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Whether you are new or returning to the workforce, have been laid-off, or are looking for a career change, you have to prepare for all the steps that will make you stand out with a prospective employer.

Most experts agree that life is about making first impressions and when it comes to looking for work, it is all about impressions. The best way to make those impressions is going to be with a great cover letter, a complete and correctly filled application, a strong and up-to-date resume, and we finish it off with an outstanding and memorable interview.

The first step is to find out if the company you are applying for is hiring. This can easily be done by looking up their phone number on the internet or in a phone book and giving them a call. Be sure to introduce yourself and always be polite. While you have them on the phone, also ask who you should address your cover letter and resume too. Be sure to write down the name because this will come in very handy later.

For the cover letter, always put your name and contact information first (this includes name, address, phone number, and email address). Now this is when the name you wrote down earlier will come in to play. Now add the name of the person you are addressing in your cover letter and resume, and also be sure to add their company contact information (company name, address, phone number). All that information can also be found on the internet or in a phone book. If you were not able to get a specific name to address it to, don’t panic, you can always address it HR Director, HR Department, Hiring Manager, etc. Using a specific person’s name when possible WILL make your cover letter more personable and memorable. A cover letter should be short and to the point. Start by letting the company you are applying for know of your interest in their position and where you heard about the open position (One-Stop, online, newspaper, etc.). Next, give a brief description of your skills, experience, and education that will benefit you and the company in the position you are applying for. Be sure to add accomplishments and specific time frames (an example: I have been forklift operator certified for 10 years) to make your letter really stand out. End your letter by letting the employer know you are excited for the opportunity to work for that company and that you look forward to discussing your qualifications and skills in person.

Turning in a messy, incorrect, or incomplete application is the quickest way to get disqualified for a job opportunity. Take your time when filling out applications. If necessary, grab a piece of scratch paper and go over the application prior to filling it out. Write down any questions you have or information you might need (old work addresses, references, etc.). If you have messy hand writing, ask someone you know with good hand writing to help you fill out the application. Make sure to always write in pen and use correct spelling and grammar. When you feel you completed the application, always go over it a second time to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Everyone should have an updated and correct resume. Some of us do not have a resume, and if that is the case, no need to panic. If you have never had a resume or have just forgotten to update it, there are many resources available for you to use to help you (your local One-Stop). Resumes should always have correct grammar and spelling. Keep them simple, short, and to the point (1- 2 pages max). Use a simple format and avoid tables and templates. Be sure to list your skills, experience, and education. When listing your work experience, be specific and try to use numbers and statistics when describing your duties and accomplishments. If possible, have others proof read it to ensure that it is easy to read and understand.

So you turned in a great cover letter, correct application, and amazing resume. Now it is time to hit a home run with an awesome interview. For any position you apply for, always remember it is important that you dress the part. Coming to an interview dressed correctly lets the employer know that you mean business and you care about the position. It is very important to arrive early and be prepared. If for any reason you are going to be late, be sure to let the interviewer know as soon as possible. When you get there, be sure to greet the secretary and turn your phone off or on silent mode. An interview can be very nerve-wrecking, but remember you are the star. Be confident and sale yourself. What you may lack in experience or education can sometimes be made up for with a positive attitude and eagerness to learn. Make sure to greet the interviewer(s) when you walk in, hand them a copy of your resume, and try to answer all the questions clearly while keeping eye contact. Have some questions ready to ask them at the end of the interview and thank them for their time.

A few tips before the big interview: Try to have a few mock interviews with your peers if possible before the big interview. Look up common interview questions on the internet and use those as a guide to practice your answers but remember to always be genuine and honest with your answers. Also, be sure to do your research for the company and position that you are applying for. Try to be properly groomed before the interview (haircut, shaven, no bright lipstick or fingernails).

Now you have more tools to go out there and land the job you are applying for. Good Luck!!!

Colusa County One –Stop is an equal opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to people with disabilities


Colusa County One-Stop is a proud partner of America's Job Center of California
Colusa County One Stop, 144 & 146 Market Street, Colusa, CA 95932, (530) 458-0326