Preparing for Your Job Search

Once you have completed your adult education program and obtained your General Educational Development (GED) credential, and/or your college degree, you can start looking for the job that will let you use your newly acquired skills.

Of course, there are millions of other job-seekers out there, and some of them will be trying to land the same positions that you are. In order for you to get the job you want, you not only have to prove that you have the skills the employer is looking for; you also have to convince them that you are a better fit for the job than all of the applicants. Proving that you are the right man or the right woman for the job is never an easy task, but there are a number of things that you can do to prepare for your job search.


First, get your references ready. There’s a pretty good chance that your potential employer is going to want to talk to someone that you worked with, someone that supervised your work, and/or someone that taught you the skills that you’re going to use in your new job before they hire you, and it’s usually a good idea to have a list of some of the individuals to whom you would like your potential boss to talk.

Second, practice your interview skills. This is important because almost every organization, whether it’s a massive corporation or a small fast food place, will ask you to come in and discuss some of your skills with one or more of the people that work there, get a glimpse into what kind of person you are, and decide if you are a good fit for the job.

Third, revise your resume. Your resume is the first opportunity for you to grab the company’s attention and make the case that you would be a great employee. A good resume can’t get you a job all by itself, but it can lead to a job. A poor resume can ruin your chances of getting hired altogether.

Fourth, look for internships and other similar entry-level opportunities. Internships and other similar positions can help you gain the experience that you need to advance and/or obtain a better position.

References

Your references are simply a collection of names and phone numbers that an employer can use to contact people that may know something about you. In most cases, these people will be your current and/or former coworkers, supervisors, teachers, professors, and other similar individuals who can tell an employer more about you than a resume or a cover letter ever could. These individuals, as a result, are extremely important because they have the ability to show your employer that you are the great employee that you say you are or show your employer that you have hidden weaknesses. This means that you need to choose your references very carefully because these individuals have the power to make or break your job search efforts.

Fortunately, finding a good reference is usually just a matter of knowing what to look for.

  • First, try to look for individuals that have known you for a long time. This is important because each of your references should be familiar with your skills, your accomplishments, and, most importantly, who you are. The company or organization that you are applying to is going to contact your references to find out more about you, and you have to make sure that your references can actually tell them something good about you.
  • Second, try to look for individuals who will follow the old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This is important because most of the companies and organizations that you will apply to (with the exception of some law enforcement agencies, government agencies, security firms, and other similar organizations) will only contact the references that you give them. This means that you have the ability to control who your employer contacts and control what he or she will and will not hear. It is, as a result, important for you to make sure that you choose references that will actually tell your employer what you want them to know and not what you don’t want them to know. In other words, try to look for individuals who are actually interested in making you look good rather than individuals who are out to get you or who couldn’t care less about whether you get the job or not.
  • Third, try to look for individuals who are actually willing to talk about you. This is important because someone is probably going to call your references at some point, and you have to make sure that they are agreeable with the fact that they may be getting a phone call.

Job Interviews

A job interview is a meeting or a conversation in which a representative of the company or organization that you have applied to will ask you a series of questions. These questions are designed to help the individual or organization that is considering your application to get a better idea of who you are, what skills you have, what skills you lack, and most importantly, what kind of employee you will be. The questions that you will be asked in an interview, as a result, are extremely important because each question gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills through the examples and responses that you offer. However, it is important to note that some of the questions that you will encounter in an interview may try to trick you into divulging information about your weaknesses that you may not want to divulge. In order for you to get the job that you want, you have to choose your words very carefully.

Fortunately, if you have trouble choosing the right words under pressure, there are a couple of things that you can do before your interview.

  • First, try to get an idea of what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Your primary goal in an interview is always to convince the interviewer that you have the skills that you need and that you are the right man or woman for the job. However, it can be very easy to get off topic and start rambling about things that an interviewer really doesn’t want to know or to talk about things that you really don’t want your interviewer to know. You want to make sure that each of your answers is actually related to the position that you are applying for and that each answer is actually giving your interviewer the information that you want him or her to have.
  • Second, try to research your employer. Most interviewers will ask you questions like, “why are you applying for this position,” “what makes you think you are qualified for this position,” and “what do you know about this company,” and each of these questions is designed to see if you know anything about what your potential employer needs. You may want to research the company that you’re applying to in order to get a better idea of what your interviewer may be looking for not only in these questions, but also in all of the other questions that he or she may ask as well.

Resumes

Your resume is a document that provides a brief overview of the education and experience that you have. This document is designed to list each of your accomplishments, awards, schools, and employers in an organized fashion so that your potential employer can get a quick idea of what you have done in the past. In fact, each of the elements that are typically included in a resume will usually appear in its own distinct section with a brief description of the things that you have learned, the accomplishments that you have made, or the duties that you were required to perform in each position or school. Your resume, as a result, is extremely important because it can show your potential employer that you have the credentials and skills that you need or show your potential employer that you lack some of the education and/or experience that the position that you’re pursuing requires. You need to know how to design a resume in order to show your potential employer that you are the right man or woman for the job.

Designing a resume that will show your potential employer that you are the right man or woman for the job is no easy task, but there are a couple of things that you can do to improve almost any resume.

  • First, ask a friend to read over your resume and your cover letter. This is usually a good idea because everyone makes mistakes, and one of the worst things that you can you do when you’re applying for a position is to submit a resume with mistakes.
  • Secondly, if you can’t find a friend to help you with your resume or you need more help than a friend can give you, you may want to rely on a resume-writing website or a local workforce center. Resume-writing websites and workforce centers (which are also known as career centers) are designed to help you create the best resume that you can, and these websites and centers typically have a number of tips, samples, and, in some cases, even professional resume writers that can assist you.

Internships

Fortunately, if you need some experience, an internship may be able to help. An internship is a special type of entry-level position that will allow you to learn and practice some of the skills that you need for your chosen profession. In fact, many internships will actually pair you up with an individual in your chosen profession so that you can learn the skills that you need from a professional that has been in the field for a long time.

  • First, it is important to remember that there are paid internships and unpaid internships. An internship is not like a typical job, and the individual or organization that offers you an internship is not necessarily required to pay you. You need to make sure that you understand what you will and won’t get out of your internship before you accept it, and you may want to look for a paid internship if you can’t afford to work for free.
  • Secondly, some internships are more difficult to obtain than others. This is important because there may only be a few internships in any given company, and there will almost always be quite a few people trying to obtain each of these internships. It may be difficult to obtain an internship if the internship is to be paid, is with a well-known company, or is in a field in which job-seekers are required to complete an internship before they receive their degree and/or begin their career.
  • Third, different internships may require different qualifications. An internship, especially if it is in a field that requires you to work with people and/or perform tasks that could potentially cause some sort of harm, will require you to complete certain courses, earn certain certifications or licenses, enroll in or advance to a certain point in the appropriate degree program, have certain grades, and/or have other similar qualifications before you begin your internship. .
  • Fourth, an internship is a training position, and it’s temporary. In some cases it may lead to an offer of full time employment from the company, but you should not assume that it will, because in most cases it won’t.

Employment Websites

Employment websites can be a big help in your job search. These websites will typically include career tips, employment statistics, job listings, job search engines, and other similar resources.

  • First, most of these sites will fall into one of three main categories. The first type of employment website that you may encounter is known as a job search engine or a job search website. These sites typically include thousands of job listings, job search engines, and other similar resources that are designed to help you locate a job and apply for it. The second type of employment website is known as a job tip website. These sites typically include advice on how to advance your career, what you should do to prepare for an interview, what you should do during an interview, what you can do to improve your resume, and other similar resources that are designed to help you get the job that you want. The third type of employment website that you may encounter is known as a telecommute site or a work-from-home site. This is a website that will actually allow you to perform a job from home. These sites typically include a series of assignments and/or projects that you can accept, bid on, and/or complete from the comfort of your own home.
  • Second, keep in mind that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to employment websites. There are a countless number of different websites that you can use to find and/or obtain a job, but many people only look at the well-known sites and forget to look for the sites that are less traveled. So, if you’re looking for a job, a big site like Careerbuilder.com, Hotjobs.com, or Monster.com may be helpful, but it may actually make more sense to look for a smaller website that has jobs in your field that other people may have not seen.