To Jumpstart Your Job Search

 Are your training, experience, resume and interview skills good enough

to reel in the job you seek?  Within the first few seconds of an interview,

most Human Resource [HR] professionals know whether or not

they are interested in a job applicant.  


        Career changes are usually challenging.  Even if you are fortunate enough to be
        shifting jobs or even careers willingly, you will need to invest considerable time and               energy.  Launch the process  by examining all aspects of the job you seek.  Next, ask             yourself,
"Do my skills and experience match the standards of my industry?                      Determine how your profile compares to  those of competitors...and to the

        expectations of potential employers.  Obviously you cannot ignore gaps you find in

        your knowledge and experience, so consider individual study or even short-term                     institutional retraining to overcome your deficiencies.

        Research likely employers.  Examine leading firms in your industry as well as those

        large enough to have a department that relies on your skill set.   Also access your

        social networking data bases, your address book, and email contact lists for anyone

        who might be able to help you expand your list of possible employers.  Remember

        that you will need to alert contacts if you have not informed your employer of  your                 desire for a career change.  This begs another question--Are there opportunities you        should consider within your current employer's organization?

     Don't forget to research yourself. Run  a Web search on yourself--including social               media and your credit rating.  Where possible, correct errors you find and change or               eliminate social networking sites that contain inappropriate information or images

        that a diligent Human Resources specialist might find.  Be prepared to answer any

        questions that might arise about your public persona that could be raised in an


        ​As you review your research, determine whether your skills, personality and  

     work style are in harmony with the needs and goals of the employers you are            considering approaching?  And, since it can take a long time to find a job by

     yourself, you may decide that it may be cost-effective to hire a headhunter.


        Knowing you will have to satisfy the Human Resource [HR] specialists prior to getting
​        a job interview, ensure you follow all procedural requirements for submitting your                   resume, curriculum vitae [CV] and/or job applications.

Create a summary of skills, work history, education, training, awards,
     volunteerism and other community involvement.
Create a master list of life                       experience in reverse-chronology layout.  This can be updated periodically to help                   generate personalized submission materials as distinctive job opportunities arise.

Prepare a one or two-page reverse chronology resume for each employer.  Since a

        cover letter or application form will allow you to state your goals, open your resume

        with a list of the skills and unique knowledge you possess that parallel those required
        for the position you seek.  Use sentence fragments, but avoid abbreviations, 

        acronyms, and jargon unfamiliar to a generalist in the HR department.

Write clear cover letters when possible for both hardcopy and electronic resume                   submissions.  Express knowledgeable interest in the employer.  Conclude  by saying
        you will call to verify receipt of your materials and to learn if further information is                 required.

Prepare samples of your work.  When being interviewed, be prepared to tangibly                   demonstrate your skills.  Show the difference between you and the next applicant
        with a presentation of your creative and technical abilities.  Even "dummy" examples
        will show your ability with letters, forms, reports and promo pieces.

Proofread and Review.  Run software spell-check repeatedly; determine whether                     industry-specific jargon can be replaced with generic terms HR staff will understand               easily.  Have colleagues plus non-specialists review all your submission materials.


        Quality control is most important in this phase of your job search!  Print                everything on quality printers or copiers, for hardcopy mailings or personal                         delivery.  Off-white paper is acceptable if it has high reflectivity.  Use plain linen paper             without artwork (unless you have a personal logo) or screened backgrounds that

        prevent ease in reading.  For electronic delivery, a PDF file [Portable Document

        Format] is usually acceptable, but many government agencies and large companies

        insist job applications be executed through website forms, or require a plain text

        layout in ASCII [American Standard Code for Information Interchange].


         Despite an employer’s stated needs or evident corporate style, present yourself             professionally.  You can always remove a tie or jacket to demonstrate                                    compatibility with a casual work environment, but you have only one chance to make
         a first and best impression!  If the firm is noted for staff dressing in aloha wear or
         even T-shirts, you could put a jacket over a casual shirt or blouse that is artistic and                might include their corporate colors.  [See 
Wearing Your Brand and also 
Bios To Empower You for further career-enhancing information.

Eat a nourishing, light meal before interviews and drink enough water to ensure                  alertness, without a need for awkward trips to a restroom.  Have fresh breath and
​      clean hands.

Carry copies of the job listing, your cover letter and resume or CV, plus two
         pens and a pencil, and
examples of your creative and technical abilities.  Be                        prepared to leave copies of sample materials, if you are not concerned about
         copyright issues.

Be focused, confident and respectful; follow directions.  Use good posture and
shake hands firmly, but not hard.  Smile and make easy eye contact.  Listen.
         Speak in a
well-modulated voice; rephrase difficult questions.  Show active

      interest with opening remarks demonstrating research about the firm.  Ask a few           questions—NOT about salary or benefits. Interviewers will specify aspects of                        employment, like pay and benefits.

Demonstrating your interest in the firm is more than demonstrating good                 manners.  Making significant contacts is useful; sending post-interview thank-
         yous affirms your interest in a firm, helping in future hiring--or even referrals to
         other firms.  Even if you do not get the job you seek,
each contact expands your             knowledge of your industry and introduces potential colleagues.  So go beyond
         the polite handshake and take the time and effort to write a sincere thank you card.                Finally, if you are young, or shifting fields, a sequencing of lesser jobs can help you                reach your goal for the one that will compensate you fully for the varied skills and                  talents you possess. 

Practice interviewing in front of a mirror or with a friend. For
more practice, apply for a job you don't want simply for the
experience of going through the process.

To enhance your own wordsmithing skills, visit Jeanne’s blog:

Copyright 2015 @ Imaginings. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2015 @ Imaginings. All rights reserved.