An effective job search will include far more than simply mailing résumés in response to classified ads from the newspaper. Here are some steps you can take to ensure a successful job search.

  • Prepare a résumé that effectively showcases your talents, skills, and achievements.
  • Write cover letters that generate interest and spur the readers to take action.
  • Respond to classified ads for positions that interest you.
  • Network, network, network!
  • Blanket the market . . . the more résumés you send, the more likely you will land a job.
  • Follow-up with phone calls 7 - 10 days after mailing your résumés.
  • After each interview, send a follow-up letter.

Résumé Preparation
Invest in professional résumé preparation. Because there are many applicants forwarding résumés for each opening, the employer may only spend a few seconds scanning each one.

A professionally prepared résumé gives you an immediate competitive advantage.

Cover Letters
A cover letter is strongly recommended. An effective cover letter will enhance your résumé and increase your chances of landing an interview. It should:

  • be neatly typed/typeset on stationery that matches your résumé,
  • generate interest and turn that interest into a desire to learn more, and
  • turn that desire to learn more into action (an interview).
See "How to Write a Cover Letter" for information on cover letters.

Responding to Ads
Read the ad carefully, and make sure your cover letter addresses the requirements mentioned in the ad. Create a strong opening and emphasize your skills that match those outlined in the ad. Follow directions . . . if the ad requests salary information or references, you should strongly consider including them. Not to do so may eliminate your application from consideration.

There are several ways to address the issue of salary without necessarily revealing a specific amount. The professionals at Printed Pages can help you address this sensitive area in a way that will keep you "in the running."

The Art of Networking
U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate that 80 percent of people who find jobs in the United States do so by networking. What is networking? In a nutshell, networking is the process of talking to everyone you know -- personal and professional acquaintances, friends, and family members -- informing them of your situation, and asking if they might be able to assist or refer you. Most networking is initially accomplished on the telephone.

Networking is one of your most valuable job search tools because it is the only way to uncover the "hidden" job market. Many jobs become available and are filled before the vacancy is even advertised. Why? Because enterprising networkers have made contact with the right people at the right time.

Networking takes practice and persistence. The telephoning process can be very difficult initially, but if you want to land more interviews, this is the way to do it. A successful networker must be confident in his/her abilities and should be willing and able to provide contacts with something of value in return for their assistance. This means doing your "homework" before contacting a company and being prepared to demonstrate to your contacts that you have skills, information, or experience that is of value to them. Always indicate your willingness to be of assistance to your contacts in any way possible.

Before making your first call,
  1. Set objectives . . . know what type of position you are seeking and one or two specific goals you want to accomplish as a result of the conversation. (One objective would be to secure leads about openings. Another would be to secure an interview. Still another would be to secure the name of another contact person. The further you expand your network, the better your chances of finding a job.)

  2. Know your contacts . . . friends, family, former colleagues, former bosses, former classmates/teachers, acquaintances from community groups and clubs, local merchants, suppliers, previous customers, creditors, fellow church members, the Chamber of Commerce and other professional business associations. Always ask permission to use the names of your contacts, and then do just that, both in phone calls and written correspondence. The use of a personal reference is extremely effective in driving the networking process.

  3. Be prepared . . . learn all you can about a company before contacting them. The business department of the public library and the local Chamber of Commerce can be of great help here. Resources for researching target companies include business directories, annual reports, newspapers and professional/trade journals, professional associations, and other people. Know as much as you can about your contact person.

    Preparation also involves knowing how to get the conversation started and how to develop rapport. Before starting your calls, write some notes, prepare a script, role-play with friends, and practice, practice, practice! (Never read from your script verbatim in a real networking situation. Be yourself. The notes and scripts are just tools to help you remember details.)

  4. Get a commitment . . . preferably an appointment for an interview. If you canít get an interview scheduled, offer to send your résumé. Finally, if no interview has been scheduled, ask for the name of someone else in the company or elsewhere who may help you. Remember, the further you expand your network, the better your chances of finding a job.

  5. Review and improve. Ask yourself, "If I could make this call over again, what changes would I make?" Continuous review will help you to fine-tune and sharpen your presentations.

    Send a Follow-up Letter!

  6. Follow-up each and every contact with a thank-you letter and résumé. Then follow-up your mailing with another phone call. Let your contact decide the schedule, but be sure you recontact him/her at the agreed upon time.

Printed Pages offers job search services, including private consultations that will address specific questions you may have pertaining to your unique situation. For more information, call us at (513) 598-9100.

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