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Get a Job!

Essential tips for seeking employment

Before starting your job search, focus on what job you might really want.

Before starting your job search, focus on what job you might really want.

Dave White, chief business development officer for the new Colorado Springs Business Alliance, recently completed a survey of local companies.

“What they’re telling me is they have jobs, but they’re having trouble finding people to hire,” he says.

They are looking for software engineers (with up-to-date credentials), and tech support but can’t find people with the skills they need, he adds. “They’re also looking for people with a good work ethic – who will show up for work, be responsible, and not want to leave early on Friday to go skiing.”

Many prospective entry-level employees also have not passed the mandatory drug test, or have a criminal history, or don’t want to take a job that doesn’t pay more than unemployment.

If you’re getting serious about hunting, Steve Fehl, training facilitator for the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, has some advice. If you have never looked for a real job, or haven’t for many years, here’s a refresher course: 

Know what you are looking for

A narrow focus is better than a broad target. Instead of clerical work, maybe you want to be an executive assistant. Research it to find out if you are qualified. 

Do some self reflection

Ask ‘What do I enjoy doing?’ or ‘What am I really good at? How do they relate to a job? Take an aptitude test.

Refresh your resume

More places than ever want you to submit a resume with their application (usually online). Make a master resume with all your work history and references and such, then tailor it to each job application.

Check out job fairs

They’re hit and miss, as far as finding a job. What they are good for is seeing what’s out there (maybe something you never thought about before), networking with other job seekers, and honing your impromptu interview skills.
prepare for your interview. It’s very important for you to know something about the company. Also, practice interviewing with a friend who will honestly tell you how you come across. How’s your body language? Your voice modulation? Your attitude? In our workshop here, we provide 10 or 15 frequently asked questions that might pop up during a typical interview. It helps to have an answer, but one that doesn’t sound rehearsed.

–Dress up. Find out what the dress code is at that company and dress one level higher. It never hurts for men to wear a coat and tie, and women a suit, whether with a skirt or pants. Try to look professional. It will make a good impression and give you more self-confidence.

–Make sure you know exactly where the interview will take place (you don’t want to be late because you got lost). And I can’t tell you how many times people say they were late because they were out of gas or something.

Upgrade your skills

It’s important, particularly in today’s job market, to be up on your tech skills. Employers are telling us they cannot find candidates with the skills they need. Technology is moving fast. If your job requires you to, say, send and receive text messages, then you’d better learn how to do it. Get on Facebook or LinkedIn. Ask yourself: Do the jobs I’m looking at have requirements I can fulfill?

Age matters

The truth is, age can be an issue, though employers aren’t allowed to say so. But it can apply at both ends of the spectrum. Some employers don’t want older workers because although they tend to be reliable and responsible, they are often set in their ways. They see them as less flexible and less energetic than younger workers.

On the other hand, employers complain that young workers are not reliable and don’t work as hard. And even though they have current skills, they have little world experience.

Show that you are flexible, reliable and adaptable.

Older workers can stress that they work smarter.

Besides the Workforce Center, the library district has job search assistance, and there are networking groups at churches and other organizations. The Women’s Resource Agency is good, too. Temp agencies also can be a way to get contract work and get your foot in the door at a company, but not always.