Job Search Tools
Do you need help learning about an occupation, defining your skills, or refreshing your resume? This suite of job search tools is available to all job seekers and can be accessed online from your home or from our Resource Lab.
Career planning is a lifelong process. Today, more than ever, you must take control of your career. Long gone are the days when you accepted a job and worked there until retirement.
Career design is the creative process of taking charge of your own career when you are:
- looking for the ideal first career
- planning ahead for your next career move
- suffering from job dissatisfaction or career unrest
- being threatened by new career realities
The career planning process is the same, whatever your situation. It involves learning, deciding and doing. This process includes self-assessment, career exploration, focusing on a goal and creating the plan to achieve your goal.
Additional links that may be helpful in planning your career are:
- Mapping Your Future is a site sponsored by a group of guaranty agencies that participate in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and provide information about higher education and career opportunities.
- WorkSmart is an Internet application designed to offer entry-level job seekers and workforce re-entrants soft skills and occupational information to assist them in obtaining employment.
We are here to help you in our offices whenever you are interested in changing careers, or would like help establishing a career direction. You may also wish to take one of many online skills and assessment tests.
The following websites offer skills assessment tests:
- Job Hunters Bible - Sponsored by the author Dick Bolles, who wrote the book “What Color is your Parachute?” Easy to read and lighthearted, it offers valuable tips on job hunting techniques, resume writing, links to job listings and skills assessments tests.
- Assessment.com - The free MAPP™ (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential) career test is the first and best online career assessment for students, graduates and working adults. It takes 15 minutes to fill out and gives you a wealth of information to help identify personal motivations that point to career success and satisfaction.
- Self-directed-search.com - For under $5.00, it assists in helping you find a job that matches your skills and interests.
- Keirsey.com - Chose from a variety of tests designed to help you understand your personality type to find the career you are best suited for.
Preparing for an interview can be intimidating. Take some time to prepare and you will be more confident — and that can help you get the job.
Follow a few simple rules:
- Dress to impress. First impressions are lasting impressions. Clean and conservative attire is the norm.
- Research the company and the job position. Knowing about the company proves to the employer that you are truly interested in the job they have available.
- Practice answers to common questions, such as "tell me about yourself," "what are your strongest skills," or "what are your major weaknesses."
Start the interview off right:
- Be on time or early. This shows dependability and commitment.
- Be positive and upbeat. Make the interviewer see you are motivated.
- Relax. Think of the interview as a conversation. The interviewer may be just as nervous about interviewing you as you are about being interviewed.
During the interview:
- Make eye contact with the interviewer and answer questions in a clear voice.
- Concentrate on what the interviewer has to say so you do not have to ask them to repeat themselves.
- Think first and take time to answer difficult questions. Blurting out the first thing that comes to mind can be disastrous.
- If this is your first interview with the employer, do not ask "red flag" questions like, "how much vacation time do you offer?" or is there "paid sick time?" That sounds like you do not want to work for the company, but are only interested in the benefits. These are questions best reserved for the negotiating stage.
- Prove you understand the job by mentioning details of how you handled similar situations in your previous job and how you helped past employers.
- Remember body language. Acting tense and nervous does not reflect well on how you may work under pressure.
After the interview:
- End the interview with a handshake and thank the interviewer for their time. This is the time to ask when you can expect to hear from them.
- Send a thank you e-mail or note to the interviewer thanking them again for their time. This shows you are interested in the position.
- Follow up with a friendly phone call if you do not hear from the interviewer when they said they would contact you. This will also serve as a reminder and may prove to the interviewer that you are truly interested in the position.
Resume Preparation Tips
The most effective resume is the one that gets you that first interview. Your resume is the "advertisement" that excites the "buyer" (employer) enough to examine and evaluate you. There are two types of resumes you may choose to best represent yourself: the chronological or the functional/skills resume.
The Chronological Resume:
- The easiest and least time-consuming to compose.
- Lists previous experience in date order, with most recent experience first.
- The most commonly used and the one most employers prefer. This format provides all the information the employer wants to know, leaving little chance for the applicant to omit important information.
- The best choice if you have the experience and skills to match what is needed for the job you are seeking
The Functional/Skills Resume:
- More difficult to compose, but ideal for those with gaps in their employment, limited experience or weak skills.
- Disguises faults, so many employers dislike this type of resume.
- Organizes experience by key skills rather than by past jobs.
- Often used by professionals who want to emphasize a strong or important skill area.
Basic Resume Tips:
- Be concise. Keep your resume to one page to help get it read. Be brief, relevant and specific!
- Make every word count. Language is important. You need to sell yourself quickly and efficiently.
- Use action verbs: "developed," "initiated," "managed," and "created," not gerunds like "developing, initiating" etc.
- Avoid using "I.” Rather than "I developed…" or "I assisted in," just leave out the "I."
- Avoid passive wording, such as "was responsible for managing."
- Make the most of your experience. Employers need to know what you’ve accomplished to understand what you can do.
- Describe things that can be measured. "Reduced costs" doesn't say much. However, "cut costs by 20%, saving the company $2500 for the fiscal year" does. That can be verified.
- Be truthful. Make the most of your experience, but don’t lie. Employers can usually spot falsified resumes, and will fire you for it later.
- Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. A badly-written resume OR cover letter ends up in the trash. Spell all names correctly!
- Make it easy to read. Use a single font. Allow for room between sections for easier readability.
- If you make copies of your resume, make sure they are clean and clear.
- Use standard paper in white or ivory. Copies may be made for committees, and textured or colored papers do not copy well.
- Stay on target. Emphasize what you can do for the employer. Customize your resume to emphasize the job tasks specific to the job you are seeking.
- Eliminate unnecessary information, such as hobbies or interests. They take up valuable space on your resume.
- Omit "references available on request," since this is implied to most employers and they will request them when necessary.
NOTE: Personal information such as age, marital status or gender should not be included in your resume.
Before embarking on a new career, do some research to be sure there is a future for that career. If you have difficulty finding courses in your field of interest, that could be a sign that this field may not have a future. You do not want waste time and money on a training or educational course that leaves you with few job prospects.
- MappingYourFuture.org is a site sponsored by a group of guaranty agencies that participate in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and provide information about higher education and career opportunities.
- WorkSmart.gov is an Internet application designed to offer entry-level job seekers and workforce re-entrants soft skills and occupational information to assist them in obtaining employment.
Other sites with employment statistics:
These sites provide statistical information about career opportunities. For example, I-train reflects increases in growth of and demand for numerous careers. Local area employment and demographic information is also included, as well as the growth and decline of career offerings.
NOTE: The inclusion of non-governmental links on the FWDB website is for information purposes only and is not an endorsement by the Foothill Workforce Development Board or other related entities.
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