Tips for Job Seekers

Self-Appraisal

Deciding exactly what your qualifications are is the first step in merchandising your talents. You need a detailed inventory of your background and experience so you will know exactly what assets you have to offer an employer.

No matter what type of job you seek, your inventory will be a basic tool in your search. It will contain the information you need to prepare your resume. It will help you decide how to present your qualifications at a job interview, and be a source for facts, dates and other information you will need to give an employer.

  1. Work History
    List all of your jobs, including part-time, summer, freelance work, internships, and volunteer activities.
    For each job, give the name and address of your employer, your job title, the details of your duties, and the dates you were employed.
    Then ask yourself:
    • What did I like about each job? Why?
    • What did I dislike about each job? Why?
    • Why did I leave?
  2. Skills and abilities
    Ask yourself:
    • What personal qualities do I have that make me excel at certain types of work? Think back over your job experience, school and volunteer activities, and try to be honest with yourself. Are your strong points initiative, imagination, leadership, ability to organize, willingness to follow orders, interest in detail, or ability to work with people?
    • What did I learn on the job that I could use in another position? (For example, operation of a machine or office equipment or blueprint reading).
  3. Education:
    • List the schools you attended, the main courses you took, and the degree(s) you received. It is not necessary to list graduation dates.
    • Any business, vocational, military, on-the-job training, or continuing education courses, the dates, and any certificates you received.
    • Then ask yourself:
      • What courses or training did I like best and why?
      • What courses or training did I dislike and why?
      • Now list any scholarships or honors you received and your extracurricular activities.
  4. Interests, talents, and aptitudes
    Ask yourself:
    • What are my hobbies or volunteer activities?
    • What are my special talents or aptitudes? For example, can I fix a car? Play a musical instrument? Speak another language besides English? Am I good at drawing or painting? What do I learn most easily?
    • How can I relate my talents and interests to a job? If you are a recent graduate, your activities may be a significant part of your job qualifications (for example, work on the school newspaper or campus radio station). Even if they are not directly related to a job, they may help you decide where your talents and interests lie. (For example, do you enjoy sports, recreation and outdoor activities? Did you excel on the debate team? Are you good at organizing a group to do a job?)

Resume Tips

Rules for resume preparation come and go. Most resumes are skill-based, meaning they focus on what you can do and not where you did it. This is the information requested by many major employers. However, resumes have no official format. Since a resume is a sales brochure, you want to include everything that relays why you're the right person for the job.

When putting together a format, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Use a simple, easy to read font.
  • Justify the text to the left.
  • Try to keep it to one page.
  • Do not include personal information, such as marital status, height, weight or religion.
  • Be consistent.

Remember these key points when putting your resume together:

  • Make sure you have correct dates of employment and correct company information.
  • Use key words that fit the desired job.
  • Focus on responsibilities not job duties.
  • Keep it to a few bullet points.
  • Even the small things can have value.
  • List achievements.
  • Make sure all reference information is up-to-date.

One of the most important things to do after you've written your resume is to: Proofread!!

  • If you say in your resume or cover letter that you are detail–oriented, make sure that you are!
  • Do NOT rely on spell check to find spelling errors.
  • Print off a copy of your resume, read it and give to someone else to read.