In my last post, I ranted about the process – which is all fine and dandy because I’m sure more of that type of thing will pour forth from me as I continue on this job hunt. [Repeat after me: Student Loans Will Not Pay For Themselves.] But what I thought about on my way to work this afternoon was HOW I prepared for the job hunt. I got a plethora of ideas from friends who have already been through the process, but a listing of what I did could help someone else.
- Get your resume together a month or two before you begin applying and have more than one person review it. In my case, I had two people who have professional editing experience and they were ENORMOUS help making sure my Is were dotted and my Ts were crossed. Regardless of your prep time frame, the idea is that you have enough time to write the resume, submit for editing and work future revisions.
- Once the resume is more or less together, be aware of the fact you may have to change it as you hunt for jobs. I have caught grammar, spelling and other errors even after the final proofing because sometimes we just simply miss things. I also have updated sections when new things occur (giving a presentation, adding/removing software from my technology list). The .pdf version of my resume was uploaded a month ago and I’ve already made several revisions after that one. The idea in point number 1 is get 90% of it in shape as you will add/remove stuff as necessary. This point it remind you not to get too married to that “supposed” final version.
- Confirm your references (professionally and personally) and then create a single sheet, separating them by professionally and personally. You should have their name, title (for the professional ones), name of company/library/whatever, work address, work phone number, and preferred email address. For personal, I have name, address, phone number and email. CONFIRM THAT WHO YOU PUT DOWN AS YOUR REFERENCES WILL ACTUALLY DO IT.
- Use the same letterhead on your resume as you do for your references list. Keep it consistent (i.e. if you change one, change the other).
- I have a .doc AND a .pdf version of my resume and references list, you should too. Word PC07/Mac08 and Open Office allow you to convert from .doc to .pdf seamlessly. There are also plugins and websites that will do this for you. And remember, if you update your resume/references list, make sure to update the .pdf version as well!
- Create a digital portfolio that includes your resume, coursework, presentations, and other relevant stuff. (DO NOT PUT YOUR REFERENCES LIST ONLINE AS THAT IS JUST STUPID. ONLY HAND IT OUT TO EMPLOYERS IF/WHEN THEY REQUEST IT.) You can do this using WordPress, Blogger or even Tumblr. I had more than a few friends who utilized Google Sites to create their digital portfolio. This illustrates you know how to use “emerging”1 technologies, HTML (to some degree), and a CMS. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have be perfect. Keep the URL professional (not iizawesomsauce.tumblr.com) and ONLY use it for job hunting/professional stuff. Don’t post “OMG, James McAvoy is HOTTTTT!” on the same space you’re handing to future employers. Be smart.
- On the digital portfolio versions of my resume, my address/phone are blacked out. Make sure to do the same. If an employer wants/needs that information or you are being headhunted, they can email you to ask for it. Do not be an idiot and willingly publish your home address/phone number online.
- Also make sure to include your digital portfolio URL in the letterhead of your resume/references and cover letters.
- Resume is created, you’ve got your online portfolio created, so the next thing you need to do is create a spreadsheet to keep track of where you are applying. This will make it easier to see where you’ve applied, where you need to apply and when to do (if any) follow-ups. I have eight columns on mine in the following order: Company/Library, Position, Salary, Web Address, End Date, Resume Submit Date, Type, Status, Followup. Explanation of some of the ones I am using: Salary is to keep track of who is paying what (when mentioned), also helps me gauge what the market is currently paying out for certain types of jobs. Lots of positions are accepted via corporate HR sites and are assigned a position number – this include this as well in the Position field. Resume Type: Did I apply online, email it, fax it or what?
- If you’re applying for the same type of jobs, after your first cover letter is written, you should then have a template for the rest of them. Make sure to change the addressee information, job title and do some tailoring to fit the specific job you are looking for. Also make sure to use the same letterhead you created for your resume and references list.
- Also make sure fonts and stylistics are consistent across your materials. If you’re using Verdana in your resume, don’t use Comic Sans MS in your references list.
- My reference list (professional and personal) have requested that I email them links to the jobs I’m applying for so if they get called, they can speak more intelligently about recommending me for that particular position. Since I’m applying for jobs in batches, they get regularly updated emails from with job titles and links.
This is enough for now — am I thorough? You bet. I just like making sure my Is are dotted and my Ts are crossed. Justin (TheFiance), however, likes to refer to me as being “anal retentive,” but if I have to get out there and get the ROCKSTAR LIBRARIAN/ARCHIVIST job, the only way to do that (other than with my sparkling wit) is to make sure I’ve got alllllllllll my bases covered.
1. Vague sarcasm here.