University of Florida

Job Tips for Job Seekers

Looking for Work in a Tough Market

Introduction

It is important to be active and organized when seeking employment -- especially in times when unemployment is high, consumer confidence is low, and many companies and even state government agencies are on a hiring freeze. While it might seem more difficult to find a job during a recession, it is not impossible. Seeking jobs gives you beneficial experience in the long run as you're finding, interviewing, building resumes for, and presenting yourself to different potential employers. Follow these guidelines to help you search, apply and interview for jobs.

Finding Job Openings

There are many places to find job openings. Believe it or not, they are not all found on the internet (although many are). These are some consistently reliable places to find jobs:

  • Personal contacts
  • School career planning
  • Employers
  • Classifieds
  • Internet resources
  • Professional associations
  • Labor unions
  • State employment services
  • Federal government
  • Community agencies
  • Internships

Applying for Jobs

The three main parts to applying for a job are:

  • Resume
  • Application
  • Interview

Resume

Your resume should be no longer than one page, concise, completely truthful, and most importantly it should represent you. Include the following on all versions of your resume (remember to write and rewrite your resume as you gain more skills):

  • Contact information (including address, e-mail, and telephone numbers)
  • Education (name of school, level completed, focus of study)
  • Work experience (names and contacts of previous employers)
  • Skills, awards, certifications (technologies and software in which you are proficient, recognition for excellence in any category, and/or certificates of certification for certain skills or abilities)
  • Statement of intent ( i.e. what you are looking for and what you have to offer -- including strengths and weaknesses)
  • Travel experiences (this could include any study abroad experience or international travel, student exchange, etc.)

You want your resume to stand out, but also look professional. You want it to be easy to read, but not boring, and you want it to contain a lot of information, but not seem too dense or have the information randomly included.

Remember, it is better to edit out information and only leave the best and most pertinent rather than load it up with every activity you have ever experienced. Generally, if your resume is too long it is a sign to your potential employer that you do not follow directions very well -- limit your resume to a single page.

Choose a font that is formal, professional, and readable. Choose a size that is not too small (never go below 10 pt. or above 14 pt.).

Do not use colored ink or "artsy" fonts. Keep the organization simple, concise, and clean.

Applications

Fill out your job applications in blue or black ink. Write with your best handwriting. Make sure you fill out every section, and disclose the complete truth on all questions.

Generally, you will need a list of your previous employers, including their business addresses and phone numbers. You should allow your potential employer to contact them for a recommendation.

You will also usually need to provide between two and four personal and/or professional references. You will need the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and possibly e-mail addresses. If you do not have all of these, make sure there is a guaranteed way for your potential employer to reach your references.

Many employers also use the application to perform a background check. This often includes obtaining a credit report, so knowing your history can be beneficial.

Interviews

Interviewing for jobs can seem intimidating at first, but every interview is good practice and will help you develop better communication skills -- even for experienced interviewees.

Before your interview, do your homework. Learn about the company and/or organization with which you are interviewing. Have a specific job in mind that you are seeking, or make it clear that you are adaptable and open to a variety if not all positions. Review your qualifications for the job and be prepared to talk about yourself in the role.

Be ready to answer broad questions about yourself, such as:

  • Why should I hire you?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • What do others say about you?

Practice your interview with a friend or relative. The more you ask yourself these types of questions before you go into an interview, the more you will feel at ease talking about yourself. Plus, it will help you in the long run to be aware of and able to talk about yourself and the benefits you can bring to an employer.

It is better to be honest with yourself and truly think about these questions thereby coming up with your own truthful answers than it is to offer generic, canned responses that do not say much about you. Remember, the interview is about selling yourself to your potential employer, so know your product and always be honest and forthcoming.

  • Be well groomed and dress appropriately -- do not chew gum or smoke.
  • Be early.
  • Remember the name of your interviewer and greet him/her with a firm handshake.
  • Use good manners with everyone you meet.
  • Relax and answer each question concisely.
  • Use proper English: avoid slang.
  • Be cooperative and enthusiastic.
  • Ask questions about the position and avoid asking questions that can be answered easily on their website.
  • Avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless a job offer is made.
  • Thank the interviewer when you leave and shake hands.
  • Bring with you: resume, references, social security card, identification, and transcripts.

 

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