"If the Great Pumpking comes, I’ll still put in a good word for you." – Linus

Does this puppy look like it’s having a Happy Halloween?

 

No. No, it doesn’t. Stop dressing up your pets. If not for them, for me and my well-being.

Also, if you’re over the age of 12 it’s no longer trick-or-treating. It’s begging.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween, Friends!

Positive Thought of the Day:

“If you are an adult and you are planning to dress up for Halloween . . . don’t. I will find you. I will hurt you.” – Lewis Black

"Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless." – Bill Watterson

All work and no fun . . . makes for a very long week. Happy Friday, Friends! Whether it’s been a long week of sending out resumes, a tough week at work, or maybe both, it’s time to put your feet up and enjoy the weekend. Keep your head up, Champ! A little positivity is just around the corner!

Positive Thought of the Day:
“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s support group for that. It’s called “everybody”, and they meet at the bar.” – Drew Carey

"It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’" – Ralph Waldo Emerson

When job hunting one tends to run into quite a bit of rejection, which can lead to the notion of, “I’m such a loser. Why do I even try to do ANYTHING?” Listen, Eeyore. You can do lots of great things. I have so much faith in the great things you can accomplish that I’m going to issue you a challenge. During your job search I challenge you to do one thing you think cannot do or absolutely hate. If you can triumph over something that has kicked your self-confidence into the corner then you can land that dream job.

What started this notion for me was when I was facing some difficult challenges at work last summer. I just wasn’t thriving with the company I was working for due to reasons I won’t go into on this blog, so, unfortunately, I was dealing with a lot of tough emotions. I was pretty down in the dumps and needed a way to gain some confidence back into my life.

So, I decided to take up running. In order to give you some understanding on how much I hate running, it ranks right behind racism and homophobia as things I despise most in this world. For years I told myself I couldn’t run. My body wasn’t built for it. I didn’t have the stamina. Why bother? There are plenty of other ways to get some exercise. One day I randomly told myself I could do it and maintain it is a way of life. None of this, “I ran for one day so cross that off my Bucket List.” stuff. Was I going to run every day in hopes of completing a marathon? No. There’s a better chance of me going back to school to become an astrophysicist than becoming a marathon runner. My goal was to run; for however long my body allowed, multiples a week.

And, I started. And, it was awful. I walked more than I ran, but I still ran. Every time I would go out I would run a little bit farther. I kept running through the fall right until the ground had frozen over at the start of winter. I did it. I had reached a goal I never thought I’d make. I also found a new job that got me out of the unhappy situation I was in. Maybe it was just a random coincidence, but I also feel that inner-confidence and contentment tends to lead to outward change.

I don’t know if my job happiness hinges on the coming of the Harvest Moon, but at my then current job over the summer I was running into similar issues and politics I had run into in the past. My confidence started to pack its bags and write its Dear John letter. I couldn’t let it leave again, so I decided to add-on to my challenge of running. While I had picked my running “regiment” again once the weather had thawed, I still didn’t have the best endurance.

My normal parade route went from my rented house, down a gravel road to the corner and back. I still was doing a lot of walking between running stints. On a motivated day I could run to the corner without stopping. That was such a feat in my mind that I allowed myself to walk the entire way back instead of my jogging/walking combo. My new goal was to run to the corner and back to my house without stopping. The next time I went running I made all the way around without stopping. The aftermath left my calves stiff for two days, but I can still say I did it. I have to say this was not a long-term goal. I’ve only run to the corner and back twice. However, still . . . an accomplishment is an accomplishment.

Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be monumental. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to make red velvet cake. Or, you want to organize all of your kitchen cabinets. Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be something you share with others. There is that old adage that if you say it out loud than you’re more apt to do it. I sometimes feel that if you say it out loud you’re more apt to feel foolish if it doesn’t work out. The point is this is YOUR goal, so it’s YOUR business. You can do it. Just remember: Even if you don’t believe you can get it done, there will always be one person who thinks you can. Me.

Positive Thought of the Day:

“If there is tomorrow when we’re not together there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

"You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than everyone else." – Albert Einstein

Rules, rules, rules. They’re everywhere. They even get you before you get the job. Resumes have their own list of do’s and don’ts. This list is as all-inclusive as I can make it. I’m sure there are others I am forgetting or others that people prefer. If you have any others you have on your own Do’s and Don’ts list, please feel free to leave a comment. The more ideas we have, hopefully, the better our resumes become.

So, Vanna, if you please . . .

Resume Do’s:

1. Do build your resume on your own. Plugging your information into an online resume builder may be easy to begin with but can turn into a nightmare to reformat once you save. E-mailing preformatted resumes can also be dicey and an ugly looking resume can be tossed before a single word is read. Also, some online resume formatters may charge for use of their sites.

2. Do make the basic information for each listing eye-catching. Generally speaking the first thing that happens to a resume is it’s scanned over for the highlights to see if it’s “worth” looking into what you actually did at each position. So, ensure that the company name, location (optional but handy if you have moved around or a company has more than one location), dates of employment, and position title.

THE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AT YUNKER FARM, Fargo, ND

October 2005 to May 2006

Director of Operations and Volunteer Coordinator

  •   XXXXXXXXXXXXX
  •   XXXXXXXXXXXXX
  •   XXXXXXXXXXXXX
  •   XXXXXXXXXXXXX

3. Do keep everything as flush to the left margin as possible. When I scan down a resume I don’t want to see a lot of white space. Everything I need to see should be there through my first pass through your resume.

4. Do use bullet points instead of numbers for each task that you have done. It might seem nitpicky, but the start of each point shouldn’t be a readable part of the line.

5. Do practice the art of brevity. If a bullet point is longer than two lines, it’s too long. Try to actually keep as many points to one line as possible.

6. Do try to quantify achievements as much as possible. “Trained 75 employees on computerized inventory information system” has more gravitas than “Taught others about inventory spreadsheets”.

7. Do be honest. There’s a line between quantifying achievements and embellishing achievements. The truth always comes out either in word or by action. A prospective employer can gain a clearer picture of what you did at a job by obtaining a reference check or observing actual results if you’re hired. It’s better to overdeliver than underachieve.

8. Do use resume paper. I’ve mentioned this before. Are the accomplishments on the paper what’s ultimately more important than the actual paper? Absolutely. But, show that your professionalism and take the extra step to print your resume on actual resume paper. Plain or cream. Any other type of background is distracting.

9. Do adjust the margins if need be. The hard and fast rule of resumes sticking to one page is becoming more obsolete. Don’t go crazy, though. Anything over two, plus a reference sheet, is too much. Adjust margins to keep it to two pages. Try and stay within the 0.75″ margin range. If your margins start creeping to 0.5″, it’s time to start editing to cut out any unnecessary information.

10. Do save your resume with your name and what it is in the title, i.e. Lindsay Haugen Resume. This will put a virtual dog ear on your resume so it hopefully doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of other resumes.

Resume Don’ts:

1. Don’t add pictures. Unless you’re applying to be a supermodel, pictures are never necessary. Ever.

2. Don’t add hobbies. Good for you for having a green thumb, but I’m not going to see how that relates to the job opening within my web design firm. If you have a blog about gardening, that might be a workable angle. Otherwise it’s not needed.

3. Don’t use crazy fonts or font colors. Even if you’re applying to an ad agency where creativity is key, keep your resume plain and simple. You can add in a marketing portfolio with your application materials. Times New Roman, size 12, black ink. Think of this as your resume’s Chanel suit or Rolex watch. Timeless and classic.

4. Don’t use gimmicks to deliver your resume. By gimmicks I mean schtick. Don’t tie your resume to a boot and tag a note that says, “Just trying to get my foot in the door.” I once had an applicant bring me flowers with her resume. That’s another story for another day.

5. Don’t use full sentences. Sentences belong in your cover letter. Since full sentences aren’t used punctuation isn’t needed after each bullet point. Capitalization of each line is, though.

6. Don’t fold your resume. I mentioned this before, too. When sending a resume use 8.5″ x 11″ envelopes to send them. When you’re dealing with literally stacks of resumes ones that don’t lay flat are the bane of HR’s existence.

7. Don’t list more than five points per each position. A resume is meant to highlight what you’ve done; not give a blow-by-blow account of everything you’ve ever done. One exception to this rule is if you’ve been with a company for an extensive amount of time; say 10 plus years, the number of points will need to be greater.

8. Don’t forget to proofread.

9. Don’t forget to proofread.

10. Don’t forget to proofread.

I hate being a buzzkill. Do’s and Don’ts aren’t meant to take the joy (Bwahahahaha!) out of writing resumes. They’re just meant to help send out the best finished product as possible.

Positive Thought of the Day:

“It’s not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them.” – T. S. Eliot

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Resumes: The Art of Packaging of What Ya Got. Whether you’re fresh out of school or have a work history as long as my leg, writing a great resume is vital. Writing a great resume can also be daunting. How does one package their career, part of their life’s history, into something compelling enough to make a manager feel you might be the right fit for his or her team? While ultimately your voice needs to come through your resume, we’ll go over some basic resume formats.

So, Vanna, if you please . . .

Basic Information:

Regardless of format every resume needs your contact information. Make sure the address listed is where you can most easily pick up your mail in case any paperwork needs to be mailed to you. Your phone number and professional e-mail should also be listed. Even if you don’t have Internet at home you should still have an e-mail set up. More and more companies are contacting applicants online, and application confirmations are also being sent electronically. Another thing to remember is to make sure your outgoing ring and voicemail message are professional sounding. No hiring manager is going to want to hear Justin Bieber’s newest smash hit or you yelling, “LEAVE ME A MESSAGE, YO!!”

Whether you center your contact message or left justify it, each bit of information should get its own line and your name should be bolded and one to two font sizes bigger than the rest of your resume. Getting your name stuck in their heads’ is important.

Lindsay Haugen

XXX Awesome Street

Anywhere, MN 56549

Types of Resumes:

Chronological. Pretty self-explanatory but this format lists all of your work and leadership experience in the order of most recent until your very first position. This is the most common and most preferred. It’s the easiest way to scan through someone’s work history to see how long they’ve been at each position or if there are any employment gaps.

Functional. This focuses more on skills and experience rather than listing a chronological work history. This is usually used by job seekers who are doing a career change or have significant employment gaps due to such things as going back to school or staying at home to raise a family.

Targeted. This is where you list key skills and experience geared towards a specific job posting before listing a chronological work history. This can be time-consuming because you have to really have to take a close eye to what a job posting is asking for to pull out key components of your past that will fit the bill.

Format Side Note:

Regardless of what format you use any collegiate experience should be listed. If you’re just out of high school and need a resume for either college or a job you’re applying to, you should list that. Otherwise, even if that is your highest degree earned, your high school graduation is probably not needed. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I feel that most hiring managers are going to assume a person has a high school diploma or GED.  Either way that information can be explained on an application.

Long story longer: Education can be listed at the beginning or end of a resume. If you’re fairly new out of school, I would list it at the beginning of your resume. Once a person hits right around the five year mark of being out school, education can move towards the end of your resume. Your graduation date can come off as well. In all candor, graduation dates are simple math gateways to how old a person is.

If you are still in college and starting to apply to jobs to get a jump on starting your career or if you’re near the end of obtaining an advanced degree, simply put “Expected graduation date May 2012”. Never list a degree until you have it in your hand.

True story: At a former job there was a situation where a person listed a degree thinking they had everything needed to graduate done only to find out a credit wasn’t completed, which actually caused their diploma to be pending until the issue was resolved. Talk about an awkward conversation AFTER the resume was submitted with a degree listed.

Whew! That was a mouthful! Hang in there. Once you get your information laid out, polishing it up will be a piece of cake. German chocolate . . . with that weird coconut frosting.

Next time we’ll cover some basic do’s and don’ts of resume writing.

Positive Thought of the Day:
“It takes more than just a good looking body. You’ve got to have the heart and soul to go with it.” – Epictetus

“You can fall, but you can rise also.” – Angelique Kidjo

Happy Monday, Friends . . .

How to Format a Resume is coming. In the meantime, if you’re a little discouraged because it feels as if that dream job isn’t ever going to call you back, just remember:

That is your positive thought for the day!

"Special skills: Thyping." – Taken from an actual resume

Ohh, the dreaded resume. The toughest part of writing one is getting an actual resume built. Once you have your basic format and information added, it will be easier to tweak and adjust for any job you’re applying to.

I am a big proponent of building your own resume versus using a template or one of those online resume generators that spits out something for you. Writing your own resume from scratch gives you more control over the format and stretches out your writing muscles.

There are many key elements to writing a killer resume that gets read. Much like anything on this blog, we’ll break it down into smaller components to make the task a little less daunting. The first part we’ll tackle is the actual content that goes into assembling a resume.

So, Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Your contact information: Name, address, phone number and e-mail. This is an easy one to look over when proofreading. A friend of mine who did his work study in the career study at MSUM once saw a resume submitted by a student with her name spelled wrong. He knew this student so he knew what her name should’ve been. Talk about an epic fail. Also, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a professional sounding e-mail. If you want to keep hiphophoney@xxxxx.com for all of your posse to get ahold of you, that’s fine. However, e-mails are free so sign up for a second one for professional listings. Sometimes options are limited if you have a common name, but try to nab one with your entire name and as little of anything else as possible, i.e. bobjohnson817362@xxxx.com. This may sound incredibly picky, but I find Yahoo to sound slightly more professional than Hotmail. I love you MSN and I rely on my Hotmail account more for my everyday interactions, but maybe it’s just me that I don’t think the word “hot” should be anywhere in a professional sounding e-mail.

2. Objective. This one little piece trips me up every time. How does someone sum up their work history and give a vision for their career path in one little sentence fragment? Do I even need to bother anymore? I caught an article yesterday through MSN stating that objectives on resumes are going the way of the dodo. Here’s the link to the Nels Wroe article on what he thinks of resume objectives.

Some hiring managers are old school, I usually am, too, so throwing one on there probably isn’t going to kill you as long as it’s clear and error free. A simple, “To get a job in retail” is not going to cut it. To write an effective objective, try the A + B = C method. Think of two skills or experiences that you can bring into the career path you are seeking. For example, “To utilize experience in event planning and advertising within the field of marketing”. Since objectives aren’t full sentences there isn’t a need to add punctuation at the end.

3. College education. Even if it’s been awhile since you have been in college, this is an important part since most job postings require a certain degree within a certain field. If you’re a recent college graduate, one smart thing to add since you might be a little light on direct work experience is related coursework. If you’ve been out of school for more than five years, leave off that off along with your graduation date. List if you graduated with any honors. Any other special awards or accomplishments can be listed at the very end of your resume under, you guessed it, Awards/Achievements.

4. Work experience. This one’s the headliner. There are various schools of thought on how work experience should be laid out, which we’ll cover in how to format a resume a little later on. What should be listed under work experience should be the name of the company, dates with months and years listed, position held, and three to five bullet points of what you did. It’s all about the buzzwords. The start of each bullet point should sound active and accomplished, but there’s no need break out the thesaurus. If it sounds like something Chaucer would’ve used, find something else. Each point should have its own buzzword. I know it can be tedious trying to find new ways of phrasing your accomplishments, but it shows you put the time and effort to really craft your resume.

There is also some debate on whether or not a person should list work experience even if it doesn’t relate to what you’re applying to. I’m from the school of thought that says you can gain valuable experience from every place you work. If you spent four years flipping burgers at McDonald’s that gives you a starting point to showcase your customer service skills, commitment to setting forth a high-quality product, and the ability to multitask. Also, if you omit jobs that you don’t think will help your cause you run the risk of looking like there are holes in your work history.

5. Leadership experience. This can be a key section for multiple reasons. If you are fresh out of college and don’t have a lot of work experience, you can show potential employers your marketability through what accomplished at school. It can also be used to show skills you may not have gained on the job but still have ascertained elsewhere. For example, if I wanted to break into the field of college admissions but have zero professional experience doing so, I can highlight the fact I was very active in my collegiate organization that gave campus tours. Also, companies are moving towards individuals who are well-rounded outside of the office, so if you have any experience in professional networking groups or volunteering, showcase what you’ve done!

6. Awards/Achievements. These could be collegiate or professional. After the five year mark collegiate awards can start to fall off unless it’s a prestigious national award. It’s great that you made the Dean’s List but after a while it’s kind of like wearing your letterman jacket from 1988. Also, use your discretion when listing awards. If you won Chili of the Year at your company picnic, it’s best to leave that trophy on your mantle.

7. References. Sometimes job application sites will have you upload your references separately but usually reference lists go along with resumes. Also, don’t list “References Upon Request.” The last thing HR wants is homework. Three references should do the trick, however, some companies will ask for up to five. References should be people you have worked with. Professors can also work if you’re right out of school or applying to graduate school. Keep references up-to-date. A reference from a job you worked at 10 years ago isn’t going to look especially relevant. Also, no family members. I have had people list their moms as references on applications. The only way this is allowable is if you worked for the family business. If that’s the case then that family member should be listed as your supervisor.

So now that all of the pieces have been dumped out of the box, we’ll tackle how to put the puzzle together next.

Positive Thought of the Day:
“Resume: A written exaggeration of only the good things a person has done in the past, as well as a wish list of the qualities a person would like to have.” – Bo Bennett

"There seems to be a perverse human characterstic that likes to make easy things difficult." – Warren Buffett

Well, job hunting isn’t easy and Warren Buffett, you are a bazillionaire. How much is a bazillion dollars? Ten times more than a zillion.

Although, I have to give Mr. Buffett some credit. He did start working at the ripe old age of 11. As a child Buffett would go door to door selling chewing gum his grandfather sold to him. That’s a life lesson right there. When your grandpa won’t even give you free gum to help you turn an even larger profit you know you’re in for a lifetime of work. Earning a living is hard, and it starts one dollar at a time. Finding a way to earn a living is hard, and it starts one application at a time.

That’s not to say there aren’t ways to streamline the job application process. The other day I was working through the tedious process of filling out an online application and was reminded of how much longer it would be taking if I hadn’t found my own shortcuts. I still have to put in the leg work to fill out the application, but it helps to have my information handy in a word processing document since applications tend ask the same basic information.

Vanna, if you please . . . just don’t let our algebra teacher see my cheat sheet.

1. Work history. I have all of my previous jobs listed from current to oldest with the following information:

  • Company Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Employment dates listed with month and year; these will be listed on your resume but it’s just as easy to have your information in one spot
  • Salary information, especially if you received any pay increases during your time at a company. It’s a good way to signal an employer was happy with your work.

2. Job duties. For each job I have held I have one sentence that hits the highlights of what I did in that position. For example, “On a daily basis I handled the office’s customer service needs, as well as processed claims and various paperwork.” You can also go with a bulleted list on this one. The main thing is to hit the key components since most applications don’t give you a lot space.

3. Reasons for leaving. This one is unavoidable but also important.

  • Keep it classy. I have seen everything from, “They weren’t going to hire me full time fast enough.” to “I didn’t get along with my boss.” on applications. These types of statements won’t win you admiration for working in such horrid conditions.
  • Keep it honest. If you were fired there’s not point in saying otherwise. Sooner or later everyone’s bill comes to. Even if a future employer doesn’t call your boss to hear him or her sing your praises, they will at least call to confirm employment dates and rehire statuses. A simple, “I was let go.” or “I was downsized.” will fill the need on your application. You can explain in further detail when it comes time for the interview.
  • Keep it positive. This ties into Point A. Even if you hated your job and would’ve trampled your own mother to get out of there, leaving your job needs to be framed as a positive career move. Since there isn’t a lot of space to write flowing prose a simple statement such as, “I was looking for opportunities in the human resources field beyond the realm of retail.” will work.

4. School information. Do I remember where I went to high school? Yes. Do I know what street it’s located on? No. I know Google is a great and fast tool but when you’ve been filling out tons of applications looking up even basic information becomes tiresome.

5. Optional skills. Some applications will ask for any relevant coursework, certifications, or trainings you have had that will be an asset to the company. It’s not a bad idea to have this information handy. For example, “I have taken collegiate courses in human resources, marketing, and advertising.”

6. Reference information. Have the names, phone numbers, work addresses, and job titles of your references handy AND preapproved. Do not list someone as a reference before asking for their okay, even if you’re 100% sure they will say yes. Doing so shows a lack of respect to the people who will have your back. I have been called for a reference check on someone who didn’t warn me I was a reference. I still gave positive feedback, but I was also perturbed.

If you come across an application for a great job that’s due tomorrow and you don’t have references lined up, call the people to see if it’s okay to list them. If they won’t answer their phone, start looking for other professional contacts you can get ahold of.

Once you have a person’s approval, it is okay to list them repeatedly. However, as a courtesy, it would be a good idea to check in with them every few months to still see if it’s okay to list them, if their contact information is still correct, or to give them a heads up you’re looking again.

I hope your list will help make the application process a little easier. Isn’t it nice to be at a point in life where you can’t flunk out if you have a cheat sheet to help you with your work?

Positive Thought of the Day:
“Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy.” – Lao Tzu

"Pursue excellence and success will follow." – Rancho, 3 Idiots

Since it’s Columbus Day Vanna has the day off. It’s actually a blessing in disguise because I can post without her incessant lists. Stay with me on this one . . .

I’m a big movie junkie, and I came across a movie the other day that hit home. Sometimes when I’m adding movies into my Netflix queue I get into a really artsy mood and add a bunch of independent or foreign films. Side note: Stop being ridiculous, Netflix. Make a decision and stick with it.

Anyway, I had added a Bollywood movie titled 3 Idiots, which was directed by Rajkumar Hirani. I honestly can’t tell you why I added it my list. Since I couldn’t think of why I wanted to watch this film I almost sent it back without seeing it. Economic sense got the better of me. I figured since I had paid for it I might as well watch it.

The basic premise of the movie is about two friends who go on a journey with their collegiate adversary to find their long-lost friend. The two friends haven’t seen their missing compatriot for ten years and miss him dearly. The adversary is looking to find the missing person to fulfill on a ten year bet that he is the most successful out of their graduating class. During the journey there are flashbacks to how the 3 Idiots became fast friends as college freshmen and shows the pressure of succeeding to escape poverty that was so prevalent in India. Don’t fret. It’s not nearly as depressing as Slumdog Millionaire. It hits on the importance of learning instead of being right, and if you follow what feel in your heart you’ll never be a failure.

One note: If you’ve never seen a Bollywood movie, there will be musical numbers throughout the film. If you can sit through movies about sparkly vampires, you can sit through people singing.

What sucker punched me right in the heart was a moving scene at the end when one of the three friends goes to a highly anticipated interview after months of emotional and physical tumult. His simple, yet kind, reaction to being asked how he would fit into the culture of the corporate world stunned me. I don’t know if I can fully explain the emotions and feelings this movie stirred up in me. I do know that I can’t make you feel the same way I felt after seeing 3 Idiots. My hope is you can have the courage to face your future, even if it’s for two hours at a time.

I give it 4 out of 4 staplers.

Positive Thought of the Day:
“The movies we love and admire are to some extent a function of who we are when we see them.” – Mary Schmich

"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant." – Mitchell Kapor

Now that you have your grocery list written it’s time to go shopping. Shopping for jobs is a lot like shopping at IKEA. There is a lot to look at and you have to put some work in to get a finished product, but if you can find the right colored track you can at least get started. And, with any luck, you’ll get to meet Ace of Bass.

Big Task; Little Steps. Vanna, if you please . . .

1. Human Resources would love to see your face . . . when you come in for your scheduled interview. While it is easier to remember a name when there is a face attached to it, dropping in unexpectedly and requesting an interview is not the way to get remembered. If you have the time to pick up an application or drop off a resume, that’s totally fine. Any more than that is presumptuous. I once had a co-worker say to me, “I wish I could work in HR so I could have a job where I do nothing.” HR may not look very busy since a lot of what is done is on the computer, but make no mistake: HR’s day is jam-packed just like everyone else’s. Dropping in unannounced for an interview is disrespectful to their time. Also, HR doesn’t want to hear a sad story about how you drove 7 hours to see if you could be interviewed. That just shows a lack of planning on your part. Don’t call us; we’ll call you. Literally. Don’t call on the phone and ask for an interview either.

2. EXTREE, EXTREE! READ ALL ABOUT IT! It helps if you’re wearing a newsie outfit while reading this point. While the classified ad of your local newspaper is not completely dead, it is on life support. More and more companies are opting for the more convenient, and sometimes more cost-effective, online ad. This is where your list comes into play. Some online job search engines can produce over 2,000 postings. Who has that kind of time and energy to sift through that many ads? Much like IKEA, once you can narrow your search down to either the green or yellow line, the easier it is to get to your dream job/futon.

Whether you are utilizing Jobshq.com, Monster.com, or Idealist.org, utilize the categories and parameters to cast out your net. Remember: The wider the net, the more fish you’ll hopefully pull in. If you have very specific criteria in terms of type of job or company you do/don’t want to work for, salary, or location, that’s fine. However, just be forewarned that having very narrow specifications may lengthen how long it takes to find a job that meets your requirements.

Don’t always rely on online classified or search engines either. Sometimes companies will only post openings on their website. So, if there is a certain company you have your eye on, check their website frequently. Also, start to notice trends and patterns in the types of job openings you want so you’ll have an idea of the likelihood of finding a job. For example, teaching and admissions positions tend to open up in the Spring and are usually filled by the time school starts in the Fall. So, if you would really like to break into academia at good ol’ Alma Mater University, start looking when you dust off your capris and t-shirts.

3. ‘Cuz we still like seeing fossils at the museum. Even though we are in the Age of the Computers, some companies will still only post job openings in the newspaper. The Sunday paper is going to be your best bet in finding the most amount of listings.

4. Trees are overrated. Just because more and more companies are utilizing the Internet to find their applicants doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have resume paper handy. Some online postings will still request a hard copy of your resume and cover letter. Also, as mentioned in point three, if a company only posted their job opening in the paper, more than likely they’re going to want any application materials sent to them. A box of 24 lb resume paper will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 – $10. You won’t need to go with anything that’s much more expensive than that. You want your resume to say, “I’m professional.”; not, “I got duped into spending $30 on paper.” Use the full-sized catalog style envelopes. Trust me. Maybe I’m too picky but folded resumes and applications are the worst.

Best of luck in your shopping endeavors. Don’t forget to pick up milk!

Positive thought of the day:
“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey