About this time last year, I had been unemployed for about 2 months. Even though I had been completing all of the tasks that the Employment Department required of me, I felt hopeless that I would find a new job. I had sent in application after application. With all of those applications, I still received very few interview offers.

During the process of searching for a new job I found a lot of information out there about what to do. And it was overwhelming. That’s the thing about this information age, there is a lot of information that is easily accessible at your finger tips.

Clearly Identify Jobs you are Targeting and Develop Alternative Options

This is where you want to come up with specific job titles that you will be looking for, such as barista, computer networking, et cetera. And then make a list of similar job titles. Use sites like www.qualityinfo.org.

Just to warn you, this site is an Oregon Employment Department site, so it will have statistics for Oregon unemployment rates, and when you search for job titles, it will give you a list of Oregon-based employers trying to fill those specific positions. 

Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

Let’s flow with the barista example for a moment:

You can scroll down the page to the ‘Occupation Profiles’ tool and enter the job title that you are thinking about. When you type in ‘barista’ and click search, it will bring up a report with loads of information.

In the left hand corner under ‘Report Options’ it will show a list of matching occupations. In this case, we get 1 matching occupation ‘Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concessions, and Coffee Shop’. As you scroll down the page, there are lists of all of the different employers and positions. Some of the job titles include: ‘barista’, ‘coffee kiosk barista’, ‘juice bar team member’, and ‘coffee attendant’. It also lists all of the certifications required (again, specific to the State of Oregon).

If you scroll all of the way down to the bottom of the page, the site will give you a list of related occupations: ‘combined food preparation and serving workers’, ‘bartenders’, ‘food servers’, ‘non-restaurant’, and ‘waiters and waitresses’.

Having these other, but related, occupations can help because you can easily transition to something else without completely having to retrain.

Identify Employers’ Needs

You will need to figure out what they’re looking for, hint: look at the job description. Knowing what the employer is looking for can help you write your resume and cover letter.

Relate your skills to the job description

Another helpful trick on the Quality Info website is that it will give you all of the likely knowledge skills, and abilities required for the job. You can scroll through and look at them to determine which of them you’ve used them before. The ones that you have, put them on your resume. The more of them that you can put down, the better you can look as a candidate.

Prepare your Resume

Open up your word processor and put your name and contact information at the top of the page (telephone number, address, email address, and any way they can get in touch with you).

You’ll want to include:

  • Education
  • Prior Relevant Employment Experience
  • Relevant Licenses and Certifications

You can consider including:

  • Career objectives
  • References

Write a Cover Letter

This is a way to tell your story in a different way than your resume ever could. In a cover letter you can actually string together sentences, whereas on your resume your writing more in sentence fragments.

You can fully explain your background and fully relate your skills to the job.

Whenever possible, write to a specific person within the company who is responsible for the hiring of new employees. Be personable.

Prepare for Interviews

To prepare for an interview, you’re going to want to be able to answer the questions that they may ask you.

But you’re also going to want to dress appropriately. Think about the type of job you will be doing, and dress one step above what is typical. Wear a nice blouse or button-down shirt and slacks or a skirt. Wear colors that suit you. If they wear a uniform, consider wearing the same colors they wear so that they can see you wearing their uniform.

If you choose to wear makeup, be conservative in what you put on.

Wear very little jewelry.

Unless, or until, you know the potential employers policy regarding tattoos, consider covering them up with what you choose to wear. But be honest about having them if they ask.

Consider writing an interview appreciation, or thank you, letter or email

After an interview, send the person you spoke with thank you letter. you can also take the time to ask any questions that you didn’t think of, or that weren’t answered, during the interview.

Network at Job Fairs / Use LinkedIn

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, now’s the time to look into getting one. It’s free to join. It’s kind of like an online resume. But you can also look for specific employers, and people who work at those companies and get connected with them.

This is certainly not a comprehensive guide to searching for a new job, but it should get you started until next time.


What are your thoughts? What have you done in the past when looking for a new job?


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