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Searching for a new job can be full-time job itself

Whether you recently entered the job market, just lost your job or ready to jump ship from your current position to find a better job, there are many things you should do in a successful job search.   There are many avenues to be pursued in your search to find openings you have interest in pursuing.  Do not succumb to the temptation to apply  for positions where you don’t meet the minimum  qualifications or possess the skill sets need for the job.

Some companies still utilize want ads in newspapers however, there are many online avenues to pursue.  Many companies use services like Monster, Indeed, Linked In, Facebook, Zip Recruiter and many others to post open positions. Always go to the website of the business in which you have interest to view their current postings.  The WIN Job service also posts openings through the state employment agency.

In preparation for identifying and applying for a new job there are some things you can do to compete in the job market and land that new position.

1.  Review and rewrite your resume — Be thorough and honest.   Don’t exaggerate.  Be factual and don’t leave any time gaps in your history of school, other jobs, etc.  It will raise questions if dates don’t link.  Keep the resume to a two-page maximum.  Have a professional review your resume for content and correct grammar.  Remember that this resume, whether it is submitted online or on paper, is the picture the prospective employer has in writing of you. Often the candidates to be interviewed are determined solely by reviewing resumes. If you are asked to complete an application, be sure you also complete it thoroughly even though you may have listed the information requested in your resume.

2.  Practice interviewing —  The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself.  Line up a mock interview with an experienced interviewer to work with you and be open to suggestions for improvement.  Make eye contact with the interviewer.  If it makes you nervous to make eye contact with the interviewer, look at his or her forehead.  Be on time. Do not take your cell phone with you.  Dress appropriately for the position for which you are applying.  Answer questions thoroughly without rambling.  Don’t “name drop.”

3.  Self development — You should never be finished with learning.  Training for skills improvement will always pay off.  Regardless of the education you have there is always a need for a good look introspectively and being open to self-development.  Seek out coaching from those who are successful in their positions.

4.  Volunteer in the community — There are always opportunities with non-profit and civic organizations and it is a good investment of your tine.  Not only will it look good on your resume, but you can learn organizational skills, hone your ability to get along with others and build a very good network.  You can learn leadership skills and project management skills as well as improving your communication skills.

5.  Avoid discouragement — Looking for a job can be a tiring and discouraging process.  There are many people in the job market and competition can be stiff.  Use every interview experience as an opportunity to be better prepared for the next interview. Continue to make contacts and continue your job search with an open mind.  Communicate your willingness to work hard and do whatever it takes to do the job well.  Be open to training and development.

You can set yourself apart from competing applicants by sending a thank you note to the interviewer promptly following the interview.  It is a simple yet effective way to stand out from other applicants.

Assess your skills and abilities and ensure you are applying for positions where you are a good fit and possess the necessary qualifications.  Do a complete self assessment and determine the necessary steps you may need to take to better position yourself as a viable candidate.  Look upon the job of the job search as a learning experience that will better prepare you for success on the job.

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