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Looking for a job can be one of the most exciting and challenging processes people go through during their working lives. Here are some quick tips to help you get started in your job search.

Before You Start

There are a few things you should think through before searching for a job. First, think about what type of job you are looking for. There are all kinds of job openings you can consider. Here are a few questions to help you decide which types of jobs will be the best fit for you and your needs.

  • Are you interested in working full time or part time?
  • Are short term positions an option or would you prefer a job you can work for a longer term?
  • Do you need this job to pay the bills or are you looking for a job that meets your current and future career goals?

Once you determine the big picture elements of what your ideal job should look like, think about what day-to- day elements of the job match your needs and interests best. Here are a few things to consider.

  • How important is it for your job to match your interests and skills?
  • How far are you willing to commute? Are you willing to travel farther to a job that matches your interests and skills?
  • Will the job’s working requirements meet your physical abilities? Are the job’s work hours doable with your current schedule and responsibilities?

Start Your Search

Now that you have decided what your job and work- related requirements look like, you are ready to begin your search. Visit online job search websites and local area job search sites to find jobs that match your needs. These websites often allow you to search jobs based on location, full or part time hours, salary/hourly wage, and by employer/industry type. Some jobs are posted in area newspapers, social media, and other local informational providers too. If you prefer to speak with someone in person about job opportunities in your area, visit your local career center. You can also visit https://alabamaworks.alabama.gov/.

Use Your Network

People often connect to jobs through family members, friends, and others by sharing their job search interests. Using social media sites to share your job search interests can also help your search interests reach deeper into your network and beyond.

If you find a job that interests you, but you would like to learn more about the employer before applying, do some homework! Check out their website online or request an informational interview. Informational interviews allow potential employees the opportunity to ask questions to learn more about the employer, the types of jobs people do there, and what jobs are currently available.

Complete the Job Application

Once you have identified several jobs of interest, you will need to get your job applications submitted to be considered for the job. Many job applications require a completed application form, a resume, and references to be considered complete. Others may require cover letters, school transcripts, proof of certifications/training, drug screens and other items as well.

Here are a few tips and helpful steps you can take to make sure your job applications are completed fully and grab the attention of the hiring manager.

Before filling out the job application, you should review the job posting and application. Make a list of everything the employer wants you to submit for your application to be considered complete. As you get those items together, check them off your list. Create a list for each job you are applying for as different employers may want different things.

The job application can be easy to fill out. Many job applications can be filled out online while others may require a paper version. Before completing the application, read the whole application and the job description before filling it out. This will help minimize mistakes as you fill out the application.

Fill out the job application completely based on the directions provided. If you have a question about something asked on the job application, contact the potential employer’s Human Resources contact or the hiring manager.

Job applications often ask for the same kinds of information found on your resume and your references. Consider preparing your resume and references list first so the application will be easier to complete.

Check the document for spelling and grammar errors. You also need to check to make sure the information on the job application matches any other application materials you are submitting as well as dates of previous employment, job titles, job duties, certification/graduation dates, and others. You may consider writing any answers in a software program with spell and grammar check to make sure you minimize making a mistake you might not catch. If you use this strategy, be careful when you copy and paste your responses into the application.

Make sure you have all of the application materials needed before submitting.

After Submitting the Application

Follow up! Check with the potential employer to make sure everything that was necessary for a complete application has been received.

Keep track of your job applications and where you stand in the process.

Until you find a job, keep looking, searching, and applying. Considering one job possibility at a time may delay your job search.


Peer ReviewMatthew J. Ulmer, Extension Specialist Community Workforce, Leadership & Economic Development

New May 2021, Launch a Successful Job Search, FCS-2545

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