| September 10th, 2007

* finding the right job

(From Our Archive)

Are you getting ready for entering the job market?  Here we will discuss a few points and tips on how to get ready and get started.

Set Goals
The first and foremost of all is to have a goal in your mind.  You need to think and find out what exactly you want to do in your life in long term. Based on that, you need to come up with your short term goals that will help you move towards your long term goal.  For example, Perhaps you have a degree in business but really enjoy interior decorations and would eventually like to start your own business some day, may be a furniture store like Ethan Allen or so.  Therefore, you can include the followings as your short-term goals.

  • Get a job in a furniture store as store manager or assistant manager and learn the business.
  • Get a sales position in any industry to get some sales experiences.
  • Become a merchandising analyst for a furniture manufacturing company or design center/store.
  • Become a designer.

If you would like to start a job (not become a designer), you need to look at all the career options you put down (3 choices as in above case) and try to find out your best interest. If you are neutral, you may look at all job openings that apply to any or all of the choices.

If you think you would rather become a designer than anything else, you better go back to school to earn a degree in arts/design. Therefore, your priority goal then would be to look for a good school of arts and apply.

One important thing to remember though, do not get carried away trying to figure out your long-term or short-term goal.  You may not even have one at this time.  That does not mean you cannot start looking. You may get interest at something as you go.  In that case, I would say you look at all job openings and carefully read the descriptions and requirements.  Apply for all that interest you even a little.

Resume
A good resume is the single most important tool you need for your job search. Your resume should speak for you and so it needs to have all the key words that apply to you. There are books on effective resume writing that you can get help from.  There are softwares available in the market as well.  Below are some websites where you will find helpful tips on resume writing.

http://www.rockportinstitute.com/resumes.html

http://www.jobweb.com/Resumes_Interviews/

http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/careerdev/resources/resume/

http://jobsearchtech.about.com/od/resumewriting1/l/aa032403.htm

If you have have BS/MS degree in Computer Science with zero to couple of years of industry experience, don’t forget to check Sharmin’s Resume writing tips

Remember, your resume is your key tool to sell yourself and so it is very important to have one that stands out.  You need to use a precise and clear objective customized to the job you are applying for. Also, next to the objective is often recommended to add a summary that tells about your qualities in a few sentences. It may include one of your great accomplishments, your strengths or experiences that directly apply to the job.  Next you need to show your special strengths and qualifications that are required/ preferred for the job or will help you accomplish the job.  Your computer skills and experiences usually should go in this place. Then chronologically add your work experiences (starting with most recent) and finally your educational background.  Do not include references on a resume, instead, say references available upon request at the end.

You will also need a good cover letter to go with the resume.  However, cover letters should not be too long as most employers do not even read the entire letter carefully.  They directly go to the resume and look for key words.  Some companies have computers read the resumes and again computer will look for those key words.  Therefore, it is very important to have a good resume that will do the initial work for you.  If you need help updating your resume and would like us to review your resume, please send it to me (ishretshimu@adhunika.org) and I will be happy to assist you.  It is always a good idea to have it checked by another pair of eyes.  Often times, we do not catch our mistakes or the weak sentences which could be pointed out and/or corrected by another person quickly.

Search & Apply

Once you are confident about your resume, you should start looking for job postings and apply. Here are some of many ways you can get started.

Some useful sites where you can go search for jobs and post your resume.

http://www.monster.com/

http://www.careerbuilder.com/

http://www.jobsinthemoney.com/

Look at the help wanted section under classified on the Sunday newspapers. You can also go to the newspaper websites and then look at job postings as well.  The newspaper sites will have job openings in a specific state in most cases.  For example, Star Tribune  (http://www.startribune.com) or Pioneer Press (http://www.twncities.com/mld/twincities/) will have jobs in Minnesota. New York Times (www.nytimes.com/) will have jobs in NY.

You can also do research on companies you are interested in and then send your resume to the Human Resources department of the company along with a nice cover letter expressing your interest in the company.

Getting registered with head-hunters (companies who will find jobs on behalf of you) is another way of job finding a job.  You may start with a short term/temporary contract/assignment and then later get hired by the company.  A lot of companies these days prefer temp to hire policy.  This way, both parties get to know each other and then can decide whether to make it permanent or not. Internship is another way of getting into the market.  Some companies hire from the interns. Even if you do not get hired by the same company, still you earned internship/contract work experiences to put on your resume.

As you start sending your resume out to different companies, create a log (could be done is Microsoft Excel or Word document) with the name of the company, name and contact info of the contact person who you sent the resume to, brief job description and the source of the posting meaning which newspaper (or website, etc.) from what date, the date when you sent your resume, etc.  You can also enter dates for follow up calls, interview dates, thanks you notes sent, etc.

Do not forget to attend the career fairs arranged by colleges and businesses.  A lot of times well known businesses come to college campuses to recruit from the graduating students.  Many people I know started their first job this way.

Hope these tips we talked about will help you getting ready for entering the job market.  Remember, most importantly you need to have strong confidence in yourself. Your ‘can do’ attitude will take you anywhere you want to go!  Good luck!

 

12 Responses to “* finding the right job”

  1. Sharmin says:

    One of the effective ways to submit a resume is through your network of friends. If you know someone working for a company that you are intersted in, ask your friend if he or she can forward your resume to the right person in that company. This is called internal referral. Note that it is not the same as giving a job to one’s nephew.

    One important thing to remember is never say anything in your letter/email saying “I need this job”. Employer need to know only how good you are and how interested you are for that position/company.

    If you are submitting resume for a specific position make sure you tailor your resume based on the Job description. Just think if you put your objective as “Looking for a Sales person position” and you submit your resume for a totally differnt kind of job, that wouldn’t be very effective, right?

    Resume writing requires some skills. Take your time. It is always recommended to get it reviewed by someone who can give you some constructive feedback.

    -Sharmin

  2. Ishret says:

    There are some companies who do not prefer to receive resume from employees. They recommend submitting it to the HR instead (via website a lot of times). In that case, you can still put your friend’s name (who works at the same company) in the cover letter. Something like “… came to learn about this job opening from my friend XYZ who currently works for your company…” would work.

    As Sharmin said, tailoring your resume for the targeted job position is very important. If you have a standard version of your resume and keep changing it according to the job posting every time you apply for one, make sure you save the changed version under a different name and attach the right file. Also, if you are using the same cover letter for different companies, double check before sending it out, make sure you changed the name of the company and the person addressing to every time you send it out to a different company. It will be awful if you send your cover letter to Best Buy while it is addressed to the HR of Johnson & Johnson on top of your cover letter.

    – Ishret

  3. Shahnaz says:

    Hi,

    I have two questions:

    1. What is your suggestions for women who are stay home-mother or home-maker (in USA), and want to go back to the workforce, specially women with college degree?

    2. How should the ‘gap’ relfect on resume?

    thanks!
    Shahnaz

  4. Ishret says:

    Shahnaz,

    Thanks for your questions. I’m sure many other women have these questions in their minds as well.
    First of all, there must have been a good reason that you chose to stay home even holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you decided to stay home to raise your child(ren), that is definitely a strong reason. While staying home, you can still be involved in various voluntary activities through your community, neighborhood, schools, religious centers etc. You can also help your community arranging neighborhood block parties; may take part in neighborhood safety-watch programs, etc. Your local libraries may need volunteers for used book sales or other events.

    If you have child/ren going to elementary (or higher) school, you can perhaps give some voluntary hours at the school as a parent. Each school has a Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) that is responsible for arranging all different types of activities. I have volunteered many times to help during book fairs, carnivals, bake sale, silent auctions, fund-raising activities etc. at my daughter’s elementary school even though I am a working mother. But due to my time limitations, I am not able to help out as much as I would like to. Or, I should say my daughter would like me to. She becomes very proud every time her mom works at school. Mostly stay- home mothers are the ones who help out on a regular basis.

    In summary, be active and do something (anything) even while you’re taking care of your child/ren and making the best of your home and family. Every single little work you do adds value to your resume.

    You can also equip yourself with additional qualities by taking different courses while you’re staying home. You do not always have to go to a school to take a class, a lot of courses are offered online. See Sharmin’s write-up on e-learning under Career.

    Now to answer your second question, how should the gap reflect on your resume, you need to tailor your resume with all your qualities and voluntary work experiences chronologically under the header of “Voluntary Work Experiences.” In the summary paragraph (next to the objective), present yourself with your success and accomplishments being a stay-home mother or home-maker. Once you are at the interview, you really need to sell yourself. Use examples from your voluntary work experiences to demonstrate specific skills or to show how fast a learner you are.

    Remember, staying home does not mean you are sitting idle and watching tv ordering pizza. You are actually taking care of your home and family and that is one kind of voluntary work as well!

    Hope this helps!

    – Ishret

  5. Oneza says:

    I agree with Ishret. This is a very common issue for women in US, Bangladesh and all over the world! In US, voluntary work is considered good experience. And if the issue comes up during the interview as to why there is a discontinuation, women should feel free to say that they took the time off for raising kids. Employers never take it as a negative factor for hiring as long as you show you have been active even when you were not working per se.

  6. Shahnaz says:

    Ishret, and Oneza,

    Thank you for your invaluable advice.

    I have couple more questions; maybe someone residing in Bangladesh or with work experience in Bangladesh may answer this one:
    1. What are the best ways to look for job after graduation (say with Degree/Bachelors /Honors)?
    2. Can anyone recommend good sites to look for jobs on-line (catered for Bangladeshi graduates/workforce)?

    Thanks,
    Shahnaz

  7. Nusrat Islam says:

    Majority of employers in Bangladesh even today opt to advertise job opportunities through the national dailies/newspapers, well probably after they have exhausted their personal contacts, nieces & nephews!! The Bangladesh Observer, The Daily Star, The Daily Ittefaq, Prothom Alo, Janakantha etc are among the leading newspapers with good circulation, please forgive me if I have missed out any other important one. There is no politics going on here!

    It might be helpful for fresh graduates to follow these newspapers closely but at the same time try to utilise contacts, as in today’s world networking helps no matter where you are. The other option is to make a list of companies where one is interested to join & drop or email resume to the human resource department accordingly.

    The only jobsite in Bangladesh that I am aware of at this time is bdjobs.com

    All the best to everyone!!!

    Nassu

  8. Faria Ahmad says:

    The dailies and of course the ‘network of friends and known persons’ is quite effective method for one to search jobs in Bangladesh.

    One can also drop his/her resume in different companies by addressing the HR/admin after graduations and can follow up the progress of recruiting time to time.

    Some agencies/organizations/banks in Bangladesh recruites recent graduates for short-term contract, part time jobs, and internships; or even for translating books and documents or some small research and data collections.

    And even with these small or short-termed experiences the recent graduates can apply for better jobs and the translating skills would help them to get jobs in different NGOs and research oriented organizations. Often seen that these part time recruits are taken in the respective organizations based on their performances.

    And regarding the websites: bdjobs.com, jobsbd.com, tiptopjoblcom  are few options to search jobs in Bangladesh.

  9. Annonymous says:

    I found this very useful… 22 Career Tips to Managing your Career for the Long-Term

    http://careerplanning.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.careerlab.com%2Fart_22basics.htm

  10. Sharmin Islam says:

    Hi,
    I wanted to know what it’s like to teach at the primary school level. I am a former analytical chemist and now a stay-at-home mom, but I am thinking about going into the teaching profession later on when my child is a bit older. I have a B.S. in chemistry and an M.S. in biochem (actually, I am three courses away from completing my degree). Can any teachers tell me what it’s like to teach little kids? The pros and cons of the teaching profession at that level? I just want to get an idea of what it’s like from those who are in that profession. Going into teaching would be a career switch for me. I enjoy working with little kids, but don’t have actual work experience with teaching.

  11. Nadia Huq says:

    Becoming a teacher is a life changing decision. As you make a real difference in the lives of children, you will experience fulfillment as your students grow, learn new skills, and express their individual strengths. But becoming a teacher isn’t easy.

    Most people think is an easy job. We get paid holidays, personal days, sick days, we work 8:00 – 3:00, but they all are myths. As a teacher you are only a 10 months employee which means you have no pay for July and August. Our job does not end at 3:00 is ongoing. We have do constantly plan, organize, make good relations with students, parents and other staff. We have to go the extra mile for children. We have to step in their shoes and we have to be aware of all the different learning styles and help each one of them succeed.

    First step of becoming a teacher is to get a teacher certification. You can go to your university and ask the department of education to help you with teacher certification. This requires taking classes and teacher exam. You can also go to your local board of education (their website) and get information on how to get certified. Each state has different requirements to get certified.

    I have taught grades pre-k – third. My favorite is preschool and kindergarten. Every grade level is different. My suggestion will be to be a substitute teacher you only need 60 college credits (again ask the department of education about the procedure on becoming substituted teacher) that way you can get a feel on how the environment of a teacher is and what it takes. Many school districts need volunteers in schools that also can be an option.

    I have been in this field over 6 years and I love it. Yes it is challenging but is worth seeing the smile of a child and you knowing you have done something to shape the life of a child.

  12. Sharmin Islam says:

    Nadia,
    Thank you for your response. Since I don’t have a background in education, I am not sure what subject I would need to get a certification in. I actually love reading and writing, and I want to explore that through teaching. But as a primary school teacher, do you have to get certified in a particular subject, or is it just a general teaching certification that you need? Also, in my former work environment, I did not particularly enjoy all the office politics. I was wondering, is there a lot of that in the teaching profession? I know that it’s everywhere, but I would think that since you are the “boss” in your classroom, it is less than in the corporate world. I am looking for a more nurturing work environment where I can really feel like I am making a difference. Finally, did you always know that you wanted to teach? Does it take a lot of time to prepare for your classes?

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Adhunika blog is launched with a mission to share knowledge among women from every walk of life. Sometime it would be in the form of sharing experience to find a feasible solution of a problem; sometime it would be in the form of professional consultation, which Adhunika group will arrange for its bloggers. Nevertheless, the intent of this blog always remains the same - to help and empower women through a common web-based platform....read more

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