Thursday, February 25, 2010

Skills you need to find a job

One of my temp jobs I had in 1976 (see below) was with JTPA (successor to CETA)--Ohio Senior Training and Employment Program (STEPS). I worked with a wonderful group of women in an efficiently run state agency. I wrote publications, planned workshops, travelled throughout the state, and wrote speeches for the head of another government agency. I learned so much on that job, not the least of which was job hunting skills (because I had to write about them and teach them in workshops not because I used them). However, I got the job in aerobics class overhearing my instructor talking about it--and that's how most jobs are found, "networking." Still, there are other important points I learned, and have updated to account for new technology.

1) If you're unemployed, your job is to find a job. Spend 40 hours a week researching, interviewing, networking, updating skills, writing thank you notes, and knocking on doors. If you do internet social networking about job hunting, be careful what you say. Never, never bad mouth your previous employer or boss.

2) Dress appropriately for the interview (this might take some research if you are 18-25). If you love that big hair look from the 80s, you might want to reconsider what it says about you. Cut the gray pony tail if you're a guy.

3) Develop a fabulous resume, brief is best. Use a professional or have someone proof it for you. Anything you have on the internet may speak louder than your resume, so better check that out. Read requirements carefully! Some companies don't want paper; some don't want attachments.

4) All jobs need good oral and written communication skills. If you've been text messaging for 4 years, you might need a brush up on how to spell "you" and "are."

5) Eye contact, body language, posture, good grammar--they say more about you than you know. Video tape yourself--watch for all those unneccesary uhs, now, hmmm, etc. It's a form of stuttering and doesn't make a good impression. Just don't put anything on YouTube.

6) If they take you to lunch (this is customary at the university), it's not because you look hungry. Your table manners will be observed. How you behave in a social setting will be important to your colleagues.

7) Do I need to remind you to be on time? No excuse will be accepted--they've heard them all--babysitter didn't show, mother in law is ill, snow plow covered the drive, etc. etc.

8) Also, do your homework on the company! At least know what they produce, service, loan or build.

9) Be prepared for really dumb or tricky questions. Maybe they can't ask your age, but they can chit chat about other things that will trip you up if you're lying.

10) One last thing--although they can't ask about your kids, they can spot baby spit up on your clothes.

I won't even go into drug testing, but there are now companies that won't hire smokers, and they test for it. If you need to worry, you're probably not right for the job anyway.

No comments: