Archive for the ‘looking for a job’ Tag

The Key to the Job Hunt: Keywords

One of the few rules of unemployment is that I have to perform “five job searches” a week.  These job searches include searching online, submitting a resume, attending a job fair, using a Workforce center or attending job skills training. It sure doesn’t sound like it should be hard to hit that five very quickly. Heck, if you don’t clear your cookies you can perform a search in about five seconds on some sites.

Since I am hyperobedient, I have a stack of these sheets dating back to day one of unemployment. The entries, however, only include job training, resume submissions, and job interviews. If I included all the job searches I have done in the past month and a half, some paper company in the Midwest would own all my unemployment money. Not a bad thing for them, bad thing for me!

Part of the reason why I am only including job training, resume submissions, and job interviews is because of keyword searches. Keywords are so important to my job search. Knowing what I want to do – outreach, social service, preventative services, non-profit work, communications – is so key in finding the good jobs.   Without knowing exactly what I am looking for the job hunt would be really hard. Well, the job hunt still is hard, but nonetheless, it’s not as hard knowing where to find the jobs I want now that I know how to narrow them down.

But, how do you narrow down those key words? Let’s start with your current/previous positions. What type of skills do you have (transferable or otherwise). For example:

  1. Microsoft Office
  2. Bilingual
  3. Case Management Skills
  4. Database Management
  5. Training Skills
  6. Management Skills


What experiences do you have that go along with these experiences?  For example:

  1. Networking with community based organizations
  2. Press Conference Organization
  3. Creating national database systems


Now…go to Google, Hotjobs, Careerbuilder, your job search site of your choice and find your dream job. It could be a job that you fit the qualifications for or a job that you want in the future. For example…a job I’ve applied for is an Outreach Caseworker the job description is below:

Complete in-home assessments and determine eligibility of clients for homebound program. Qualifications: BA or BS degree in Social Work or related field. Professional experience working with the elderly preferred. Must have good time management skills and excellent verbal and written communication skills. Computer skills required. Must have reliable transportation with required insurance. Bilingual (Spanish/English) preferred. Respond by e-mail or fax resume.

We need to peel the layers apart of this job.

  1. The job:

Complete in-home assessments and determine eligibility of clients for homebound program.

  1. The Qualifications (education):

BA or BS degree in Social Work or related field. Professional experience working with the elderly preferred

  1. The Requirements (job wise):

Must have good time management skills and excellent verbal and written communication skills. Computer skills required. Must have reliable transportation with required insurance. Bilingual (Spanish/English) preferred

Now that this is all broken down, we can search for a job like this (of course, if we don’t get this job!). Check out the education requirements – social work. Much like a thesaurus we need to change the wording around. Organizations use different lingo, some like “social workers” other like “social service” others like “psychologists.” So, if you are looking for something based solely on your education, change it up every once in a while. I’ve come to search for “social services” as opposed to “psychology” because “psychology” is much for of an upper division or Masters level requirement, which I don’t have.  And what about the requirements? Computer skills? Search for that! Bilingual? Search for that! Search for them all, social services, computer skills, bilingual and you will find very specific jobs.

But, if you aren’t finding anything with those specifics, then you’ll need to widen things up again. It’s like trying to shoot a basketball from center court at the buzzer and hoping it’ll go in. Most of the time it won’t work, but on some rare occasions, it will. So, give it a try! Be specific. And, if it doesn’t work, move in a bit, say the three point line. And even further if that doesn’t work. Try the free throw line.

The key here is…the keywords. Once you know the keywords you’ll be able to search endlessly. And even when you have the “perfect” job months later you’ll be able to help your friends by narrowing down your skills and experiences, finding a job that includes these skills and experiences and then looking for jobs that include these jobs and experiences. Yah us!


Craigslist and My Job Hunt

Yesterday I wrote about Christmas. Today I’m writing about love. Craigslist is love. Not that I know much about love. My experience with love is limited to the San Antonio Spurs, my desire to own a pair of Christian Louboutin boots, and Justin Timberlake (darn that Jessica Biel!). But, when it comes to the job hunt, today’s love is Craigslist.

Craigslist is such a fabulous place. We all know Craigslist’s history (or we should and that’s why I’m telling you about it today). It started out way back in 1995 when Craig Newmark connected with friends to let them know what was going on in San Francisco. It grew and today, if I could meet this Craig Newmark. I would plant a big ole kiss on his cheek. I find a job to apply for nearly every other day.

But, how do you do this you ask? You can’t just bookmark the one place you’re looking for like “Non-Profit” in my case. I’ve come to the realization that a ton of people are just don’t really know how to navigate the simplistic site many great jobs end up in the wrong place.But, how do you find the right job? Here’s how I’ve navigated CL…

  • Admin/Office is a good place to find data management jobs. If you are a Microsoft Office guru check this area out.
  • Marketing/PR is great for outreach or organizing jobs. If you love people, are into social media and are ready to “transfer” your skills head over here.
  • Education area is where I have found a few positions in job training. Use your people and teaching skills to write a killer resume and cover letter for this one.
  • Health area is great for Case Management positions.  If you have previous case management experience, some non-profits drop their case management positions here instead of non-profit thinking they’re more health related.
  • Writing and ETC is great for Grant Writing positions. Since grant writing is more of a writing skill than a non-profit skill, some organizations put their writer positions here thinking that writers can express the organizations opinion better than someone with a non-profit background.

This doesn’t mean, though, that I neglect my standby and my targeted field, “Non-Profit.” That section of Craigslist is checked every few hours, as I’ve mentioned before…the job hunt is a full time job and I always have my eye out for the scam jobs as Craiglist has begun to warn us of background checks, credit checks, free trial offers, and other such icky things and people.

Much like love, jobs can be found in many places. And that’s why I love Craigslist. But, now…we must move on to the next part…actually getting the job!

Sleeping in on Christmas Morning and the Job Hunt

I’ve heard numerous times that looking for a job is a new full time job.  But, that doesn’t mean that looking for a new job doesn’t have to be fun or even slightly entertaining. It’s been estimated that for every job posted online that there are about 6 applicants.  That’s on average. What about highly coveted positions, or positions that have fun titles? They have to be higher than 6.

And some days, that’s just disheartening. I just want to go to sleep! After about a month and a half on the job hunt (during the holidays, nonetheless) I’ve come to the conclusion that sleeping in isn’t that bad of an idea.

Searching for a job is like a full-time job. When I see a new job posting it’s like Christmas morning. It’s even better when it matches my qualifications and I can write a new cover letter and resume to send-off to the person hiring for the position. But, do you really think that the person in charge, whether it be an actual HR Manager or an Office Director is sitting at their desk waiting for the perfect candidate to send them a pretty ribbon covered resume and cover letter? Hardly. They’re continuing on with their daily business and will get to your e-mail when they have a chance.

So, when you find that perfect job posting don’t get too giddy. Unless, of course, the deadline to get the application in is at midnight that night.  This is because of the recency effect.

As much as we hate to admit it, we all fall prey to the recency effect – remembering the first things we see and the last things we see.  I’ve come to believe that sending my resume towards the closing date is more effective than sending it at the beginning just because it’s one of the last things the person in charge is going to see, and remember. If you fall in the middle it’s just a big old mess  – even if you are a stellar candidate.

Based on the recency effect, sleep in! We’re adults and Christmas isn’t going to be over at 7am! Even if you know that job posting is there at midnight, take a Lunesta (no, don’t do that!), drink a glass of warm milk, count sheep, or whatever it is that puts you to sleep and think about the cover letter and resume in the morning. The person in charge will get there when they get there. Their presents arrive when they find their perfect candidate – at the deadline.

And then, you can jump up and down with joy after you get off the phone with the person in charge who set you up with an interview after you slept in and waited to send in your resume.