In need of a new job? Begin with a new you==Retool your résumé, begin
networking and clean up your online profile. Here's our guide to gainful
by BryAnn Becker
1. Let's face it, you need to dress up that resume. Does "served food to customers" sound exciting to you? We didn't think so.
Change it to "good customer-service skills" or "excellent at
multitasking." Same thing for stay-at-home moms: You can manage a budget
and excel at conflict resolution (no one needs to know it's a fight
between your 3-year-old and your 5-year-old).
Focus on the skills you gained, not the actual tasks you performed.
2. Volunteering counts big time on your resume. Listing your volunteer
activities is a good indication that you care about a larger cause.
3. The cover letter opens the door to the resume. Highlight items from
your resume in the cover letter. Find out as much as you can for the
position you are applying for, and list your skills that relate to that
position -- you'll stand out by tailoring the letter to the job.
4. Are you a math whiz? Great with color? Think about what sets you
apart from other job candidates. Incorporate that information in your
cover letter, resume and interview.
5. Think your long-standing college job doesn't count? Think again.
Highlight on your resume if you've had job stability, which stands out
for potential employers.
6. Get to the point. Use short, specific phrases in your resume, not
long-winded sentences. Employers probably only have time to scan.
7. There isn't a standard rule of thumb for how long a resume should be.
New graduates will have one page, while more seasoned professionals
will have more than one page. If you're entry level, stick to one page.
8. Make sure they can find you. Include your home and cell phones, email and regular mail addresses.
"Your resume is your most important marketing tool. Have it available to
email to employers, but also follow up with a hard copy." Sandy Case of
Case by Case Consulting
1. Just start talking. To the people at church, in your volunteer group, everywhere. Let them know you're job-hunting.
2. Take advantage of your hobby. Do you spend your free time reading the
latest bestseller or running laps around the neighborhood? Join a local
book club or running club or whatever else you're into. You'll meet
people with similar interests, and they'll probably have connections
that may lead to something more.
3. Brighten your community during your job search. Use volunteer work to develop skills and make connections.
4. Yes, your alma mater is still worth something. Contact the career
center. They may have contacts for alumni in your field of choice.
5. It may take some tact, but contacting your current or former job supervisors may help bridge some gaps.
6. Buddy up. Grab a friend and go to a social mixer. Even the most
social person has trouble walking into the room. Between the two of you,
you will know someone.
7. Bring your card. Always carry business cards with you. If you've had a
5-10 minute conversation with a person, share yours. It's a constant
reminder for an access point.
8. Have a pity party together. Gather with others who are looking for
jobs. It may help to stir discussion about job openings. Otherwise, it
may be just be good moral support.
9. Don't be a wallflower, but don't force your networking either. Not all relationships will look the same.
Networking is key. "Only 28 percent of all candidates find jobs through
online postings." Billie Streufert, Director of Career Development
Center at The University of South Dakota
"I was told early, that it's not what you know, it's who you know. A
person may be the most qualified, but if no one knows that person, it
doesn't happen. ... Networking can be a support system during that
situation." Cindy Elifrits, founder and current president of Sioux Falls
1. When you go on line to your CoachBook or FaceBook page to change your
status to "job hunting," take a minute to professionalize your page.
2. Who knew you could find a potential employer via CoachBook, Facebook
or MySpace? Companies like accounting firm Ernst & Young have
Facebook pages. Use these sites to network in a positive way or to
research more about the company.
3. Use caution with any posts, blogs or other content you list online.
4. Put your Googling skills to good use. Research the company and/or
your potential boss. Check out their Web site and search for any recent
news items. Save these for later to review before your interview.
5. Use a professional email address. It's time to change firstname.lastname@example.org to something more appropriate.
6. Your potential employer knows how to use a search engine, too.
Employers usually do look at your online profile before interviewing, so
make sure yours is squeaky clean.
"Be careful. It's all out there. Know that what you're putting out there
everyone can see." Christine Esterling, Spherion Staffing branch
Find a job
1. Cover your bases. Check out print and online classified ads. Try
Monster.com, careerbuilder.com and indeed.com. Other in-state sites
include the South Dakota Department of Labor at http://dol.sd.gov/
2. Do your homework. Finding out more about a potential employer can
help in the job seeking process and may lead you to a job at a similar
3. Make lists. Take out your address book, and compile a list of who you
have contacted in the past, including employers and community members.
Call them and ask them about any job openings.
5. Look beyond the dollar signs. Be prepared to take a job for less
money. You may not get a job that's a perfect fit right away.
6. Take a self-assessment to gain an awareness about your interests,
skills and values. This may help you find a career to pursue. Streufert
recommends the book "What color is your parachute?" by Richard Nelson
7. Buy an interview technique books for sample questions. Be prepared
for questions about your goals and what you will do in five years. The
interview is not about you. It's about the company. At the end of the
interview, people normally don't ask for the job. Pose a question back
to them. For example, say "We've spent an hour discussing what I've
done. Do you you feel that I have the qualifications to be successful at
the job?" This way, you can bring up something that you may not have
mentioned. Send a thank you note the same day of the interview. .
"You want to sell what you've done. The company is after what you have
done to make money, save money or change the process that would help put
money back on the bottom line. Show how you've done that on your past
job, and gear it towards that." Christine Esterling, Spherion Staffing
1. Maybe you only own one nice suit or you only have a few dress pieces.
It's OK. Just take better care of what you already have. That means, in
simple terms, take out the iron or dry clean your clothes.
2. If it's a choice between one designer sweater or five generic brand
shirts, pick the designer item. Sometimes less is more. You don't have
to always spend a lot on clothing, but make sure what you buy is
3. Market yourself. It's helpful to see yourself as a package, including
your resume, your appearance and presentation during the interview.
4. The key to confidence comes in a simple wardrobe item called the
power suit. Buy one. You'll be able to wear this to a job interview and
beyond. Pair with a simple white blouse or silk blouse in a lighter
5. Pamper yourself, and others will notice, too. Make sure your roots
are colored and that your nails, if polished, are not chipped. If you're
shoddy with your appearance, are you shoddy with your work?
6. Look at the fabric of the clothes before you buy them. Fabric quality will influence how well the clothes stand up to wear.
7. Most women know if they are an apple, pear or hourglass shape. If you
don't know, find out. Look at your shape and decide on a style that
works for you. Aim for clean lines, and try to emphasize a vertical line
to create a slimmer look. For example, a crease in the pant helps bring
the eye in to the midline and de-emphasizes weight, says Dexter.
8. Think versatility. A blazer can be a great piece to layer. Look for items like this that can be dressed up or down.
9. Splurge on your basics. Buy the best quality you can afford for your basics, and then add pieces to make those items trendy.
10. Too-short sleeves and too-long pants are definitely out. Tailoring items can make a big difference in looking polished.
12. Have a go-item. For men and women, invest in a classic white shirt.
You also can't go wrong with investing in cashmere sweaters.
"Europeans know how to purchase clothing. They will wait to buy a black
or navy suit with the quality of an Armani fabric, and they have that
item for 10-15 years." Donna Dexter, wardrobe consultant with Doncaster
"You are in a job interview every single day. Every person you meet is a
connection to your next step. Every day is a job interview when you're
out interviewing people." Cindy Elifrits, founder and president of Sioux