You're Looking For a Job, Right?

I've wanted to do a post like this for eons. Elsewhere, when the end of
the school year was upon us, I'd post a friendly reminder of the dos
and don'ts of job seeking. Other managers would chime in with more
advice and it turned out to be a good resource for that little bit of
the Net.

Now,
I'm on the other side, and seeing even more stuff that just makes me
scratch my head. So, today, a little instructional piece on applying
for jobs.

1. Be Prepared

Sounds
simple, right? It is, but so many don't even get to this part, applying
for jobs willy nilly. Having a pen is just the tip of the iceberg,
though it's better to have two or three pens, honestly.

Being
prepared means you establish a game plan BEFORE you go out job seeking.
What kind of job do you want? What hours are you willing to work? If
looking for retail/restaurant, which places are your favorites? If you
don't have a vehicle, how will you get there? If you'll be taking a
bus, when does it run? What are the hours of operation and can you work
those? What are the minimum requirements of the job?

The key
here is to avoid walking into an establishment, asking if they're
hiring, then in the next breath "what do you sell?" A prospective
employer wants to know that you want THEIR job, not just A job.

2. Do Your Research.

Find
out about those places you plan to apply. What are the hours of
operation? What is the going rate? What kind of experience do you need
for the job openings?
This is where the internet is your friend.
Spending a few minutes or an hour looking gives you an edge over the
people who just walk like mentioned in the above paragraph!

3. Be Prepared, Part Two

What
do I mean? I mean have all your personal facts, phone numbers and dates
readily available. If you don't have a good memory, make a 'cheat
sheet' of where you worked, supervisor's names and phone numbers and
even the addresses of those jobs (some applications do ask for full
address). If you need to, write up a brief summary of what you did. The
point is that you look like someone who is efficient, who turns in a
complete job application.

4. Go It Alone

I
can't stress this one enough. If five people walk in together, asking
for a job for one of them, it gives the impression that the four others
will be hanging out visiting the person who wants the job.

Similarly,
if Mom or Dad is hovering over Junior while he's applying (or worse
yet, asking all the questions for Junior), then the hiring manager is
wondering if Mom is going to call and say Junior has a family reunion
and can't work today, or Junior has to do his term paper or the worst
of all, Junior has the SOLs this week and needs to study because he
didn't know they were coming! (True story, that one!)

You can
ask your advice and for suggestions, in fact, it is a great idea to ask
friends and family about their jobs. If you're Mom or Dad, please stay
in the car if you need to bring anyone to apply for jobs. I know it is
hard to believe, but they will grow up and move out of your house
someday-this is that first step to independence.

5. Dress For Success.

I
don't mean that you have to go out in a three piece suit to apply for a
job. However, some thought should go into what you wear. The first
impression you make is a lasting impression. It used to be that we'd
say "wear what you'd wear to a religious service" as a guide, but
that's not a good rule of thumb nowadays.

Make a uniform of
things that are clean, well pressed and somewhat conservative. There
will be time later to show your unique style, if the job allows for it.
My suggestion? A button down shirt (unwrinkled) or polo shirt and a
nice pair of khakis or slacks. Jeans are okay if they're free from
holes, rips, tears and aren't faded. Clean shoes or sneakers. If they
have laces, they need to be tied. Those clothes need to look SHARP.

On
that note, clothes are important, but hygiene is even more important.
It should go without saying, but brushed teeth and a clean, soapy smell
is valuable. Note I didn't say cologne/perfume. If you do go that
route, just a touch of it is all you need.

6. Have Confidence

Walk
purposefully, with your head up. Make eye contact. Speak clearly. If
that's too hard for you, PRACTICE with an observer who isn't afraid to
give you constructive advice.

When you walk in that door, ask
"Who do I see about applying for a job?" It makes a better impression
than "Y'all hiring, right?" Don't be disappointed if they're not hiring
or they do so online-many companies do nowadays. Politely thank the
person for the information.

You've done your preparation, so
you're not applying to companies that you're not qualified for, so you
should have a reasonable chance of being considered.

7. No Gum

When you want to make a good impression, your mouth should be empty of gum or candy

8. Shut The Cell Phone Off

Finish
any conversations before you walk into the building and please, please,
please do not text while you're talking to or waiting for anyone. If
you're there filling out the application, just fill out the application!

9. Use Your Manners

Please
and Thank You go a long way in the work force. Even if you don't get to
apply, use them. When you do speak to anyone, use them often when
appropriate.

10. If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try, Again

In this economy, there are many job seekers out there. You need to make yourself stand out in a good
way-and these pointers should help. That said, the first job you apply
for usually isn't the one you get. Keep your head up and keep trying.
Shake off the No and focus on the Yes.

That's my lesson for
today. If you get that interview, remember these rules and apply
accordingly. One addition here: send a thank you email or note. It
helps.

Good luck!

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