is designed to help you develop job
leads and initiate an aggressive self-marketing campaign.
HOW TO GET STARTED
It is essential that you spend some time researching which firms need a
person with your qualifications, and those for which you would like to
work. There are numerous methods readily available to you for this purpose.
* Free employment services, such as those operated by the State Job
Service, Local, State and Federal Civil Service Personnel
Offices, and Non-Profit Job-Banks.
* The Yellow Pages.
* Chambers of Commerce. Most chambers publish a list of the largest
employers in their area.
*Daily newspapers' business sections. Read the financial/ business
sections to determine what companies are new to the area, or those
planning to expand.
* Industry trade publications. Most of these carry regular
Help-Wanted ads, or publish annual directory issues that will be
very useful to you.
* The Wall Street Journal, particularly the Tuesday editions, for
the classified Help- Wanted ads, as well as information about
expanding organizations. The National Business Employment Weekly,
published by the Journal, carries all the Help-
Wanted ads from the four regional editions of the Journal.
* Friends and relatives. Tell everyone you know that you're looking
for a job. Networking is often the most effective means to find a
* School Placement Offices. If you are about to graduate, or are a
graduate of a college or technical school, inquire at the career
placement office. Many schools and often their alumni
associations, offer job information as a free service.
*The Public Library. The reference librarian can direct you to
several publications, industrial/commercial directories, lists of
associations and the like which will be quite helpful to you.
The proper use of these materials, will give you an excellent mailing list,
which should reflect your particular preferences, the companies you would
like to work for, geographical area and other considerations of importance
Here is a partial listing of some important job-search references. These
will furnish you with names, addresses and telephone numbers of companies,
and most importantly, the names and titles, of key personnel who have
Dun and Bradstreet Reference Book of Corporate Management
Standard and Poor's Register of Corporations, Director, and Executives
State and City Commercial & Industrial Directories
Industry Trade Associations - All major industries and business have one.
Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers
Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
Moody's Handbook of Common Stocks
The Value Line Investment Survey
Rand McNally Bankers International Directory
Fortune Magazine - Annual Supplement listing the 100 largest corporations
Forbes Magazine - Annual List of 2500 corporations
American Management Association - various publications
The Literary Marketplace
MC Rae's Blue Book
Standard Rate and Data Service
United States Government Organizational Manual
Creating your own job search list is an arduous, time-consuming task, but
the results are invaluable. Using your list to BROADCAST your availability
is often the quickest route to employment, other than knowing someone who
can place or hire you or having an inside track to a position - often
known as the brother-in-law method.
HOW TO APPLY
Whenever possible, present your resume in person. Unfortunately, this is
not always possible, especially when you are attempting to relocate to
another area or engaged in a very broad job search. In either case, you are
likely to encounter the need for the following items:
The Cover Letter or Letter of Application. It is standard protocol to
submit a cover letter when mailing your resume . One may also be used in
cases when you are applying in person, but are not able to get past the
secretary in the personnel department. It is acceptable
to use a generic cover letter for cold calling (when you want your name
placed in a file marked CANDIDATES FOR FUTURE OPENINGS) BUT IT IS
ESSENTIAL TO WRITE A SPECIFIC
COVER LETTER FOR KNOWN, SPECIFIC OPPORTUNITIES. Regardless of which type
you submit, several things must be kept in mind:
1) Whenever possible, direct your letter to a specific individual.
2) Typewritten letters are far more impressive and professional than hand
3) The cover letter is designed to tease the employer into reading your
resume, and therefore should be brief.
4) Make sure there are no typographical or spelling errors.
The cover letter should contain three main paragraphs, consisting of the
A) Opening paragraph: Explain how or from whom you learned of the
opportunity, and identify the specific position you are seeking.
B) Summary of Skills: Briefly tell the employer what makes you qualified
for the position you are seeking.
C) Closing paragraph: Make a direct request for an interview, and indicate
the enclosure of your resume.
The Application Form: Many employers request that you complete one, even if
you are submitting a resume. You will usually fill-in the application form
at the employer's place of business, so have all the necessary information
on hand. Complete the application in ink and write legibly. Fill out the
application completely. Do submit your resume with your application, as it
will present a more distinctive and aggressive picture of you and your
HOW TO FOLLOW UP
In today's highly competitive employment market, the person who achieves
the highest level of recognition and communicated a hungry attitude has the
best chance for employment. Diligent follow-up is one of the most effective
ways to draw attention to yourself, as less than 1 in 300 people take time
to do so. You should use a follow-up letter in these instances:
1) To verify receipt of your resume and repeat a question for an interview.
2) To update your application file with current information, or a new resume.
3) As a thank you for the interview, and to reaffirm your interest in the
* Follow-up after Submission of your Resume: If you've mailed or
presented a resume, and haven't heard anything for two or three
weeks, submit this letter as reminder.
"Since I have not heard from you, I would like to insure
your receipt of my resume by sending an additional copy."
This is a great way to let the employer know you're very interested in
working for him without being too pushy. Keep good records of your mailing
campaign, so you know when to send this letter.
* Follow-up After Interview or the Thank You Letter:
Remember, less than 1 in 300 applicants do this, so your letter
is certain to get some extra attention. Take good notes during the
interview, noting items which seemed of special concern to the
employer. Use these notes when you write your letter - it lets the
employer know you were paying attention. Take this opportunity to mention
special qualifications you forgot to discuss during the
interview, and to reiterate your interest in the position.
OTHER NECESSARY SELF-MARKETING TOOLS
* The Reference Sheet: Very often employers will request
references. Even if they
don't, it makes a great close to an interview:
"Thank you for seeing me Mrs. Jones, and please feel free
to verify my qualifications with my references."
References do not belong on your resume. Use this valuable space to talk
Also, your references should not be contacted until mutual interest has
* Salary History: Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil. When the
employer requests a salary history, you must submit one, or risk
losing an interview because you couldn't follow instructions.
Obviously, you don't want this information on your resume because
it may limit your salary potential.
* Personalized Letterhead: There is no better way to maintain a
professional look. All your cover letters, follow-ups, etc., should
be on the same letterhead for uniform of appearance.
PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW
Dressing for success: This cannot be over-emphasized. After your resume,
the way you present yourself is the next item which determines the
employer's opinion of you. If you are dressed inappropriately, no matter
how well you handle yourself, you are at an extreme disadvantage. If you
are applying for a professional or public-contact person, you must wear a
suit and tie, or a conservative dress/business suit. It is well worth your
money to invest in an interview outfit. Never wear jeans, even for a
production or laborer's position. Although a suit or dress might be
slightly overdone in these cases, you should certainly wear dress slacks
and a dress shirt or skirt and sweater combination.
PREPARING FOR TYPICAL QUESTIONS
Have answers to these questions in your mind before the interview:
1) Tell me a little about yourself. The employer is not asking where you
were born, he wants to know about your interests, goals, and background. In
many interviews these are often the first questions asked.
2) How much do you expect to be paid? If this question is asked early in
the interview, reply; "If you don't mind, I'd like to learn more about the
responsibilities of the position first." You then have the whole interview
to sell yourself before you tell him or her what you're worth. When you do
address the question, start high. In this way you effectively communicate
your self-confidence and leave room for negotiation.
3) Why should I hire you for this job? A self-confident reply is important
here. Don't use cliche phrases like "I learn quickly." or "I get along
well with others." Be specific and don't be afraid to brag a little: "In
my last position, I was able to increase sales in my territory by 30% - in
less than one year! I am confident I can do the same for your company."
4) Why did you leave your last job? Whatever the reasons (better salary,
less travel, long commute, etc.) don't criticize your former employer or
indicate you had 'personality conflicts'.
5) Why are you interested in this company? Do your homework and learn a
little about the organization beforehand.
6) What is your greatest weakness? Turn your weaknesses into strengths: "I
find it very difficult to give up responsibility, so I frequently spend
time doing the job myself."
Other questions to consider
What are your future vocational plans?
Are you willing to travel and/or relocate?
Why do you think you would like this job?
Tell me the most positive thing about you.
How do you spend your spare time?
Why have you held so many jobs?
Please explain these gaps in your employment history.
Why do you think you'd like to work for our company?
Have you ever had your driver's license revoked?
Have you ever been in trouble with the law?
What hours do you want to work: what about overtime?
Are you still employed?
Describe the best boss you ever had - and the worst - give your
What are the business accomplishments of which you are most proud?
Can you work effectively with members of the opposite sex?
Are there questions you want to ask me?
Prepare and practice a few sentences addressing one or more of these
topics. It will make your interview easier by increasing your
AT THE INTERVIEW
* Never take anyone with you to the interview.
* Don't smoke or chew gum.
* Don't be overly concerned that you are somewhat nervous about
the interview. The employer understands this and will usually
attempt to put you at ease.
* Let the employer control the interview. Your answers should be
frank and brief.
* Never leave the interview without asking for the job! Even if
you are not sure that you want it, you always want the offer.
Many employers will not offer a job to someone who doesn't ask for
* Start off the interview with a firm handshake, a pleasant
smile and a positive, confident attitude.
* Listen attentively and look the interviewer directly in the eye.
Sit up straight, but also try to relax.
* Speak clearly, using good grammar and a friendly tone. Never
murmur a simple "yes" or "no".
* Be positive and enthusiastic. Don't bad-mouth your previous
employer. Show an interest in the job and the company. Remember
this is a personality contest, the best person at getting the job
will win over the best person for the job.
* Ask pertinent questions: What are the job duties? Who do you
What other departments do you work closely with? Who are the
other employees you work/coordinate with? What are the career
growth and advancement opportunities? What are the firm's short and
long term growth plans?
* Tune into the interviewer. If the interviewer's attention drifts,
shift the conversation to something more interesting. Where
there is a gleam of interest, play on it.
* Bridging/Conversation Control: Answer the question asked and then
make a relevant link to your experience. Example: "Have you ever
handled a million dollar account?" - "No, but I did handle the
most successful direct mail campaign in my company's history. It
increased sales 7%. Let me tell you about it."
When the interview is drawing to a close, hand the interviewer your
references, suggest that they be checked as quickly as possible, so you can
start as soon as possible. DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT ASKING FOR THE JOB.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
Before you leave the office, be sure to get the correct title and spelling
of the interviewer's name. Ask when a decision will be made; will another
interview be necessary, and with whom?
Go immediately to the nearest place with a clean table and handwrite a
short thank-you note on your personal stationary. Emphasize your strengths
by relating them directly to a specific question asked by the interviewer.
TACTFULLY - Ask for the job again. Finish by stating you will telephone on
a specific time and date, to keep up with developments. Thank the
interviewer, again, for the time spent with you.
SAMPLE BODY-COPY FOR HANDWRITTEN THANK-YOU LETTER
"Thank you for the time you spent with me today. I found our
conversation to be informative and enjoyable
As we discussed, my comprehensive experience in tax accounting,
will certainly broaden and improve the quality of your accounting
department, and eliminate the need for expensive outside accounting
I will be a real asset to your firm, and I am very interested in
joining the XYZ company, as soon as possible.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I will telephone you on
date and time to hear your decision."
If a second interview is set-up, get the name and title of the person whom
you will meet. By this time the company is fairly sure you have the
technical expertise and competence required. Probably this interview will
focus on the specifics and /or personality traits. Each organization has a
corporate culture, and not everyone interviewed will fit the specific
environment. This also gives you a chance to conclude whether this is the
job, work-place environment, and career opportunity for you. If you still
want the job, ask for it again.
Just because you've had a successful interview doesn't mean you should stop
looking for better work opportunities. Even if this is your dream job, you
may find something even more perfect, or you may not be selected for a
position. Keep your job search strategy working for you.
If you are not selected, ask the interviewer if he knows of any upcoming
opportunities at other firms that you can contact. You will be surprised at
the assistance you get in this situation.
Learn from your mistakes! Don't waste time brooding over job offers that
don't come through. Instead, focus on what you might have done to enhance
your chances of being hired. Did you look as good as you are capable of
looking when you interviewed? Did you do enough research on the company?
Were you adequately prepared for the questions you were asked in the
interview? The more honest you can be with yourself, when you answer these
questions, the better chance, the next time out, you won't make the same
Keep your sense of humor. You are a superior person. A job search can cause
you to question your own worth. Relax, laugh at yourself occasionally, and
enjoy the opportunity to learn more about other organizations and
Keep Active! Your ultimate goal when you are searching for a job is, of
course, being hired. The best approach to this ultimate goal is to
establish a series of interim goals, and in particular, to set up as many
interviews for yourself as possible. The basic idea is to keep as many
irons in the fire as you can, so that if the job falls through, you have
other possibilities to fall back on Whatever you do, don't take anything
for granted. No job is yours until the offer is made - you accept it and
you begin working in your new job!
CAREER INSURANCE POLICY
Keep an ongoing file of all your accomplishments.
A well formulated accomplishment consists to two parts:
1) What you did
(not the steps you took or the methods you used, these can be brought out
in the interview.
2) What benefit RESULTED to/for your company/employer.
Effective Results must be quantified - either in terms of percent or
dollars or both.
The first part 1 is the action, the second part 2 is the result or
benefit. The result/benefit must be stated in the most tangible terms
possible to clearly convey the value of an accomplishment to an employer.
Minimum dollar benefits should be at least twice your annual salary.
In a large budget or company, a small change in percents can be presented
with greater impact in dollars. Conversely, an accomplishment in a
smaller budget or
company, when small dollar amounts are involved, percents have greater
impact than dollars.
An accomplishment without a result/benefit is simply a skill.
In general, accomplishments will satisfy one or more of the
* You achieved more with less.
* You achieved the same with less.
* You made things easier.
* You accomplished something for the first time.
* You resolved panic situations with no adverse impacts on
schedules or production.
Be prepared for anything - Maintain a constantly updated resume.
Sharpen your communication skills: studies have shown a strong link between
success and communicating effectively with superiors, peers and
Keep records of people in your business and social networks.
BECOME INDISPENSABLE: employees who work a little harder, take on extra
projects help solve problems, and learn company operations and procedures
thoroughly are hard to replace!
Make your professional education a never-ending process - keeping
up-to-date is absolutely essential in today's rapidly changing business
Arm yourself with an alternative career: if your company - or the entire
industry - falls on hard times, and the job market is tight, a hobby or
sideline may be able to provide you with part or full time income.