Your Best Job Search Tool May Be Your Computer

Have you ever been frustrated at the lack of job possibilities advertised in the classified section of your local newspaper? Large papers may offer more choices, but you will still be limited by the number of openings listed at any one time, not to mention geographical limitations. Even at its best, this approach just won’t cut it anymore. Searching through the classifieds may have been good enough at one time, but today that’s about as progressive as pounding out a resume on a manual typewriter. With an impressive array of Internet resources just a few mouse clicks away, your computer is the ticket to that next great job.

As any human resources officer can tell you, the use of the PC as a job search tool has become the norm in the last few years. This includes creative use of e-mail and the Internet, as well as the taking advantage of the capability of any computer for use in producing resumes, letters and other job-related materials.

The Cyber Job Solution

For many employers and job hunters, the Internet has become the common denominator. It connects people from both ends of the hiring equation with ease. Employers can post job openings with the knowledge that they will be available to large numbers of job applicants. At the same time, job seekers can easily explore possibilities for all kinds of jobs offered by companies, government agencies, non-profits and other employers. They can also submit resumes and applications electronically.

A major advantage of this approach is that it breaks down geographical barriers. Instead of being restricted to job openings listed in your community or the region covered by local media, your search can include any number of cites or states, or the entire country, for that matter. You can also pursue career interests in other countries, if that sounds appealing.

Another plus is that the use of online communication is less intrusive than traditional methods. If you’re already employed, you can spend time during nights and weekends perusing sites maintained by employers or job search companies, posting resumes and more, all without conflicting with your current job. If you don’t have a position, you can work to maintain an electronic presence that far surpasses the scope of other job hunting techniques.

Even if you’re tied to a specific location and are only interested in local employment, you’d find plenty of information available online. Many newspapers now include Web-based versions, as do state and local employment offices. You can also visit Websites of area employers for job-related information. In fact, regardless of location, one of simplest approaches is simply to peruse websites of possible employers to look for postings and related information. In looking such a site, you will probably see a heading “jobs” or “position openings.” Click here. you will see a list of current jobs openings along with the qualifications for each one, the application deadline and other relevant details.

For a first-class example, a look at the home cage for State Farm Insurance (www.statefarm.com). It shows a heading of “About State Farm.” Clicking here will bring choices that include “careers,” and then “careers home page.” This section provides a wealth of information on current job openings, State Farm recruiting events across the United States and Canada, benefits, and more. In addition to searching current openings (which are listed at HotJobs.com), you can go to an “opportunities” page that describes the various jobs for which applicants might be sought, including position descriptions and a geographical breakdown of jobs available around North America as well as those located at the company’s headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois. You can even find info on how to prepare the ideal resume for scanning and submitting to the company’s database.

Not all companies offer such well-developed Websites, but most large organizations provide updated information about job openings. The practice has become so common, in fact, that many small businesses and non-profits also offer some type of job information.

In addition to finding information directly related to jobs, you can conduct Internet-based research about potential employers. Obviously the more you know about a prospective employer the better, from determining the kinds of job openings to boning up on the organization’s background so you can individualize cover letters or resumes. The employer’s Website can often be a great source of such information. If you browse the main page for any but the smallest business or non-profit organization you will find links to items such as news releases, annual reports, earnings reports, executive bios and contact info for company personnel.

You can also obtain corporate profiles from third party business information services such as Hoover’s (www.hoovers.com). And don’t overlook sites that provide salary information such as nextSource’s People Ticker (www.peopleticker. com), those maintained by professional associations and the Bureau of Labor Statistics site at www.bls.gov.

Career Site Solutions

Perhaps the ultimate in Web-based career information is available at a number of comprehensive sites designed specifically to serve job seekers, employers or both. For example, Monster.com (www.monster.com) connects users to hundreds of thousands of job openings. You can create a free account and then take advantages of a number of helpful options. Once you provide information about your particular job interests, e-mail messages about job openings matching your interests will be automatically mailed to you. You can also search online for jobs of interest, and also create resumes for use in applying online for job openings.

In addition to all this, the site offers extras such as the ability to research companies, network with others, and obtain free advice on writing resumes, preparing for interviews, negotiating salaries and more. You can also sign up for fee-based services in these and other areas of career development. Career Journal, offered by the Wall Street Journal at www.careerjournal.com, provides daily updates as well as thousands of archived articles on news, trends and topics related to career advancement. It also features a searchable database of job postings from top companies in areas such as senior and general management, sales, marketing, finance and technology. Basic access is free, but users also have an opportunity to subscribe to WSJ.com, which offers additional resources including an extensive list of “briefing books” providing complete detailed background on a given company’s business and recent news.

The Career Journal site also features a confidential resume” database. Here you may create a brief profile or use online instructions to create a full-fledged resume’, choosing from a number of formats.

Employers Online (www.employersonline.com) serves employers, recruiters and job seekers by posting both jobs and resumes. It focuses on sales/marketing, computer/IT, medical/professional, engineering/technical and management/executive positions. Those seeking jobs may submit resumes which are entered into a database for viewing by employers and recruiters across the country. Services include access to jobs posted on the site, tips on writing resumes and handling interview questions, and more you can search the database at no cost. Registration is required to post a resume, but that process is also free.

Other useful sites include HotJobs (www. yahoo. hotjobs.com), CareerBuilder.com (www.careerbuilder.com), America’s Job Bank (www.jobsearch.org) and Career.com (www.career. com). Some sites, such as that offered by Quintessential Careers (www.quintcareers.com), serve as portals to others, in this case offering links to “the top 10 job Websites for job-seekers.” Another is AllJobSearch (www.alljobsearch.com), which acts as a comprehensive, easily used job search engine. All you do is key in a word or phrase (such as administrative assistant or sales manager) and then indicate whether you want to search Websites, newspapers or newsgroups. Next you specify geographic preferences, job type (such as full time, contract, part time or internship), posting dates ranging from one day to thirty days, and job category. Here the choices range from “all categories” to specific areas such as accounting, architecture, biotech and real estate. Once you click on the search key, the engine takes you to a listing of all job openings matching that profile.

The services offered by job sites vary considerably. Some are free, while others are fee-based. Typically the more basic services will cost nothing, but you will have the option to purchase additional services such as job counseling, resume development and career interest profiles.

One strategy is to use services that broadcast your resume to multiple sources. At www.blastmyresume.com, you can instantly e-mail your resume to thousands of recruiters, headhunters and employers. While the jury is still out on just how effective this approach will prove to be, it does offer the advantage of putting your resume into play on a more diverse basis than would be possible by using regular mail. A fee is charged, but it’s much less than comparable postage costs for mailing hard copies.

The Resume Development Solution

Of course, your computer can do much more than simply help you find jobs. It’s also a great tool for preparing resumes, cover letters, portfolios or other documents.

Conventional wisdom makes clear that a resume, won’t get you a job-just the chance to sell yourself through an interview. Fortunately, the resources available through your PC can help here, too. With Microsoft Word or any other word processing software, you can create professional looking resumes and cover letters that once would have required the skills of a highly skilled typist. Once a basic resume has been developed, you can revise it as often as needed, print any number of copies, or transmit it electronically to potential employers. You can also create individualized versions adapted to appeal to specific employers, or emphasize different qualifications for different types of positions in which you might be interested.

An alternative is to obtain software such as WinWay Resume Deluxe, offered by WinWay Corporation (www.winway.com). This package includes a resume writing program, thousands of sample resumes, key phrases that can be added to the resume, a letter-writing program and sample cover letters.

You can also take advantage of the resume-building services offered at broad-based career sites or those specializing in online resume development. An example of the latter is TotalResume.com (www. totalresume.com), a fee-based service that allows you to create a resume by using templates accessed online. In this process, you complete forms by filling in your own unique personal and professional information while taking advantage of useful action words and phrases, spellchecking, previews of your resume, and the chance to view sample resumes.

Once the resume is completed, you can download it as a Word document, email it to potential employers and add a cover letter. You can also maintain it on site, update it as needed, and make it available as a Web page.

So you can see that your computer can be a very powerful tool in aiding you in your job search. Use your computer effectively and you will find your job search efforts rewarded to your satisfaction.

Your Job Is Not Necessarily For Life. Should You Switch Careers?

Executive search firms regularly come across people who have decided to switch careers. There was a time where you chose your profession and stuck with it until retirement and many people still follow that path. An increasing number of people, however, are deciding to give up their first choice and try something new. For many, it is a move to a new country, or an exploration of a new skill, but for others, its moving the skills they already have to a new sector.

If youre taking the plunge and switching careers, can you convince an executive search agency that its all for the best? How do you demonstrate that you havent lost any of your abilities?

Switching careers is a brave thing to do. It can affect your income, your working hours and even where you live. Its not a decision that people take lightly, and its one thats viewed differently by everyone. If you take a career break to travel or to study, you should be prepared to turn that experience into positive ways you can contribute to your new company.

Executive search firms look for the right candidates for the job. If you have switched careers or taken a break and want to sign on with an executive search firm, then its a good idea to make an appointment to go and see them. This will allow you to sit face-to-face with the consultant and explain why you took a year out, or why you decided to change from medicine to law. Whatever your experience, you should be able to use elements of it to illustrate how you could be valuable to a company in a senior position.

For example, if you spent your time volunteering for a charity and working in Africa, you will have gained better communication and diplomacy skills than most people. If you were involved in a building project, you can illustrate how you managed to project, getting people to work together as a team to achieve a common goal. Whilst sorting out a problem business area isnt the same as building a school, the things you learned from your project can be applied in any situation.

Its not whether you have changed careers that interests an executive search firm; its why, and what youve learned that could benefit their clients. It could be that your career switch gives the client exactly what theyre looking for. Its up to you to turn it into the positives that could win you your next job.

Your Passport To The World – Teaching English Abroad

Teaching English in a foreign country can be an incredible challenge… and it can also be one of the most fulfilling experiences you’ll ever have. Living abroad, absorbing the culture of another people, and using your native English knowledge to enlighten your students are all wonderful aspects of this rewarding career.

But before you take the plunge and sign up for a job overseas, there are a few things you should consider about yourself and your intended path. Keep in mind… not everyone is cut out for a job like this!

Teaching English in another country is not just a job. It’s also a lifestyle choice. Regardless of where you choose to teach (and sometimes, your choices may be limited by what areas are in need at a certain time), it can be a time-consuming and demanding project, and it will definitely test the limits of your sense of adventure. You will be immersed in a whole new culture and expected to follow it as a citizen. Contrary to popular belief, an English teacher in another country is a far cry from being a tourist.

A job teaching English won’t be like a vacation. Depending on what type of school you choose to teach at and what country you’re planning on working in, your life will be very different from what you have experienced in the past. Even if you’ve visited your country of choice before, unless you actually lived as a native you won’t have a clear feeling of what it will be like to teach English there.

This isn’t to say that teaching English is a grueling job that doesn’t allow you to enjoy the native culture, however. You’ll still have time to yourself to enjoy the sites, and you should certainly do so in order to gain a better understanding of your adopted life as well as your students. The key to enjoying this experience to its full potential is to keep an open mind. This should become your mantra during the entire duration of your job.

Having an open mind will allow you to experience life in your new country first-hand. If you don’t expect special treatment, don’t allow yourself to get caught up in feeling out of place, and don’t waste your time comparing your new life with your old one, chances are good you’ll feel at home before you know it.

You might love to travel, and that’s fantastic. But love of travel isn’t enough to make teaching English abroad the career for you. You must also possess a sense of independence and self-sufficiency that will allow you to adapt easily to the unexpected. Because your life isn’t going to be just about teaching English and returning to a hotel room to await your flight home. Chances are good you’ll be living in an apartment or rented home in your new country for at least a year, and you’ll be doing everything from grocery shopping to taking public transit. You will become, for all intents and purposes, a working citizen of a place that could be vastly different from what you’re used to.

Still sound like fun? Congratulations! You’re one of a special group of people for whom teaching English abroad may just be the perfect career.

Your Resume: Admission Ticket Through The Door Of Your Future Work Place

Your resume should be viewed and handled as if it is an airline ticket to your destination of choice. This may just be a piece of paper with words on it, and it may not reveal who you are personally but it is the only means by which you are going to get to the interview (your destination) so in that regard it is just as important as the interview is. Therefore you need to use this document to gain the readers trust and not provide any source of hesitation.

As a former employer I can tell you that when I was hiring I often hoped there were mistakes or things that just didnt strike me right in the massive stacks of resumes that I would have to go through for different positions. These would allow me to toss that applicant out of sight and out of mind, moving through the pile faster, and narrowing down the interview pool. So these should not be view as mainly a way to stand out in a good way, but rather a way to not stand out in a bad way. No grammar errors, missing punctuation, funny words/wordings, contrived language, outlandish claims! Simply put what you are on paper in a concise, correct, logical form that doesnt sound like a sell job but rather like an about the author.

That said it is helpful to not appear robotic. It is really the blend of no mistakes and the subtle yet unmistakable personal flair that people added to their resume that resounded with me and got them an interview. So how is this done? Well be honest! If you are hesitant to put something in because you see the potential for misunderstanding, then dont put it in! If you cant answer all the questions that come to your mind concerning an entry then its best to leave it out.

So to help you understand what I am talking about when I say personal flair or touch let me give you an example. Employers value a good work-ethic right? Well most everyone knows that and I cant tell you how many times that I read the words I possess a strong work-ethic, and nothing else! You need to explain yourselfsomething that proves that statement such as possess strong work ethic, missed only 5 days in 3 years of work, was voted most valuable employee 3 times, and was counted on to assume more responsibility when bosses were out of town.

3 Job Search Tips That Increase Your Success

1) Approach finding a job as if it were a full-time job, because it is. If you had a job, you would report to work at the same time each day (like 8 am), take an hour (or less) for lunch, and quit at the same time each day (like 5 pm). You would work five days every week. And you would work hard to accomplish as much as you could because your career depended upon it.

When you are searching for a job, you should follow the same type of schedule because your future depends upon it.

Treating your job search like a part-time hobby guarantees that it will take longer.

So, begin tomorrow by reporting to work and spending the day on tasks that lead to a job.

2) Approach finding a job as if it were a project. That means you should set goals for yourself, make plans, and monitor your progress. You should apply all of the tools and skills that you used in your last job to the project of finding your next job.

As you must expect, this is an important project. The sooner you complete it, the sooner you gain a promotion into a job.

3) Be your own boss. Set expectations for what you need to accomplish, provide direction, and monitor your work.

Meet with yourself once each week to evaluate your performance. I recommend doing this by writing two reports. The first is a candid evaluation of what you accomplished during the previous week. The second is a description of your plans for the coming week. Your plans should include your goals, actions, and priorities.

The first time that you write these reports, write an evaluation of what you have done so far. Describe the results that this effort has produced. And compare these results with what you wanted to have.

Next, map out a realistic plan for the next week based on achievable goals. For example, you could set goals for the number of people you will call, the number of networking meetings you will attend, and the research you will conduct.

In the coming weeks, compare the results that you obtained during the previous week with the goals that you set. For example, if you planned to attend twelve networking meetings and you attended only two, you should a) explain why this happened and b) plan actions that will correct such a difference. You should also analyze why you missed your goal because this provides insights on what you need to do differently. For example, Your goal (e.g., of attending twelve networking meetings) may have been set too high. Or maybe there are things you can do that will make it easier to achieve your job search goals, such as car pooling with a friend who is also looking for a job.

Finding a job is a full time job. Work through it with a plan and the support of a good boss (yourself).

I wish you the best of success.

3 Points You Should Negotiate When You Are Losing Your Job

You work for a company that has been going through a lot of changes and upheaval. Word is going around about lay-offs and you worry you will be next. If youve been an exemplary employee and the lay-off is not because of anything youve done, be sure you ask these three questions as you are being handed your Pink Slip:

1. Ask for a Letter of Reference. You can use this to help you land that new job because it will be beneficial to have a letter that praises you and your accomplishments. This will show future employers that your termination was a business decision and not because of any wrong-doing on your part. Most people forget to ask about this, and it is difficult to try to go back later and ask for one.

2. Ask about severance pay. You are not automatically guaranteed this unless it was stipulated in your employment contract when you were hired.. Typically, one week of severance is given for each year of service to the company, but this can be negotiable. And, especially if youve recently finished an important project, been honored or achieved a major goal, be sure to remind them. It may buy you another week of severance pay they werent planning on giving.

3. Are you entitled to unused vacation pay? In most cases, the answer is no. Some companies allow you to roll over your unused time from one year to the next, while others have a use it or lose it policy. Most companies will explain their rules in the employee handbook, but asking to be paid for your unused vacation pay just may earn you a few extra dollars you could use right now.

You may not get any severance or vacation pay, and you especially wont if you dont ask for it. Dont forget, this is a very difficult situation for your boss, too, so he or she may be willing to give you more than had been planned on. Youll never know unless you try, and the worst they can do is say no. If the moment passes, chances are you wont have another opportunity to ask these questions again. Knowing ahead of time what to ask for may give you the confidence to speak up for yourself at this difficult time. Good luck!