Finding a Job
© 2010 P. Arthur Stuart
Updated: July 18, 2020

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Related Pages: Getting the Job and Questions Appendix

Downloadable pdf forms:
Personal Portfolio - Application Summary
Personal Portfolio - Education
Personal Portfolio - Job History
Personal Portfolio - References

What makes me an expert? I'm not. I'm just a guy with over thirty years in the civilian workplace and twenty-two in the Navy. I've applied for over a hundred jobs and have been interviewed for most of them. As a manager I reviewed résumés and applications, and then conducted interviews for the most qualified individuals. If there is a suggestion that doesn't make sense, just ignore it. Don't settle.

I think one of the major mistakes we make in life is that we gamble on the future, usually unconsciously. The gamble is that things will stay the same and for most of our lives things pretty much remain steady. However, sometimes things do change unexpectedly, so follow the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared." The economic crisis of 2010 and 2020 coronavirus are an examples of how things can get really bad, very quickly.

Even if you are working, you should prepare yourself for advancement or another job. Companies and jobs come and go at a moment's notice; even in the government. Even when the economy is good, companies go out of business for many reasons. The best time to prepare and look for a job is when you already have one.

Before you start looking for work, you should take some preliminary steps.

Job Preparations List:

First and foremost, if you are working, be a good employee. A lot of people I've worked with over the years thought they were good employees, but they weren't -- not in my eyes, but in the eyes of people that counted. I've seen a lot of people passed-over for promotion or being hired, that had nobody to blame but themselves; although they did blame others.

Also related to being a good employee is doing a little extra. Although a particular task is not in your job description, do it anyway, so long as it is not unsafe or illegal. My personal point of view is that if I'm there anyway -- what difference does it make. Volunteer, there aren't many suicide jobs you'll be asked to do. In addition, you may be gaining more skills, which are applicable to a higher or another position you would want.

Volunteer or get an internship. Besides being a good employee, this is probably the next most beneficial thing you can do. Look for work in the field you would like to pursue. All volunteer work will pay off. You get experience. You meet people and build a network. And you will probably feel good about yourself. Volunteer work shows possible perspective employers that you are motivated. Go to a business that you would like to work for and ask if you can volunteer to do the work. If they ask why. You can tell them that it will give you experience. You can also say that it is a win-win, they get no-cost work and you gain experience. In addition, the benefits to you are: you get a foot in the door -- meaning that if a position should open you'll be a prime candidate, the opportunity to show them how good a worker you are, and obtain references or referrals

Get yourself a loose leaf binder or an accordion file folder. I filled mine with plastic protectors, so I could slide in 8.5 x 11 sheets. I divided the book into sections: Education, Job History, résumés, References, Applications. At the the top I've included several downloadable forms and at the end are some samples that I used.

Gather several applications and make a list of generic questions. Then carefully document the answers.

Collect a few job descriptions for each type of job you will be seeking.

Read books and take courses.

Build a Network.

Get A Mentor.

Let everyone, and I do mean everyone, know that you are looking for work. A lot of jobs are not advertised and filled by word of mouth.

Update your résumé. Make sure you use the "Key" words related to the position. You should have one for each type of position you seek.

Develop computer skills.

Links to Job preperation assistance .

Job Hunting:

Start by going to Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. and search for Jobs or Career finding sites. Nearly all government jobs are posted on the internet. If your interested in a local government job go to their human resources office and ask. Many companies also post employment opportunities. In some cases, you can download job applications and job descriptions. In most cases you can apply on line; the fact is that many companies now require online applications. This is becoming the trend. I would encourage delivering the application, with a cover letter and résumé, to the person doing the hiring. Have a few questions about the position -- not benefits or pay related. Good questions tell the person that you're interested the job. My favorite is, "What's the biggest challenge I'll face?" I like to save this one for the interview with the person that you'll likely be working for; most of the time, it will be the last interview.

Visit all places you would like to work, even if no jobs are available. Get an application and ask for job descriptions of the positions you would apply for. Ask to speak to the person responsible for hiring. Let them know you're interested in working for their company (have a reason) and leave your name, phone number, and e-mail address. Put it on a three by five card. Also leave a résumé. Ask them to "Please" notify you if a position becomes available. It will let the person know that you are motivated and when your application is reviewed, you will be a person rather than just a piece of paper.

Professional/trade magazines, newspaper and specialized publications (Like Jobs Available, which list various government jobs can be subscribed to) are a good place to look. There are often local publications that list jobs and can be obtained at various outlet, such as the library and stores.

Links to Job Seeking Sites: To start the process you could "Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc." and search for example, Jobs, employment agencies, or resume templates guides. It doen's matter what you put in as long as one word is jobs, employment, resumes, etc. Most of the sites will assist you on submitting applications, writing resume, and give guidance in interviewing.

Note: comments following the name were taken from the site.


Job History (One for each position)
Type of Business:   

Starting Salary:   
Ending Salary:   
Reason for Leaving:   Never give a NEGATIVE Reason or bad mouth the organization. There are plenty of positive reasons.
Summary of Experience: A short summary for job applications and an in depth description of your work for résumés and when more than just a short summary is required. Include special accomplishment and certifications.

Name:   Title:  

  Known from - to

Phone:   Email:  
Summary of relationship:

Education part 1
Name of School:   Type  


Email:   Attended: from - to  
Number of Units   GPA  
Summary of Courses:

Education part 2 -- List of Seminars, Certifications, Self-study courses and examinations.
Course Title Grade Dates