|T H E
J O B
S E A R C H
Beyond The Job Search
Step 1: List your skills and interests Step 2: List possible job sources Step 3: Contact potential employers Step 4: Individualize your resume Step 5: Fill out an application The Next Step
Hunting for a job is a big project and you will likely have a lot
of questions. Don't let the questions throw you. You can be systematic in your
job search and do things in an orderly way. Planning your job search will make
you feel like you are getting somewhere and will prevent you from becoming frustrated.
Be prepared to put the same amount of time
into your job search that you would into a job.
It's worth learning how to search for a job. We live in a changing society and chances are that most people will have a number of different jobs during their working years. If you take the time to learn now, you will have a set of skills you will likely use many times.To effectively search for a job, you need to know a number of things:
- Your own skills and abilities Where to find out what jobs are currently advertised How to find out about jobs that may never be advertised
- How to approach potential employers
This section will give you five steps to follow to put together an effective job search.
- Step 1: List your skills and interests Step 2: List possible job sources Step 3: Contact potential employers Step 4: Individualize your resume
- Step 5: Fill out an application
Step 1: LIST YOUR SKILLS AND INTERESTS TO TRY AND DETERMINE THE TYPE OF JOB YOU WOULD LIKE
- Refer to your resume and closely examine your skill and abilities.
List the type of job you would like to pursue and that you have the skills for. It is important to be comprehensive and honest with yourself. List jobs that you think you would enjoy and be good at. You may find, for example, that you really like working with people.
- Be realistic. Don't put "architect," for example, on your list of job possiblities if you have no formal training in that field.
When you have completed your list, you should have a number of jobs that appeal to you. If you are not able to list several positions you could apply for, perhaps you need help.
- Canada-Saskatchewan Career and Employment Services offer a computerized program to help you explore job possiblities. Career and Employment Services offices are located in the following locations.
Canada-Saskatchewan Career and Employment Services offer employment training assistance to employment insurance and social assistance recipients, single parents, women, Aboriginal People and people with disabilities. Check with Saskjobs.ca for the location of the office nearest you.
Ile a la Crosse
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada provides counselling services for all Status Indians.
- Guidance and career counsellors are available at Career and Employment Service offices, regional colleges, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina and most high schools.
If for some reason you are not able to visit one of the above centres to seek assistance, there are a number of people you can ask. Approach a friend or a friend of your family. Approach a teacher you like or someone from your church. Ask your parents to help, or a brother or sister. Use your imagination. You will no doubt come up with a number of people who are more than willing to help you.
YOUR JOB SEARCH DOES NOT BEGIN UNTIL YOU ARE SURE OF THE KIND OF JOB YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.
Step 2: LIST POSSIBLE JOB SOURCES
Now that you know what you are looking for, you are ready to begin your search. It is important to realize that you cannot rely on just one source. Reading the want ads in the paper every night is not enough. Unadvertised positions account for the majority of job opportunities. You must know how to find out about unadvertised jobs so that you can approach employers and let them know you are qualified and available. The following is a list of ways to find out about job openings.
- Check the Canada-Saskatchewan Career and Employment Services Office. Services are free of charge.
Tell everyone you know that you are looking for employment. This may not seem like a very efficient way of finding a job, but many positions are filled through personal contacts.
Check the yellow pages in the phone book. Make a list of businesses that might have the kind of job you are looking for.
Check the Government Directory. This publication gives a complete list of all provincial government organizations-departments, field staff offices, agencies, boards, commissions and crown corporations. Copies may be obtained from Saskatchewan Property Management Corporation (for a small charge), Central Survey and Mapping, 2045 Broad Street, Regina, SK S4P 3V7, or visit the reference section at your local library.
Check the business directory. These directories list the names and addresses of companies in major centres. Business directories can usually be found in local libraries.
Search the Internet. The Internet is a very effective way of finding job openings. Employers are using the Internet more and more to post available positions. The SaskNetWork website provides job listings, resume postings, and employer services. Check out these services at www.sasknetwork.ca
Read the want ads in the newspapers. The weekend editions of large newspapers usually have a special section devoted to job advertisements. Call the newspaper office to check on this if you are unsure. Your local library may also have a selection of newspapers from Saskatchewan and other provinces.
- Approach someone who is well established in the field in which you wish to work. If you feel you would like to work in sales, for example, phone the manager of a store or a machinery sales outlet. Ask questions about how to get started, what kind of background a manager is looking for when they hire employees, and what kind of qualifications they like to see. Don't be shy. Most people will be flattered that you have called them for advice.
If you lack experience or training, pay special
attention to places that are likely to offer on-the-job training. Large organizations are the most likely candidates, such as, department stores and large industries.
Step 3: CONTACT POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS
Now that you have a list of possible places your next step is to contact employers to find out if they have job openings or are in need of your services. There are four ways to contact employers: in person, by telephone, by mail and by electronic networking. Contacting Employers in PersonWhen contacting prospective employers in person, it is important to be well prepared. This is possibly the most effective way to make your initial contact. It allows the employer to better assess your qualifications, and they will be more likely to remember you if a job becomes available. However, if you have a long list of possible places of employment, contacting all employers in person may not be practical. You should contact the employer in person if a job advertisement directs you to do so. It is quite possible that you will not connect directly with the person you want on your first attempt. Be prepared to talk with an administrative support individual or be ready to leave your message on a voice mail or answering system. Here you may even want to write out and practice a script that you would leave.
- Telephone the employer first and set up an appointment to see him or her. Appearance is very important. Be sure to dress appropriately. Do not be late. Arrive on time. If you are answering an advertisement see the person named in the ad. If you have heard about a job opening through a personal contact, see the person to whom you have been referred. Know your skills and abilities and how they match with the employer's needs, however, show your willingness to learn new procedures and take on new responsiblities. Tell the employer about yourself. Explain why you think you are able to do a specific job. Be prepared to answer questions. If the employer says there is no job available, ask if you can leave your resume in case a position opens in the future. Ask the employer if he or she knows of anywhere else you might try.
- Be brief. When you have found out what you need to know, thank the employer and leave. You will impress the employer as someone who does not waste time.
Contacting Employers by TelephoneThe telephone is a very important tool in the job search process. You can be quaranteed that at some point during your search you will talk to a potential employer on the telephone. Use the telephone to make direct contact and open the doors of opportunity. Telephone skills are marketable job skills that many employers value. Therefore, it is critical that you prepare effectively before using this powerful tool. It would not be wise to call someone and just start talking. When you are using the telephone in a job search campaign the calls are business calls, not personal calls. When business or sales callers are promoting their products they have 20 seconds to capture the person's attention. Therefore, communication has to be to the point and concise. It is recommended that you prepare a script before making your call. Scripting is planning what you are going to say, perhaps even writing it down. The following are some basic principles you may want to follow when preparing a script:
- Be sure to have an objective for the call. Are you seeking information? Are you trying to schedule a meeting? Do you want to present your qualifications?
Have a secondary objective. It is quite possible that you will not achieve your primary objective, however, you may want to take the opportunity to seek out other information from the person you contact.
It is very important that you know the name of the person you wish to speak with. If you don't know the person's name, then your first objective is to obtain this information.
Write out what you are going to say. However, it is important tht you do not read your script but present it naturally.
- Your script will depend on the goal of your call. A good script should include the following:Introduction - Tell the person who you are.
Lead Statement - A brief statement designed to grab the person's attention.
Body - State the purpose of your call.
Close - Accomplish your objective, seek information, schedule a meeting?
When you are communicating with someone over the phone it is important that you follow certain principles related to telephone communication. Review the following points to know what to do and what to expect.
- Watch for evidence that you have captured the listener's attention. If they are asking you questions about your qualifications then they are showing intererst in you.
Call from a quiet location where you can concentrate and hear what the person is saying. Do not call from a busy area such as a restaurant or street corner or when the kids are playing and yelling in the background.
Listen carefully to what you are saying, how you are saying it and how you are being received. If you sense that you have perhaps called at an inconvenient time, politely ask if there is a better time.
Take notes and have all the job search materials close at hand.
Before making your calls, practice with a friend or family member. This will help you to develop good telephone skills.
- A good thing to keep in mind before you start making your calls is to remember that you may come in contact with a voice message. Know ahead of time what you will say if you get someone's voice mail. Have an additional script ready that will help you to leave a professional message that is clear and simple. Your message should be 30 seconds or less.
Telephone Script Preparation Form
You can use the following form to help you prepare your script.
Date of Call:_____________________________________
Full name and title
of contact person:_______________________________
Name of company:________________________________________
Contacting Employers by Mail
You may wish to make your intitial contact by mail. A job advertisement will sometimes give only a box number or address and ask you to write for information. You may also choose to send letters of inquiry to several employers introducing yourself and asking about possible job openings. There are a number of tips that can make your inquiries more effective.
- Before writing your letters record the things you want to say about yourself and the questions you want to ask
If you are replying to a job advertisement, follow the instructions in the ad and provide the information requested. More information on writing a covering letter to be sent with your resume is provided in the resume section of this booklet.
If you are canvassing employers to acquire information about job possibilities, you should first find out the names of persons to whom your letters should be addressed. You can do this by making telephone calls. Phone each place on your list and ask the secretary or switchboard operator for the name of the manager or person responsible for hiring employees. Address your letter to that person.
If you are making inquiries at a large organization such as government or large industry, ask for the name of the Director of Human Resources and the heads of all departments or branches. Remember that the Human Resoures Office will tell you only about advertised positions. You want to make personal contacts with people who may have jobs in mind but have not advertised them.
Unless a job advertisement specifically asks you to reply in your own handwriting type your letter of inquiry.
If you are canvassing employers rather than replying to an advertisement for example, if you are seeking employment and wish to work for a company or place of business such as the one you are writing to. Briefly state your skills, abilities, and experience. Request that the employer contact you if a position becomes available. Your letter should be no longer than one page. There is no need to send you resume at this point in your job search.
- Personalize each letter that you send out. Although you may have a long list, having the letter typed and addressed to a specific person is well worth the effort. A photocopied letter addressed "To whom it may concern" is very easy to ignore.
Electronic NetworkingElectronic networking allows you the opportunity to discover the hidden job market. It has become an excellent place to network for a variety of reasons including finding job leads, researching occupations, and finding support. It is estimated that 70% of individuals looking for a job find their employment through networking - email, newsgroups and live chat. Good communication skills are required to master these tools. Preparation and practice are necessary in order to be successful. Many of the skills required in telephone communication are also required when electronic networking. Here are some general tips to assist you in networking.
- Be concise and to the point. Your main objective is to capture the readers' attention so they do not move on to something else right away.
Proofread and edit carefully. When communicating you should be grammar perfect, error free and honest. The advantage to electronic networking is that you can say exactly what you mean to say.
Be accurate in following all rules of etiquette. Numerous sites are available on the Internet that contain information on the standards of Internet etiquette. You may also want to look for publications at you local library regarding this type of etiquette.
Become proficient at applying good networking techniques. Networking should never be one-sided, it should be mutually productive. Learn to give as much if not more than you receive. Be polite by saying "Thank you." Keep track by maintaining good records. Plan your follow-up.
- Be respectful to everyone. You never really know who might have an impact on your professional future. Usually more than one employer will partricipate in these conversations. Remember that the person you are conversing with quite possibly may have a contact or know of an employment opportunity in your area.
The main purpose of networking is to build relationships - many of which may last long beyond your job search. When you are networking you are not just simply asking people for a job or if they know of any openings. To be productive you may want to participate in Usenet Newsgroups or IRC Chat discussions relating to your occupation. There are several of these groups on the Internet and most professional occupations are represented. Once you have decided on a couple groups, be consistent. Be sure to regularly follow discussions. When first starting it is generally a good idea to just listen without participating. Once you are familiar with the tone of the conversation then you may join in. Pay close attention to who the key players are in the group. Be sure to join in on the topic being discussed don't immediately start talking about employment unless of course that is the topic. Establish yourself to the group first and develop a couple of solid relationships.
Fundamental to good electronic networking is knowing when to post or respond to someone. There are a few rules it is imperative to follow. Always keep in mind that you are communicating possibly to the whole world. Practically anyone can read your message. Therefore, your communication should be directed to the community at large. It is possible to communicate to only one or two people by sending your message directly to them vial email.
Step 4: INDIVIDUALIZE YOUR RESUME
You have spent a good deal of time canvassing employers, and have perhaps been asked by more than one to submit a resume. The question now is "How do you submit a resume so that it will get you an interview?"
- Individualize your resume in a covering letter. Individualizing your resume is a way to focus the employer's attention on the skills you have that are directly related to the job that you are applying for.
- In your letter, highlight the things in your background and experience that make you the most likely candidate for the job. Be very specific about your skills and experience. More information on writing a covering letter can be found in the first section of the booklet.
Step 5: FILL OUT AN APPLICATION
Your resume has taken you one step further in your job search and an employer has asked you to fill out an application form. Some employers will consider your resume and letter to be the job application. However, larger organizations will usually require that you fill a standard form. The form will be fairly straightforward, but a few tips can help you in filling it out.
- Follow directions carefully. If it says "PRINT" then print.
If a question doesn't apply to you put "N/A" in the space. N/A means "not applicable".
Carry a copy of your resume with you to use when completing the application form.
- Ask for two copies. You can fill one out in pencil first, then do your final copy. You can keep the first copy as a record.
THE NEXT STEP
If you have been through all five steps in this section on the job search, you've done a lot of work. You've listed your skills and experiences, determined the kind of job you are looking for, turned to a number of sources to look for both advertised and unadvertised jobs, and contacted several employers. If you have been successful in your job search, you've been asked for your resume and you've filled out application forms. Now you wait to hear from the employers. If you have sent an application form to an employer and have not heard anything for two weeks or so, it is acceptable to follow-up with a phone call.
If you are contacted for an interview, you are ready to move on to the next section of this booklet. This is your chance to introduce yourself and convince the employer that you are the right person for the job! First impressions count!
| Looking For Work | Finding Workers | Career Planning | Education & Training |
| Labour Market Information | Self-Employment | Financial Help | The Workplace |
| What's New | About Us | Home | Contact Us | Site Map | Help | Publications |