As you may remember from last week, I found myself unemployed after asking for my salary to be increased to be more in line with that of my coworkers. That means it is time to begin looking for a job. I recently finished reading “What Color is Your Parachute” and find myself drawn back to the chapter that discussed the various ways that people look for jobs versus how employers hire candidates. I was reading a copy from the library, so unfortunately I cannot refer to it for accuracy, but it went a little something like this: The order of importance that we give the various methods of getting a job are directly opposite that of employers.

With that in mind, I know that too much time spend on Monster or CareerBuilder will be rather worthless.  First things first, I signed up for unemployment. There is a one week waiting period, which is interesting to me since so many Americans are supposed to be only one paycheck away from financial Armageddon. Hopefully I will find out my benefit amount by early next week.

Next up on the to-do list is updating my resume. Since I already had my then current job on there all I had to do was adjust the end date. Then I put it up on CareerBuilder and Monster but did not look for any jobs there as of yet.

If I remember correctly, the ways that employers find candidates to fill open positions are as follows:

  1. Internal candidates
  2. Candidates referred by someone at the company
  3. Unsolicited direct applications
  4. Applications on the company website
  5. newspaper/internet ads

Clearly I cannot utilize #1 as I am not employed. I have asked around and found one person that has an accountant opening at their job. I submitted my resume for that. I also looked up some local companies to see if they had any jobs listed on their websites and then applied to those.  And thus far I have not looked at any newspaper or internet ads.

Guess what? I have two interview lined up.  Each company came across my resume on CareerBuilder. I never contacted either place on my own. The exciting thing about these opportunities is that they are direct hire jobs, as opposed to staffing agencies. I really despise staffing agencies and would rather work two jobs in fast food than work for a temp agency.

Landing an interview presents its own problems though. References. In my mind, I would think it is not such a good idea to use the place that just let me go as a reference. However, an article on CareerJournal says to not assume that a boss that fired you would give you a bad reference. I think that is quite a big risk so I will not be trying it.

Here are my tips for preparing for finding and obtaining a new job:

  1. Tweak the resume. It was already mostly updated and just involved a little tweaking.  The important thing to remember here is that it is a tool. Once I get an interview I can go into loads more detail about what I did and why I’m so awesome.
  2. Put out your feelers. I asked around in my network and found out that someone I knew had an open position at their office. They were able to hand deliver my resume, which may give me a bit of an advantage over other candidates.
  3. Get your resume out there. While you do not want to waste your time searching on Monster immediately, it can’t hurt to have a resume out for everyone to see. I got two interviews that way!
  4. Work on a snazzy cover letter. If there is one thing I have learned over the past few years it is that cover letters make all the difference. Since you are trying to keep your resume to a page a lot gets left out. That is where the cover letter comes in handy. I usually do a search online for examples and then combine the best elements of all of them into one kickass cover letter.
  5. Prepare for the interview. Practice how you will sell yourself. I have found that being able to tell short little stories is helpful for me. It’s also a good idea to think of how you will answer those lame questions that almost every interviewer asks….”Can you tell me about your weaknesses?” “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
  6. Research salary and prepare to negotiate.  You want to make sure you are getting paid what you are worth, so look up salary information for the job you are interviewing for. Then use that information to your advantage when you are negotiating salary. And remember, the first person to name a dollar amount usually ends up the loser of the negotiation.

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