Lower your expectations – If you didn’t previously work as a manager, and if you were not previously a CEO of a corporation the chances of you coming in to a new position at this level are virtually non-existent. Additionally, just because you love to play with computers at home does not necessarily mean you are computer engineer material, at least not yet. Most importantly, if you are searching for a job without currently having a job then you cannot be picky; at this point any job is better than no job.
Be professional – From the beginning of your search, up until getting hired and beyond; be a professional. Have a proper resume and cover letter. Be professional on the phone. Dress professionally and be confident in your interviews.
Applying for the job – Job hunting is very important, and this is another time where having lowered expectations is important. An entry level position with potential to work your way up is better than collecting unemployment with no future potential. Use the internet, sites like careerbuilder.com, monster.com, craigslist.org and Google to find leads. Ask friends and family members if their employers are hiring, or use a temp agency (like Adecco) to get your foot in the door to a new company. If you have an in-demand skill, look for a headhunter to help place you with a new career. Have a proper resume, it needs to be well written and highlight your relevant experience and success as pertaining to the position you are applying for. This means have multiple versions of your resume. Write a cover letter for every position you apply to. You may apply to hundreds of positions and you may not necessarily need hundreds of different cover letters, but generally your cover letter should be geared to the position you are attempting to obtain. When you receive a phone call for a potential interview be polite, listen, respond when appropriate – professionalism will secure that interview.
The interview – Know what you are going to say before you arrive, and arrive early and dressed professionally. Men, get a suit. If it comes down to choosing two candidates with similar backgrounds and similar interview experiences, the better dressed candidate will walk away with the job. Be calm, be confident and be yourself. Most importantly be honest. If you are unsure about a question, ask for specification don’t fabricate a response. If you haven’t had experience in a specific field, try to relate it to another and if you can’t do that express your interest and your desire to succeed. Never discuss salary in an initial interview, unless you all ready have a job or another offer waiting where you can afford to not be offered this position. When the interview concludes, always shake the interviewer’s hand and thank them for their time and consideration. If you follow these suggestions, you are going to have great results.
Negotiating Salary – Congratulations, you’ve done everything right up until this point and you have been offered a position. Now they are going to tell you what their offer entails and ask if you accept it. This is very important: If you do not have any other job, accept the job offer as is. If you can afford to lose this offer, then this is the time where you approach them with realistic requests. A slightly higher pay, a few extra days of vacation; things of this nature. Do not ask them for a significantly higher pay amount, do not ask them for another position.
Additional recommendations – Always have references ready to go, and be prepared to give them on the spot. That means actually getting permissions to use someone as a reference. You should have at least 2 professional references, and one personal reference (a lifelong friend, member of your church, a teacher).
Good luck, if you follow these general guidelines I assure you that you will find a job and hopefully a career. Looking for work does not mean applying to one or two jobs, it means applying to 30, 40 or even 100 positions. Hiring managers will weed you out. Remember, if you apply to 30 positions you likely will only hear back on a handful of these applications. There are many different reasons for this, but don’t be discouraged. Keep on hunting!