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apprenticeships for masonry
electricians, carpenters, and
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marketing yourself, job fairs,
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dressing appropriately for intervies
résumé banks, web search
cover letters, résumés, foll
information for career
choices and devel
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Labor Market Information


from the Office of Research
résumés
ation cover letters, fo
Applic
s workshops for interview
Job Lead
Résumés skill assessment and
development, what you th
career decisions, training
apprenticeships for masonry
electricians, carpenters, and
more, résumé banks, web sea
marketing yourself, job fairs,
DOL offices, free services and
résumé workshops, interviewing
skills, motivation in your searc
dressing appropriately for intervies
résumé banks, web search
cover letters, résumés, foll
information for career
choices and devel
networking
market

Your Job Search Guide

Prepared by:
The Connecticut Department of Labor
Office of Research
200 Folly Brook Boulevard
Wethersfield, CT 06109
(860) 263-6275

This publication is also available at our Web site:


www.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi

Special thanks to the following agencies for permission to adapt their articles:
Maine Department of Labor, Job Hunting in Maine; and Virginia Occupational Employment Coordinating
Committee, Mid-Atlantic Guide to Information on Careers.
Table of Contents
Work Search Planning
To immediately link to the appropriate page, click on the page number. A 1

Introduction ...................................................... 2
Section A: Work Search Planning
Connecticut Department of Labor Offices ........ 3 Networking ......................................................... 9

Work Search Plan ............................................. 4 What If? ........................................................... 10

Where to Look for Work .................................... 5 Dressing Professionally ................................... 11

Newspaper Help Wanted Ads ........................... 6 The Application Form ...................................... 12

Tips on Attending a Job Fair ............................. 7 Career Development on the Job ..................... 13

Using Your Telephone ....................................... 8 When to Look for Work ............................. 14, 15

Section B: Career Planning


Deciding on a Career ...................................... 16 Self-Assessment ........................................ 18,19

What If I Still Can’t Decide What I


Want to Do? .................................................. 17

Section C: Résumés and Cover Letters


The Anatomy of a Résumé ....................... 20, 21 Action Words for Résumés ............................. 30

The Headline Résumé .................................... 22 References ...................................................... 31

Sample: Chronological Résumés ..............23-25 Sample: Modified Letter Résumé ................... 32


Sample: Functional Résumé ........................... 26 Scannable and Electronic Résumés ............... 33
Sample: Headline Résumé ............................. 27 Sample: Electronic Résumé ........................... 34
Tips for Professional Résumés ....................... 28 Tips for Great Cover Letters ............................ 35
Ten Things to Avoid on Your Résumé ............. 29 Sample: Cover Letters .................................... 36

Section D: Interviewing
Interview Preparation ................................ 37, 38 The Mature or Overqualified Worker .............. 45
Employers’ List of Top Interview Mistakes ...... 39 The Lunch Interview ........................................ 46
Common Interview Questions ................... 40, 41 Thank You Letters ........................................... 47
Your Legal Rights When Job Searching ... 42, 43 Salary Negotiations ......................................... 48
Criminal Records and Substance Abuse
Testing .......................................................... 44

Section E: Resources
Resources ..................................................49-51 Record of Job Leads ....................................... 54

Work Search Planner ................................ 52, 53

Your Job Search Guide


InIntroduction
2

Career development is a lifelong, ongoing process. Changing jobs or careers opens new doors to
experiences you may not have previously considered. Your Job Search Guide provides information and
resources to use in your job search process. Skills assessment, résumé preparation, interview
techniques, and networking are all essential components of your job search. Finding a new job is a full-
time job, and is easier to accomplish when using a variety of methods. Career counselors are available,
at no cost to you, at Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) offices throughout the State. DOL office
locations are listed in the next section; Web sites, books, and other resources are also identified throughout
this guide for your reference.

The job search process can be challenging and discouraging, but keep in mind that it is a process.
It will take time, but eventually you will find the right job. Set aside time for family and friends, exercise,
and proper diet. All these elements will help you maintain a positive attitude. Surround yourself with
supportive people and be honest with your family and friends; it is very important to avoid isolation. Set
attainable goals and focus on your accomplishments. Volunteer work and support groups can also
provide a sense of fulfillment. How quickly you find employment relies a great deal on the importance
you place on your job search.

Unemployment insurance is temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault
of their own and who are either looking for new jobs, in approved training, or awaiting recall to
employment. Call or visit your local DOL office to file for benefits as soon as possible after you are
separated from employment. Claims will be taken without a “pink slip.” While each case is evaluated on
an individual basis to determine eligibility and amount of benefits, some of the guidelines for eligibility
are listed below:
• You are physically and mentally able and available for full-time work.
• You are actively seeking work by making reasonable efforts to find employment each week.
• You are identified as a dislocated worker and participate in selected reemployment services.
• You are partially or fully unemployed through no fault of your own, e.g. layoff, downsizing, or termi-
nation of a seasonal job.
• You have left work to care for a seriously ill spouse or child, or a parent domiciled with you, provided
the illness is documented by a licensed physician.
• You left work solely because of government regulation or statute.

Please keep in mind this is only a partial list of eligibility requirements; a counselor at your local
DOL office should be contacted to discuss your individual case and right to benefits.

Note: If you are collecting unemployment insurance benefits, you must keep a daily log of the steps you
take to find work. You may be required at any time to present this log to an agency staff member for
review. If you are declared ineligible for any weeks in which you did not actively look for work,
you will be required to repay any unemployment benefits you received but were not entitled to.

Whether you’ve become recently unemployed or are seeking a career change, we encourage you to
take advantage of the services the Department of Labor Offices offer. Our primary goal is to assist you
in any way we can to find your next job. To find a list of the DOL Offices, visit the Department of Labor
Web site at www.ctdol.state.ct.us and select “Divisions and Offices”, call 1-888-CTWORKS, or visit the
nearest DOL Office (listed on the following page).

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Connecticut Department of Labor Offices
Work Search Planning A 3

Connecticut Department of Labor offices coordinate the various job development needs of the State for
employers and job seekers. They provide easy, one-stop access to a wide variety of career information
including services for the unemployed, underemployed, students, those in career transition, and career
counselors. Some of the services include:

! Assessment testing ! Computer and Internet access ! Job Fairs


! Career guidance ! Job listings ! Specialized workshops

! Career resource library ! Free phone and fax use ! Training program referrals

For more information about DOL office services, visit the Department of Labor Web site at
www.ctdol.state.ct.us and select “Divisions and Offices,” call 1-888-CTWORKS, or visit the nearest
DOL Office.

Bridgeport Middletown
2 Lafayette Square 645 South Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604 Middletown, CT 06457
Telephone: (203) 330-4830 Telephone: (860) 344-2661

Danbury New Britain


152 West Street 260 Lafayette Street
Danbury, CT 06813 New Britain, CT 06053
Telephone: (203) 731-2929 Telephone: (860) 827-4460

Danielson New London


95 Westcott Road Shaw’s Cove Six
Danielson, CT 06239 New London, CT 06320
Telephone: (860) 779-5850 Telephone: (860) 447-6211
Telephone: (860) 442-6937 (Career Services)
Enfield
620 Enfield Street Norwich
Enfield, CT 06082 113 Salem Turnpike
Telephone: (860) 741-4295 Norwich, CT 06360
Telephone: (860) 859-5600
Hamden
37 Marne Street Torrington
Hamden, CT 06514 486 Winsted Road, Torrington Parkade
Telephone: (203) 789-7741 Torrington, CT 06790
Telephone: (860) 626-6220
Hartford
3580 Main Street Waterbury
Hartford, CT 06120 249 Thomaston Ave.
Telephone: (860) 566-5727 Waterbury, CT 06702
Telephone: (203) 596-4141
Meriden
290 Pratt Street Willimantic
Meriden, CT 06450 1320 Main Street, Tyler Square
Telephone: (203) 238-6148 Willimantic, CT 06226
Telephone: (860) 465-2120

Your Job Search Guide

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Work Search Plan
4 A Work Search Planning
Finding a new job is a big undertaking, and careful planning not only helps you find the right job, but
provides a sense of accomplishment during your search. Organized planning makes a job search easier
and quicker. Looking for work is a full-time job; you should plan to spend 40 hours a week in your job
search activities. Keep in mind that finding a job is a process that takes time, but if you keep looking, you
will find employment.

Maintain Your Physical and Mental Health.


Focus on your actions and progress. Even if you have not received a job offer, you should be proud of
the effort you have put into looking for work. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and socializing
with family and friends are all necessary to promote activity and prevent depression.

Organize Your Job Search.


Remain organized in your job search. Plan daily, weekly, and monthly activities that will bring you one
step closer to your long-term career goals. Always have a calendar on hand to schedule meetings,
record your progress, and set daily priorities. Document your job search activities in order to ensure
smooth follow-up conversations - when you called an employer, who you spoke with, when you mailed
your résumé, etc. Use the forms on pages 52-53 to organize and record your activities. Photocopy your
cover letters so that you will have a record of what you said and will know the date to make your follow-
up telephone call.

Research Your Future Job.


If you are considering a career change, research your options. Look into self-employment, degree
programs, apprenticeships and internships. You may discover a goal that you believed was unobtainable
is indeed possible. The more you know about your future career, the more able you are to obtain it.
What skills and education are associated with the job you want? Do you need further training or experience
to gain these skills? Are you willing to relocate if necessary? Give thought to the kind of work environment
you would feel most comfortable in, and look for companies that are compatible.

Recognize Potential Obstacles.


Fear creates stress and anxiety which only serve to defeat your plans and goals. Define what may keep
you from attaining your goals - your attitude, inexperience, lack of education, little emotional support
from your family, the local economy - and find solutions to overcome your obstacles. Break down
intimidating activities into smaller steps and focus on accomplishing one step at a time.

Update Your Skills.


Prepare your résumé and brush up on your interview skills - when you find a job you want, you need to
be ready to apply. Volunteer or look into training courses to update your work skills. Community colleges
and towns often offer low-cost, short-term classes. Visit the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium’s
Web site at www.ctdlc.org for details on completing college courses on-line with a home computer. Your
new knowledge will make you more marketable and the experience may provide contacts and references.

Utilize Your Resources.


Networking is important to find unadvertised job openings. Seek out the advice of family, friends, relatives,
former co-workers/employers, and any organizations to which you belong. Be open to new ideas; someone
may suggest an avenue you had not considered before.

Start NOW. Take action now in spite of the fact that you may not feel like it. Your feelings will change and
you will feel better as you take action. If you think you need to take a break, slow down the pace for a day
or two. Even if you send out only one letter or make one phone call a day, you are still making progress.
The important thing is not to let yourself get into a rut of feeling frustrated and unmotivated.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Where to Look for Work
Work Search Planning A 5

There are many ways to find out about employment opportunities. The more resources you use, the
more you will learn about job opportunities. Consider the options below:

Apply Directly to a Company: Visit a company to inquire about career opportunities. Most personnel
or human resources departments have applications for you to complete.
Community Organizations: Volunteering at nonprofit institutions not only offers experience, but also
builds contacts and employment leads. Many organizations such as AARP, GreenThumb, and the
Permanent Commission on the Status of Women offer job placement assistance to persons with particular
barriers to employment. If you are interested in a particular company, find out which charities they actively
support and volunteer there - it may provide an important contact.
Connecticut Department of Labor Offices: Services are provided free of charge regardless of
employment status and include job referrals, career counseling, computer, phone, and fax use.
Internet: There are many Web sites where you can post your résumé on-line for review by many
different companies. You can also visit a specific company’s Web site to view job opportunities and
apply on-line. If you don’t have a computer, visit your local library or DOL office.
Job Fairs: A job fair gives you the chance to speak to a company representative about their hiring
needs and your qualifications for employment. The Connecticut Department of Labor, community colleges,
and private groups often hold job fairs with over 100 employers represented.
Networking: Let friends, family and acquaintances know you are looking for work. Most people find
jobs through word-of-mouth, and your chances of securing employment are always improved if you are
recommended to an employer by someone they already know.
Newspaper Ads: Read through several newspapers to find the right opportunity for you. Be aware that
some training facilities and jobs requiring investments place ads in the employment section. A legitimate
job offer does not require money from the job seeker. If you are interested in training or investments, check
with your local Better Business Bureau for information on an organization before sending any money.
Private Employment Agencies: Otherwise known as “temp agencies,” private employment agencies
will place you to work temporarily in a company, anywhere from one day to several years. Temporary
work can lead to full-time, permanent positions, and includes clerical, technical, and professional positions.
Some companies choose to use private employment agencies for all their hiring needs. Check the
yellow pages under “employment agencies” and call them to find out which companies they represent.
Professional Associations: Consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook for lists of associations relating
to certain occupations. This publication is available on-line at www.bls.gov/oco.
Public Library: Books on résumé writing, interviews, and other career development techniques are
available. Some libraries now have career centers and computers for patron use.
School Career Centers: Almost every high school and college has a career center that offers counseling
and job placement. Even if you graduated years ago, most schools offer their services throughout a
student’s lifetime.
Trade Unions: Libraries have lists of local trade unions for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc.
Yellow Pages: Companies are organized in the telephone directory’s yellow pages by the services they
offer or products they produce. Call the human resources department to ask about job opportunities.

Your Job Search Guide

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Newspaper Help Wanted Ads
6 A Work Search Planning
The Sunday help wanted section is a mainstay in a job seeker’s hunt. However, the cost of advertisement
in a large paper’s Sunday edition is high, forcing some employers to place their ads on weekdays or in
smaller papers, so include these papers in your job search. Demonstrate that you follow instructions by
complying with an employer’s request to fax résumés, refrain from telephone inquiries, provide salary
requirements, or apply in person. If you need to apply in person, visit the company dressed professionally,
bring several copies of your résumé, and be prepared to complete an application form. Note the required
skills listed in each ad and mention them in your cover letter and during the interview. Keep a copy of
any ad you respond to and record the corresponding name and date of the newspaper.
A key to understanding abbreviations used in advertisements are provided below:

401K Option to invest money with tax This ad is for part- and full- FLORAL DESIGNER
breaks; some employers match time positions as a floral F/T P/T positions, gd pay &
your savings designer. Experience is insur, exp req’d. Apply within
AA Affirmative Action required for applicants, at Petals Deluxe, 305 Flower
Appt Appointment and the job offers good Lane, Wethersfield. No
Attn Attention pay with insurance. phone calls. EOE F/D/V
avail Available Applicants should apply in person at the address listed.
Bnfts Benefits Petals Deluxe is an Equal Opportunity Employer that
c/o Care of hires females, the disabled and veterans.
EEO, EOE Equal Employment Opportunity
Equal Opportunity Employer Immed Immediate
A policy that gives each Indivs Individuals
applicant a fair opportunity. Ins Insurance
May appear with M/F/D/H/V, K Thousand
which represent Male, Female, Loc Location
Disabled, Handicapped, M-F Monday through Friday
Veteran Mjr Major
Eqpmt Equipment Nec Necessary
Exc Excellent Oppty, Opps Opportunity, Opportunities
exp’d, exper Experienced, Experience OT Overtime
F/T Full-time P/T Part-time
Fee Paid Temporary agencies charge PC Personal Computer
companies to use their workers. Perm Permanent
While some agencies make Pref, Pref’d Preferred
workers pay this fee, “fee paid” Prof’l Professional
means the agency has paid it. Rep Representative
Flex Flexible Req’d Required
Flex-time Employees are given some Reqmnts Requirements
choice in their work hours. Res Résumé
gd Good Sal+Commis Salary plus Commission
HR Human Resources Shift Diff Shift Differential - a higher
Hrs Hours wage is paid to workers on
2nd or 3rd shift
SALES!!! Some advertisements that temp Temporary
Great opportunity for appear promising require you to trans Transportation
motivated individuals. Set
send money for an “investment w/ With
your own schedule and opportunity” or “training.” Check Wk Week
pay. Call 555-1212 forany company that requests Yr, Yrs Year, Years
more information. money with your local Better
Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Tips on Attending a Job Fair
Work Search Planning A 7

At a job fair, company representatives rent a display area to present information on their company and
its job opportunities. Some companies will conduct in-house job fairs to give a firsthand account of the
working environment and employment opportunities. It is up to you to approach the representatives,
introduce yourself, and describe your employment goals. To find out about upcoming job fairs, visit your
local DOL office, the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Job Fairs Web site at www.ctjobfairs.com, or
your local newspaper. Follow the tips below for a productive job fair visit:

Do Your Homework. Before attending any job fair, obtain a list of the participating companies and
research key information on those firms in which you are interested. Recruiters will ask, “What do you
know about us?” and you should have an answer prepared.

Know What You’re Looking For. When a recruiter asks, “What are you looking for?” be prepared
to answer. Recruiters are not willing to waste their time with people who are in a “what job pays the most”
attitude or are unsure of what they want. Even if you can’t narrow your career choice to fewer than three,
identify only one to each recruiter. If you have more than one résumé, separate each version by colored
folders so you can easily pick the appropriate one. Saying, “Oh, that’s the wrong résumé,” and trying to
take it back could ruin an opportunity.

Bring Extra Résumés and Business Cards. Copiers are generally not available and finding a
copy place takes time away from your job search. Try to determine the number of companies attending
and bring at least one résumé for each company. Note that some companies may request additional
copies in order to forward them on to different departments. If you do happen to run out of résumés,
exchange business cards with the recruiter to ensure that your name will be remembered. Business
cards are also helpful when networking with other job seekers at the fair.

Get the Recruiters’ Business Cards. This allows you to address follow-up calls and letters to a
specific person. Take the time to jot down notes on the back of the card about what you discussed. When
you talk to the recruiter again, you will be able to jar each other’s memory by saying, “I remember you,
we were talking about marketing research opportunities.”

Present Yourself in a Professional Manner. Don’t make the mistake of showing up in casual
attire. Recruiters may consider you if you’re in business casual, but professional attire gives you a
winning edge and reflects your motivation. Be polite, courteous, and pleasant to everyone you
encounter.

Approach Employers Individually. If you choose to carpool with a friend, arrange a meeting time
and split up while visiting companies. Showing up in a group makes a recruiter doubt that you are
serious about your job search efforts. Do not bring children. An employer will be reluctant to hire
someone without reliable daycare.

Go Early. Usually the slowest time of a job fair is the first hour, so arrive early to spend more time
with employers. Give yourself at least an hour to walk through and talk to the company representatives.
The worst time to arrive is the last hour; some employers will have found their new employee and left
early.

Visit as Many Companies as Possible. Pick up a list of the employers exhibiting and visit all of
them. Don’t skip a company because of its name or type of business. A hospital may have openings for
clerical staff and a manufacturer may be looking for a nurse. Check with employment agencies — you
may find the company you wish to work for is represented by one of them.

Talk to Other Candidates. While standing in line, take time to talk to other candidates. Someone
may have turned down a position you would find rewarding. Someone else may be employed at a
company in which you are interested. A job fair is a perfect opportunity to establish new networking
contacts.
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Using Your Telephone
8 A Work Search Planning

Proper use of a telephone during networking and job searching greatly increases your
opportunity for employment. An employer needs to know that he or she will be able to reach
you if necessary and that you will be able to conduct a professional conversation with customers
over the phone. The “Record of Job Leads” on page 54 is useful in documenting telephone
conversations.

Check your Use Your Home Phone Number. If you are currently employed, you should not
p h o n e use your business telephone number for contact information. An employer will
messages gain the impression that you are in the habit of using work time to take care of
at least personal business. Furthermore, if you share a telephone line at work, your co-
once a day, workers and current boss are more likely to find out about your job search. If you
and return phone calls have no other choice than using your work number, mention to the employer that
the same business day. you are only comfortable taking personal calls during your break time. This request
A prompt response to will show that you respect your employer’s rules. If at all possible, establish a one
an employer’s message to two hour time frame to be at home each day to answer telephone calls. Then
not only creates a good when an employer asks for a good time to call, you will be able to give a specific
impression, but also time frame.
gives you an advantage
Follow Phone Etiquette. Every time you answer the phone, use a professional,
over other applicants.
calm voice and identify yourself. For instance, “Hello, Jack Brown speaking.” Keep
a pen, notepad and calendar by your phone for easy reference. When making
telephone calls, make sure there is no background noises such as the T.V., radio, children, or someone
calling for you. Do not smoke, drink or eat while on the phone. Remember to smile while talking to a
contact or an employer. It may seem silly, but smiling helps you to maintain an upbeat tone of voice.
Inform Everyone that Answers the Phone. Let everyone in your home know that an employer may be
calling you, and that they should answer the phone politely. Emphasize the importance of accurate
messages delivered in a timely manner. Try to limit the number of people that will be using the phone.
An employer will not understand if you return a call days later because your roommate forgot to give you
the message or your child didn’t write down the person’s name and phone number.
Have a Message System Ready. You must have voice mail or an answering machine during your job
search. If you do not have a message system, an employer will probably only call twice to try to reach
you before moving on to the next applicant. It is unprofessional to call an employer to see if you missed
a call. The message you choose for your answering machine or voice mail is important. Avoid jokes,
messages by children, or other persons. The employer should hear your voice without background
noise. An appropriate message is: “You have reached 555-6868, the June Smith residence. Please
leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.” If you do not have an
answering system for use while on the Internet, limit Internet use for the evening when employers are
less likely to call. Check your messages at least once a day, and return calls within 24 hours. Do not
expect an employer to leave more than one message; they will only leave a message once and expect
you to return the call.
Ask Permission Before Using a Phone Number. If you do not have a phone, ask permission from a
responsible person to use his or her phone. Let the person know that employers will be calling; it will
only make you look foolish if an employer calls for you and your friend answers, “Oh, he doesn’t live
here,” or “Who’s calling? I didn’t even know he was looking for work.” Check for messages every day.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Networking
Work Search Planning A 9

Did you know that approximately 85% of the job openings are never advertised? Most employers don’t
need to advertise - there are enough interview candidates referred to them from a trusted employee or
colleague. A word-of-mouth referral dramatically increases your chances of being called in for an interview.
Keep in mind that checking the classified ads should not be discontinued, but the greatest percentage of
your time should be spent utilizing the most effective job search technique.
Networking is the most effective way of discovering the hidden job market. The purpose is to develop
and use personal contacts in order to exchange information, ideas and resources, and to get feedback
on your résumé, qualifications, and job search strategies. In the process, your goal is to inform as many
people as possible that you are looking for a job and to let them know what type of job you want. At first,
you may have some reservations about approaching people for help, but once you get started, you will
be surprised at how willing most people are to offer assistance.
First, make a list of all the people you know. Include your extended family, business contacts, friends,
acquaintances, previous employers and previous co-workers, etc. If you do not want your current
employer to know about your job search, do not network with your co-workers. Contact the
career centers of schools you attended; most offer their services to alumni and current students alike.
Register at a DOL office - where services are provided free of charge regardless of your employment
status - to receive job referrals and career counseling. Support groups are also helpful in providing
encouragement, job leads, and information on companies.
Consider five to ten people you can use for a reference, and ask their permission to do so. Record each
person’s name, address, telephone number, and occupation. Let them know what kind of work you are
looking for and give them a copy of your résumé. Typically, each time you apply for a job you will only be
asked for two or three references, but you should use different people so no one person is bombarded
by calls. Family members are not acceptable as references, and you should never use a person as a
reference without his or her permission.
Contact the people on your list and inform them of your job search and describe your work qualifications
and preferences. Send them a copy of your résumé so they will be better able to recommend you if they
hear of a job opening. Line up one or two people to review your résumé and practice interviewing with
them. Ask everyone to recommend you for an appropriate opening, and to notify you of any job
opportunities. Gain as much information as possible by asking questions such as:
l How did you get your current job?
l When you hire someone, what do you look for?
l What training programs or classes do you think would help me?
l What mistakes did you make in your job search?
l What resources did you find particularly helpful in your last job search?
l Will you let me know if you hear of any opportunities that fit my qualifications?
l Who would you recommend for me to contact next?

You are guaranteed to receive conflicting advice, but don’t let confusion prevent action. Consider the
source; usually advice from people in your field is most relevant. Different employers look for different
things in a résumé, interview, and employee. Tactics that may work in one occupation may not work in
another. For instance, if you are looking to land a competitive sales position, aggressiveness and
persistence would probably pay off, but if you are seeking a counseling position, presenting a patient,
understanding persona would be better. If in doubt, err on the conservative side and never do anything
that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Keep in touch with your contacts throughout your job search to update them on your progress. When
you do find employment, inform your network. A formal thank-you note lets them know you appreciated
their time. Remember to extend the same help to them in the future.

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What If?
10 A Work Search Planning

I am a student. When I was fired from my last job.


Q. should I start my job
search?
Q. How should I present this
in my job search?

A. A.
If you are graduating soon from high If you have been fired from your last
school, college, or a training program, job, you should allow yourself time to
you should begin your job search two process your emotions. Then, in an
to three months before the graduation date. objective mindframe, you should reflect on why
Starting your job search early gives you a distinct your job was terminated and determine if you need
advantage over your competing classmates. It to adjust your job search. Should you look for a
gives you time to prepare your résumé, practice different type of job? Update your skills? Modify
your interviewing skills, obtain references, and your behavior? Addressing the issue and releasing
network. your emotions is necessary in order to be
productive in your search for a new job.
When you design your résumé, you will want to
emphasize your education by placing it above Do not rely on the myth that it is against the law to
your work experience (see page 23.) If your work give a bad reference; employers can and do give
experience is limited or unrelated to your desired bad references. Once you have formulated a job
job, it may be best to use the functional or search plan that addresses the issues related with
combination format. Even if you are looking for your termination, contact your former employer.
entry-level work, do not include that phrase in your Explain that you are in the process of finding
objective. If you held any leadership positions in employment and give an example of how you plan
school activities, such as captain of the football to explain your termination in an interview. Ask if it
team or president of the yearbook, be sure to coincides with the reference he or she plans to
include these in your activities. They demonstrate give. You may be fortunate enough to have an
strong leadership skills which employers are employer that will explain the dismissal as a mutual
looking for. decision.
Most schools have counselors, resource rooms, If you are guilty of any wrongdoing such as theft,
and computers to help you with your job search. insubordination, or lying, it is especially important
They are often the best way to find employment to contact your previous employer. For example,
before and after graduation. Make an early Joe was fired for theft from his previous employer.
appointment with a counselor to secure He contacted his former employer, apologized for
individualized attention. At graduation time, they his mistake, and arranged a payment plan. He
will be bombarded with requests and will have prepared the following statement to explain his
less time to spend with you. Counselors typically termination in an interview. “I was terminated from
have many contacts with local employers, so my last job because I stole equipment valued at
consulting with them is an easy way to get your $300. I understand that this was a violation of trust,
résumé in circulation. Your school may even host and have made payment arrangements with my
its own job fairs. previous employer in order to make amends. I
have learned from my mistake, and am anxious to
Employers want employees with updated skills
return to work.”
and related work experience. Hopefully, you have
balanced your education with experiences gained In order to reestablish your work record, you may
through school activities, part-time work, have to take a position with less responsibility or
internships, co-ops, job shadowing, or volunteer income than your previous one. You may want to
work. Even if your program does not require consider working temporary jobs through an
technology classes, most employers expect employment agency in order to reestablish your
familiarity with computer software programs. Ask work record. Remember, your future employer is
those who have already graduated in your area taking a greater risk offering you a job instead of a
of study which computer programs are most used, typical candidate.
and learn them.

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Dressing Professionally
Work Search Planning A 11

An employer knows very little about your personality and abilities, and has to rely on the few times you
meet to make a decision. They want someone who will be able to represent the company well - persons
with all the right experience and skills may be passed by if they do not possess a professional image.
Dressing professionally is necessary throughout your job search, even when you are not talking to an
employer. You must dress in your best business attire when you pick up an application, network, conduct
an informational interview, attend a formal interview, and when you begin working.
Cleanliness - You should have showered that day and have clean, neatly combed hair. You will be
shaking hands with employers so make sure your fingernails are neatly trimmed and clean. Refrain
from using cologne or perfume since many people are allergic and the fragrance can be distracting.
Brush your teeth - you don’t want a piece of food in your teeth as you talk to an employer. Your clothes
should be clean and pressed without tears, stains or wrinkles.
Clothing - Your clothes should always be clean and neatly pressed - never wear stained or torn clothing.
For business professionals, wear a dark, conservative suit and polished, unscuffed dress shoes. Women
should wear a business suit with a knee length skirt, natural-toned nylons and shoes with a moderate
heel. Men should not forget to wear a belt, tie, dark socks, and creased pants. If you are applying for a
job that is less formally attired, such as construction or assembly work, business casual is appropriate.
This includes a button-down, tucked in shirt, pants, belt, and shoes. Under no circumstances should
sneakers, sandals, jeans, shorts, t-shirts, short or tight clothing be worn. A general rule of thumb is to
dress for the position above the one for which you are applying. For instance, if you are applying for a
cashier position, you should dress as though you were the store manager.
Hair - Hair should be clean, trimmed, and neatly combed. During
your job search, schedule frequent haircuts to maintain a freshly
trimmed style and avoid an overgrown or shaggy look. Avoid any
A professional image
unnatural hair dyes. Men should be clean shaven or have neatly will make people
trimmed facial hair. If a woman’s hair falls below the shoulders it
should be pulled back or up. more comfortable in
Jewelry - The one piece of jewelry everyone should wear is a referring you to an
watch since it helps you to stay on time and communicates
responsibility. A belt should always be worn with pants for a
employer.
complete, neat look. Both women and men should limit rings to
one finger and, if at all possible, conceal tattoos. Men should leave
additional jewelry at home - this includes earrings, bracelets, extra
rings, and necklaces. For women, light make-up and one pair of earrings is preferred. Fingernails
should be business length - just past the fingertips, and no loud colors or designs. Clear polish or a
french manicure is best. Anklets should not be worn.
Manners - Along with dressing properly, you must communicate confidence and professionalism. Do
not use slang words or swear, smoke, or chew gum. Maintain eye contact and speak in a clear voice.
Answer with “yes” and “no,” not “yeah,” “nah,” or “uh-huh.” Avoid nervous mannerisms such as fidgeting,
tapping, or touching your hair. An interviewer will notice if you are uncomfortable or fidgeting with your
clothes. Wear your outfit before meeting with an employer to know that it is comfortable to sit, stand, and
walk in and needs no adjustments. Do not eat anything during an interview.

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The Application Form
12 A Work Search Planning

The application form should be taken seriously; many applicants have lost job opportunities due to
unfinished or carelessly completed forms. Whenever you visit an employer to inquire about a job or
arrive for an interview, be prepared to fill out a job application. Prior to your initial visit, pick up a job
application at almost any business establishment to see what information is requested. Then document
the information below and bring it with you when making any employer contact.

Employment History - For each job you’ve held, record the company name and address along with
your supervisor’s name and telephone number. Confirm that this information is still accurate - phone
numbers and mailing addresses can change. Include the month and year of the beginning and ending
dates of employment.

Personal Information - You will need to provide your address, telephone number, Social Security Number,
driver’s license number, and any necessary working papers. You should not use your current work
telephone number for contact information. Other information that is typically requested includes the
name and address of schools you have attended, your course of study, graduation dates, and G.P.A.
Include information on high school, colleges, training programs and equivalency tests.

References - You must ask a person’s permission before using them as a reference. It will only reflect
badly on you if an employer were to call an unprepared person. Your references should have a copy of
your résumé and be familiar with your qualifications and the type of job you are seeking. You will need
the full name, home address, telephone number, and occupational title for each of your references.
Have at least five to ten solid references available and alternate names so that no one person is bombarded
with calls. Family members are not acceptable references.

To complete an accurate, neat application form, follow the additional tips below:
l Tell the truth. If you lie on an application form, l Be neat and clear. Do not eat or drink while
you can be fired. completing the application, and be sure to print
clearly. If an employer has to struggle to
l Read the entire application form before filling understand your handwriting, he or she will
it out. Provide the information where it is probably skip over it.
requested. For example, notice if you should
write your last name first or if there are l Keep your future job in mind when describing
separate lines for street and town information. your previous experience. For example, if
your last job was as a sales clerk but you are
l Fill out all the information. If you are not sure now applying for a bookkeeping job, you would
what the question is asking, ask for first list the job duties of the sales position that
clarification. If a question does not apply to involved bookkeeping, i.e., balancing a cash
you, print “not applicable” or “n/a.” This shows drawer, calculating sales discounts, following
that you did not just skip over a section. written instructions, etc., before the primary
customer service skills.
l Print or type the information. Bring a blue or
black pen to fill out the application. Any other l Sign and date the application form.
color is unprofessional, and borrowing a pen
shows you are unprepared. l Proofread. Once you have completed the
form, reread it to make sure the information is
l Apply for a specific job. You may list up to accurate and complete. Double check that
three job titles, but never write “anything.” you have provided a telephone number.

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Career Development on the Job
Work Search Planning A 13

Even if you take a job temporarily, it is important to provide valuable work to your employer. Not only
does this establish a reference for a future job, but it also maintains your self-worth and workplace
morale. Use your present job to gain as much experience, training, and skills as possible. In the event
that you do decide to move on to a new job, remember to give at least two weeks’ notice. Following the
guidelines below will improve your chances for raises, promotions, and positive career development.

1. each
Be Punctual and Dependable. Your employer should be able to rely on you to show up on time
day for work. If your day begins at 8:00, you should actually be working at 7:50, not walking
in the door or getting coffee. Do not call in sick unless you actually are sick - too many sick days will look
poor on your job attendance record. Limit your personal phone calls to established break times.

2. Be Neat. Even if your boss’s desk is a mess, your work area and equipment should be kept neat
and organized. This helps you to work productively while projecting a responsible image and
respect for the company’s equipment.
Communicate with Your Boss. If performance evaluations are not offered, ask your boss to set
3. aside a time to discuss your performance and suggestions for improvement. Be open to constructive
criticism. Volunteer for new projects, overtime or new responsibilities. If you have to approach your
boss with a question or problem, you should be able to offer a suggestion or possible solution.
Avoid Criticism. Employers value good morale as much as technical skills, so do not complain
4. about your work environment or co-workers. Never criticize your boss to others. Instead of
saying, “What a stupid rule,” ask why the rule exists. Usually there is a good reason for workplace
procedures.
Stay Informed. Read relevant books, magazines, and other sources of information pertinent to
5. your company and job. Keep in touch with the news - are local, state, or national issues likely to
affect your business?
Update Your Skills. Inquire about training programs and tuition reimbursement at your company.
6. Most colleges now offer distance learning classes; if your schedule is too hectic to attend a class,
consider taking an on-line course. Keeping your skills up-to-date will help you become more productive
and will increase your employment opportunities and options.
Keep a Journal. Record important dates and events at work. Include your accomplishments,
7. instances where you performed beyond what was required, and problems with employers or co-
workers. Keeping track of your accomplishments helps in validating your importance during evaluations
or salary negotiations. This information can be used to update your résumé (which should be done
every six months), and is important for a new job or promotion. If you have a serious problem with a co-
worker or employer, a record of specific events and corresponding dates will help you prove your point-
of-view.
Don’t Steal. Using company equipment for personal use is theft. This includes office supplies, e-
8. mail, Internet use, computer software, or borrowing equipment. Many employers have the capability
to check your e-mail messages, deleted documents, and Internet use and will not hesitate to fire individuals
in violation of company policy.
Dress and Act Professionally. Your employer should not be in the awkward position of reminding
9. you to dress and act professionally. If you are interested in a promotion, you should dress as
though you already had the position. Treat everyone you encounter with courtesy and respect. If you
have an ongoing problem with an individual, ask a supervisor to sit in on a discussion between the two
of you.

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When to Look for Work
14 A Work Search Planning

Even if you are perfectly happy in your current job, you should stay
aware of changes in your company, the job market, and your personal
responsibilities that affect your job security. It is rare for a person to
spend their working life in one job or company; on average, a person
will change jobs eight times during his or her lifetime. Consider the
topics below to determine the right time to look for work. It is best to
explore possible changes and options before you become discouraged
or displaced.

Is Your Industry or If competition in your industry has dramatically increased, if new


Company in Trouble? government initiatives will negatively affect your industry, or if a shrinking
customer base is in the future, your industry may be in jeopardy. If
your company has had a minimal or zero profit margin for several years
or is using 20% or more of its earnings to repay debts, financial trouble
is a major concern. A dependency on troubled companies as clients or
a small market share compared with competitors can be red flags.
Commonplace layoffs, mergers, acquisitions, early retirement offers,
and downsizing are all indicators of industry and company trouble.

Is Your Job Type at Risk? If your job is managing other managers, consists of monitoring, checking
or inspecting, or lacks visibility, it may not be secure. Also, if you have
been in the same job for over six years, have been working primarily
on a product or service that has had poor results, or have difficulty
demonstrating a direct contribution to profit, you may need to reevaluate
your position. If your job can be easily out-sourced to another
department, outside agency, or performed by someone with a lower
salary, it may not survive budget cuts.

Are You Buying a House or If you are purchasing a home or have expensive medical care, it may
Have Medical Expenses? be in your best interest to stay put. Changing jobs can affect home
loan approvals; generally lenders like to see a two year commitment to
your most recent job. If you are experiencing large medical expenses,
you must consider that medical benefits vary from employer to employer,
and changing jobs can create a lapse in coverage.

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When to Look for Work
Work Search Planning A 15

Have You Changed? The perfect job is only relative; you may have outgrown your
job or it may simply no longer fit your life-style. If your health
or family obligations have changed, perhaps you need a job
with different hours and responsibilities.

How Valuable are You as Looking for another job keeps you informed of other opportunities
an Employee? and also lets you know how competitive you are in the job market.
If your skills have become outdated or job specific, consider
training programs in order to update your skills or develop new
ones. Job-hopping is often viewed as a flaw in employees, so if
you have been changing jobs often, you may need to stay
longer to demonstrate dependability.

If you find yourself making negative comments such as “I hate


Do You Dread the this job,” or “I just dread another Monday morning,” you must
Workday? examine what you specifically dislike about your job, and then
decide if you need a new one or can adjust your present job or
attitude to satisfy your needs. If you find yourself bored or
postponing job duties, you might need to change your career. If
you are unhappy due to your work environment, including co-
workers, management style or a long commute, a job with similar
duties at another company might be the answer. Seeking a
different position with your current employer through a transfer
or promotion is a good way to change your work routine without
losing established benefits.

On average, a person
will change jobs eight
times during his or her
lifetime.

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Deciding on a Career
16 B Career Planning
If you are considering changing your occupation, your best strategy is to explore your career
options before making a commitment. Self-assessment exercises are important to find a job that fits
your skills, interests, values, and life-style. An unsuitable employment match will create stress, frustration,
and a sense of failure. Understand that there is not just one “perfect” fit for a job, but many jobs
that can fit your interests and skills. You are capable of learning many jobs; you just need to
choose one that best satisfies your personal needs.
What would you like to do for work? This answer may be very different from what your family, friends,
and even you think you should do. Often the idea of your dream job comes with a but - “but I don’t have
the education,” “but I don’t have the experience,” “but it’s so competitive.” Focus on solutions; perhaps
you can go to school on a part-time basis while working for an employer that offers tuition reimbursement.
Consider part-time or volunteer work in a field of your interest to gain experience. If you are undecided
between two career paths, ask a career counselor about job shadowing opportunities or obtain two
part-time positions (one in each field) to better understand the job characteristics before committing to
a lengthy training program. Even if your process is slower than you desire, you are still one step closer
to your new career. The reward is the satisfaction of knowing that you are working toward a goal you
find important and will ultimately have a job you enjoy.
There are a variety of sources for information on occupations; some are listed on page 49. In order to
gain a better understanding of a specific career, consult with guidance counselors, librarians, and most
importantly, employees who work in the field. Ask as many people as possible what they do for a living
and for a description of their daily work routine. You may stumble onto a career that you would have
otherwise never known about. Another good resource is newspaper ads. Clip out job descriptions that
peak your interest, and list what specifically attracts you to the job along with the requirements for
employment. Investigate the following categories for each of the careers you are researching:

l Advantages and disadvantages of the job l Professional associations

l Brief description of the job and daily tasks l Related occupations

l Career ladder, advancement possibilities l Salary for entry-level and experienced workers

l Cost and location of training l Skills/interests required

l Education/training requirements l Stress level

l Job security and future changes l Tools/materials/machines used

l Location of jobs l Typical working hours on daily and yearly basis

l Physical demands l Work environment

Keep in mind that there are many options within a field. For instance, the medical profession not only
includes nurses and doctors, but also physician assistants, laboratory technicians, home healthcare
aids and research staff. So, if upon self-assessment you find you are interested in science, value
serving others, and need mental challenge, but want a dependable 40-hour work week with set times,
low stress and limited contact with the public, you would be better suited for laboratory technician or
research worker than a nurse or doctor.

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Deciding on a Career
Career Planning B 17

What if I Still Can’t Decide What I Want to Do?


One exercise that is often helpful is describing your ideal job to friends and asking them for suggestions
that fit the description. For instance, if you said your ideal job involved hiking, cleaning up the environment,
and helping animals, your friend might suggest a forest ranger, parks and recreation manager, or
groundskeeping job. Researching these careers at the library provides even more career possibilities.
Go into as much detail as possible in your description, and use your imagination.
If you cannot describe your ideal job, start by describing your worst job or an activity you dread and then
try to find a job that reflects the opposite characteristics. For instance, if your worst job would be a low-
paying baby-sitting job for hyperactive children, your job description would start with a quiet office
environment, moderate income, and organization. Then brainstorm with a friend to find occupations
that fit this description.

My Perfect Job Won’t Work - Now What?


If you are interested in a career, but realize it simply isn’t feasible at this time, don’t despair. Examine
the characteristics of the job that attracted you to it in the first place and look for another one with similar
qualities. For example, you decide you want to become a travel agent. During your research, you
discover that the income is unreliable because would-be customers are booking their own flights using
the Internet, airlines are cutting commissions, and people tend to reduce their travel time during
recessions. You would like a job that has more security and promising future. To help decide on an
alternative career, begin by taking a look at what attracted you to the position:

Travel Agent Characteristics After considering the list and other interests, you decide to
l Opportunity to travel investigate flight attendant and children’s party clown careers.
l Short training program l The flight attendant career relies on travel, has a short
l Works with the public training program, involves the public, is fun, and pays more
l Average stress than a travel agent, but has more stress and does not rely
l Pays the salary I need on organizational skills. Also, layoffs are common during
l Uses my organizational skills recessions.
l It’s fun l The children’s party clown career would allow you to travel
on a smaller scale, has a short training program, works with
the public, has less stress, requires organizational skills,
and is fun. Extended travel would be possible if working for
a circus, and self-employment is possible. However, the
salary would be initially less than a travel agent.
These possibilities are promising, and after talking to people
in these fields along with further research, you decide to pursue
a career as a children’s party clown.

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Self-Assessment
18 B Career Planning
Self-assessment is an important step in writing your résumé, in describing yourself to a potential employer,
and in figuring out what kind of job suits you. In an interview, you must be able to confidently describe
your skills and give examples of how you used them to resolve a problem. This requires researching
you.
Skills are abilities and techniques that enable you to accomplish tasks and goals. Write down things you
enjoy doing and think of what skills they entail. The activities do not have to be work related, and can
include daily tasks such as painting a spare room, creating flyers for an event, tutoring children, etc. If
you are unsure about what your strengths are, consider what your friends and family ask for your help in.
Is it changing the oil on the car, investing money, or for advice on a personal problem? These can be
indicators of skills you now possess and may point to your next career.
Do not limit your career choices to the skills you now have; skills can be learned and developed. If you
have dreamed of writing but haven’t picked up a pen in years, start developing your skills. Begin writing
in a journal every day, join a writers’ club, take a class at your local college or on-line. Develop the skills
you need for the job you want. If you feel you need additional help, ask a guidance counselor about
skills and interest assessment. Consider the list below to describe your abilities:

administer design mediate in disputes


attention to detail entertain others meet deadlines
budget expenses explain new ideas motivate others
build a team find solutions to problems multilingual
calculate numerical data finish tasks on time organize people and tasks
communicate ideas follow verbal directions persuasive sales skills
computer knowledge follow written instructions physical strength
conceptualize goal-oriented plan projects
coordinate meetings guide prioritize tasks
counsel people hand dexterity proofread text
create publications initiate projects react to situations calmly
creative ability integrity and dedication reduce costs
delegate lead research information
describe in detail learn skills and concepts easily simplify procedures
spatial conception
speak in public

?
How do you transform an everyday task into job-related
skills? Start by describing the task performed, and then solve problems
choose skills that describe the task. You may be supervise others
surprised at the work related skills you already possess. teach and train others
Project: Painting a room type efficiently
visualize
Description: Figured out amount of paint needed to stay within
budget, prepared the room, gathered supplies needed, chose a work in teams
color to complement the room, finished in the time planned, and work independently
cleaned up the room work under stress
Skills: Budget expenses, calculate numerical data, plan project, write detailed instructions
organize tasks, creative ability, finish tasks on time, work write reports
independently

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Self-Assessment
Career Planning B 19

In addition to assessing skills, you should also consider your values, interests, and preferred work
environment. Taking time to think about what you want to do and the type of place you would like to work
in is necessary for developing a satisfying career.
The questions below can help identify your work environment. Prioritize your responses by how strongly
you feel about them. For instance, is it more important for you to work outdoors or have the opportunity
to counsel people? While there are careers that incorporate seemingly contradictory characteristics,
you may have to choose between two favorable aspects. You should not expect your job to capture all
of your interests; some people even prefer to keep their greatest interests separate from the stress and
criticism of a work environment.

What would I like to learn more about? Am I comfortable supervising other people?
What type of magazines, books, and Am I comfortable working under close
newspapers articles do I read the most? supervision?
In school, I enjoyed classes in ___________. Am I comfortable working in a position that
regularly receives criticism?
As a child, I dreamed about becoming a ___.
Do I prefer a fast-paced work environment that
As an adult, I dream about becoming a ____.
requires quick reactions, or a slow-paced
People describe me as_________________. work environment with more time for
decisions?
I have the most respect for people who are:
a. athletic b. benelovent c. brave Do I prefer work that has immediate results?
d. creative e. intelligent f. spiritual
Would I enjoy working with the public?
I have won awards for_________________.
Do I enjoy counseling or teaching others?
I am most proud of: ___________________.
Am I comfortable in judging and disciplining
Do I prefer to work alone or with others? others?

Do I enjoy working with tools? Do I use my authority to control others?

Do I enjoy “tinkering” to figure out how Am I comfortable in a job with physical risk?
something works? Am I willing to take on a high level of
How important is it to have a job that helps responsibility for other people’s health,
others? Demands respect? Earns a high finances, or legal rights?
income? What income level will suit my needs?
List what you liked and disliked about your What length of time am I willing to dedicate to
previous jobs. education and training?
Are most of my activities outside or indoors? Will I be happy in a career that requires frequent
Am I good at talking others into sharing my updating of skills?
opinion or performing a task? Am I willing to travel or relocate for a job?
Do I perform better in a structured I would like to work for a:
environment with detailed procedures and a. large established corporation,
rules? b. small, slow growth company,
Do I perform better in an environment which c. small, rapid growth company, or
encourages creativity and expression? d. my own business.

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The Anatomy of a Résumé
20
C Résumés and Cover Letters
A résumé is a “calling card” to raise an employer’s interest in your skills and experience to
secure an interview. Since this will often be your first impression, it is important to have a
professional résumé that displays your abilities in the best light. There are two basic kinds of
résumés:

Chronological Résumé Functional Résumé


Organized by work history, this Organized by skills and
format begins with the most experience, this format
recent employer with job duties, downplays gaps in employment
job titles, and dates, detailing up and unrelated work experience.
to 20 years of employment This format should be used for
history. Most employers prefer persons who have minimal or no
this style, and it should be used formal work history, have
for job seekers who have a decided to change careers,
recent work history, have been have changed jobs often, or
in a job for two or more years, have gaps in employment.
and are looking for a job similar
to their previous jobs.

Whichever style of résumé you feel fits your needs, a résumé should have clear, easily
distinguished sections. Many people find writing a résumé a daunting task. If you find
yourself avoiding it, concentrate on one section at a time.

Personal Information n Your name, home address, phone number (with area code), and
e-mail address should appear at the top of the page.
n If you have a two-page résumé, your name should also appear
at the top of the second page.
n Unless you are in modeling, entertainment, or video journalism,
do not include photographs or physical descriptions of any kind.

Objective n Clear, focused objectives let an employer know you are focused
in your job search. Avoid vague, “one-size-fits-all” objectives
and do not use the phrase “entry-level.”
n A strong objective will be specific about the type of job and
business sought. If you are considering more than one type of
position, create several different versions of your résumé.

Skills n A summary of skills should be listed after the objective. Be sure


to include computer skills, other languages, and special
certification relevant to the position you are seeking.
n In a functional résumé, this section is expanded and the main
focus; skills are grouped by type.

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Anatomy of a Résumé
Résumés and Cover Letters C 21

Work History n Start with your most recent history and work backwards, detailing
the last three to five positions for up to 20 years. The title of
your position, the name of the company, the town and state of
the company, and the month and year of your employment should
all be included.
n If earlier positions are not relevant to the job for which you are
applying, omit the description of job duties.
n With each position listed, emphasize the major accomplishments
and responsibilities that demonstrate your full competence to
do the job. Do not repeat details that are common to several
positions.
n Once the most significant aspects of your work are defined, it is
generally unneccessary to include lesser achievements since
they will be assumed by employers.
n In a functional résumé, companies and titles are often listed near
the bottom of the résumé without job descriptions or dates of
employment.

Education n If you have graduated within the last five years, your education
should be placed above your work history, if it has been more
than five years, place it after the work history.
n If you are a college graduate, it is unneccessary to list your high
school information. However, if you have a master’s or doctorate
degree, you should still list your bachelor’s degree.
n Your graduation date should be included with your course of
study. If your graduation date is within six months, you may list
“anticipated graduation date of June 2003.”
n If your highest education attainment is a G.E.D. certification, it
should be listed with the date certification is/was awarded.
n Recent graduates may list relevant classes along with a G.P.A.
of 3.0 or higher.

Military n Any military experience with an honorable discharge should have


its own section.
n If you have received special experience or training relevant to
your position, detail as you would a job description. Choose
language that human resources managers will be familiar with.
n Do not omit military experience since some organizations give
hiring preference to veterans.

Activities n This optional section reveals your personal side and makes it
easier for employers to begin casual conversations.
n Include hobbies, charity work, and organizations you belong to.
Be careful not to include controversial organizations since most
businesses prefer to appear neutral to customers.

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Anatomy of a Résumé
22
C Résumés and Cover Letters

Headline Résumés
This format is also gaining
popularity among job seekers and
employers. A survey of certified
professional résumé writers and
employment professionals in
Connecticut promotes the Headline
Résumé format as an effective
résumé for today’s job seekers. The
Headline Résumé highlights the
individual’s skills, accomplishments,
experiences and qualifications
needed for the occupation early in
the résumé and, therefore, improves
the chances for consideration.

Advantages
! Employers can quickly learn about the person
! Headline statement that includes the occupation title and critical occupation skills
at the beginning adds impact to the résumé, and improves the chances for
consideration
! Includes areas of expertise (keywords), which highlight specific knowledge and
skills
! Eliminates using an objective statement which, in many cases, simply states the
obvious to the employer
! Effective for all career fields and levels of skills

Disadvantages
! Does not include multiple occupations of interest, which may narrow job search
! May be difficult to identify correct occupation

Use the Headline Résumé if you:


! have a specific occupation or trade with critical skills
! have extensive qualifications which you’ve compiled over the years and are
applicable to the occupation of interest
! are looking for a job similar to your previous job(s)

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Sample: Chronological Résumé
Résumés and Cover Letters C 23

In this résumé, the applicant is seeking a temporary internship for school credit, and hopes to find
permanent employment after graduation. In this case, listing a current and future career objective is
acceptable; however it should be used with caution since most employers will be reluctant to hire and
train someone who might soon change jobs. The education section has been placed above the work
experience because the graduation date is within the year and it is relevant to the position sought.

Peter A. Wolfe
560 Forest Lane
Manchester, CT 06040
(203) 555-7878
wolfe@aol.com

Career Objectives Current: Part-time internship as a legal secretary in an environmental law firm.
Future: Full-time position as a paralegal in an envrionmental law firm.

Skills Summary • Accurate typist with speed of 70 w.p.m.


• Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
• Persuasive customer service skills
• Impeccable spelling and grammar

Education Paralegal Certification Course, Manchester Community College


G.P.A. of 3.1, Anticipated Graduation Date of June 2002

Work Experience 1987 - Present


Office Assistant - Building & Growing Construction - Coventry, CT
• Established new filing system for streamlined records
• Organized frequent meetings and luncheons for groups of thirty
• Edited and contributed articles to the employee newsletter
• Documented and processed time sheets for 60 employees

1985 - 1987
Receptionist - Comfy Home Real Estate - Tolland, CT
• Directed phone calls for ten realtors
• Created “quick service” phone book for in-house use
• Greeted customers and attended to their needs and questions

1981 - 1984
Cashier - Handy Hardware - Coventry, CT
• Responsible for high-volume cash transactions
• Designed merchandise displays

Interests Soccer, Training for the Boston Marathon, Photography,


Volunteer for Green Neighbor and Habitat for Humanity

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Sample: Two-Page Chronological Résumé
24
C Résumés and Cover Letters
A two-page résumé is acceptable for a person with well-established experience seeking a job in the
same field. Pages should be single-sided and the applicant’s name should appear on both pages. Note
that more space is dedicated to the most recent job, with less space to earlier positions. In this résumé,
the part-time job held in 1989-1990 is simply listed because it is unrelated to the applicant’s field. If
requested, further explanation would be offered during an interview. Even though Holly recently received
her M.B.A. from UCONN, she places her education at the bottom of the résumé, thereby emphasizing
her extensive work experience.

HOLLY JENKINS
555 Main Street
Colchester, CT 06040
(860) 555-6633

CAREER OBJECTIVE:
A marketing managerial position offering opportunity in solving marketing problems and creating profitable
programs. Well-qualified to contribute in such areas as Marketing Management, Marketing Research,
Planning or New Product Development.

SUMMARY OF EXPERIENCE:
l Self-directed and motivated professional with vision and eleven years’ progressive experience in
product sales and marketing support.
l Innovative, dedicated manager with excellent ability to both plan ahead and improvise as situations
present themselves.
l Proficient at coordinating and managing projects with proven track record of improving sales and
reducing costs.
l Qualified in motivational training and thematic approaches, cooperative learning strategies, and
integrated lessons.
l Possess strong organizational, analytical, and communication skills in highly visible and responsible
positions.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY:
1992 - Present ABC Company, Colchester, Connecticut
Communications Manager, Agency Marketing Services
l Developed and implemented a marketing support program for over 20 new and
30 improved product lines.
l Expanded field sales by 30% through research and development of a direct mail
campaign.
l Developed and conducted in-house training sessions for field representatives
on software set-up, life and annuity products, taxation, and consumer
investment strategies.
l Directed a series of consumer/dealer acceptance studies responsible for the
introduction of a $3,200,000 contra-seasonal recreation product.
l Headed task force that introduced computerized forecasting and inventory
control system saving $21,000 annually and improving cash flow.
l Received bonus for creating Marketing Expense Control System allowing for
monthly detailed budget analysis and providing guidelines for projected
expenditures.
l Involved with almost all levels of product design. Credited with saving over
$60,000 in production costs and providing product line continuity by personally
designing new graphics, logo, and color scheme for entire consumer line.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Sample: Two-Page Chronological Résumé
Résumés and Cover Letters C 25

HOLLY JENKINS
Page 2

1990-1992 XYZ COMPANY, Charlotte, North Carolina


Sales Administration Manager
l Handled all bid quotations for stateside and international requests for corporate
consumer products and distribution in foreign markets.
l Developed sales opportunities with appropriate overseas affiliates and provided
specific product sales data, prices and information from all domestic companies,
as well as outside vendors.
l Redesigned international sales campaign of five product lines which resulted in
65% increase in efficiency of operations and 40% increase in sales during the
first year.
l Decreased shipping costs by $35,000 by combining customer orders and
establishing series of dealer-located factory warehouses. Strategic move
allowed floor-plan lender to advance funds for further production.

1989 - 1990 QRS PHARMACY, Atlanta, Georgia


Assistant Manager

1983 - 1989 LMN CORPORATION, Oakdale, California


Marketing Manager, Employee Insurance Administration
l Motivated and directed two line managers and 14 sales personnel.
l Maintained close liaison with 200 dealers and 12 foreign distributors.
l Administered marketing budget and formulated pricing and margin structures.
l Supervised creation of advertising and promotional materials and coordinated
media purchases.
l Instituted cost reduction program and converted previous loss situation into
$17,000 profit.
l Restructured compensation program and installed new sales quota system to
be more responsive to changing company needs.
l Saved over $13,000 by renegotiating manufacturer representative accounts.

EDUCATION:
2000 M.B.A., University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut
1980 B.S., Marketing/Finance, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

COMPUTER SKILLS:
ACCESS, DBase III+, Excel, FoxPro, Internet savvy, MicroSoft Word, Powerbase, PowerPoint, Unisys

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Sample: Functional Résumé
26
C Résumés and Cover Letters
A functional résumé is appropriate when there is job-hopping, re-entry into the workforce or a change in
careers. This résumé is an example of a recent graduate who is changing careers and chooses to
emphasize skills over work experience. The work experience is described with the future employer in
mind; writing skills are promoted over the primary financial responsibilities of the accounting position.
Typically, a functional résumé would not include employment dates, but they are included in this example
because there is a record of continuous employment.

Andrew Dragon
42 Blossom Drive (860) 555-5555
Wethersfield, CT 06109 dragon@aol.com

Objective To obtain a writing or marketing position for a well established magazine.

Education B.A. in English - December 2001 - G.P.A. 3.7/4.0


Southern Connecticut State University

B.A. in Accounting - May 1980 - G.P.A. 3.5/4.0


Southern Connecticut State University

Relevant Skills and Courses

n Communication
n Advanced American Literature
Accurate, lively, and fresh writing style specializing in
n Advanced Fiction Writing
non-fiction topics. Created reports for local businesses
n Harlem Renaissance
through Professional Writing Internship class.
n History of the Language
n Professional Writing Internship
n Literature
n The Study of Words
Familiar with a wide range of authors from Chaucer to
n Technical Writing and Communication
Angelou; focus on American authors.
n The Works of Chaucer
n Writing for Business and Industry
n Technical
Proficient in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Employment History

1998 - present Clerk, Quiet Corner Book Store, New Haven, CT


Assist customers with locating items; create flyers and promotional materials for
special events.

1978 - 1998 Accountant, Freeman & Reed Accounting Services, New Haven, CT
Created brochures, business cards, and advertisements to promote accounting
services. Managed financial records for 20 clients.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Sample: Headline Résumé
Résumés and Cover Letters C 27

RICHARD F. JOBSEEKER
35 Gridleon Street
RICHARD F. JOBSEEKER
Bristol, CT 06010-6207
35 Gridleon Street

(860) 555-5555 (H) rfjobseeker.com


(860) 555-5555 (H) ACTION-ORIENTED DYNAMIC RETAIL MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL
rfjob@rfjobseeker.com
ACTION-ORIENTED DYNAMIC RETAIL
AREAS MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL
OF EXPERTISE
l RETAIL OPERATIONS
l RETAIL OPERATIONS l MERCHANDISING l CUSTOMER SERVICE

Team Builder with strong leadership aptitude. Highly effective motivator. Superior customer service skills. Able to
develop credibility and confidence with the public. Solid organizational and multitasking skills. Easily establish rapport.
Troubleshooter with demonstrated ability to identify problems and implement solutions. Excellent interpersonal and
communication skills. Computer literacy includes MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Internet savvy.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

ALMOST FAMOUS Watertown, CT 1/90 to Present

Store Manager
Manage all facets of daily operations for upscale retail apparel and accessories store with annual sales of $2 million.
• Oversee activities and efforts of 23 sales associates. Train staff in providing superior customer service.
• Establish and coordinate work and vacation schedules. Arrange coverage for absences.
• Orchestrate recruiting efforts including screening resumes/applications, interviewing and hiring personnel. Refer
for termination. Conduct exit interviews.
• Evaluate staff and deliver constructive performance appraisals. Compensate employees based on corporate
guidelines and policies.
• Maintain and monitor computer sales and inventory programs. E-mail weekly reports to District Manager.
• Coordinate creative merchandising efforts by adapting corporate provided materials to customer demographics.
• Address and resolve problems with vendors and suppliers.
• Resolved and corrected overstock problems resulting in $2,000 monthly additional sales.
• Reduced employee theft 100% by developing and instituting Team Sign Out Policy. Received $500 bonus and
commendation from company president. Policy now implemented in all stores nationwide.

FOUR STAR VIDEO West Hartford, CT 7/85 - 11/89

Customer Service Manager


Oversaw operations for independently owned video rental store with average weekly revenues of $22k
• Supervised and assisted 12 Service Representatives in establishing memberships, processing rentals,
arranging merchandise and dealing with customer service issues. Trained staff to provide courteous and
efficient service.
• Handled recruiting functions including reviewing applications, conducting on-site interviews, hiring and
performance reviews. Counseled, disciplined and terminated staff in appropriate instances.
• Maintained, monitored and updated sales and inventory records on customized software program.
• Reduced employee turnover and enhanced morale by instituting store-sponsored health insurance plan.
• Increased sales by 45% by instituting Favorite Customer Reward Plan.

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Science in Management - University of Hartford, Hartford, CT

KEYWORDS: Cost Reduction, Customer Driven Management, Customer Liaison, Customer Loyalty, Customer
Retention, Customer Satisfaction, Diversity Management, Employee Relations, Employee Retention, Incentive
Planning, Merit Promotions, Order Fulfillment, Promotions, Public Relations, Sales Incentives, Sales Management,
Service Measures, Special Events, Staffing

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Tips for Professional Résumés
28
C Résumés and Cover Letters

n Keep your next job target in mind. The most effective


Update your
résumé every
résumés are clearly focused on a specific job title and
six months. If address the employer’s stated requirements for the position.
you find yourself If you are looking for different types of jobs, create separate
suddenly looking for work résumés.
or competing for a
promotion, you will save n Avoid writing long sentences. Instead, use phrases
yourself time and stress by beginning with action verbs and distinguished by bullets.
not having to create an Devote more space to the most relevant and recent
entirely new résumé at the experience.
last minute.
For a successful résumé, n If possible, consolidate your résumé onto one page;
follow these tips: however, a two-page document is also acceptable.

n If your name or the name of a company or school has


changed, use the one currently in use. Do not use
nicknames.

n Use 8.5 by 11 inch paper, light or white and 70 lb or greater


weight (weight refers to the thickness of paper).

n Use easy to read fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Times New


Roman, or Garamond. The font size should be between
nine and twelve points.

n It should have space between paragraphs, and there should


not be too much information crammed onto one page.
Margins should be at least one inch.

n Spelling, grammar, and typing errors are unacceptable.


Proofread your résumé twice, then set it aside for a few
hours before proofreading it again. Always proofread it
before mailing.

n Have someone else review your résumé, preferably a


career counselor or a hiring authority in your field of interest.

n Each copy should be produced from a laser printer - mass


photocopying should be avoided. Paper should be single-
sided (printed on one side of the paper only). Never make
handwritten corrections on a résumé or attach notes.

n Mail it in a large, flat manilla envelope, without stapling or


folding your résumé. Include a cover letter that details the
position you are applying for and displays your knowledge
of the company.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Ten Things to Avoid on Your Résumé
Résumés and Cover Letters
1. Don’t use a résumé with spelling, typing, or grammatical
C 29

errors. First impressions are critical. An employer will


assume mistakes on a résumé indicate a careless employee.
The average employer Proofread your résumé before its printed and before it is
gives a résumé a 30 mailed!
second review before
examining it more 2. Don’t write corrections or notes on your résumé. Résumés
should always be completely typed. A laser printed copy is
carefully. To give your preferred.
résumé the edge,
avoid these mistakes: 3. Don’t omit the cover letter. Too many résumés are mailed
without cover letters and wind up on the wrong desk with no
indication of what position is being applied for.

4. Don’t provide salary history and salary requirements. If salary


history is requested, it should be included in the cover letter
or on the job application.

5. Don’t lie about your background or stretch the truth. Hiring


authorities will call your previous employers to verify your
work experience.

6. Don’t include personal descriptions such as ethnicity, age,


weight, gender, or marital status. Photos should also be
excluded.

7. Don’t use the phrase “References available upon request,”


or the word “Résumé” for a title.

8. Don’t fold, staple, or tape your résumé. For mailing, use


large envelopes in order to keep your résumé and cover
letter flat.

9. Don’t use your present employer’s fax, e-mail, envelopes,


or mail department to send your résumé. DOL offices offer
these services free of charge, and local libraries have
computers with Internet access. Free e-mail accounts can
be established through a variety of Web sites, including
yahoo.com, excite.com, and hotmail.com Office supply
stores and some pharmacies offer faxing services for a fee.

10. Don’t use a résumé that looks cluttered or lacks white space.
Remember, an employer will first glance at your résumé. If
it is not neatly organized with information quickly available,
it will probably not be read. Since a résumé is a quick
reference for employers, it should not be more than two
pages in length.

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Action Words for Résumés
30
C Résumés and Cover Letters
This list of action words is provided for reference in describing your achievements and work experience.
Beginning each phrase with action words makes your performance active instead of passive. Refer to
this list in order to avoid reusing the same words throughout your résumé.

Accommodated Customized Fashioned Licensed Provided


Accounted Decided Figured Limited Qualified
Achieved Decreased Filed Listened Quoted
Acted Dedicated Finalized Located Ranked
Advanced Delivered Financed Manipulated Reconciled
Advised Designed Fine-tuned Manufactured Reduced
Analyzed Determined Focused Mapped Regulated
Articulated Developed Followed Mastered Repaired
Ascertained Devised Formulated Maximized Restored
Attended Dispatched Gathered Measured Scheduled
Automated Displayed Generated Motivated Secured
Built Distinguished Granted Navigated Seized
Calculated Documented Guided Notified Simplified
Categorized Earned Hired Nurtured Streamlined
Caused Elected Illustrated Observed Supervised
Clarified Eliminated Impressed Ordered Supplied
Collaborated Encouraged Initiated Organized Tailored
Communicated Enforced Inspected Oversaw Taught
Conceived Engineered Inspired Packaged Tested
Concentrated Ensured Instructed Participated Trained
Conceptualized Enumerated Integrated Patterned Translated
Contributed Equalized Interpreted Persuaded Treated
Controlled Estimated Invented Predicted Tutored
Cooperated Exchanged Judged Presented Updated
Counseled Exhibited Lectured Prevented Verified
Created Explored Led Prioritized Wrote

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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References
Résumés and Cover Letters C 31

Most employers will ask for references on an application form, but will typically contact them only when
you are a finalist for employment. References are very important, especially if there are other similarly
qualified candidates applying for the position. The people you ask to be your references should be able
to speak from firsthand knowledge about the skills, abilities and personal qualities that would make you
successful in the job for which you are applying. References should also be easy to reach during business
hours.

Collect information on your references before you fill out an application form or go to a job interview. You
will need the person’s name, address, telephone number, occupation, and the length of time you have
known each other. Consider five to ten people
you can use for a reference, and ask their Andrew Dragon
permission to do so. Let them know what kind 42 Blossom Drive (860) 555-5555
Wethersfield, CT 06109 dragon@aol.com
of work you are looking for, jog their memory,
and give them a copy of your résumé. Typically, References
each time you apply for a job you will only be Dirk Komodo
asked for two or three references, but you Accountant
should use different people so no one person Freeman & Reed Accounting Services
15 Business Lane
is bombarded by calls. Family members are New Haven, CT 06011
not acceptable as references, and you should 203-666-5555
never use a person as a reference without his Blunder.fras@aol.com
Years of acquaintance: 15 years
or her permission. Relationship: former co-worker
Jamal Monitor
You should list your references on the same Project Manager
type of paper you use for your résumé, with Habitat for Humanity
23 Main Street
the same heading as your résumé (name, East Haven, CT 06011
address, phone number, e-mail) along with 203-666-5535
Years of acquaintance: 4 years
your name and contact information. Therefore, Relationship: fellow volunteer
if you are asked to supply them, you will be
Eleta Lizard
able to give a professional list. If you want a Sales Manager
letter of recommendation, offer to provide the Quiet Corner Book Store
paper to the writer. Do not include reference 555 North Main Street
New Haven, CT 06011
information in your résumé, or the line 203-666-5545
“references available upon request.” It is eletal@msn.com
Years of acquaintance: 2 years
assumed that you will be able to provide Relationship: current co-worker
references. Contact your references when you
have an interview, informing them of the
company and person’s name so they won’t be
surprised by a phone call. Thank your references and keep in touch, you may need them again in the
future for assistance in promotions, new jobs, etc.

If you do not have previous work history, then you may consider using a friend, landlord, teacher,
principal, guidance counselor, or member of the clergy. Whomever you choose should be able to talk
about how you have demonstrated your skills through school, clubs, civic or volunteer activities. Never
write a letter yourself and sign another person’s name to it, or ask a friend to pretend to be an employer.

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Sample: Modified Letter Résumé
32
C Résumés and Cover Letters
A modified letter résumé is a combination of a résumé and cover letter. It is useful for persons who are
reentering the job market after a long absence, have no formal work experience, or are changing careers.
The modified letter résumé should be created with a specific employer or position in mind and respond
to the employer’s needs. Make sure to follow up with a phone call to request an interview.

59 Rhodes Road
Newington, CT 06111
860-555-9999

August 3, 2000

Ms. Ginny Ludwell


Petals Deluxe
114 School Street
Newington, CT 06111

Dear Ms. Ludwell:

Petals Deluxe has been the first choice among Newington residents for fresh flowers and
gardening ideas for nearly sixty years. It is with great interest that I read the description of the
gardening and sales position that is now open. I have a unique blend of experience that I feel
prepares me to fulfill the requirements of this position. Along with a long-term hobby in
landscaping and gardening, I have the following skills and accomplishments that will
compliment your company:

Ø Created and maintained custom home garden complete with diverse plants, pond and
fountain.
Ø Extensive knowledge of characteristics and required care for annuals and perennials.
Ø Volunteered to visit residents at Shady Pines Senior Citizen Home.
Ø Utilized pleasant phone manner to raise $1,000 for church fund-raiser.
Ø Maintained home budget and financial records.

The prospect of working with individuals who share my interest in quality gardening and
concern for excellent customer service is very exciting. I will call you on Thursday, August
10th, to further discuss the position and arrange for a mutually convenient time for an
interview.

Sincerely,

(Signature)

Heleta Jones

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Scannable and Electronic Résumés
Résumés and Cover Letters C 33

Many organizations use scanners, e-mail, and Internet recruitment to build an electronic résumé
library for their hiring needs. The traditional résumé, even from the most perfect candidate, may be
lost if it is not redesigned for the computer’s eye. Keywords are more important in scannable and on-
line résumés because computers often rank an application according to the number of keyword
matches. For example, an administrative assistant position might look for “typing score,” “WordPerfect,”
and “Excel.” The more times a match is found, the better a résumé ranks.
Job seekers should check with companies if scanners are used and if the scanners require special
fonts, paper, or styles of type. When e-mailing a résumé, it is important to copy and paste your
résumé into the message because an employer may not have the appropriate software to open an
attached document. There are many Web sites that allow you to post your résumé on-line for
employers to review, some are listed on page 50. Some require users to have an e-mail address; you
can create an account at public computers, free of charge, by using a variety of Web sites including
hotmail.com, yahoo.com, and excite.com. Follow the general guidelines below to make your résumé
technology friendly:

l Post your résumé on-line before you see an appropriate job opening. Often employers begin reviewing
résumés as soon as there is an open position, and if they find an appropriate match, they may never
post the opening on-line.

l Check to see how often résumés are purged from the system. Typically, résumés are removed after
six months and you might want to resend yours to remain a candidate for employment.

l Always place your name as the first item at the top of the page since the scanner assumes that the
first line is the applicant’s name. Your name and phone number should be on separate lines.

l Provide a laser printed original if possible. Scanners cannot read a faxed résumé; if you fax a
résumé, be sure to also mail a hard copy.

l Use white or light-colored 8.5” x 11” paper, printed on one side only.

l Do not fold or staple the résumé.

l Left justify the entire document.

l Use a font of 10 to 14 points (avoid Times New Roman 10 point).

l Use standard serif and sans-serif fonts (i.e., Helvetica, Arial, Times New Roman, Courier). Avoid
fonts where the characters touch. Do not condense spacing between letters.

l No line should exceed 65 characters. End each line by hitting the enter key - automatic word wrapping
will create long lines that may not be readable.

l Italics, boldface, underlining, and reverse type cause problems for scanners, especially if combined.
Use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis, or set off words with asterisks (*). If you use asterisks,
there should be a space between the asterisk and the text.

l Avoid bullets, vertical or horizontal lines, graphics, shading, or shadowing.

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Sample: Electronic Résumé
34
C Résumés and Cover Letters
An electronic résumé should be plain text. Bold or underlined words, bullets and lines should not be
used. Keywords in the actual job posting should be repeated as often as possible, as this sample
résumé does in response to the ad below. Note that as an older job seeker, Gerald chose to omit his
graduation dates in order to avoid age discrimination.
WANTED: Seminar Coordinator for ABC, Inc., an
international pharmaceutical firm. Responsible for
in-house training, the right applicant should have
advanced communication skills, familiar with
ACCESS and Excel, and a willingness to travel.
Gerald White Please mail scannable résumés only.
1399 Sesame Street
Wapping, CT 06074
860-555-1234

OBJECTIVE
Seeking advanced challenge and responsibility to employ my management and
communication skills as a training manager within an international pharmaceutical firm.

KEYWORD SUMMARY
Proficient in Excel and ACCESS, willing to travel globally, advanced verbal and written
communication skills, seven years management and training experience.

EXPERIENCE
Statewide Manager, Feel Good Pharmacy, 1987 - present
+ Utilized ACCESS and Excel software to organize employees’ records
+ Traveled to local stores for in-house training of new managers
+ Created written materials, including handbooks and reference guides, for training purposes
+ Organized annual training seminars for current employees
+ Managed a staff of twelve for five years
+ Decreased turnover rate of managers by two years
+ Recruited new staff

Store Manager, Quickease Pharmacy, 1977 - 1987


+ Increased sales by 25% in first year of management
+ Managed and scheduled a staff of fifteen employees
+ Documented and processed payroll using Excel
+ Interviewed, hired and trained all new employees
+ Wrote quarterly reports of financial progress
+ Verbally communicated customer and employee requests to statewide manager

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
American Red Cross volunteer, 1998 - present
Big Brothers/Big Sisters volunteer, 1996 - present

EDUCATION
B.A. in Business Management, Central Connecticut State University
A.A. in Business Management, Manchester Community College

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Tips for Great Cover Letters
Résumés and Cover Letters C 35

Next to your résumé, your cover letter is your best way to sell yourself on paper. It allows your
personality to come through and identifies the benefits of hiring you. It should always accompany
your résumé or job application. Follow the tips below for writing effective cover letters:

1. Always include important information.


Your name, address and telephone number (including area code) should be easily visible. The
reader will need this when trying to contact you. In the first few sentences of your letter, identify the
specific job for which you are applying.

2. Make it personal - address your letter to a specific person within the company.
If possible, call for a contact name. “To whom it may concern” and “Dear sir/madam” letters are not
read as often as those addressed to a specific person.

3. Make the opening sentence catchy.


When employers read letters, they scan them for content. Attention-grabbing first sentences (ones
that describe why you’re the best person for the job or that address the employer’s needs) will be
more likely to persuade the reader to continue reading.

4. Each letter you mail should be unique.


There’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” cover letter. Each job and company for which you
apply is different. Express interest and knowledge about the company, its products and services.
Local newspapers, business magazines, trade journals, and the company’s Web site are all valuable
sources of information.

5. Describe your skills as they relate to the job.


Saying you worked for a company in a job doesn’t mean the reader will make the connection between
you, your previous job, and the job in question. Relate your experience, training, and
accomplishments to show that you have the skills to successfully perform the job.

6. Always type and proofread your cover letter before sending it.
Cover letters must be professional; mistakes are simply unacceptable. Errors may negatively affect
the employer’s judgment of you. If your letter is neat and professional, the employer is more likely
to believe that you are too. The cover letter should be on the same type of paper as your résumé
and printed with a laser quality printer.

7. Be brief and use action words to describe your accomplishments.


Some employers receive many cover letters and résumés daily, so they want to know as much
about you as possible without having to read a great deal.

8. Always request a response or an interview.


Your goal is to obtain an interview, so explain that you will call on a specific date (usually seven to
ten business days after the mailing) in order to schedule a mutually convenient time to meet.

9. Always keep a copy of every cover letter you send.


Maintaining copies of your letters will make your job search and follow-up go smoothly. You will
have a hard copy of when you stated you would contact the employer and the topics you mentioned.
If you are responding to a newspaper ad, tape the ad onto your copy of the cover letter and note the
date and name of the newspaper for easy reference.

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Sample: Cover Letters
36
C Résumés and Cover Letters
The cover letter introduces you to the prospective employer and should always be included when you
mail your résumé. It should be unique and express your interest in both the company and the position
for which you are applying. Never write a form letter to be duplicated and mailed. Address the cover
letter to a specific person.
As with your résumé, do not cram too much information on a page. The recommended margin length is
one inch or greater. Your cover letter and résumé should have the same font type and paper style. Do
not fold or staple the cover letter with the résumé. Remember to proofread - mistakes are inexcusable.
Keep a copy of all correspondence you send and receive during your job search for reference in follow-
up conversations and interviews.
This sample letter would accompany the Functional Résumé. Salary information is provided, but should
only be given at the employer’s request. Normally, only the most recent salary would be listed, but in this
case, the two most recent positions are listed to illustrate a more accurate salary history.

Your mailing address


Your phone number, including area code

42 Blossom Drive Date letter is mailed


Wethersfield, CT 06109
(860) 555-5555 Name and title of a specific person
Company name
August 8, 2002 Mailing address

Chris Thompson Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. Last Name,


Editor (If the person has a unisex first name, use his or
American Literature Monthly her full name. For women, use Ms. unless you
55 Elm Street know they use the prefix Mrs.)
Hartford, CT 06106
First Paragraph. In your initial paragraph, state
Dear Chris Thompson, the reason for the letter, the specific position or
type of work for which you are applying, and
I understand that American Literature Monthly has nearly doubled its indicate from which resource (placement center,
circulation in the past ten months. It is wonderful to know more people are news media, friend, employment service) you
exploring American Literature and broadening their horizons. I hope that I can be learned of the opening. Your first sentence
part of this phenomenal growth by filling the Assistant Writer position advertised in should catch the reader’s attention and reflect
the Hartford Gazette. your interest in the company.

I have recently graduated from Southern Connecticut State University, where I Second Paragraph. Indicate why you are
focused on American Literature. While attending, I had the good fortune to work as interested in the position, the company, its
an intern for Name First, an advertising firm servicing local businesses. Utilizing products or services — above all, clearly state
my writing and computer skills, I created a variety of promotional materials and what you can do for the employer. If you are a
press releases to suit individual company’s needs. recent graduate, explain how your academic
background makes you a qualified candidate for
My knowledge of American Literature, along with my writing and marketing the position. If you had practical work experience,
skills, would be an asset to American Literature Monthly. I would very much point out your specific achievements or unique
appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and discuss some of my ideas on the qualifications. Try not to repeat the same
subject. At your request, I am providing my salary history. While working part-time information the reader will find in your résumé.
at Quiet Corner Book Store, my annual salary is $11,400. Prior to that, I earned
$54,300 while working full-time at Freeman & Reed Accounting Services. I have Final Paragraph. In the closing paragraph, refer
enclosed my résumé for your review and will telephone you on August 17th to set the reader to the enclosed résumé or application
up a meeting. which summarizes your qualifications, training,
and experiences. Indicate your desire for a
Sincerely, personal interview and your flexibility as to the
time and place. If the job announcement
(Signature) requests no phone calls, repeat your phone
number in the letter. If no such request is made,
Andrew Dragon state that you will call on a certain date to set up
Enclosure an interview. Salary information should only
be provided upon request.

Sincerely yours,
(Your Signature)
Your typed name
(enclosure)

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Interview Preparation
Interviewing
An interview is the best way for an employer to determine if you are the right person for the job,
D 37

and the best way for you to determine if the position is right for you. Research, preparation,
and practice are key to making the interview productive and securing an employment opportunity.
Interviews can be stressful, but relax and keep in mind that the employer wants to find the right
candidate and fill the position as quickly as you want to complete your job search.
Make sure you allot enough time for the interview. Remember that you
Schedule an Interview
may be asked to fill out an application, take a personality or skills test, or
interview with several people. Allow enough time to commute, interview,
and jot down notes afterwards. You should also set aside time to write and
send a thank-you note within two days. Bring a calendar or date planner
with you in case you are asked to schedule a second interview. Do not ask
the interviewer for directions; call back to ask the receptionist and inquire
about potential traffic problems at the time you plan to arrive.

Prior to the day of your interview, obtain a written job description from the
Research the Job
Human Resources Department and ask for more details about the job.
Talk with someone who has a similar job, or consult publications such as
the Occupational Outlook Handbook, for a description of job duties, benefits,
education, experience, and training requirements.

Know about the company before you arrive for the interview. Check if it
Research the Company
has a Web site and visit it. Know the company’s history, its latest sales, the
number of employees, its locations, major competitors, philosophy and,
most importantly, future goals. Annual reports, trade and business
magazines, sales brochures, and newspapers are all excellent sources of
information. Many employment Web sites provide profiles on companies.

Read the newspaper to be aware of general events in the area and things
that could possibly affect the company. You will leave a strong impression
Brush up on
if you are able to make a comment such as, “I noticed in Tuesday’s Hartford
Current Events
Courant that the local resort has closed its doors forever. Since your
company relies on the tourist season, are you seeking other markets? I
have some innovative marketing ideas that may be of help.”

Know yourself - be prepared to introduce and describe yourself to the


interviewer. Be able to give examples of how you have used your skills to
Know the Product
accomplish goals, and how they would benefit the company. You should
You are Selling
be familiar with your résumé, and be ready to expand on your strengths
and clarify any weaknesses.

Review and prepare answers to the questions on pages 40-41. Role play
with a friend and, if possible, videotape your mock interview. Along with
Practice
your answers, pay attention to your posture, body language, eye contact,
and attitude. Time your answers; they should not be too long or too short.
We are often unaware of nervous mannerisms - ask your friend to take
notice of them. Schedule your first interview with a company in which you
have little interest in order to gain confidence for “the big interview.”

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Interview Preparation
38
D Interviewing

Have Information At the interview, you may be asked to complete an application; preparation
Readily Available tips are provided on page 12. You should have several forms of identification
(driver’s license, social security card, birth certificate, work papers), and
any relevant training certification or licenses. You should also have the
name, address and telephone number for three to five references. Bring
several copies of your résumé - you may interview with several persons, or
the employer may request a second copy. If possible, bring an example of
your work. Bring a notebook to record what was discussed during the
interview and the next step you should take. This should be done
immediately after the interview, but not in the interviewer’s presence.

Present a Professional A professional image will give you a winning edge over other applicants.
Image Keep in mind that you may bump into your future employer in the parking lot
or elevator, and should therefore act professionally for the entire time you
are on the company’s premises. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for your
appointment, and go alone. Be polite to everyone you encounter, maintaining
a positive, enthusiastic and courteous attitude. Look the employer in the
eye and use a firm (but not crushing) handshake. Be aware of your body
language - slouching or crossed arms relays boredom and defensiveness
to the employer. Listen carefully to the questions and respond clearly and
decisively. Your answers should be positive; never criticize former
employers. Answer with “yes” and “no,” never “yeah,” “nah,” or “uh-huh.”

Be Polite to the Be pleasant to the receptionist and secretary. The employer will consult
Receptionist and with them after you have left, and they will surely mention if you were rude
Secretary or ill-prepared. Introduce yourself and call them by name. Do not ask them
for information about the job such as salary, the business’s competitors, or
the boss’s personality. Do not complain about the directions or the company,
and avoid any negative comments.

Dress Professionally In addition to acting professionally, you must look professional and wear
your best business attire. Detailed advice is provided on page 11.

Close the Interview If you are interested in the position, make sure you say so. Offer your
appreciation for the interviewer’s time and consideration and ask for their
business card. Telephone them in a week or so to reconfirm your interest
and to inquire about when a final decision is expected to be made. However,
if you get the sense that you are not suited for the job, inquire about other
positions within the company that might better match your qualifications. If
nothing is currently available, ask to be kept in mind for future opportunities.

The Thank You Note To strengthen your candidacy and establish goodwill, send a thank you
note to each person with whom you interviewed within two days of your
interview; an example is offered on page 47. Also, be sure to send thank
you notes to any of your networking contacts who gave you the relevant job
lead or agreed to be used as a reference.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Employers’ List of Top Interview Mistakes
Interviewing D 39

Employers are looking for persons who not only have the necessary
experience and skills, but also demonstrate self-confidence and a
willingness to become a team player. These interview mistakes have
cost many people job opportunities - avoid them in order to secure your
next job!

• Inability to express oneself clearly. Answered questions with “yes” or “no” but
offered no explanation or further information.

• Lacking career direction - undefined short- and long-term goals.

• Came unprepared, i.e., had little or no knowledge of the company.

• Arrived late and claimed that the directions given were wrong.

• Poor personal appearance - dressed too casually or sloppily.

• Poor hygiene.

• Brought a friend/parent/child/pet along.

• Did not ask questions about the job.

• Too interested in salary, vacation and benefits.

• Evasiveness; unwilling to account for time when unemployed.

• Detailed health problems at length.

• Lacked confidence, displayed nervous mannerisms.

• Demonstrated overaggressive, overbearing, or conceited behavior.

• Presented a sloppy or inaccurate résumé.

• Forgot to bring extra copies of the résumé and could not provide
any references.

• Lacked courtesy, maturity or tact.

• Displayed indifference or lack of enthusiasm.

• Criticized previous employers.

• Had no appreciation for the value of experience.

• Did not look the interviewer in the eye.

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Common Interview Questions
40
D Interviewing
To be a successful interviewee you will need to fine tune your skills and be prepared to answer a wide
variety of questions. Below is a list of commonly asked questions.

Background Questions
Background questions are geared more to your personal growth, including your personality, education,
and overall career development. They are used to determine if you are a well-rounded individual leading
a happy, balanced life.
Example Q&A: “What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments to date?”
- “While I always enjoyed the challenge of learning and wanted to obtain a college degree, my family did
not find value in a college degree. I was able to finance my education through scholarships and work,
and last year I became the first college graduate in my family.”
• Tell me about yourself.
• How would your friends and past employers describe you?
• What makes you lose your temper?
• Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten years?
• How satisfied are you with your career progress?
• How do you make use of your spare time?
• Why did you choose your college major? How did this prepare you for your career?
• What classes did you enjoy the most? The least?

Work History Questions


Work history questions are used to determine if you have the skills and experience to perform the job,
and if you have a good work ethic. Sometimes, you may be asked to perform a task, such as typing,
proofreading, or finding a solution for a given problem. In your answers, try to show your knowledge of
the company.
Example Q&A: “Why did you leave your last job?”
- “While I enjoyed my work environment, I felt ready for more responsibility and challenge, but there
were no opportunities in the near future at (my last employer). Since (employer you are applying to) is
known nationwide for its quality products and has grown 25% in the last year, I feel it would be a mutually
beneficial work experience.”
• What do you know about our company?
• Why do you want to work here?
• What can you contribute to this company’s success?
• Give me an example of your creativity/problem-solving ability/initiative/reliability.
• Do you work well under pressure?
• What situations do you find stressful and how do you deal with them?
• What are your three greatest strengths? Three greatest weaknesses?
• Tell me about your last performance evaluation.
• In your last job, what additional responsibilities or projects did you undertake?
• Can I see an example of your work?
• What is your explanation for the gap in employment shown on your résumé?
• Have you ever been fired or asked to resign?
• How many days a year did you miss at your last job? Why?
• How often are you late to work? Why?
• You seem overqualified for this position. Why do you want this job?
• How do you feel about travel/relocation/overtime/weekend work?

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Common Interview Questions
Interviewing D 41

Management Questions
These questions are often used to determine what kind of management style you work well with and if
you fit the company’s work philosophy. Refrain from criticizing former employees or employers.
Example Q&A: “Describe a problem you had with your last supervisor and how you resolved it.”
- “Due to a miscommunication, I was unaware that my supervisor would be out of the office for three
days to attend a conference and would therefore be unable to sign necessary paperwork. I found his
hotel number and faxed him the papers to be signed and returned. To avoid future issues, I suggested
using a manager’s log to record issues, schedules, and projects, thereby improving communication.”
• To what type of managerial style do you respond best?
• What do you see as the major role of management? Why?
• Who is involved in your planning process? In what ways do you involve them?
• What methods and techniques do you employ when managing others? How effective are these?
• How do you motivate employees and maintain good morale?
• How do you go about planning for department results?
• What is the proper balance between managerial control and employee independence?

Stress Questions
Stress questions are intended to test your response to stressful situations. Take a deep breath, remain
calm, and give a positive answer focusing on what you learned or how you have changed.
Example Q&A: “Describe a flaw in your working style.”
- “In the past, I have procrastinated on large projects, resulting in requests for deadline extensions.
However, I have learned to break projects down into smaller steps, schedule my time better, and now I
finish projects before deadlines.”
• What aspects of your work are most often criticized?
• You seem underqualified for this position. Why should I hire you?
• Describe a time when you failed to solve a conflict with a co-worker.
• Describe a time when you failed to perform your job.
• What would you do if I told you that I thought you were giving a very poor interview today?

Questions to Ask the Interviewer


Remember, you should be evaluating if this company will fit your career development plans. Asking the
interviewer questions will not only give you more information on which to base a decision, but will also
express your interest in the company and the position. Do not inquire about salary, vacation, bonuses,
retirement packages or any other benefits.
• Why is this position available?
• What are the specific duties of the job? What would be my responsibilities?
• What would you like me to accomplish in this position?
• What characteristics would a candidate need to have in order to excel in this position?
• How would you describe the style of management and reporting structure?
• What short- and long-term problems or opportunities does this department face?
• Tell me about the growth plans and goals for the position, department, and company.
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of this position?
• How is one’s performance evaluated? How often?
• I am very interested in this position. Is there anything I can do to improve my standing?
• When do you plan on making a hiring decision? May I call in a week to see how I stand?

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Your Legal Rights When Job Searching
42
D Interviewing
You have a right to seek employment and to be judged solely on your skills and experience. It is illegal
for an employer to discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender, sexual preference, physical challenges,
or religion. The best chance to sell yourself based on skills and abilities is to become educated about
your rights and be prepared to handle prejudice and your reaction to it. Consult the table on the next
page to determine what an employer can and cannot ask you during an interview.
If you are asked an illegal question, you may not want to immediately eliminate the company as a
potential employer. Often the person who interviews you will not be your supervisor. If you are asked an
illegal question, wait until later in the interview and then inquire who would be your supervisor and who
would be responsible for performance evaluations. You have three options in answering an illegal
question. You can refuse to answer the question, but if the employer is unaware that the question is
illegal, you may appear confrontational and difficult to work with. You can directly answer the question
with the knowledge that it may inhibit your employment opportunity. Usually the best option is to look at
the intent behind the question and answer appropriately. The interviewer is unlikely to view the question
as prejudiced; he or she may feel it is well intentioned or that the belief is justified. If you are interested
in finding employment, it is very important to react calmly and answer the question with tact and a
friendly tone.
For instance, if you are asked, “We have very few minorities working here. Will you feel comfortable in
this environment?”
Answer A: “It is illegal for you to question me about my ethnicity; I will be contacting the NAACP.”
Result: A legal battle and no employment opportunity. The employer will feel justified in viewing minorities
as being overly defensive and difficult to work with and will probably continue to screen out minorities.
You may feel defensive during future interviews, which will portray you negatively.
Answer B: “I enjoy working with many people of various backgrounds. I believe you will find both my
work skills and interpersonal skills very satisfactory; my previous employers can verify that I have never
had an issue with my co-workers.”
Result: You have redirected the conversation to focus on your work experience and skills. The employer
is more inclined to give you a job offer, where your good work may help to overcome his or her prejudice.
Even if you are not hired, the employer will view you as a professional and may refer you to other
positions or companies.
Some employers will eliminate applicants before they ever see them because résumés and applications
indicate what they perceive to be negative qualities in an employee. Be careful about listing controversial
activities or groups to which you belong. Even a well educated, Caucasian man may be skipped over if
his résumé refers to volunteer work at Planned Parenthood or membership in the NRA. An older worker
can omit graduation dates and some work experience so their age will not be readily distinguished.
During the interview, you may be able to convince the employer that your status can be an advantage.
For instance, an older worker may point out the demographic studies reveal an aging customer base.
Having an older worker would be an advantage in customer relations, marketing new products, and
product design. Furthermore, an older worker brings not only experience and maturity to the job, but is
also more settled and less likely to change jobs frequently.
Many companies actively hire minorities and women; your local library will have books and magazines
with referrals to these companies. Look for EOE (Equal Opportunity Employer) and AA (Affirmative
Action) symbols in employment advertisements. Your local Chamber of Commerce should have
information on companies’ employment, including the number of women and minorities employed. For
large corporations, you can call and ask for a copy of their annual report or visit their Web site. Usually
a list of the top administrators in the company is provided along with their pictures. This will illustrate
how minorities are promoted in the company.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Your Legal Rights When Job Searching
Interviewing D 43

Consult the chart below to familiarize yourself with your legal rights. If you feel you have been discriminated
against, contact your local DOL office or call the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and
Opportunities at 1-800-477-5737.

Issue Employers May Ask: Employers May Not Ask:

Age Are you under the age of 18? When were you born? How old are you?

Ancestry or What is your language, ancestry, or


No questions
National Origin national origin?

Where were you born? Where were your


Birthplace No questions
parents born?

Are you a citizen? Do you intend to When did you become a citizen? Are
Citizenship
become a citizen? your parents/spouse/children citizens?

Criminal Records Have you been convicted of a crime? Have you ever been arrested?

Do you have or intend to have children?


Dependents No questions
Do you have childcare?

Do you have any handicap?


Disability No questions
How severe is your handicap?

What school did you attend/graduate When did you graduate? - or any question
Education
from? What did you study? that would indicate an applicant's age.

What is your marital status?


Marital Status No questions
What is your maiden name?

Are you a U.S. veteran? What is your Are you receiving a service-connected
Military
U.S. military service history? disability pension?
Any question about an organization that
Are you the member of any organizations
would indicate the religion, race, sexual
Organizations which advocate overthrowing the U.S.
preference, or national origin of its
Government by violent means?
members.
No questions, unless asked for What is your race? Photos cannot be
Race
Affirmative Action purposes required with an application.

Where does your spouse, parents, or any


Relatives No questions
other relative work or conduct business?
What religious holidays do you observe?
Religion No questions What religious organizations do you
belong to?

Sex No questions What is your sex?

Are you a homosexual? What is your


Sexual Preference No questions
sexual preference?

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Criminal Records and Substance Abuse Testing
44
D Interviewing

I have a criminal record. I understand employers


Q. How do I get an employer
to give me a chance?
Q. can request drug testing.
What should I expect?

A. A.
If you have a criminal record, an Substance abuse not only affects your
employer is more likely to give you a mental and physical health, but also
chance if they feel you have become your family, friends and employers. Al-
an honest, dependable person. Do not lie about Anon teaches that for every alcoholic, twelve people
your history; parole officers often call employers to are affected. Unfortunately, those twelve people
confirm they know of an employee’s criminal will be the ones you care about most.
conviction. If you lie on an application, you can be
Substance abuse has become a $100 billion a year
fired, regardless of how well you are doing your
problem for employers. When employees call in
job. When an employer asks about your criminal
sick or cannot work to their full potential, an
conviction, state your crime but do not go into detail.
employer loses productivity and revenue.
Instead, your reply should focus on your current
Furthermore, mistakes made while under the
and future plans for improvement. Do not make
influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to a faulty
excuses or downplay your criminal record in any
product and lost customers. Add to this the cost of
way. Mention any training that has helped you
insurance and treatment for employees with
change your behavior, such as the Intentional Skill
substance abuse problems, and employers are
Development (I.S.D.). For example:
forced to have a firm no-drug policy.
“I see on your application that you have had a
Employers have several different ways of screening
criminal conviction. What were you convicted of?”
applicants to determine a potential substance
“I was convicted of armed robbery. My two-year abuse problem. They may test urine, hair or blood
sentence gave me the opportunity to face my samples, ask you to take a polygraph (lie detector)
mistakes and decide where my future was headed. test, and directly question you. They may also ask
After being released early for good behavior, I your views on drugs - if they should be legalized, if
enrolled in a class to earn my G.E.D., have you consider casual use acceptable, etc. Some
reconnected with my family, and am seeking employers will tell you in advance of testing, others
employment to support myself.” prefer unannounced testing. If you lie about drug
Pursuing education or training and volunteer work use and tests prove that you use drugs, you can
are good ways to establish your reliability and build be fired for lying. If you refuse to take a test, it will
references. The more skills you develop, the more probably be interpreted as a sign of drug use.
an employer will be willing to hire you. Be realistic If you are tested, be sure to mention any
about where you apply. For instance, if your prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take
criminal conviction involves monetary theft, you to the test administrator before the test is given.
probably won’t be able to get a position working in Ask what would cause a positive result - it depends
a bank or as a cashier. Remember to take things on the type of test used, the type of drug, and how
one step at a time; your first job is merely a stepping long ago the drug was used. Inquire if any foods
stone to a better one. As you continue to work you or drinks can trigger a false positive result - poppy
will build a reputation, contacts, and referrals to help seeds are an example.
you develop your career.
If you feel you need help with a drug or alcohol
problem, contact your doctor or look in the yellow
pages for treatment centers and support groups.
Infoline is a telephone service that links callers to
appropriate help; to contact them dial 211.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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The Mature or Overqualified Worker
Interviewing D 45

As a mature worker, how I am told that I am


Q. can I avoid age
discrimination?
Q. overqualified for a job.
How should I respond?

A. A.
Employers are often hesitant to hire an Employers view overqualified applicants
older worker for several reasons. They as a risk because they will probably be
may view you to be overqualified, slower dissatisfied with their daily tasks and
to adapt to new technology or ideas, or less soon seek new work. Presenting interest in both
ambitious than younger workers. It is your job to the position and company will help to sway the
present your age as an advantage. employer’s mind.
During interviews point out that as a mature worker, Emphasize that you are fully qualified, not
you have more dedication to an employer and will overqualified, and don’t discuss all your skills, but
tend to stay longer in a position and company than only the ones that are relevant to the position.
a younger person eager to build a new career. Express how you view both the position and
Mention that you have years of experience dealing company as important. Find out as much as you
with various personalities and developing problem- can about the company and discuss what impressed
solving skills. If appropriate, mention that the aging you about its history, present and future. Ask
client population may better relate to a worker in questions about the position itself, and future goals
the same age group. It is important to mention new for the person in that job. If you have had a similar
skills you have learned and programs or classes position in the past, mention what you miss about
that you have attended. Express an interest in new the work. Point out work experience where you have
solutions and give examples of your efforts to use stayed for years to establish your loyalty to a
change to solve a problem. company.
Make it harder to distinguish your age. A new suit An employer who views you as overqualified will be
along with an updated hairstyle and glasses can sure to ask why you want the position. Prepare an
make you look years younger. You will also be answer that relates your dedication to the position.
viewed as keeping up-to-date with new ideas and An employer would likely view you as less of a risk
open to change. Avoid comments that hint at your if you are taking a position with less responsibility in
age, such as “I spend as much time as I can with order to have more time for the care of children and
my grandchildren,” or “I graduated from my college parents, or to pursue personal goals. If this is the
in the 50’s, I imagine it has changed a great deal case, inform the interviewer of these changes.
since then.” Instead, use comments such as “I
Employers spend an average of 30 seconds to
enjoy the time I get to share with my family,” and
review a résumé before further consideration. If your
“I am very proud of the education I earned at my
résumé displays too much experience or skills, you
alma mater.” On your résumé, omit graduation
may be immediately discounted. Rework your
dates and early work experience. However,
résumé to display less information. List skills and
graduation dates are an advantage if obtained
experience relative to the position you are applying
within the past ten years.
for and omit some of the irrelevant experience. An
It is illegal for an employer to inquire about your employer will only view you as overqualified if you
age, but some may ask for your date of birth, supply the information. The résumé is key to
graduation date, or other inquiries that would obtaining an interview.
establish your age. If you choose not to supply
the information, make sure your answers are calm
and polite, not agitated or defensive. Consult
groups such as AARP and GreenThumb for job
development advice for mature workers.

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The Lunch Interview
46
D Interviewing

l Dress for an interview - wear your best business attire.


Sometimes, an interview
will be conducted at a l Don’t be seated before the employer - wait until he or she
restaurant. If you are arrives before asking the host to be seated.
invited to dine with your l Turn off all pagers and phones - they are an unwanted
future employer, you should interruption to conversations.
conduct the regular research and
preparation for an interview and l Don’t criticize - keep in mind that the employer chose the
restaurant, and it may be one of his or her favorites - do not
keep these tips in mind:
criticize the food, atmosphere, customers, or workers.
l Do not drink alcohol or smoke - even if the employer orders a
drink or offers you a cigar or cigarette.
l Order food that you know - you don’t want to be surprised
when your order arrives and then be unable to eat it. If you have
special dietary needs, call or visit the restaurant ahead of time to
inquire about suitable dishes.
l Order food that is neat to eat - spaghetti and ribs may taste
good, but tend to be messy to eat. Getting food stains on your
clothes would be embarrassing and unprofessional.
l Be decisive - show that you can make a simple decision and
stick with it. Don’t waver between two dishes or change your
order.
l Take small bites - the employer should not have to wait five
minutes for you to finish chewing in order to answer his or her
question.
l Mind your manners - read a book on manners if necessary.
Place the napkin in your lap, keep your mouth closed when
chewing, leave your elbows off the table, and don’t eat with your
fingers.
l The employer will pay the bill - you should not offer to pay.
With this in mind, pick a moderately priced dish, do not order
dessert, and do not take a doggy bag.
l Thank you - the employer has not only taken time to spend with
you, but also has paid for your dinner. Do not forget to express
your appreciation.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

Back to Table of Contents


Thank You Letters
Interviewing D 47

The thank you letter should be mailed within two days after an interview, even if you feel there is no
immediate job opportunity for you at that company. Thank the interviewer for his or her time, and refer to
the topics discussed along with your ideas and qualifications. If you are certain that you would not
accept an offer, ask to be kept in mind for a more appropriate position. If you interviewed with more than
one person, send a thank you letter to each individual. Also send a letter to anyone who informed you
about the job opportunity. Each letter should be written with an individual person in mind and make
specific reference to subjects discussed. As always, provide contact information, type the letter, and
double check spelling and grammar.

42 Blossom Drive
Wethersfield, CT 06109
(860) 555-5555
August 23, 2002

Chris Thompson
Editor
American Literature Monthly
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106

Dear Ms. Thompson,

I enjoyed our discussion on Tuesday regarding the American


Literature Monthly’s history and future along with the role of the Writing
Assistant position. Your plans to expand coverage on modern literature
and poetry will certainly add a new dynamic to the magazine, and thereby
increase its audience. Such growth can be accelerated with innovative
marketing research and materials.

As we discussed during the interview, I have exceptional skills and


experience in creating marketing materials that would be valuable in this
new venture. For example, my marketing decisions increased sales at
Quiet Corner Book Store by 30% in two months. Combined with my
knowledge of American Literature, I feel confident in fulfilling the
requirements of the Writing Assistant position.

Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. I am very interested
in working for American Literature Monthly, and look forward to future
discussions.

Sincerely,

(Signature)

Andrew Dragon

Your Job Search Guide

Back to Table of Contents


Salary Negotiations
48
D Interviewing

The first step in salary negotiations is research. Check job listings


While salary may play a in the newspapers and Internet. Contact different companies’ human
major role in deciding your resources departments to obtain wage ranges for specific occupations.
next job, it must be If you are relocating, you must check the cost of living in that area,
approached with tact and even if you are staying in the same state. Many real estate and career
knowledge. People tend to Web sites have salary calculators that compare wages from different
personalize income and think in areas. Have a salary range in mind before going to an interview. The
terms of what they want or need. You resources below are especially helpful in researching income and can
must remain objective and take into be found in most libraries.
account your training, experience
and skills for the position you want Provide requested salary information. Often, salary history along
and judge salary offers accordingly. with anticipated salary are requested on an application. Some
Since very few employees are viewed employers will immediately discard an application if this information is
as irreplaceable by their employers, not provided. At the very least, you should provide your previous
an unreasonable request will not be salary history and write “negotiable” under expected income. Do not
considered. provide salary information if it is not requested.
Do not ask about salary in the first interview. Show the employer
that you are more interested in the position and the company than in
the salary. Use this time to promote your skills and qualifications, and
wait until a job offer is made before discussing salary. If the employer
asks what you expect to earn, inquire what the salary range is for a
person in that position, and indicate whether or not that seems
acceptable to you. If the interviewer cannot offer a range, do not
name a single figure, but rather a salary range. Don’t forget to weigh
benefits such as investment plans, medical care, day-care, and tuition
reimbursement. Sometimes a job with a lower salary is a better fit
when you consider all the benefits offered. If you ask for more than
an employer’s offer, you must defend your request with examples of
your expertise, abilities, and salary history. Never qualify a salary
figure with your needs - the employer is concerned with paying for
your skills and experience, not for your life-style.
Resources for wage information:
Connecticut Occupational Employment & Wages, published by the
Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Research, offers wage
information for Connecticut occupations. Available on-line at
www.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi.
Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, offers not only salary information,
but also descriptions of working conditions, necessary training, and
job growth on a nationwide level. Available on-line at www.bls.gov/
oco
America’s Career Infonet provides statewide and nationwide averages
for occupations, along with state profiles and many links to career
information. Available only on-line at www.acinet.org.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

Back to Table of Contents


Resources
Resources E 49

There are many books, Web sites, and agencies that offer career planning information. Visit your local
library, school, or DOL office to access these more popular resources. Call Infoline at 211 to obtain
information on support groups, volunteering opportunities, and child care referrals.

w Deciding on a Career Path

Books Internet
But What If I Don’t Want To Go To Career Focus 2000 Interest Inventory
College? A Guide to Success www.iccweb.com/careerfocus/index.asp -
Through Alternative Education, by questionnaire that determines level of interest
Harlow G. Unger. in an occupational field and provides a list of
Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect occupations matching interest.
Career for You Through the Secrets The Career Key www.ncsu.edu/careerkey
of Personality Type, by Paul D. Tieger Assessment tool in a game format
and Barbara Barron-Tieger. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter
Do What You Love The Money Will www.keirsey.com - on-line personality
Follow: Discovering Your Right questionnaire.
Livelihood, by Marsha Sinetar. The Riley Guide www.rileyguide.com -
I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What researches your skills, occupations, and
It Was: How to Discover What You employers.
Really Want and How to Get It, by The TypeFocus Personality Profile
Barbara Sher. www.typefocus.com - quick, easy questionnaire
What Color is Your Parachute? A to help discover your personality type.
Practical Manual for Job-Hunters &
Career Changers, by Richard Bolles.
More information is available at
www.jobhuntersbible.com.

w Information on Occupations
Books Internet
America’s Career InfoNet - www.acinet.org
Jobs Rated Almanac, by Les Krantz. Connecticut Department of Higher Education -
Occupational Outlook Handbook, by the www.ctdhe.org
Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available in Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium -
print and on-line at www.bls.gov/ www.ctdlc.org
ocohome.htm Connecticut Licensing Information Center -
www.ct-clic.com
Peterson’s Guide - www.petersons.com
The Connecticut DOL’s Office of Research -
www.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi produces the
following publications:
l Connecticut Career Paths
l Connecticut Occupational Employment &
Wages
l Writing your Résumé for Success
l Your Job Search Guide

Your Job Search Guide

Back to Table of Contents


50 E Resources

w Résumé and Interview Advice

Books

Gallery of Best Résumés: A Collection of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect
Quality Résumés, by David F. Noble. Résumé, by Susan Ireland.
101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview The Everything Get a Job Book: From
Questions, by Ron Fry. Résumé Writing to Interviewing to Finding
Tons of Job Openings, by Steven Graber.

Web Sites for Posting Your Résumé and Receiving Job Search Advice

AARP - www.aarp.com - offers career and life advice for mature workers.
Connecticut’s Job Bank - www.ajb.org/ct
Connecticut Department of Administrative Services - www.das.state.ct.us - provides
information on State of Connecticut Employment.
Connecticut Department of Labor - www.ctdol.state.ct.us - links to Connecticut’s Job
Bank and the Job & Career Connection. Upcoming job fairs are also listed.
Connecticut Job & Career ConneCTion - www.ctjobandcareer.org - offers the most
comprehensive source of information on jobs, careers in Connecticut.
CTnow.com - www.ctnow.com - provides career advice, résumé posting, job listings, and
links to other sites.
Job-Hunt.org - www.job-hunt.org - internet accessible job search resources and services.
MonsterTRAK - www.jobtrak.com - advice and job postings for college students and recent
graduates.
Monster - www.monster.com - post your résumé on-line and receive job seeking advice.
Wetfeet - www.wetfeet.com - researches companies and occupations and enables you to
post your résumé.
You Belong in ConneCTicut - www.youbelonginct.com - links to several job search Web
sites and provides information on Connecticut.

The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

Back to Table of Contents


Resources E 51

w Career Transition Support


Many non-profit organizations in Connecticut provide career transition support, job search assistance, and
networking activities. For Re-employment/Career Transition Support Groups in other towns, please call
INFOLINE at 211. You may also reference your local newspaper for additional support groups and locations.
Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) Offices also offer support groups. Many of these services are free of
charge. Others may suggest a donation.
Ansonia Catholic Family Services, 205 Wakelee Avenue. 203-735-7481.

Avon St. Ann’s Church, Rt. 167 & Arch Road. 860-673-7650.

East Haddam First Church of Christ Congregational, 499 Town Street (Rt.151). 860-873-2824.

Gales Ferry St. David’s Episcopal Church, Routes 12 & 214. 860-464-6516.

Glastonbury St. Dunstan Church, Manchester Road & Hebron Avenue. 860-633-3317.

Granby First Congregational Church of Granby. 860-653-0121.

Groton Senior Center, Route 117 off I-95. 860-441-6785.

Guilford Christ Episcopal Church, 11 Park Street. 203-453-2279.

Hartford Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave. 860-525-5696.

Madison Shorline Executive Networking, St. Margaret Church, 36 Academy St.


203-421-5668, 203-421-8402.

Meriden Meriden Public Library, 105 Miller St. 203-238-2344.

Middletown Russell Library, 123 Broad St. 860-347-2528.

New Canaan St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 111 Oenoke Ridge. 203-972-3519.
First Presbyterian Church, 178 Oenoke Ridge. 203-857-4625.

New Haven New Haven Job Club, Catholic Family Services, 478 Orange St. 203-787-2207.
New Haven CTWORKS, 560 Ella Grasso Boulevard. 203-624-1493 ext. 210.

Southington YMCA, 29 High St. 203-628-5597

Southport Trinity Job Network Group, Trinity Church, Pequot Avenue at Center Street. 203-755-0454.

Westport FINE (Entrepreneurship Focus), Westport Library. 203-227-8411.

Wethersfield First Church of Christ, 250 Main Street. 860-529-1575.

Check out the new Department of Labor Web site focused on


Faith-Based and Community-Based Initiatives at:

www.ctdol.state.ct.us/fbo/default.htm

Your Job Search Guide

Back to Table of Contents


Work Search Planner
52 E Resources

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The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

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Work Search Planner
Resources E 53

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Your Job Search Guide


Record of Job Leads
54 E Resources

Employers to Contact Phone Results


Company: Date/Time of Next Interview:

Address: Notes and Follow-up Action:

Date of Call:

Contact Person:

Phone Number:

Fax Number:

Company: Date/Time of Next Interview:

Address: Notes and Follow-up Action:

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Phone Number:

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Company: Date/Time of Next Interview:

Address: Notes and Follow-up Action:

Date of Call:

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Phone Number:

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The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research

Back to Table of Contents


Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Research Publications:
Business and Employment Changes Announced in the News Media
Connecticut Career Paths
Connecticut Career Resource Network Update
Connecticut Careers: Career Directions for Entry-Level Jobs
Connecticut Data for Affirmative Action Plans
Connecticut Economic Digest, The
Connecticut Job Outlook by Training Level ...Soaring to New Heights
Connecticut Labor Market Information At-A-Glance
Connecticut Labor Situation
Connecticut Occupational Employment & Wages
Equal Employment Opportunity Special Census File
Information for Workforce Investment Planning
Labor Force Data for Labor Market Areas & Towns
Writing Your Résumé for Success
Your Job Search Guide

Many of these publications are available on the Internet at: www.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi

The Connecticut Job & Career ConneCTion provides on-line information on career
development, occupational profiles, and finding employment, all at one site -
www.ctjobandcareer.org.
DOL-700
Rev. 5/03

0043-700-12

60 The Connecticut Department of Labor, Office of Research