In the current economic downturn, with unemployment in the Albany area at or above 10.8%, every tip you find, that you use, can put you company you apply to.
First impressions are lasting impressions. How you present yourself to a prospective employer is probably the number one thing you and only you can control. Female applicants don’t have to wear their Sunday best, complete with stockings and high heels, nor do male applicants need to show up in a three-piece suit. What is most important is that as an applicant, you present yourself dressed neatly and cleanly. Men should have their shirts tucked into their pants with a belt. Shoes should be tied and ball caps need to be left at home or in the car.
Women have broader choices in clothing with the option of a dress, a suit or slacks and a nice shirt or sweater. Again, the clothes should be neat and clean. Curlers in the hair are definitely not appropriate. Neither are flip-flops for either men or women.
The way you present yourself initially shows the prospective employer whether you are a serious applicant or not.
Being prepared to apply for a job includes having a resume to present at the time of application. Most employers will still ask you to complete an application as well and having a resume with you will assist you in completing that quickly. Always make sure that the resume you have with you is the one you will leave with the prospective employer. NEVER ask for the employer to copy your resume and give you yours back. Many retail outlets will make copies for you at a nominal cost.
Don’t have a resume? That’s not a problem either. Both the Department of Labor and the public libraries have computers you can use and generally the software on those computers have an option for preparing a resume. If you have difficulty with the software, generally there is someone who can assist you to get you started.
Keep your resume to 2 pages or less. A resume of that length keeps the prospective employers’ attention. Anything longer than that and they may lose interest in what you’ve done.
Even if you are seeking your very first job, a resume is still a great idea to have. Never had a job before? That’s okay. What did you do while you were in school? What kind of outside volunteer work have you done? If you think seriously about it, no doubt you have some kind of experience that will look good on a resume. And you can include any honors you might have received while in school.
After your resume is complete, make sure to run spell-checker to find words spelled incorrectly. After reading thousands of resumes, it is unbelievable how many of them contained misspellings. And words spelled wrong may very well get your resume tossed in the trash. Even after using spell-checker, it’s a good idea to have one or more people read over what you have written because spell-checker doesn’t always find mistakes. Common errors are using the wrong word which is spelled correctly, such as, to, too and two, or there, their, and they’re. “Where” and “were” are often used incorrectly. These are just a few of the words that can keep you from getting a job, especially if you are looking for something in the clerical field.
When you present yourself to a prospective employer, one of the most important things you can do is to make eye contact with whomever you talk to. Maintaining eye contact throughout your experience will help assure the prospective employer that you are serious about your search for a job.
Bonnie Jefferson is an Albany resident and retired from a local staffing agency after 11 years.