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Enhance your chances with the job hunt

By Kip Carlson

It’s down to the last week of Spring Term. Next up is finals week, then the job hunt.

For those whose education has a ways to go, it’s looking for a summer job; for grads (and congratulations to you all), it’s that first position as you begin climbing the career ladder.

This column has offered advice on a number of topics during the past few months, and there are more things about which we could go into great detail. Not just articles, but entire books have been written about techniques for landing a job.

Those volumes delve into the minutiae of compiling application materials. If you’re unable to digest all that information – say, you need to get an application submitted in a hurry – there a few overarching ideas to keep in mind that will enhance your chances for success:

Tailor your application packet to the job: Don’t have just one resume and one cover letter you send for every job. You have to point out to each employer how you fit the job the employer is looking to fill.

Have the job description in front of you as you build your resume and craft your cover letter, and point out how you have what they want. Talk about the skills and qualities they are looking for to do that job and fit into the workplace.

Make a good first impression: Don’t eliminate yourself from consideration by making a bad first impression. In your application materials, use good grammar, use a consistent size and font of type, make sure the resume and cover letter are neat and well-organized.

Present your qualifications high up in the resume; don’t make the employer hunt through several pages for the reasons to hire you. Follow all directions the employer has set forth for applying. In short, put yourself in the position of the employer who has dozens of applications for one job and is looking to eliminate applicants.

Make your cover letter and resume work together, not mirror each other: Your cover letter shouldn’t be just putting your resume into paragraph form. Your resume should list your qualifications for the job; your cover letter should paint the picture of why the employer should hire you, of how you’ll put those things in your resume to work making their organization better.

Be truthful: If an application asks you to list every job you’ve had for the past 10 years, list every job from that time period – don’t leave off short-term jobs. Don’t list skills or experiences you don’t have. Don’t volunteer potentially embarrassing information, but if asked a direct question about it, answer truthfully – and tell what you learned from the experience.

Follow up on your application materials: After submitting an online application, visit the employer, introduce yourself to the manager, and drop off a copy of your cover letter and resume – this shows them the job means enough to you to go the extra mile. Of course, if the job posting says “do not visit employer” or something along those lines, refer back to our previously mentioned rule about following instructions.

Adhering to those basic guidelines won’t guarantee you’ll get the job, but it will help your chances.

To further help your prospects, visit the Chemeketa Career Services staff. We’re here all summer. We can help with a cover letter or resume, filling out applications, a mock job interview to practice for the real thing, or finding job possibilities on Chemeketa CareerLink.

Appointments can be made on ChemekNet or by visiting our office. Career Services is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in Bldg. 2-115.

And finally, thanks to the Courier staff for allowing Career Services to run this column during the 2014-15 academic year. We wish all the journalists the best of luck in their future endeavors.,/p

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