It is important to realise that applying for jobs can take a lot of time and energy. There may be setbacks that cause you re-think certain elements of your employment plan. However, with some perseverance and willpower you will eventually find a job that you love.
Beginning Your Job Search
The information gathered in the discovery and job research phases of employment planning will be the best way to narrow down the kinds of jobs you should apply for. The job research phase may also have identified job opportunities within your community which match your skills and goals.
Here are some general tips to keep in mind as you search for jobs:
• Be open to new job opportunities, even if they are not what you expected!
• Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a specific type of job. Most job opportunities are found via word of mouth, so get your friends, family and colleagues working for you
• Keep your employment goals in mind. Don’t let people discourage you from going for the kind of job you would like to have.
• However! Be aware that some compromises may be needed. Think about which parts of your dream job you may be willing to compromise on.
• Applying for a job is a two-way street, you need to match the employer’s needs and they need to match yours
• Vary your job search techniques. Use notice boards, newspapers, job centres, job websites and more to look for a job. Visit businesses and talk to them face-to-face. Consider advertising yourself on the Internet! Some job applicants even create a website detailing their skills and the kind of role they are looking for.
• Stay positive and never give up! The fact that you are even reading this article automatically means you have initiative, intelligence and good looks. Go get em!
Create or Update Your Resume
Your resume is a simple record of your qualifications, skills, work experience and references. A job seeker should keep their resume updated and emphasise different aspects of their skill set for different job applications. For example if you are going for a data entry job, your skills as a tree lopper won’t necessarily impress the employer!
Print many copies of your resume and share them with everyone you know! A friend of a friend might have a job opening and getting their hands on your resume easily might help get your foot in the door.
You should also ensure your resume reads well and is accurate. Friends, family and mentors are great for helping a prospective employee craft their resume. Consider taking it to an employment specialist for a “resume makeover”. They may be able to craft a few versions of your resume to match different types of jobs you are interested in.
Make sure your references are up to date and ready to receive phone calls from prospective employers.
Create a Portfolio
A portfolio can act like a sales brochure, sharing your capabilities, education, references and experience with employers. Having something to show the employer can also act as an ice breaker, helping to calm those job interview nerves!
Some of the material a portfolio can include:
• Photos of you in previous jobs or working at community events
• Written answers to the normal job interview questions
• A sales pitch about yourself!
• Awards you have received, letters of recommendation, training certificates, performance reviews.
Only include items that you know will be of interest to the prospective employer. So exclude that tree lopping certificate if you are applying for an office job!
Prepare for Interviews
Here is a little secret about job interviews — the more you do the easier they get! Practice is key to doing well in a job interview, so take every opportunity you can to practice doing job interviews and selling yourself in an interview.
• Get a list of commonly asked interview questions from the Internet and rehearse answering them
• Practice your “personal sales pitch” where you tell someone why they should hire you in 60 seconds or less
• Consider how you might talk about your disability and requirements at work
• Practice makes perfect! Rehearse interviews with family, friends and colleagues many times. Make the rehearsals as realistic as possible, so dress up for it and make the questions random
• Get the logistics of the interview right. Make sure you know how to get to the interview on time, plan your trip and choose the right clothes
• After the interview, send the employer a thank-you note. Consider asking them for interview feedback if you didn’t get the job
Searching for a job is not a simple process. There may be some discouraging moments as you search for a job and it requires a great deal of self-belief and perseverance to keep going. Keep your chin up and keep applying for jobs — you WILL land the right job with hard work and dedication!