HOW TO GET
THE JOB YOU
WANT NOW !
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Job Outlook 1994-2005 4
Planning Your Time 11
Determining Your Job Skills 13
Where to Get Job Information 15
Cover Letters and Letters of Application 17
Preparing Your Resumé 20
After The Interview 39
Job Search Checklist 40
Books That Can Give You More Tips
for Finding the Right Job 41
Chapter 1 Introduction
YOU NEED A JOB. Somewhere, an employer has the job you want. How do you get
that job? By marketing your job talents. By showing employers you have the
skills they need.
Do you have job talents? YES! Homemakers, disabled individuals, veterans,
students just out of school, people already working all have skills and
experience for many good jobs.
What you need to know is how to market your talents effectively to find the
right job. This book will help you to:
· Evaluate your interests and skills.
· Find job information.
· Write resumes and application letters.
· Prepare for job interviews
· Plan your time.
· Take tests.
THE JOB OUTLOOK IN BRIEF 1994-2005
"There is nothing permanent except change." Even though this was
an observation of the ancient Greek Heraclitus, it aptly describes the second
half of the 20th century as well. Consumer demand, technology, and business
practices are constantly evolving.
Occupations that once offered solid careers are in decline, while positions
once unheard of are now among the fastest growing. In today's marketplace, it
is increasingly important for people who are planning their careers to be
aware of what occupations will be in demand in the future. The $5.3-trillion
economy of 1994 is projected to reach $6.4 to $7.4 trillion by 2005.
Employment is expected to reach 144.7 million, an increase of 14 percent, or
17.7 million jobs, above the 1994 level.
The next few pages discuss factors that affect an occupation's employment
outlook, describe the assumptions used in making the projections, and point
out general trends.
Why Employment Changes
The number of workers employed in any occupation depends in large part on
the demand for the goods or services provided by those workers. Over the last
decade or so, for example, increased use of computers by businesses, schools,
scientific organizations, and government agencies has contributed to large
increases in the number of systems analysts, programmers, and computer
repairers. However, even if the demand rises for goods and services provided
by a group of workers, employment may not increase at all or may increase more
slowly than demand because of changes in the way goods are produced and
services are provided. In fact, some changes in technology and business
practices cause employment to decline. For example, while the volume of
paperwork is expected to increase dramatically, the employment of typists and
word processors will probably fall. This reflects the growing use of word
processing equipment that increases productivity and permits other office
workers to do more of their own typing. Using information on the demand for
goods and services, advances in technology, changes in business practices, and
the occupational composition of industries, economists at BLS have developed
three sets of projections of the economy in 2005. Each set was developed in
light of a series of economic assumptions about the future. The rate of change
for the labor force, output, productivity, inflation, unemployment, and other
factors were varied in developing each set. Referred to as the low-,
moderate-, and high-growth projections, or scenarios, each provides a
different employment estimate for most occupations. The scenarios should not
be viewed as the bounds of employment growth but as illustrations of what
might happen under different conditions. All the data in the "Brief"
come from the moderate-growth projections.
Any projection of employment growth is clouded by uncertainty. Unforeseen
changes in technology or the balance of trade or major international political
upheavals could radically alter future employment for individual occupations.
Between 1994 and 2005, employment will rise to 144.7 million from 127.0
million. This section gives a brief overview of projected employment change.
It focuses on the following clusters of occupations based on the Federal
Government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system:
Executive, administrative, and managerial occupations. Professional
specialty occupations, Technicians and related support occupations, Marketing
and sales occupations, Administrative support occupations including clerical,
Service occupations, Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and related occupations,
Mechanics, installers, and repairers, Construction trades occupations,
Production occupations, Transportation and material moving occupations,
Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers.
Executive, administrative, and managerial occupations. Workers in
executive, administrative, and managerial occupations establish policies, make
plans, determine staffing requirements, and direct the activities of
businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. This group includes
managerial and administrative workers, such as financial managers, purchasers
and buyers, education administrators, funeral directors, food service and
hotel managers, and property and real estate managers. It also includes
management support occupations that provide technical assistance to managers.
Some examples include accountant and auditor, budget analyst, loan officer,
purchasing agent, and underwriter.
Overall, employment of executive, administrative, and managerial
occupations is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all
occupations. However, because these workers are employed throughout the
economy, differences in the rate of expansion for individual industries will
produce varying rates of employment change for particular kinds of managers
and support workers. For example, employment of health services managers will
grow much faster than average, whereas industrial production managers are
expected to decline.
Due to the large amount of competition for these jobs, job seekers with
previous work experience, specialized training, or graduate study have a
definite advantage. Computer skills will continue to be an asset as more
managers rely on computerized information systems to help direct their
Professional specialty occupations. Professional workers provide an
array of services, conduct research, and are employed in a variety of
industries. This group includes engineers; architects and surveyors; computer,
mathematical, and operations research occupations; life, physical, and social
scientists; lawyers and judges; social, recreational, and religious workers;
teachers, librarians, and counselors; health diagnosing, assessment, and
treating occupations; and communications, visual arts, and performing arts
As a whole, this group is expected to grow faster than any other major
occupational group and to increase its share of total employment significantly
by 2005. This group also is projected to add the largest number of jobs of any
occupational group in the 1994-2005 period. However, growth rates for
individual occupations are as diverse as the jobs these workers perform.
Because most new jobs will be in the education, business, and health services
industries, occupations such as physical therapist, human services worker,
operations research analyst, and computer scientist and systems analyst are
expected to grow much faster than average. Others, such as meteorologists,
mining and nuclear engineers, and dentists should grow more slowly than
Technicians and related support occupations. These workers program and
operate technical equipment and assist engineers, scientists, physicians, and
other professional workers. This group includes health technologists and
technicians, engineering and science technicians, computer programmers,
aircraft pilots, air traffic controllers, paralegal, broadcast technicians,
and library technicians.
Although overall employment is expected to grow about as fast as the
average, changes in technology, demographics, and ways of conducting business
will cause some of these occupations to grow faster than others. This group
includes paralegal, one of the fastest growing occupations in the economy. Its
growth will result in part from the increasing reliance of lawyers on these
workers. Increased demand for health services from a growing and aging
population will spur growth for radiological technologists, medical record
technicians, surgical technologists, and electroneurodiagnostic technologists.
In fact, 7 of every 10 new jobs for technicians will be for health
technologists and technicians. Employment growth in other occupations in this
group will be limited. For example, employment of drafters should show little
change, and broadcast technicians should decline due to laborsaving devices
and technological advances.
Marketing and sales occupations. Workers in this group sell goods and
services, purchase commodities and property for resale, and stimulate consumer
interest. This group includes cashiers; counter and rental clerks; insurance
agents and brokers; manufacturers' and wholesale sales representatives; real
estate agents, brokers, and appraisers; retail sales workers; financial
services sales representatives; and travel agents.
Employment is expected to grow as fast as average because of the increased
demand for financial, travel, and other services. However, the rate of growth
should be slower than over the previous 11 years because these workers are
concentrated in wholesale and retail trade, an industry which will grow more
slowly than in the past.
A large number of part-time and full-time positions are expected to be
available for cashiers and retail trade sales workers due to employment growth
and, more importantly, the large size and high turnover of these occupations.
Higher paying sales occupations, such as securities and financial services
sales worker, are more competitive than retail sales occupations. Job
opportunities will be best for well-trained, personable, and ambitious people
who enjoy selling.
Administrative support occupations including clerical. Workers in this
group prepare and record memos, letters, and reports; collect accounts; gather
and distribute information; operate office machines; and handle other
administrative tasks. The group includes such occupations as adjuster,
investigator, and collector in the insurance industry; computer and
communications equipment operator; information clerk; postal clerk and mail
carrier; secretary; bank teller; and typist, word processor, and data entry
This occupational group will continue to employ the largest number of
workers, although little change in employment is expected. As a result, these
occupations will decline as a proportion of total employment by 2005. Despite
the tremendous increase expected in the volume of clerical tasks to be done,
increased automation and other technological changes will cause a decline in
such occupations as typist, word processor, and data entry key punch;
bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerk; and telephone operator. In
contrast, the occupation of teacher aide should grow much faster than average
as schools increase their use of these workers. Receptionists and information
clerks are expected to experience faster than average growth because these
workers are concentrated in rapidly growing industries.
Because many administrative support occupations are large and have
relatively high turnover, opportunities should be plentiful for full- and
part-time jobs, even in slow growing occupations.
Service occupations. This group includes a wide range of workers in
four subgroups: Protective; food and beverage preparation; health; and
personal, private household, and cleaning and building services. The group
includes protective service occupations such as firefighter, police officer,
detective, and guard; food preparation occupations such as chef, cook, baker,
bartender, and waiter; health service occupations such as dental assistant and
occupational and physical therapy assistant; and personal service occupations
such as flight attendant, home health aide, cosmetologist, and child-care
These occupations, as a group, are expected to grow faster than average
because of a growing population and economy. Higher personal incomes and
increased leisure time will spur demand for many different types of services.
Because of growing concern over crime, the employment of police,
detectives, and special agents is expected to rise faster than average and
that of guards much faster than average. As the number of prisoners and
correctional facilities increases, more correctional officers also will be
needed. Average employment growth is expected for firefighters as the Nation's
population grows and fire and rescue needs increase.
Full- and part-time jobs will be plentiful for food preparation and service
workers due to the large size, high turnover, and overall average employment
growth of this group.
Among health services occupations, medical assistant-one of the fastest
growing occupations in the economy-and nursing aide, orderly, and attendant
will grow much faster than average, in response to the aging population and
expanding health care industry.
Growth in personal service, cleaning, and private household workers will
vary widely. Homemaker-home health aide should be one of the fastest growing
occupations, in part because of the substantial increase in the elderly
population. Private household workers, on the other hand, will decline rapidly
due to the shift from home to institutional child care.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and related occupations. Workers in
these occupations cultivate plants, breed and raise animals, and catch fish.
Some occupations include farm operator, fisher, hunter, and trapper; gardener
and groundskeeper; and forest and conservation worker.
Although demand for food, fiber, and wood is expected to increase as the
world's population grows, the use of more productive farming and forestry
methods and the consolidation of small farms are expected to contribute to
employment declines in most of these occupations. The employment of farmers is
expected to decline sharply, reflecting greater productivity; on the other
hand, the need for skilled lawn service managers should result in faster than
Mechanics, installers, and repairers. Workers in this group adjust,
maintain, and repair automobiles, industrial equipment, computers, and many
other types of machinery. Occupations include electronic equipment repairer,
aircraft, automotive, and motorcycle mechanic; millwright; musical instrument
repairer; rigger; and watchmaker.
Average overall growth is expected due to the continued importance of
mechanical and electronic equipment throughout the economy, but projections
vary by occupation. Data processing equipment repairer is expected to be the
fastest growing occupation in this group, reflecting the increased use of
these machines. In sharp contrast, communications equipment mechanic,
installer, and repairer and telephone installer and repairer are expected to
decline in employment due to laborsaving advances.
Construction trades occupations. Workers in this group construct,
alter, and maintain buildings and other structures. Occupations include
carpenter, electrician, roofer, drywall worker, carpet installer, and plumber.
Virtually all of the new jobs will be in construction. An increase in the
number of households and industrial plants, the desire to alter or modernize
existing structures, and the need to maintain and repair highways, drains, and
bridges will result in average employment growth in construction. Because the
construction industry is sensitive to fluctuations in the Nation's economy,
employment in construction occupations varies from year to year. Many
construction workers become unemployed during downturns in construction
Production occupations. These workers set up, adjust, operate, and tend
machinery and use hand tools and hand-held power tools to make goods and
assemble products. Occupations include blue-collar worker supervisor, printing
press operator, precision assembler, and stationary engineer.
Increases in imports, overseas production, and automation-including
robotics and advanced computer techniques-will result in little change in
overall employment. However, growth is expected for electronic pagination
systems workers, cabinetmakers and bench carpenters, wood machinists, and
water treatment plant operators.
Many production occupations are sensitive to fluctuations in the business
cycle and competition from imports. When factory orders decline, workers face
shortened workweeks, layoffs, and plant closings.
Transportation and material moving occupations. Operating the equipment
used to move people and materials is the principle activity of workers in this
group. Occupations include bus driver, rail and water transportation worker,
subway and streetcar operator, and truck driver. Overall employment is
expected to grow about as fast as average, but prospects vary by occupation.
Two occupations will grow faster than average: Subway operator, as cities
build new systems and expand existing ones; and taxi driver and chauffeur, as
demand grows for transportation services. School bus driver and truck driver
are expected to grow as fast as the average, but water transportation worker
will change little. Slower than average growth is expected in the employment
of material moving equipment operators because of the increased use of
automated material handling systems.
Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers. These workers perform
routine tasks and assist skilled workers. Some of these workers are helpers in
construction trades, parking lot attendants, and service station attendants.
Overall employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all
occupations, although some occupations, such as machine feeder, will decline
due to automation. Many opportunities will arise from the need to replace
workers who leave these occupations because turnover is very high. However,
economic turndowns may substantially lower the number of openings,
particularly for construction laborer and other occupations in industries that
are highly sensitive to changes in the economy.
"The Job Outlook in Brief" provides thumbnail
sketches of employment data for each occupation in the Occupational Outlook
Handbook, 1996-97 edition. on which it is based. Nearly all employment
estimates are from the BLS industry-occupation matrix. Employment growth rates
are compared to the average for all occupations.
Assessing the degree of competition is difficult, although it can be done
with some accuracy for occupations with lengthy training and strict entry
requirements. However, because most occupations have several routes of entry
and flexible requirements, the potential supply of workers is difficult to
measure. For many occupations, therefore, no description of job opportunities
or competition is given. When given, the description of the relationship
between supply and demand is based on information obtained from technical
journals and other relevant literature, interviews with occupational experts,
historical data, and the judgment of the analyst who studied the occupation.
Growth in employment is only one source of job openings. In fact, BLS
projects that 63 percent of all job openings over the 1994-2005 period will
arise because of the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations
or leave the labor force. As a result, even occupations with slower than
average growth may offer many jobs for new workers; this is especially true of
Beyond the "Brief"
"The Job Outlook in Brief" is only a starting point for the
exploration of economic projections or careers. The projections in it were
produced by BLS as part of its employment projections program, which develops
new sets of projections every 2 years. Besides occupational employment, BLS
also projects industry employment, industry outlook, labor force activity, and
numerous components of the gross domestic product. This information is
available in a variety of publications designed to meet different needs.
Employment Outlook: 1994-2005 provides additional highlights and details on
BLS projections, a discussion of industries and occupations generating the
largest portion of projected job growth, implications of employment growth on
education and training requirements, and the implication of growth on the
quality of jobs as measured by earnings.
"The Job Outlook in Brief" provides information in a format that
allows easy comparison of job prospects in different fields. But employment
prospects are not the only consideration when choosing a certain career;
matching your goals and abilities to the work done on the job and the
education required is another important part of choosing a career. Where you
want to live and how much money you want to earn also are important.
Information like this appears in the Handbook and the Occupational Outlook
The Handbook has been published for 50 years. It contains more about the
outlook for each of the occupations in the "Brief," as well as
information about the nature of the work, training and personal
qualifications, earnings, and other subjects. Originally published in the Fall
1992 OOQ, "Matching Yourself With the World of Work in 1992" is a
20-page, tabular presentation similar in format to the "Brief."
Rather than outlook, it highlights significant job characteristics, including
educational level required, working conditions, and interaction with data,
people, and things.
Additional information on job growth is also available from State job
service offices. The outlook for many occupations varies considerably among
local job markets. For example, sections of the country with slow population
growth have less need for elementary school teachers than regions with high
growth. State job service offices, listed in the State Government section of
local telephone directories, can provide information on local labor market
conditions. Also, see the section on "Sources of Career Information"
in the Handbook.
BLS publications are usually available in libraries, career centers, and
the offices of school and employment counselors. They are sold by the
Government Printing Office. Send orders to:
Bureau of Labor Statistics Publication Sales Center P.O. Box 2145, Chicago,
Phone (312) 353-1880
Payment by check, money order, VISA, MasterCard, or GPO deposit account
must accompany your order. Make check or money order payable to the
Superintendent of Documents.
Planning Your Time
NOW is the best time to start looking for a job. You're as qualified as
other applicants, so start now before someone else gets "your" job.
You've already made a good start by reading this book! What's the most
important thing to know about your job search?
FINDING WORK IS A FULL TIME JOB!
That means in a full time job, you:
A. Have responsibilities (work duties and procedures)
B. "Punch a clock" or be at work "on time"
C. Work hard all day, 40 hours week
D. Report to a boss, who makes sure you carry-out your responsibilities
To find a job, you must:
A. Set your own responsibilities (things you must do everyday to get a
B. Wake up early at a set time to start looking for work.
C. Look hard for a job, all day, 40 hours a week.
- Be your own boss (or appoint a friend to be your "boss") to
make sure you carry-out your
job search responsibilities.
Tips for Planning an Effective Job Search:
· Make a "To Do List" every day. Outline daily
activities to look for a job.
|Apply for jobs early in the day. This will make a good impression and
give you time to|
complete applications, have interviews, take tests, etc.
|Call employers to find out the best times to apply. Some companies take
on certain days and times during the week.
|Write down all employers you contact, the date of your contacts, people
you talk to, and|
special notes about your contacts.
· Apply at several companies in the same area when possible. This
saves time and money.
|Be prepared. Have a "master application" and resumes, pens,
maps and job information|
with you all the time. Who knows when a "hot lead" will come
|Follow up leads immediately. If you find out about a job late in the
day, call right then!|
Don't wait until the next day.
|Network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for job. Stay in
touch with friends|
and contacts. Follow up new leads immediately.
|Read pamphlets and books on how to get a job (see the list of books at
the back of this|
brochure). The time you spend reading these materials will save you a lot
of time in your
|Make automated connections through systems on the Internet, such as
Bank and the Talent Bank
Determining Your Job Skills
Another tip for finding the right job is to make a list of your
background and experience.
If you think you don't have any experience -- THINK AGAIN! You may not
have specific job experience, but you do have work experience. You have
"worked" as a homemaker, a student, a volunteer, in a hobby or
some other personal activity. The skills you use for these "jobs"
can be applied to other jobs.
A background and experience list may help you to:
¨ Fill out job applications
¨ Provide information for job interviews
¨ Prepare resumes (if you're applying for professional or office
Tips for Making a Background and Experience List:
Interests and Aptitudes
List your hobbies, clubs you belong to, sports you're involved in, church
and school activities, and things that interest you. List things you are
good at or have special ability for. Your list may look like it has nothing
to do with job skills or experience. That's O.K. the purpose of this list is
to make you think about your interests and things you do in everyday life.
Look at the first item on your list. Think about the skills or talents it
takes to do that item. Really think about it! All hobbies, activities, etc.,
take a lot of skills, knowledge and abilities. Write them all down.
Here are some examples:
Hobbies, Sports, School Activities Skills, Knowledge, Abilities and
Things I Do Well: It take to do these things:
Playing Basketball Ability to interact with others ("be a team
Ability to use basic arithmetic (keep track of score)
Ability to reach, lift, jump, stoop, and run
Skills in directing others (calling plays, coaching)
Homemaking Ability to manage budgets
Ability to handle multiple tasks
Knowledge of human development
Skills in teaching/training others
Cooking, cleaning, laundry
Fixing Cars Ability to diagnose mechanical problems
Skill in using a variety of tools
Ability to see differences in shapes and sizes of
Knowledge of electronics
If you've worked before, list your jobs. Include volunteer, part-time,
summer, and self-employment. Next, write down work duties for the jobs you
listed. Now, think about the skills or talents it took to do each work duty.
Write them down. Here's an example:
Work Duties Skills or Talents
Pick vegetables and fruits on a farm Inspect fruits for damage/ripeness
Use hoes, shovels and shears to plant, Ability to work quickly and
cultivate, and prune fruit trees with hands
skill in using tools
Ability to work outside for long
periods of time
Physical endurance Bending, stooping
List the schools you attended, dates, major studies or courses completed.
Include military and vocational education and on-the-job training.
List degrees, certificates, awards and honors.
Ask yourself what classes or training you liked. Why did you like them?
Do you have any disabilities limiting the kind of work you can do?
Companies will often make special accommodations to employ disabled persons
(in fact, some accommodations are legally required). If you have strong or
special physical capabilities, list these too.
What kind of work do you want to be doing 5 or 10 years from now?
What kind of job could you get now to help you reach this goal?
Matching Your Background And Experience To Jobs
Look at the abilities (talents) identified on your background and
experience list. You have talents that you use everyday.
Now find out what JOBS can use your talents.
Start at your local State Employment Service Office ("Job
Service"). This office has free information about many jobs. You may be
given an appointment with a career counselor who can help you decide what
kind of work is best suited to your abilities and interests.
While you're at Job Service, ask to see the Guide for Occupational
Exploration and the Occupational Outlook Handbook (you can also get these
books at most public libraries). These easy to read books, published by the
Department of Labor, describe -- work duties for many different occupations
-- skills and abilities needed for different types of jobs -- how to enter
occupations -- where jobs are located -- training and qualifications needed
-- earnings, working conditions, and future opportunities. Match the skills
and abilities in your list to the skills and abilities of different jobs.
Don't limit yourself. The important thing is not the job title, but the
skills and abilities of the job. You may find that your skills and abilities
match with an occupation that you have never thought about.
Where To Get Job Information
If you know what job skills you have, you are ready to look for a job.
You can look for job openings at these sources:
· Networking. Tell everyone you know you're looking for a job.
Ask about openings where your friends work.
· Private employers. Contact employers directly to market your
job talents. Talk to the person who would supervise you even if there are
no jobs currently open.
· State Employment Service Offices provide help on finding jobs
and other services, such as career counseling. See the back of this
brochure for the Employment Service Office in your state.
· America's Job Bank. A nation-wide pool of job
opportunities which will extend your search to other states and can be
viewed in your local Employment Service offices or directly through the
Internet at HTTP:\\WWW.AJB.DNI.US
|Federal, state and local government personnel offices list a wide range
opportunities. Check the Government listings in your phone book.
|Local public libraries have books on occupations and often post local
Many state libraries are also providing free access to Internet through
· Newspaper ads list various job openings.
|Local phone book. Look for career counseling centers in your area (some
may require fees).|
|Private employment and temporary centers offer placement (employer or
job hunter may|
pay a fee).
|Community colleges and trade schools usually offer counseling and job
students and the general public.
|Proprietary schools. Private training centers offer instruction in
specific trades (tuition is|
usually required). Check with your office of state education for credible
|Community organizations such as clubs, associations, women and minority
· Churches frequently operate employment services or provide job
|Veterans' placement centers operate through state employment offices.
and help organizations often have job listings for members.
|Unions and apprenticeship programs provide job opportunities and
your state apprenticeship council or relevant labor union directly.
|Government sponsored training programs offer direct placement or
and placement for applicants who qualify. Check the yellow pages under
Programs or Government Services.
|Journals and newsletters for professionals or trade associations often
openings in their field. Ask for these at the local library.
Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all of the sources listed above serve
persons of any race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids agencies to discriminate
against older workers. Both laws forbid employers to discriminate in hiring.
Most Commonly Used Job-search Methods
using the Effectiveness
method Method rate *
66.0% Applied directly to employer 47.7%
50.8 Asked friends about jobs where they work 22.1
41.8 Asked friends about jobs elsewhere 11.9
28.4 Asked relatives about jobs where they work 19.3
27.3 Asked relatives about jobs elsewhere 7.4
45.9 Answered local newspapers ads 23.9
21.0 Private employment agency 24.2
12.5 School placement office 21.4
15.3 Civil service test 12.5
10.4 Asked teacher or professor 12.1
1.6 Placed ad in local newspaper 12.9
6.0 Union hiring hall 22.2
* A percentage obtained by dividing the number of job seekers who
actually found work using the method, by the total number of job seekers who
tried to use that method, whether successful or not.
Writing Intriguing Cover Letters And Applications
You will need a cover letter whenever you send a resume or application
form to a potential employer. The letter should capture the employer's
attention, show why you are writing, indicate why your employment will
benefit the company, and ask for an interview. The kind of specific
information that must be included in a letter means that each must be
written individually. Each letter must also be typed perfectly, which may
present a problem. Word processing equipment helps. Frequently only the
address, first paragraph, and specifics concerning an interview will vary.
These items are easily changed on word processing equipment and memory
typewriters. If you do not have access to such equipment, you might be able
to rent it. Or you might be able to have your letters typed by a resume or
employment services company listed in the yellow pages. Be sure you know the
full cost of such a service before agreeing to use one.
Let's go through a letter point by point.
Salutation. Each letter should be addressed by name to the person
you want to talk with. That person is the one who can hire you. This is
almost certainly not someone in the personnel department, and it is probably
not a department head either. It is most likely to be the person who will
actually supervise you once you start work. Call the company to make sure
you have the right name. And spell it correctly.
Opening. The opening should appeal to the reader. Cover letters
are sales letters. Sales are made after you capture a person's attention.
You capture the reader's attention most easily by talking about the company
rather than yourself. Mention projects under development, recent awards, or
favorable comments recently published about the company. You can find such
information in the business press, including the business section of local
newspapers and the many magazines that are devoted to particular industries.
If you are answering an ad, you may mention it. If someone suggested that
you write, use their name (with permission, of course).
Body. The body of the letter gives a brief description of your
qualifications and refers to the resume, where your sales campaign can
Closing. You cannot have what you do not ask for. At the end of
the letter, request an interview. Suggest a time and state that you will
confirm the appointment. Use a standard complimentary close, such as
"Sincerely yours," leave three or four lines for your signature,
and type your name. I would type my phone number under my name; this
recommendation is not usually made, although phone numbers are found on most
letterheads. The alternative is to place the phone number in the body of the
letter, but it will be more difficult to find there should the reader wish
to call you.
The purpose of these letters is to:
¨ tell how your job talents will benefit the company.
¨ show why the employer should read your resume or application
¨ ask for a job interview.
Tips for writing cover letters include:
· Write a separate letter for each job application.
· Type letters on quality 8 x 11 paper.
· Use proper sentence structure and correct spelling and
· Convey personal warmth and enthusiasm.
· Keep your letter short and to the point.
Sample Letter of Application
Ace Auto Service
1369 Oak Street
Megapolis, IN 01234
Dear Mr. Kile:
I've been checking into auto repair shops in the area to find a garage
that has a good reputation and offers an entry mechanic training program.
Several sources recommended Ace Auto Service as a reliable garage that uses
the latest diagnostic equipment.
I've worked on cars with my uncle, who is a member of the "Tin
Lizzies" auto club. I'm doing tune-ups through word of mouth referrals
and I recently helped overhaul a Nissan 300ZX. I've worked with computers in
school, so I feel I could learn how to operate computerized diagnostic
equipment with minimal training.
With my background and interest in car repair, I think I could contribute
to the continued success of Ace Auto Service.
I will call you on Monday, December 13 to talk to you about possible job
6913 Willow Street
Megapolis, IN 01234
Show that you've done some homework on the company (you know what they
do, their interests and problems) Try to identify something about you that
is unique or of interest to the employer. Request an interview. If possible,
suggest a specific date and time.
Include your address and your telephone number.
Cover Letter Example
Mr. Clarence Brown, Supervisor
6543 Sunrise Ave. Anytown, US 04538
Dear Mr. Brown:
I am interested in the position of electronic assembler which you
advertised recently in the Anytown Oracle.
The enclosed resume outlines my experience and skills in electronics and
printed circuit board assembly. I am familiar with Norton Electronics and
the quality products you produce.
I would like to meet with you to discuss how my skills would benefit
Norton Electronics. I may be reached at 778-4321.
304 Park Street
Anytown, US 04536
Address each letter to the specific person you want to talk to (the
person who would actually supervise you). Highlight your job qualifications.
State the position you are seeking and the source of the job opening
(newspaper ad, friend, etc.)
Preparing Your Resumé
You might see a hurdle to leap over. Or a hoop to jump through. Or a
barrier to knock down. That is how many people think of resumés,
application forms, cover letters, and interviews. But you do not have to
think of them that way. They are not ways to keep you from a job; they are
ways for you to show an employer what you know and what you can do. After
all, you are going to get a job. It is just a question of which one.
Employers want to hire people who can do the job. To learn who these
people are, they use resumés, application forms, written tests, performance
tests, medical examinations, and interviews. You can use each of these
different evaluation procedures to your advantage. You might not be able to
make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but at least you can show what a good
ear you have.
Creating Effective Resumés and Application Forms
Resumés and application forms are two ways to achieve the same goal: To
give the employer written evidence of your qualifications. When creating a
resumé or completing an application form, you need two different kinds of
information: Facts about yourself and facts about the job you want. With
this information in hand, you can present the facts about yourself in terms
of the job. You have more freedom with a resumé--you can put your best
points first and avoid blanks. But, even on application forms, you can
describe your qualifications in terms of the job's duties.
Know thyself. Begin by assembling information about yourself. Some items
appear on virtually every resumé or application form, including the
· Current address and phone number--if you are rarely at home
during business hours, try to give the phone number of a friend or relative
who will take messages for you.
· Job sought or career goal.
· Experience (paid and volunteer)--date of employment, name and
full address of the employer, job title, starting and finishing salary, and
reason for leaving (moving, returning to school, and seeking a better
position are among the readily accepted reasons)
· Education--the school's name, the city in which it is located,
the years you attended it, the diploma or certificate you earned, and the
course of studies you pursued.
· Other qualifications--hobbies, organizations you belong to,
honors you have received, and leadership positions you have held.
· Office machines, tools, and equipment you have used and skills
that you possess.
Other information, such as your Social Security number, is often asked
for on application forms but is rarely presented on resumés. Application
forms might also ask for a record of past addresses and for information that
you would rather not reveal, such as a record of convictions. If asked for
such information, you must be honest. Honesty does not, however, require
that you reveal disabilities that do not affect your overall qualifications
for a job.
Know your job. Next, gather specific information about the jobs you are
applying for. You need to know the pay range (so you can make their top your
bottom ), education and experience usually required, hours and shifts
usually worked. Most importantly, you need to know the job duties (so that
you can describe your experience in terms, of those duties) Study the job
description. Some job announcements, especially those issued by a
government, even have a checklist that assigns a numerical weight to
different qualifications so that you can be certain as to which is the most
important; looking at such announcements will give you an idea of what
employers look for even if you do not wish to apply for a government job. If
the announcement or ad is vague, call the employer to learn what is sought.
Once you have the information you need, you can prepare a resumé. You
may need to prepare more than one master resumé if you are going to look
for different kinds of jobs. Otherwise, your resumé will not fit the job
Two kinds of resumés. The way you arrange your resumé depends on how
well your experience seems to prepare you for the position you want.
Basically, you can either describe your most recent job first and work
backwards (reverse chronology) or group similar skills together. No matter
which format you use, the following advice applies generally.
· Use specifics. A vague description of your duties will make
only a vague impression.
· Identify accomplishments. If you headed a project, improved
productivity, reduced costs, increased membership, or achieved some other
goal, say so.
· Type your resume, using a standard typeface. (Printed resumés
are becoming more common, but employers do not indicate a preference for
· Keep the length down to two pages at the most.
· Remember your mother's advice not to say anything if you cannot
say something nice. Leave all embarrassing or negative information off the
resumé--but be ready to deal with it in a positive fashion at the
· Proofread the master copy carefully.
· Have someone else proofread the master copy carefully.
· Have a third person proofread the master copy carefully.
· Use the best quality photocopying machine and good white or
The following information appears on almost every resumé.
· Phone number at which you can be reached or receive messages.
· Job or career sought.
· References--often just a statement that references are
available suffices. If your references are likely to be known by the person
who reads the resumé, however, their names are worth listing.
· Special talents.
Personal information-height, weight, marital status, physical condition.
Although this information appears on virtually every sample resumé I have
ever seen, it is not important according to recruiters. In fact, employers
are prohibited by law from asking for some of it. If some of this
information is directly job related--the height and weight of a bouncer is
important to a disco owner, for example--list it. Otherwise, save space and
put in more information about your skills.
Reverse chronology is the easiest method to use. It is also the
least effective because it makes when you did something more important than
what you can do. It is an especially poor format if you have gaps in your
work history, if the job you seek is very different from the job you
currently hold, or if you are just entering the job market. About the only
time you would want to use such a resumé is when you have progressed up a
clearly defined career ladder and want to move up a rung.
Resumés that are not chronological may be called functional,
analytical, skill oriented, creative, or some other name. The
differences are less important than the similarity, which is that all stress
what you can do. The advantage to a potential employer--and, therefore, to
your job campaign--should be obvious. The employer can see immediately how
you will fit the job. This format also has advantages for many job hunters
because it camouflages gaps in paid employment and avoids giving prominence
to irrelevant jobs.
You begin writing a functional resumé by determining the skills the
employer is looking for. Again, study the job description for this
information. Next, review your experience and education to see when you
demonstrated the ability sought. Then prepare the resumé itself, putting
first the information that relates most obviously to the job. The result
will be a resumé with headings such as "Engineering,"
"Computer Languages," "Communications Skills," or
"Design Experience." These headings will have much more impact
than the dates that you would use on a chronological resumé.
Fit yourself to a form. Some large employers, such as fast food
restaurants and government agencies, make more use of application forms than
of resumés. The forms suit the style of large organizations because people
find information more quickly if it always appears in the same place.
However, creating a resumé before filling out an application form will
still benefit you. You can use the resumé when you send a letter inquiring
about a position. You can submit a resumé even if an application is
required; it will spotlight your qualifications. And the information on the
resumé will serve as a handy reference if you must fill out an application
form quickly. Application forms are really just resumés in disguise anyway.
No matter how rigid the form appears to be, you can still use it to show why
you are the person for the job being filled.
At first glance, application forms seem to give a job hunter no leeway.
The forms certainly do not have the flexibility that a resumé does, but you
can still use them to your best advantage. Remember that the attitude of the
person reading the form is not, "Let's find out why this person is
unqualified," but, "Maybe this is the person we want." Use
all the parts of the form--experience blocks, education blocks, and
others--to show that that person is you.
Here's some general advice on completing application forms.
· Request two copies of the form. If only one is provided,
photocopy it before you make a mark on it. You'll need more than one copy to
prepare rough drafts.
· Read the whole form before you start completing it.
· Prepare a master copy if the same form is used by several
divisions within the same company or organization. Do not put the specific
job applied for, date, and signature on the master copy. Fill in that
information on the photocopies as you submit them.
· Type the form if possible. If it has lots of little lines that
are hard to type within, type the information on a piece of blank paper that
will fit in the space, paste the paper over the form, and photocopy the
finished product. Such a procedure results in a much neater, easier to read
· Leave no blanks; enter N/A (for "not applicable")
when the information requested does not apply to you; this tells people
checking the form that you did not simply skip the question.
· Carry a resumé and a copy of other frequently asked
information (such as previous addresses) with you when visiting potential
employers in case you must fill out an application on the spot. Whenever
possible, however, fill the form out at home and mail it in with a resumé
and a cover letter that point up your strengths.
You want to apply for a job. Do you need a resumé? That depends on the
kind of job you're applying for:
Professional, technical, administrative and managerial jobs. Sales
positions, Secretarial, clerical, and other office jobs.
RESUMÉ SOMETIMES REQUIRED
Skilled jobs (Examples: Baker, Hotel Clerk, Electrician, Drafter, Welder)
RESUMÉ NOT REQUIRED
Unskilled, quick turnover jobs (Examples: Fast Food Server, Laborers,
Machine Loader, Cannery Worker, etc.)
Tips for Good Resumés
You need two types of information to prepare your resumé:
1. Self information. You need to know your job talents, work
history, education and career goals. Did you complete your background and
experience list on page four? If you did, you have the self information
required to prepare your resumé.
2. Job information. Gather specific information on the job you're
applying for. Here's what you need:
· Job duties (to match your skills to the skills needed for the
job). Get your job duties from the job announcement. If the announcement or
ad is vague, call the employer and ask for a description of job duties.
· Education and experience required (again, so you can match your
education and experience with that required for the job).
· Hours and shifts usually worked.
· Pay range (make their top offer the minimum acceptable!)
With the information on yourself and the job you're applying for, you're
ready to write your resume.
Two Types of Resumés:
Reverse chronological resumés list jobs you've had. Your most recent
job is listed first, your job before that is listed second, and so on. Each
job has employment dates and job duties.
Functional resumes describe your skills, abilities and
accomplishments that relate to the job you're applying for. Employment
history is less detailed than chronological resumés.
With the two types of resumés that were discussed earlier you can
decide which one suits your needs by answering the following questions:
· Have you progressed up a clearly defined career ladder, and
you're looking for job advancement?
· Do you have recent job experience at one or more companies?
If your answer is yes, use a REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL resumé.
· Are you a displaced homemaker?
· Are you a veteran and you want to relate your military training
to civilian jobs?
· Do you have little or no job experience?
· Do you have gaps in your work history?
· Is the job you're applying for different from your present or
· Do you want to emphasize your work skills and accomplishments
instead of describing your job duties?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, use a FUNCTIONAL
The following pages have examples of both types of resumés and
suggestions on how to prepare them.
Tips for Preparing a Functional Resumé:
· Study the duties for the job you're applying for. Identify 2 or
3 general skills that are important to the job.
· Review your background and experience list. Find talents and
accomplishments that demonstrate your ability to perform the job skills.
· List your talents and accomplishments under the job skills they
· Use simple, short, active sentences.
This applicant is still in high school. He wants to work part time until
139 River Lane
Cedar OH 01234
OBJECTIVE: Part time entry level position in Bookkeeping
· Earned Exceptional Accomplishment raise at McDonald's.
· Excellent at thinking through problem situations.
· 1 year successful experience in Bookkeeping & Cashier at
· Finished business classes with high grades.
· Accurately completed bookkeeping assignments at McDonald's in
half the usual time required.
· Recorded daily sales
· computed total items sold and tallied total daily revenues
· assembled monthly reports showing cashiering errors and audited
employee register records
· Verified accuracy of vendor invoices and helped compute
employee hours on time cards.
· Balanced family checkbook and helped pay bills.
· Assisted store manager in training and assigning employees
· prepared new employee personnel folders
· called substitutes to cover during illness or rush hours.
· Filed and retrieved personnel records.
· Posted and filed official documents.
· Word processed letters; answered telephone; scheduled
interviews; made reservations.
1990 Full time student Cedar High School
May 89- Present Cashier McDonalds
Dec. 88-May89 Bookkeeper McDonalds
Summer 1988 Clerk Cedar Recreation
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Senior – Cedar High School
Business courses: Accounting, Word Processing, Journalism
President of school Business Club
Focus attention on strong points.
Most resumés do NOT include references.
This applicant is a high school dropout. She has some paid experience, so
her resumé focuses on related experience and her hobby.
JENNIFER A. LONG
215 Amber Lane
Tuvax, CA 94321
JOB OBJECTIVE: position as a Paralegal
QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE
I have a strong interest in the law; I spend much of my spare time:
· reading transcripts of old law cases [from law books at the
· watching legal/educational programs on TV
· Experience as a Legal Secretary:
· updated and maintained the filing system
· processed documents on the word processor
· processed and delivered the mail
· answered the phone and made appointments with clients
¨ word processing
¨ can take dictation
¨ have an investigative and curious nature
· Studied business law and legal principles in high school and
1987-Present Legal Secretary-- Kramer & Kramer, Truly, CA
1985-87 Receptionist -- Waiter Smyte, MD, Swiss, CA
1983-85 Food Server -- Burger King, Swiss, CA
Moohey College -- Secretarial courses -- two semesters 1984
Lonemont Community College -- Business courses -- three semesters 1985
Lonemont Adult School -- Equivalency certificate 1983
Personal information that is not related to the job (age, height, weight,
and marital status) is NOT included.
Describe specific skills and accomplishments, using short sentences. List
special skills such as word processing or ability to operate special
equipment.. Leave space between parts of the resume.
Tips for Preparing a Reverse Chronological Resumé:
· List your jobs starting with your present or most recent job.
Give exact dates for each job.
· Briefly describe the main duties you performed in each job.
· Emphasize duties that are important for the job you're applying
· Use simple, short, active sentences.
This applicant has steady employment. Each new job has increased
543 River Court
Nashville, Tennessee 37219
Since 1990 Personal secretary, Cotton Gin Inc. Nashville, Tennessee
Secretary to personal director. Duties included taking dictation, word
processing and scheduling meetings.
1984-90 Secretary, Cotton Gin Inc. Nashville Tennessee
One of 13 word processors in legal department. Duties included entering
correspondence and forms on the word processor, proof reading legal
documents, and processing the mail.
1979-84 Clerk-typist , Raymond Sewing Factory, Memphis Tennessee.
Duties included typing forms, processing mail, establishing and
maintaining filing systems.
1976-79 Receptionist, D.W. Meringue, D.D.S., Memphis Tennessee.
Duties included answering telephone, scheduling appointments, greeting
patients and processing billings.
Skills Can take dictation
Good organizational skills
Education Underwood High School, Nashville, Tennessee.
High school diploma with emphasis in business education, 1975
Member National Honor Society
Avoid precise dates--just give years if possible
Include scholarships and honors and major school subjects if related to
your job goal.
10 Tips for the Effective Resumé
The following rules apply to all resumé:
1. If possible, use a computer to prepare your resume. There are
computer programs that make it easy to produce a professional looking
resumé. Your local school, library, Employment Service local office or
"quick print" shop can help.
2. Do not include irrelevant personal information (age, weight,
height, marital status, etc.)
3. Do not include salary and wages.
4. Center or justify all headings. Don't use abbreviations.
5. Be positive. Identify accomplishments.
6. Use action verbs (see the list below).
7. Be specific. Use concise sentences. Keep it short (one page is
8. Make sure your resumé "looks good" (neat and
- Proofread the master copy carefully. Have someone else proofread the
master copy carefully.
- Inspect photocopies for clarity, smudges and marks.
Action verbs give your resumé power and direction. Try to begin all
skills statements with an action verb. Here is a sample of action verbs for
different types of skills:
Management skills -administered -analyzed- coordinated -developed
-directed -evaluated- improved -supervised
Technical skills -assembled -built -calculated- designed
-operated -overhauled -remodeled -repaired
Clerical skills -arranged-catalogued -complied -generated
-organized -processed -systematized
Creative skills -conceptualized- created -designed- established-
fashioned -illustrated- invented -performed
Financial skills -administered -analyzed- balanced- budgeted-
forecast- marketed -planned -projected
Helping skills -assessed -coached -counseled- diagnosed-
Research Skills -clarified -evaluated -identified -inspected
Communications skills -arranged -addressed- authored -drafted-
The Talent Bank
Once a resumé is completed, it can be fed into the Talent Bank, now
available in many local Job Service offices. The "Bank" is an
electronically searchable database of resumés or other statements of
qualifications from job hunters seeking employment. Those searching for jobs
or new opportunities can post their resumés/qualifications to the bank.
Employers search the banks to select a group of resumés for further
Triumphing on Tests and at Interviews
A man with a violin case stood on a subway platform in The Bronx. He
asked a conductor, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The
conductor replied, "Practice! Practice! Practice!"
Tests. That old joke holds good advice for people preparing for
employment tests or interviews. The tests given to job applicants fall into
four categories: General aptitude tests, practical tests, tests of physical
agility, and medical examinations. You can practice for the first three. If
the fourth is required, learn as soon as possible what the disqualifying
conditions are, then have your physician examine you for them so that you do
not spend years training for a job that you will not be allowed to hold.
How to prepare for tests:
You can't study directly for aptitude tests. But you can get ready to do
your best by taking other tests. Look for tests or quizzes in magazines and
school books. Set time limits. By taking tests, you learn about the testing
process. This helps you feel more comfortable when you are tested. Brush up
on job skills. For example, if you're taking a typing test, practice typing.
If you're taking a construction test, review books and blueprints.
Get ready for physical tests by doing activities similar to those
required for the job.
For literacy tests, review and do exercises in reading and math books or
enroll in remedial classes. It's natural to be nervous about tests (some
anxiety may even help you).
Here are some tips that will help you take most tests:
1. Make a list of what you need for the test (pencil, eye glasses,
I.D., etc.). Check it before leaving.
2. Get a good night's sleep.
3. If you're sick, call and reschedule the test.
4. Leave for the test site early.
5. If you have any physical difficulties, tell the test administrator.
6. If you don't understand the test instructions, ASK FOR HELP before the
7. If there are strict time limits, budget your time. Don't linger over
8. Find out if guessing is penalized. If it's not, guess on questions
you're not sure about.
9. If you have time, review your answers. Check to not misread a
question or make careless mistakes.
10. You may be able to re-take the test. Ask about the re-testing policy.
11. Get a proper interpretation of your scores. The scores may indicate
other career opportunities that should be pursued.
To practice for a test, you must learn what the test is. Once again, you
must know what job you want to apply for and for whom you want to work in
order to find out what tests, if any, are required. Government agencies,
which frequently rely on tests, will often provide a sample of the test they
use. These samples can be helpful even if an employer uses a different test.
Copies of standard government tests are usually available at the library.
If you practice beforehand, you'll be better prepared and less nervous on
the day of the test. That will put you ahead of the competition. You will
also improve your performance by following this advice:
· Make a list of what you will need at the test center, including
a pencil; check it before leaving the house.
· Get a good night's sleep.
· Be at the test center early--at least 15 minutes early.
· Read the instructions carefully; make sure they do not differ
from the samples you practiced with.
· Generally, speed counts; do not linger over difficult
· Learn if guessing is penalized. Most tests are scored by
counting up the right answers; guessing is all to the good. Some tests are
scored by counting the right answers and deducting partial credit for wrong
answers; blind guessing will lose you points--but if you can eliminate two
wrong choices, a guess might still pay off.
Interviews. For many of us, interviews are the most fearsome part
of finding a job. But they are also our best chance to show an employer our
qualifications. Interviews are far more flexible than application forms or
tests. Use that flexibility to your advantage. As with tests, you can reduce
your anxiety and improve your performance by preparing for your interviews
ahead of time.
Begin by considering what interviewers want to know. You represent a risk
to the employer. A hiring mistake is expensive in terms of lost
productivity, wasted training money, and the cost of finding a replacement.
To lessen the risk, interviewers try to select people who are highly
motivated, understand what the job entails, and show that their background
has prepared them for it.
You show that you are highly motivated by learning about the company
before the interview, by dressing appropriately, and by being well
mannered--which means that you greet the interviewer by name, you do not
chew gum or smoke, you listen attentively, and you thank the interviewer at
the end of the session. You also show motivation by expressing interest in
the job at the end of the interview.
You show that you understand what the job entails and that you can
perform it when you explain how your qualifications prepare you for specific
duties as described in the company's job listing and when you ask
intelligent questions about the nature of the work and the training provided
One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to have some practice
sessions with a friend or two. Here is a list of some of the most commonly
asked questions to get you started.
· Why did you apply for this job?
· What do you know about this job or company?
· Why did you choose this career? Why should I hire you?
· What would you do if... (usually filled in with a work-related
· How would you describe yourself?
· What would you like to tell me about yourself?
· What are your major strengths?
· What are your major weaknesses?
· What type of work do you like to do best? "
· What are your interests outside work?
· What type of work do you like to do least?
· What accomplishment gave you the greatest satisfaction
· What was your worst mistake?
· What would you change in your past life?
· What courses did you like best or least in school?
· What did you like best or least about your last job?
· Why did you leave your last job?
· Why were you fired?
· How does your education or experience relate to this job?
· What are your goals?
· How do you plan to reach them?
· What do you hope to be doing in 5 years? 10?
· What salary do you expect?
Many job hunting books available at libraries discuss ways to answer
these questions. Essentially, your strategy should be to concentrate on the
job and your ability to do it no matter what the question seems to be
asking. If asked for a strength, mention something job related. If asked for
a weakness, mention a job-related strength (you work too hard, you worry too
much about details, you always have to see the big picture). If asked about
a disability or a specific negative factor in your past--a criminal record,
a failure in school, being fired--be prepared to stress what you learned
from the experience, how you have overcome the shortcoming, and how you are
now in a position to do a better job.
So far, only the interviewer's questions have been discussed. But an
interview will be a two-way conversation. You really do need to learn more
about the position to find out if you want the job. Given how frustrating it
is to look for a job, you do not want to take just any position only to
learn after 2 weeks that you cannot stand the place and have to look for
another job right away.
Here are some questions for you to ask the interviewer.
· What would a day on this job be like?
· Whom would I report to? May I meet this person?
· Would I supervise anyone? May I meet them?
· How important is this job to the company?
· What training programs are offered?
· What advancement opportunities are offered?
· Why did the last person leave this job?
· What is that person doing now?
· What is the greatest challenge of this position?
· What plans does the company have with regard to...? (Mention
some development of which you have read or heard)
· Is the company growing?
After you ask such questions, listen to the interviewer's answers and
then, if at all possible, point to something in your education or experience
related to it. You might notice that questions about salary and fringe
benefits are not included in the above list. Your focus at a first interview
should be the company and what you will do for it, not what it will pay you.
The salary range will often be given in the ad or position announcement, and
information on the usual fringe benefits will be available from the
personnel department. Once you have been offered a position, you can
negotiate the salary. The job hunting guides available in bookstores and at
the library give many more hints on this subject.
At the end of the interview, you should know what the next step will be:
Whether you should contact the interviewer again, whether you should provide
more information, whether more interviews must be conducted, and when a
final decision will be reached. Try to end on a positive note by reaffirming
your interest in the position and pointing out why you will be a good choice
to fill it.
Immediately after the interview, make notes of what went well and what
you would like to improve. To show your interest in the position, send a
follow-up letter to the interviewer, providing further information on some
point raised in the interview and thanking the interviewer once again.
Remember, someone is going to hire you; it might be the person you just
talked to. If you are-- involved in counseling others about job
opportunities, -- thinking about a career, -- contemplating a career change,
-- involved in education planning, -- involved in worker training, or
displaced worker retraining, -- or simply interested in knowing about the
world of work and how it is likely to change, you should examine these two
job outlook publications.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Probably the most widely used career resource; found in 9 out of 10
secondary schools. Updated every 2 years, it describes what workers do on
the job, where they work, how much they earn, the training and education
they need, and job outlook for about 200 occupations.
Occupational Outlook Quarterly
It helps to keep you informed about changing career opportunities, and
provides practical, "how-to-do-it" information on choosing and
getting today's and tomorrow's jobs. If these publications aren't available
in your local public library or high school media center, you may want to
purchase them for your own use. Here's how to order:
Send orders to:
Bureau of Labor Statistics Publications Sales Center
P.O. Box 2145
Chicago, IL 60690
Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, DC 20402
Subscription orders and credit card orders must be sent directly to the Superintendent
Most hiring decisions are made at the first interview. How you come
across in that interview could be as important as your experience and job
Here are some interviewing tips that will help you get the job you want.
Before The Interview
· Learn as much as you can about the company salary and benefits.
Friends, neighbors and relatives who work for the company are good sources
of information. Libraries, local chambers of commerce, etc. are also
· Learn everything you can about the job and how your previous
experience and training qualify you for the job.
· Write down the things you will need to complete applications:
your background and experience list (contains names of former employers,
schools, training, etc.).
· a resumé or summary of your work experience.
· samples of your work (if practical). Also include any
work-related or community service awards that you have received.
· Be sure to bring your social security card, driver's license,
union card, military records, etc.
· Dress for the interview and the job. Don't overdress or
look too informal.
· Always go to the interview alone. Arrange for baby sitters,
transportation, and other pitfalls ahead of time so that you can be on time
and relaxed in the interview.
· Find common ground with the employer. Pictures, books,
plants, etc., in the employer's office can be conversation.
· Express your interest in the job and the company using
information you gathered to prepare for the interview.
· Let the interviewer direct the conversation.
· Answer questions in a clear and positive manner. Show how
your experience and training will make you productive in the shortest time
with minimal supervision.
· Speak positively of former employers and co-workers no matter
why you left even if you were fired from your last job.
· Let the employer lead into conversations about benefits. Your
focus on these items can be a "turnoff." But, don't be afraid to
ask questions about things that you really need to know.
· When discussing salary, be flexible--avoid naming a specific
salary. If you're too high, you risk not getting the job. If you're too low,
you undersell yourself. Answer questions on salary requirements with
responses such as, "I'm interested in the job as a career opportunity
so I'm negotiable on the starting salary." Negotiate, but don't sell
"Closing" the Interview:
· If the employer does not offer you a job or say when you will
hear about it, ask when you may call to find out about the decision.
· If the employer asks you to call or return for another
interview, make a written note of the time, date and place.
· Thank the employer for the interview and reaffirm your interest
and qualifications for the job.
For some jobs, you may need to take a test. Usually, the job announcement
or ad will say if a test is required. There are several types of selection
and job fitness tests:
· Aptitude tests predict your ability to learn and perform job
· Job knowledge and proficiency tests measure what you know and
what you can do in a job (for example, word processing speed for a secretary
job, knowledge of street names and routes for a fire fighter job, etc.)
· Literacy tests measure reading and arithmetic levels.
· Personality tests help identify your personal style in dealing
with tasks and other people. Certain personalities can be well suited for
some jobs and not-so well suited for other jobs. For example, an outgoing
person may be well suited for a sales job.
· Honesty and Integrity tests evaluate the likelihood of stealing
and trustworthiness of applicants.
· Physical ability tests measure strength, flexibility, stamina
and speed for jobs that require physical performance.
· Medical tests determine physical fitness to do a job.
· Drug tests show the presence of illegal drugs that could impair
job performance and threaten the safety of others.
After the Interview
Make each interview a learning experience. After it is over, ask yourself
· What points did I make that seemed to interest the employer?
· Did I present my qualifications well?
· Did I overlook qualifications that were important for the job?
· Did I learn all I needed to know about the job?
· Did I ask questions I had about the job?
· Did I talk too much? Too little?
· Was I too tense? Too relaxed?
· Was I too aggressive? Not aggressive enough?
· Was I dressed appropriately?
· Did I effectively close the interview?
Make a list of specific ways you can improve your next interview.
Remember, "practice makes perfect"-- the more you interview, the
better you will get at it.
If you plan carefully and stay motivated, you can "market your job
talents". You will get a job that uses your skills and pays you well.
JOB SEARCH CHECKLIST
Complete items 1-3 on this checklist before starting your job search
Complete items 4-5 everyday of your job search
Complete items 6-9 when you have interviews
1. IDENTIFY OCCUPATIONS
2. IDENTIFY EMPLOYERS
3. PREPARE MATERIALS
4. PLAN YOUR TIME
· Make a background and experience list. -- Review information on
jobs. -- Identify jobs that use your talents.
· Ask relatives, etc. to help you look for job openings.
· Go to your State Employment Service Office for assistance.
· Contact employers to get company and job information.
· Utilize other sources (page 7&8) to get job leads.
· Obtain job announcements and descriptions.
· Write resumés (if needed). Use job announcements to
"fit" your skills with job requirements.
· Write cover letters or letters of application.
· Assemble a job search kit: pens, writing tablet, maps, public
transportation guides, clean copies of resumés & applications,
background and experience list, Social Security Card, and picture ID. Use
the Talent Bank.
· Wake up early to start looking for work.
· Make a "to do" list of everything you'll do to look
for a job.
5. CONTACT EMPLOYERS
· Work hard all day to find a job. -- Reward yourself (do a hobby
or sport, visit friends, etc.)
· Call employers directly (even if they're not advertising
openings). Talk to the person who would supervise you if you were hired.
· Go to companies to fill out applications.
· Contact your friends and relatives to see if they know about
· Use America's Job Bank on the Internet.
6. PREPARE FOR INTERVIEWS
Learn about the company you're interviewing with.
Review job announcements to determine how your skills will
help you do the job.
Assemble resumés, application forms, etc. (make sure everything is
7. GO TO INTERVIEWS
Dress right for the interview.
Be clean, concise, and positive.
Thank the interviewer.
8. EVALUATE INTERVIEWS
Send a hand written thank you note to the interviewer within 24 hours of
Think about how you could improve the interview.
9. TAKE TESTS
Find out about the test(s) you're taking.
Brush up on job skills.
Relax and be confident.
10. ACCEPT THE JOB!
Understand job duties & expectations, work hours, salary, benefits,
Be flexible when discussing salary (but don't sell yourself short).
Books That Can Give You More Tips for Finding the Right Job
Everything You Need For Your Job Search
Bolles, Richard N., What Color Is Your Parachute? Ten Speed Press, Box
7123, Berkeley, CA 94707. Updated annually.
Figler, Howard E., The Complete Job Search Handbook: Presenting the
Skills You Need to Get Any Job, And Have A Good Time Doing It. Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, 383 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017. 1979.
Collard, Betsy A., The High-Tech Career Book. Finding Your Place in
Today's Job Market. William Kaufmann, Inc., 95 1st St., Los Altos, CA 94022.
Durkin, Jon, "Mid-Life Career Changes." Johnson O'Connor
Research Foundation, Human Engineering Laboratory, 701 Sutter St., San
Francisco, CA 94109.
Wegmann, Robert, and Chapman, Robert, and Johnson, Miriam, Work in the
New Economy: Careers and Job Seeking into the 21st Century. JIST Works, 720
North Park Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana 46202. 1989.
Parker, Yana, The Damn Good Resume Guide. Ten Speed Press, Box 7123,
Berkeley, CA 94707. 1986.
Hellman, Paul, Ready, Aim, You're Hired!: How to Job-Interview
Successfully Anytime, Anywhere with Anyone, AMACOM, 135 W. 50th St., New
York, NY 10020. 1986.
Medley, H. Anthony, Sweaty Palms -- The Neglected Art of Being
Interviewed. Ten Speed Press, Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707. 1984.
Young Job Seekers:
Haldane, Bernard, and Jean, and Martin, Lowell, Job Power: The Young
People's Job Finding Guide. Acropolis Books Ltd., 2400 17th St. NW,
Washington, DC 20009. 1980.
Durkin, Jon, "Mid-Life Career Changes." Johnson O'Connor
Research Foundation, Human Engineering Laboratory, 701 Sutter St., San
Francisco, CA 94109.
Women Job Seekers:
Educational Testing Service, Publication Order Services, CN 6736,
Princeton, NJ 08541-6736. I CAN Lists. (Classifies homemaker skills under
various job titles in business).
Klein, Karen with Hope, Carla Derrick, Bouncing Back From Injury: How to
Take Charge of Your Recuperation. Prima Publishing & Communications,
P.O. Box 1260BB, Rocklin, CA 95677. 1988.
Minority Group Applicants:
Johnson, Willis L., Ed., Directory of Special Programs for Minority Group
Members: Career Information Services, Employment Skills Banks, Financial Aid
Sources, 4th ed. Garrett Park Press, P.O. Box 190, Garrett Park, MD 20896.
Job Skill Requirements:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Supt. of
Documents, U.S. Govt. Printing Off., Washington, DC 20402. (Describes
hundreds of occupations and thirty-five major industries)
Guide for Occupational Exploration. Supt. of Documents, U.S. Govt.
Printing Off., Washington, DC 20402.
National Association of Trade and Technical Schools,
2251 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 (202) 333-1021. (A list
of accredited technical schools).
Federal Job Opportunities
U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Career America, Supt. of Documents,
U.S. Govt. Printing Off., Washington, DC 20402.
State Employment Service Offices
ALABAMA Employment Service, Dept. of Industrial Relations 469 Monroe
Street Montgomery, AL 36130 (334) 242-8990
ALASKA Employment Service Department of Labor P.O. Box 25509 Juneau, AK
99802-5509 (907) 465-2712
ARIZONA Department of Economic Security P.O. Box 6123-010A Phoenix, AZ
85005 (602) 542-5678
ARKANSAS Employment Security Division P.O. Box 2981 Little Rock, AR 72203
CALIFORNIA Job Service Division P.O. Box 826880-MIG 37 Sacramento, CA
94280-0001 (916) 654-9047
COLORADO Department of Labor & Employment Tower 2, Suite 400 1515
Arapaho St. Denver, CO 80202-2117 (303) 620-4700
CONNECTICUT Labor Department 200 Folly Brook Blvd. Wethersfield, CT 06109
DELAWARE Department of Labor 820 North French St., 6th Fl. Wilmington, DE
19714-9499 (302) 577-2713
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DC Department of Employment Services500 C Street,
NW, Rm. 600 Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 724-7107
FLORIDA Dept. of Labor & Employment Security 2012 Capitol Circle, SE
Suite 303, Hartman Bldg. Tallahassee, FL 32399-2152 (904) 922-7021
GEORGIA Department of Labor 148 International Blvd, NE Suite 400 Atlanta,
GA 30303 (404) 656-3011
HAWAII Department of Labor & Industrial Relations 830 Punchbowl St.,
Room 320 Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 586-8844
IDAHO Department of Employment 317 Main Street Boise, ID 83735 (208)
ILLINOIS Department of Employment Security 401 South State St., Suite 624
Chicago, IL 60605 (312) 793-9279
INDIANA Department of Workforce Development 10 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2277 (317) 233-5661
IOWA Department of Employment Services 1000 East Grand Avenue Des Moines,
IA 50309 (515) 281-5365
KANSAS Department of Human Resources 401 Topeka Blvd. Topeka, KS 66603
KENTUCKY Department for Employment Services 275 E. Main Street Frankfort,
KY 40621 (502) 564-5331
LOUISIANA Office of Employment Security P.O. Box 94094 Baton Rouge, LA
70804-9094 (504) 342-3013
MAINE Department of Labor P.O. Box 309 Augusta, ME 04330-0309 (207)
MARYLAND Department of Economic & Employment Development 1100 North
Eutaw St., Rm. 600 Baltimore, MD 21201 (410) 767-2400
MASSACHUSETTS Department of Employment & Training 19 Stanford St.,
3rd Floor Boston, MA 02114 (617) 626-6600
MICHIGAN Employment Security Commission 7310 Woodward Avenue Detroit, MI
48202 (313) 876-5901
MINNESOTA Department of Economic Security 390 North Robert St. St. Paul,
MN 55101 (612) 296-3711
MISSISSIPPI Employment Security Commission P.O. Box 1699 Jackson, MS
39215-1699 (601) 961-7400
MISSOURI Department of Labor and Industrial Relations P.O. Box 504
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0504 (314) 751-4091
MONTANA Department of Labor & Industry State Capitol Helena, MT 59624
NEBRASKA Department of Labor 550 South 16th St. Lincoln, NE 68509 (402)
NEVADA Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation 1830 East
Sahara Las Vegas, NV 89104 (702) 486-7923
NEW HAMPSHIRE Department of Employment Security 32 South Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-4857
NEW JERSEY Department of Labor CN 110 Trenton, NJ 08625-0110 (609)
NEW MEXICO Department of Labor P.O. Box 1928 Albuquerque, NM 87103 (305)
NEW YORK Department of Labor State Campus Building 12 Albany, NY 12240
NORTH CAROLINA Employment Security Commission P.O. Box 25903 Raleigh, NC
27611 (919) 733-7546
NORTH DAKOTA Job Service ND P.O. Box 5507 Bismarck, ND 58506-5507 (701-
OHIO Bureau of Employment Services 145 S. Front Street Columbus, OH 43215
OXLAHOMA Employment Security Commission 215 Will Rogers Memorial Office
Bldg. 2401 N. Lincoln Oklahoma City, OK 73105 (405) 557-7201
OREGON Employment Department 875 Union Street, N.E. Salem, OR 97311 (503)
PENNSYLVANIA Department of Labor and Industry Labor & Industry
Building, Room 1700 Harrisburg, PA 17121 (717) 787-3756
PUERTO RICO Bureau of Employment Security 505 Munoz Rivera Avenue Hate
Rey, PR 00918 (809) 754-5376
RHODE ISLAND Department of Employment and Training 101 Friendship Street
Providence, RI 02903-3740 (401) 277-3732
SOUTH CAROLINA Employment Security Commission P.O. Box 995 Columbia, SC
29202 (803) 737-2617
SOUTH DAKOTA Department of Labor 700 Governor's Drive Pierre, SD
TENNESSEE Department of Employment Security 500 James Robertson Parkway,
12th Floor-Volunteer Plaza Nashville, TN 37245-0001 (615) 741-2131
TEXAS Workforce Commission 101 E. 15th Street Austin, TX 78778 (512)
UTAH Department of Workforce Services 140 East 300 South P.O. Box 143001
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-3001 (801) 531-3780
VERMONT Department of Employment and Training P.O. Box 488 Montpelier, VT
05601-0488 (802) 828-4300
VIRGIN ISLANDS Department of Labor 2131 Hospital Street Christianstead,
St. Croix USVI 00802 (809) 773-1994
VIRGINIA Employment Commission 703 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219
WASHINGTON Employment Security Department P.O. Box 9046 Olympia, WA
98507-9046 (360) 902-9301
WEST VIRGINIA Bureau Employment Security 112 California Avenue
Charleston, WV 25305-0112 (304) 558-2630
WISCONSIN Department of Industry, Labor & Human Relations P.O. Box
7946 Madison, WI 53707 (608) 266-7552
WYOMING Department of Employment 122 West 25th Street Herschler Bldg.,
2nd Floor Cheyenne, WY 82002 (307) 777-6402
National Office United States Employment Service 200 Constitution Ave. NW
Room N-4470 Washington, DC 20210 (202) 219-5257