Preparing for the Job Search
After English school you will begin your job search. In any job search there are several
important components: resumes, interviews, and references. It has been said that a resume
is the thing that earns you a job interview, and your references are what lands you the job.
To be prepared for a job search, not only must you have a resume written and be prepared to answer
interview questions, but you must also have several people who will be your references.
References are individuals who can speak on your behalf in regard to your qualifications,
work-related skills, and character. You should include their names and contact information.
Job applicants usually have 3-5 references. Most potential employers will check your references
before extending you a job offer.
The best references are previous employers who can speak not only on your knowledge, skills, and the quality of your work but also on your integrity and positive personal characteristics. Try to obtain a reference from someone who has been your direct supervisor, manager or co-worker. It is a good idea to ask them for permission to use them as a reference as well as give them a copy of your resume so they are prepared to speak on your behalf. It is not a good idea to use family members or friends unless they can honestly speak about your skills and qualifications for the job.
If you have any hesitation about what someone will say about you,
do not use them as a reference. Instead, give a different name of
someone else who you know will give a positive reference. It is better
to be safe than sorry.
On your resume, use the phrase “References available upon request.”
Then, create a separate sheet with the heading “Professional References.”
Include your name and contact information just as it appears on your resume.
For each reference list their name, title, company, company address, and company phone.
You should also include the reference’s relationship to you (e.g. former supervisor).
Employers usually ask for your references after an interview, so have the references with you.
Sometimes an employer will ask for the references to be sent via email, fax, or mail along with
your resume. Always follow the directions given.
References are an important element of the job search. They are usually
the last component in the process before the employer grants you the job. Make
sure your references will leave a positive impression on a prospective employer
to help you gain the job you are seeking.
A job interview is the employer’s
chance to meet you in person and ask you questions. He is trying to see if you
are the right “fit” for the job. You will not have much time with the interviewer,
and your task is to convince him in that short time period that you are the person he
should hire for the position.
There are several things you can do to prepare for a job interview.
- First, do your homework and be prepared for what you may be asked. Know as much about the position as you possibly can and what strengths they are looking for in this particular job. Prior to the interview you might brainstorm a list of potential questions the employer could ask you and prepare your answers ahead of time. Find a friend who can hold a “mock interview” with you so that you can rehearse some of your answers. Practicing your answers will give you confidence on the day of the interview.
- Another thing you should do to prepare for an interview is to dress appropriately. You want to appear professional and put your best foot forward. First appearances do make a difference. Consider the type of job you are interviewing for, but err on the side of professionalism. Don’t be too casual.
- Make sure that you arrive early. Never be late. If you arrive late, they may not even allow you to interview at all. Map out your travel path ahead of time so you do not get lost, and you arrive at your destination on time. Allow for traffic and unforeseen circumstances.
- While you are interviewing, do your best to be engaging. Never sit back in your chair and appear too casual, rather sit forward and make eye contact. Don’t put anything on the interviewer’s desk, as that can invade his personal space. Never have your cell phone on or in plain sight. Your full attention needs to be on the interview and in making a good impression.
- Finally, listen carefully to everything the interviewer says. He will be telling you valuable information. Also, at the end of the interview, he may ask you if you have any questions, and you don’t want to ask something he has already told you.
An interview is a very important step on the path to obtaining a job. Make sure you are prepared to leave a good impression.
The resume is your first impression with
a prospective employer and one that will hopefully gain you the opportunity to interview.
There are different ways to format your resume, but it should accurately reflect your qualifications and work experience. Resumes, in general, should be about one page in length; too much over that is usually ignored. However, if the information is truly vital, two pages is acceptable. Consider making a standard resume that can be customized for various positions.
The first thing that should appear on a resume is your personal information.
Immediately following should be your objective statement. An objective statement
is a sentence that sums up your career goal. It should be specific and relate to
the job for which you are applying.
After the objective statement, you have a choice of how to present your experience.
The most common way is to list your work history in chronological order, starting
with your most recent job. If you do not have a work history, or have had many jobs
over a short period of time, you may want to try a different style of resume, such as
a skill-based format.
A few other helpful hints are to make sure to proofread your work.
A resume should not have even a single error on it. Also, remain professional.
Cute fonts and the like have no place on a resume. Don’t shade the truth; it will
come back to haunt you. Being honest is the best policy when it comes to stating
your experience and accomplishments.
In today’s world of technology, you might want to have your
resume readily accessible in several different formats.
A print version is helpful for mailing or handing to potential
contacts and interviewers. A plain text version is helpful for
copy and pasting into online forms or online resume databases.
Also, you should have an email version that is specifically formatted
for the length-of-line restrictions in an email. Having the different
forms will make it easy to post, copy and paste, or email to potential
employers as the opportunities arise.
There are many resume building websites that can help you get started if the task seems
too difficult. There are also how-to books written on resume writing. Don’t hesitate
to do a little research to help you create the best resume possible.
It is the first step to obtaining the job that you desire.
While you are attending English school, you may want to consider working as an intern.
Many people, at the beginning of their careers, start with an internship.
An internship is a way to gain on-the-job training and experience for the
business or profession in which you are interested. It can also help you
narrow the focus of the kind of job within that field that you would really
like to acquire. By working as an intern in a specific field, you can better
tell if that is a career you want to pursue.
Completing an internship is also helpful for future job searches. In today’s economy
it is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire a job. The job hunt is very competitive,
and you will need every edge to land the job you desire. With an internship, not only is it
experience that you can add to your resume, but it also develops important references and
In the job hunt, references and networking is very important.
After an internship, you will have people who will be able to recommend you because
they will have seen your work and know your strengths first-hand. An internship may
even lead to a future job within that specific company. Although many employers hire
interns because they can provide cheap or free labor for lower level tasks, they also
hire interns as a way to see how a person fits into their place of business.
It is a way to find people who will be trustworthy and dependable employees and
weed out those who will not.
There are many types of internships. Interns are sometimes paid, but many times they
are unpaid. They can be full or part-time. Sometimes individuals do internships part-time
while in school and full-time during the summer months while they are not in class. Sometimes
they wait until after they complete school to begin an internship. Internships can be a formal
experience that requires an extensive application process, but not always. Some companies will
have well-defined programs that are uniform for each intern, while other, usually smaller, companies
might offer substantial work within a narrow focus of the industry. The most important thing about
an internship is that you are acquiring practical skills within a desired career field.
When choosing to apply for an internship, have some set goals in mind of what you hope to
gain from the experience. This will help you as you decide what type of internship to seek.
There are many internship directories, both in book and website format. If you do your research,
it will pay off when you are able to obtain an internship that leads you to the job you desire.
Preparing for the job search can be intimidating,
but being prepared is essential as you look towards finding a job. There are several ways in
which you can prepare yourself for a job search.
- First, before you begin, make sure you have at least three people who speak on your behalf as references for you. They should be able to speak not only about your knowledge, skills, and the quality of your work but also on your integrity and positive personal characteristics.
- Second, make sure your resume is polished and error free. As you encounter jobs that you would like to apply for, you should tailor your resume for each specific opportunity. Be strategic in your choices of where to send your resume and what details you include based on the specific job opening.
- Third, think through potential interview questions and prepare answers ahead of time. Hold a mock interview with a friend so that you can rehearse some of you answers. Practicing your answers will give you confidence on the day of the interview.
- Finally, consider working as an intern. Completing an internship can be very helpful for future job searches. In today’s economy it is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire a job. The job hunt is very competitive, and you will need every edge to land the job you desire. With an internship, not only is it experience that you can put on your resume, but it also develops important references and networking possibilities.
References, practicing for job interviews, resumes, and internships are important things to consider when you are preparing for your job search .
Last Updated: 09/12/2012