Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Looking for a Job? Get Organized!

If you are in the midst of a job search and waiting for employers to return your calls, don’t just sit there and wait.  Now is the perfect time to organize your portfolio materials for possible interviews.  Examples of your work set you apart and may be why you are hired.  Here are some examples of what you can do while playing the waiting game.

Gather visual examples.  Gather all of your writing samples, graphic design samples, etc., into one place.  Then sort the items by type, then reverse-chronologically.  Once this sorting is complete, choose one or two samples from each category.  Make clean photocopies or print hard copies of each one to bring to interviews.  Also, make sure you have digital versions of each sample in case you need to email them to a potential employer.

Compile your work history.  Since you fit your resume into one or two pages, it may not list every job you’ve ever had, or it may not include specific dates, locations, telephone numbers and other details.  Now is a great time to create a document with more details for your own use.  Write down every job you’ve ever had, including part-time jobs and internships, and include their address, phone, contacts, and a list of duties and accomplishments.  This document is a great resource if you have to change your resume to apply for a different position or a job in a different field.

Obtain reference letters.  Now that you have a work history, see if you can use any past employers or co-workers as references.  If you do not have any reference letters, ask some recent employers to write you basic letters that you can use for any job application.

Don’t forget the numbers.  Employers are busier than ever, reading more resumes and managing short-staffed teams.  They may not have time to read your resume with a fine-toothed comb, but numbers will jump out.  See if there are places where you can add statistics about how much you increased sales, publicity, output, productivity, etc., to your resume or cover letter.  Include these numbers in your work history as well, so you can use different statistics with different types of jobs.

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