Whether you're looking for your very first job, switching careers, or re-entering the job market after an extended absence, finding a job requires two main tasks: setting and following through on your goals and using the latest tools to enter the job market. Assuming you've chosen a career objectives and are currently searching for jobs, here are several ways to actually get a job.
Part 1: Building Your Qualifications
1. Revise your resume.
Look at a variety of recent, relevant job descriptions. Use similar language to describe your skills and accomplishments on your own resume.
Use active verbs. When describing what you did at your last job, make the sentence as tight and active as possible.
Proofread. Review your resume several times for grammatical or spelling errors. Even something as simple as a typo could negatively impact your ability to land an interview, so pay close attention to what you've left on the page. Have one or two other people look at it as well.
Keep the formatting classic and to the point. How your resume looks is almost as important as how it reads. Use a simple font (such as Times New Roman, Arial or Bevan), black ink on white or ivory colored paper, and wide margins (about 1" on each side). Avoid bold or italic lettering. Ensure your name and contact information are clearly and prominently displayed.
2: Prepare for the job interview:
Keep it brief — between 30 seconds and two minutes — and have the basics of it memorized so that you don't stammer when you're asked to describe yourself. You don't want to sound like recording or a robot, either, so only get the structure of it down, and learn to improvise the rest depending on who you're talking to. Practice your elevator pitch out loud on someone who can give you feedback.
An elevator pitch is also useful for when you're networking, at a party or anywhere with a group of strangers who want to get to know you a little bit more. In a networking situation, as opposed to a job interview, keep the elevator pitch to 30 seconds or less.
3. Make a list of work-related skills you'd like to learn.
Logical thinking and information handling: Most businesses regard the ability to handle and organize information to produce effective solutions as one of the top skills they want. They value the ability to make sensible solutions regarding a spending proposal or an internal activity.
Technological ability: Most job openings will require people who are IT or computer literate or know how to operate different machines and office equipment, whether it's a PC or multi-function copier and scanner. This doesn't mean that employers need people who are technology graduates — knowing the basic principles of using current technology is sufficient.
Communicating effectively: Employers tend to value and hire people who are able to express their thoughts efficiently through verbal and written communication. People who land a good job easily are usually those who are adept in speaking and writing.
Strong interpersonal skills: Because the working environment consists of various kinds of personalities and people with different backgrounds, it is essential to possess the skill of communicating and working with people from different walks of life.
Part 2: Doing Your Homework
1. Prepare for a behavioral interview.
"Describe a time you had to work with someone you didn't like."
"Tell me about a time when you had to stick by a decision you had made, even though it made you unpopular."
"Give us an example of something particularly innovative that you have done that made a difference in the workplace."
"How would you handle an employee who's consistently late?"
2. Research the company.
If it's a retail company, visit a few of their stores, observe the customers, and even strike up a few conversations. Talk to existing employees — ask them what it's like working there, how long the position has been open, and what you can do to increase your chances of getting it. Become familiar with the history of the company. Who started it? Where? Who runs it now? Be creative!
Part 3: Pounding the Pavement
1. Do informational interviews.
Have lots of questions prepared — "What's a normal day like for you?" "What are the advantages of your job?" "What might you have done differently?" are all great — but be mindful of their time.
When the interview is done, ask them politely for additional contacts. If you impress them enough, they could even hire you or refer you to someone who could hire you.
Touch base with all of your references. The purpose of this is twofold. You can ask them for leads, and you'll also be refreshing their memory of you. (Hopefully their memories of you are good ones, or else you shouldn't be listing them as references.) If a potential employer calls them, they won't hesitate as much when remembering you. Offer all of your references a copy of your latest resume.
Keep in mind that, as with dating, "weak" personal connections are often the best way to find a new job because they expand your network beyond options you're already aware of. You probably know all about your sister's company, and you know that if they were hiring she would tell you; but what about your sister's friend's company? Don't be afraid to ask the friend of a friend or another slightly removed acquaintance for recommendations during your job search.
Internships may fall into this category, or they may be paid. An internship is a great way to get your foot in the door, as many companies prefer to hire from within. Even if you're far removed from your twenties or your college days, the willingness to work for little or no money shows companies that you're serious about putting in the work, learning the skills, and getting ahead.
Believe it or not, volunteer positions and internships can lead to jobs. In today's economy, many companies are turning to internships as a cost-effective way to vet potential future employees. This is because many companies simply don't have the money or resources to take a stab in the dark and offer a job to someone who isn't tested. If you put in hard work, demonstrate your ability to solve problems, and keep your chin up, your value to the company might be too big for them to pass up on.
4. Cold call. Locate a specific person who can help you (usually the human resources or hiring manager at a company or organization you're interested in). Call that person and ask if they are hiring, but do not become discouraged if they are not. Ask what kind of qualifications they look for or if they have apprentice or government-sponsored work programs. Ask if you can send your resume indicating what field you want to go into. Indicate whether you would accept a lesser job and work up.
Reflect after each phone call on what went well and what did not. Consider writing out some standard answers on your list of skills so you can speak fluently. You may need to get some additional training to break into your chosen field. None of this means you cannot get a good job, only that you need to become further prepared to do so.
Visit the company or business in person. There's a saying among employers: "People don't hire resumes; people hire people." Don't underestimate the value of personal relationships. Go to the company or business where you think you might want to work, bring your resume, and ask to speak to the Human Resources manager about job opportunities. If you make an excellent personal impression on the HR manager, you've done your job: s/he will have connected your face to a resume, and will have a much better idea of your natural intelligence, your persistence, and your likability. People don't always hire the person best suited for the job; people often hire the person they like the best.
Part 4: Adjusting Your Mentality
1. Change your attitude.
2. Settle down.
Be prepared to outline why you are where you are today, how long you intend to stay there, and why. Give specific reasons like, "This country has the best school systems in the entire continent, and I have a daughter who might find the cure for cancer" or "I was drawn to this area because it's at the cutting edge of innovation for this business and I want to be a part of that." The more details, names, and specifics, the better.
Make a list of all of your skills, determine which kinds of businesses and industries need them most (ask around for advice if you need to) and find businesses that will benefit from having you and your skills around. You might find that you get more satisfaction and enjoyment out of a career that wasn't even on your radar to begin with.
Explore the nature of jobs to fit your personality and salary requirements, otherwise you'll have spent a significant amount of time to find a day job -- but then you dread getting up for every morning. So be realistic about what you expect, but be open to what you find about yourself.
4. Sell the qualifications you have, and say you look forward to the honing your skills and getting trained, and growing into the rest.
Appear well mannered, sitting upright, yet relaxed, not frowning or grimacing, but being positive, proactive and leaning slightly forward, showing interest, and do all you may to make a good impression based on optimism and confidence.
Don't settle back in your chair or get too comfortable, but be alert, while not acting too nervous or desperate.