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Copyright 2007

Job Hunting Tips

Finding a new job can be a daunting process, whether you are doing it by choice or out of necessity. Use the following tips to make the process a bit simpler and quicker...

  • Always dress nicely for an interview. No matter how much you love your tee shirt and jeans, they are not suitable for a job interview. Even if the job doesn't require you to dress up, it is worth presenting well at the interview as it shows you at your best, gives you confidence and shows you are keen to make a good impression.
  • Have a professional resume and covering letter. If an employer receives hundreds of applications, the scribbled notes and messy resumes won't even be read. Remember that a resume will not get you a job - it's purpose is to get them to notice you and thus interview you. It doesn't have to tell everything about you and shouldn't be more than two or three pages long.

  • It's all about impressions: arrive at interviews on time or early, present yourself neatly, speak quietly but confidently, be friendly, show an interest in the business and the job, leave chewing gum and cigarettes out of the room (and especially out of your mouth,) don't bad mouth previous jobs or other companies and be as professional as you can.
  • Speak clearly and slowly. When nervous, people tend to talk fast and this can be hard to understand so it is worth controlling your speech by speaking very slowly; it will feel very slow and strange to you, but sounds good to listeners.
  • No matter what they ask, be honest in the interview and covering letter. Apart from ruining your reputation if you are caught lying, it could result in danger and embarrassment if you can't actually perform essential duties on the job. Instead of saying "yes, I can do that" you can try "I haven't tried that yet, but I am a quick learner" or "No, but I have done xyz" (where xyz is a related task or skill.) In many cases, employers would rather train the right person than accept the qualified wrong person.

  • Be polite. It doesn't take much of your time or effort to be courteous, but it will be noted and leave a good feeling with the interviewers. Along with using 'please' and 'thank you', remember courtesies such as shaking hands, using people's correct name, saying 'excuse me', being tactful, opening doors and giving genuine compliments.
  • Consider gaining more experience and knowledge as you search for a job. This
    might mean studying at night, doing a course at CAE or a local community centre, working part time in any job (for a work record,) volunteering in a related business or community group, joining a club or organization where you can use relevant skills, reading trade magazines or many other ways. Such activities can enhance your ability to get a job and do it well, and they also keep you occupied during the search;
    being constructively occupied is important for maintaining self-esteem.
  • Talk to people and network. Only a few jobs actually get advertised in the major papers, and even fewer are in local papers. Many more jobs are filled by internal advertising, using agencies, cold contacting job seekers, employing volunteers and by recommendations. The more people who know you are looking for work in a particular area, the more chances you have of hearing about openings and possibly being recommended to one of them. Having a very simple business card with your name and contact details can be handy for networking.
  • Take care with your personal hygiene. Clean your teeth, wash and brush your hair, shower, and so on - and don't forget to clean under your fingernails. These little details can make the difference between one person getting a job over the next person. Wearing perfume, make up, after shave lotion and the like is a matter of personal choice. If you have a full beard, make sure it is net and trim; if you don't have a beard, ensure you are clean shaven at the interview as a five o'clock shadow doesn't help your cause.

Tash Hughes is a Mum of two in Melbourne. She is also a writer and owner of Word Constructions. Tash is available to write articles and profiles for any business, as well as doing other business documentation projects. You can see her site and services at www.wordconstructions.com






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