By Brenda Bernstein
The Essay Expert
Many job search experts, including me, are out there giving tips about how to find jobs. I thought I’d give you all some advice based on my own most recent job search – one that got me several interviews and a part-time job! In my search, I was open to accepting a part-time position as something steady and stable while I start my own business.
Here’s what I did:
- Created multiple versions of my resume. One emphasizes my managerial experience; one emphasizes my legal experience; another emphasizes my writing and editing experience. For each job I was interested in, I made sure the keywords from that job description were in my resume!
- Applied to a lot of jobs. Yes, even ones I thought I didn’t want. Some of them turned out to be more interesting than I had expected. I also applied to jobs there was probably no way I would ever get. And I sent cover letters and resumes to places where I would want to work but where there were no jobs available (including the University of Wisconsin Law School). Because you never know.
- Wrote engaging, punchy cover letters. Each cover letter was custom tailored to the specific job I was applying for. It made a difference. I was offered several interviews in widely divergent fields.
- Went on an “informational interview” where there was no position currently available but there was a possibility of a future job.
- Asked what I needed to bring to interviews, and brought the requested materials.
- Showed up 15 minutes early for interviews, and chatted politely with the receptionists whenever possible. Believe it or not, this practice can get you far!
- Stayed positive and friendly in the interviews. Talked about things other than the job. Came prepared with questions I could ask about the organization and the job.
- Wrote thank you notes (at least when I was interested in the job!) If 2 people interviewed me, I wrote 2 thank you notes, each with its own unique message.
- Clarified my priorities for myself. I got clear that having a part-time job with flexibility, in an open and friendly environment, was what I wanted. These attributes were more important for me than the pay rate or even growth opportunities. The more I got clear about what I wanted, the closer I got to getting it.
- Stayed active! I searched for or applied for jobs every day. I exercised every day. I sent out at least 2 job applications per week, whether I found the “perfect” opportunity or not. I volunteered to help a woman with disabilities to write a book. I took a transcription job that kept a little bit of money flowing in. And I started my own business, which got me out in the community and on the internet networking. I was *never* sitting around wondering what to do on any given day. Remember, action breeds action! Doing *something* – *anything* – keeps you engaged in your life and work. You never know what will come out of the relationships you form.
What did I get out of all of this? Several interviews, and ultimately a 25% time job at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Office of Career Services. It’s the perfect fit for me, and it is likely to turn into a 50% time position in the Fall – with benefits.