Searching for a job? Follow these tips for success

Published 9:33 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

There are many people our of work today for various reasons. Layoffs in several segments have affected many workers. Some are entering the work force for the first time. Others are seeking to improve themselves with a better position. Regardless of the reason you may be seeking a job there are some things you can do to prepare yourself and be more successful in your job search . Some ideas are listed below.

• Review and rewrite your resume — This is the picture a prospective employer has in writing of you. Be thorough and be honest. Don’t exaggerate but be factual. Don’t leave any gaps between dates as it raises questions. Keep the resume to a maximum of two pages. Be sure you list all skills you have that are applicable to the job you are applying for. There are courses and books available as well as online resources to assist you in writing a good resume that will be read and not put in “file 13.” There are also professionals who can assist you. Have someone review your resume for content and correct grammar before you submit it.

• Practice interviewing — You must be well prepared to be successful in the interviewing process. This is your opportunity to sell yourself. Ask an experienced interviewer to work with you on a mock interview. Be open to suggestions and don’t wear your feelings on your shoulder. Take constructive criticism and be open to new ideas. Dress appropriately for the position for which you are applying. Make eye contact with the interviewer. (If this makes you nervous, look at their forehead.) Be on time for the interview, in fact, you are late if you don’t arrive early. Do not take anyone with you. Leave your cell phone at home or in your vehicle. Be knowledgeable about the company. Answer questions directly and thoroughly without rambling. Do not “name drop.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

• Be open to positions other than your first choice — Many people are successful in their career by being willing to “start at the bottom” and work their way up the ladder. This may not always be the best route but if you need a job and are having difficulty finding the perfect job, maybe you need to be more flexible. Don’t overlook any avenues even if it is a position outside your field. Your education and experience often are applicable to a wider variety of positions and in different fields than you may have thought possible. If you land a job, give it your very best effort, even if it is not exactly what you may have wanted. You leave a trail wherever you go, with the companies you work for and with the people with whom you work. Treat your coworkers with dignity and respect in all situations. It can come back to bite you if you don’t put forth your best effort or if you don’t treat people right.

• Enroll in courses and take training available. One should never be finished with training for skills improvement and enhancement, regardless of how long you have been working or how much formal education you may have. Self development is your responsibility. Read journals and articles to stay abreast of trends. Seek coaching from those who are in positions who are successful.

• Volunteer with civic and/or non-profit organizations — Many good contacts can be made through working in charitable and civic organizations. Also there is an opportunity to learn leadership skills, project management and other valuable skills as a volunteer. Don’t discount the value even for unpaid responsibilities.

Don’t give up or get discouraged if you are not selected. Continue to make contacts and search diligently with an open mind. Remain positive and upbeat. Look at the interviewing process as an opportunity to learn and improve your interviewing skills. Communicate your willingness to work hard, to do whatever it takes to do the job , being open to training, and your willingness to do all tasks that are asked of you. Even if you accept a part time or temporary job give it your best. Most importantly, be yourself. Be genuine. Send a thank you note to the interviewer for his/her time and interest in you. This is a simple way to set yourself apart from other applicants. Assess your skills and the positions for which you are applying to ensure a good fit with the necessary qualifications. Get serious about a self assessment and determine steps necessary to position yourself as a viable candidate.


Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice-president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing