Monday, July 26, 2010

Do You Need a Job Search Makeover?

I’ve tried everything and I still cannot find a job. I receive emails on this frequently, so let’s figure out why. How long have you been looking? Less than 3 months, I know you are desperate, but that is not an unreasonable amount of time. If it’s more than that, keep reading. Are you getting requests for interviews or just not hearing anything at all? Do you have experience; are the jobs you’re applying for relevant to your skills and education? Do you have a pleasant speaking voice, and good verbal communication skills? It is now time for a job search makeover.

Step 1.  If you are not receiving responses to relevant jobs you are submitting your resume to, then it’s time for a resume update. Are your high level relevant skills prominently displayed? Are you using solid examples of skills or are you falling on all purpose generic terms? Are you applying for jobs where you demonstrate relevant experience or education?

Step 2. Now have a friend or relative review/critique your resume. Now you don’t want your BFF for this job, you want the friend who gets on your last nerve sometimes, because she/he is such a perfectionist. You want brutal honesty, not warm and fuzzy. Bite your tongue, listen to their recommendations and make the appropriate changes. You don’t have to do everything they say, but go back to  and if their recommendations are within line, then revise away. They may even have suggestions I’ve missed. When you fill out those online applications, slow down to proof read each section. I type very fast, and am guilty of typos and word omissions all the time. You must make yourself check each sentence of your online application for grammatical, typos or spelling errors. A good tip is to read the sentence backwards, its time consuming and annoying, but it helps you proof your own work.

Step 3. Are you lacking experience or relevant experience? Some jobs require it, other do not. If you are seeking jobs that require experience, you’re going to have to find a way to get it. If it’s writing, publish something for free, like with EZ Articles. If you’re a web designer, donate your services to a nonprofit agency, school, church or even small business. Now you have an example of work that you can refer potential employers too. Try interning in your field of interest, works the same way as donating your services. Be sure to ask for a letter of recommendation when you complete the internship. Finally, be open to a lesser paying job or cross over type position to begin building relevant experience. Set a goal, I will invest 6 months to a year in this job, as I continue pursuing my dream job.

Step 4. What about the interviews? Are you interviewing and not hearing back afterwards. Time to polish up those communication skills, Begin by rehearsing and recording yourself, do you say “um” frequently, are you using slang words? Work on removing them from your vocabulary. Once again assist the advice of that pesky, perky, annoying friend. In spite of their exasperating “let me make you better” habits, they really do want to help you. Practice mock interviews. Keep doing it until you can sound professional as you jump out of bed in the morning. You can even improve a dialect; I was born and raised in New York, lived there for 24 years. I had that irritating nasal sound to my voice. I didn’t even realize it until I moved to Florida. I worked on eliminating it, and did. Most people think I’m from the Midwest now. There are a few tell tale words that pop in once in a while, but not many. You can do this too. Communication skills can be very important in certain jobs. Always be certain that your phone interviews are conducted in a quiet noise free environment. Employers do not want to hear your dog barking, children playing or the ladies from the “View” in the background. They want an absolute quiet, professional sounding background.

Step 5. Now that you’ve finished all of that, create a new email address and start applying or in some cases reapplying. Create a spreadsheet for the jobs you are applying for and the link to the ad or job description. You may see a helpful pattern of responses to didn’t hear one single thing. Don’t be discouraged, it is a tough job market out there, but if you are committed to finding work from home employment you will.

Step 6. All the while you are rehearsing, revamping and applying, you are practicing and upgrading your skills via whatever free means are available. Check for local sponsored events such as Work Source or even the public library. Build on those skills, get a few certifications, even if they are free, and keep applying to as many jobs as you can.

You may have to settle for the jobs that were nearer to the bottom of your list and work that for 6 months to a year to gain the valuable experience. You can also try registering with ODesk, to garner freelance experience, and even improve your skills by taking their practice tests. Whatever you do stay positive, employers want happy, upbeat personalities, if you allow yourself to get to discouraged it will come through in the interviews. Smile, be positive, and know in your heart that your perfect job is right around the corner.

Have a question or topic you'd like me to address, leave a comment here or contact me directly, visit the welcome tab for contact info.  Be sure to follow this blog to get the latest job leads, and a special thank you to all who already do. 

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