1.Define your objective: Know what kind of work you most enjoy and perform the best. This requires self-evaluation, spending time looking at your interests and abilities.
2.Write an effective resume: Focus on your qualifications for the type of work you want to do. Show where you are headed, not where you have been. Look at it from an employer’s perspective -- what qualities do they need for the position?
3.Prepare your references: Call or visit each person and tell them exactly what you are looking for. Ask them to let you know if they hear of anything, or to make a referral for you.
4.Research: Make a list of potential employers from the Yellow Pages or a Resource Directory and research each company. Check your library for information.
5.Network: Talk to everyone you know about the kind of work you are looking for. You never know what contact will result in a job offer. Consider neighbours, relatives, parents of friends, teachers, paper route customers, etc.
6.Set up job interviews: Either by phone contact or by sending a cover letter with your resume and indicating that you will follow up to arrange an interview.
7.Practice interview techniques: Plan what you are going to say. Discuss WHY you want to work for that particular company, WHAT you can do for them, and HOW you will fit in with the company, then practice, practice, practice. Get a list of questions and write down your answers to each one, then practice with a friend.
8.Send a follow up letter: Tell them again about your interest in the job or the company. Thank them for taking the time to interview you. Point out your special qualifications or mention something you forgot in the interview that is relevant.
9.Follow up: In person or by phone to check out the results of the interviews, and if you are not the successful candidate, ask how you could improve your chances for next time.
Fran Watson is a Career Counsellor, Workshop Developer/Facilitator and member of Toastmasters who has recently begun an ezine. You can find out more about her at www.franwatson.ca and sign up for her Free ezine