This past week has been a refresher course in what job applicants should not do when filling out an application.
After reviewing 109 applications forwarded to me for our library aide position, I told Miss Jean that I wanted to put on my career counselor hat.
The application system with the city forwards many applications to hiring managers even if the applicant doesn't know of a job opening or isn't interested in applying for some openings. If they meet the basic qualifications, they can be referred. This was the case with many of the applications I reviewed.
When I worked as the career counselor at Central Library from 1987 to 1995, we had all the resources imaginable to help someone find a job locally, statewide or nationally.
I came to realize that even in a good job market with plenty of opportunities people manage to sabotage themselves in ways that they have total control over.
They in effect shoot themselves in the foot before they can even get their foot in the door. I attempted to get people to see how they could express job skills; knowledge and abilities that they did not give themselves credit for on an application in order for reviewers to see that they did qualify for the job.
A lot of young people may not read this column, but if you are a parent, teacher or know someone who is looking for that first job or summer job, maybe these tips will help them get interviews.
* Don't wait until school is out to start job hunting.
* Have all your employment information with you before filling out applications or going online.
* Do NOT use lower case only, or do a mix on an application. Demonstrate that you can type correctly and spell. Good grammar is essential. This shows attention to detail and ability to communicate in writing.
* Do NOT use a cutesy/weird/bizarre/suggestive e-mail address. This does not represent you well in the business world. Establish a new free e-mail address to use on applications or resumes.
* Eliminate the loud music, weird messages, or having a child give the message on your answering machine. This could be the interviewers first impression of you, make it a positive one.
* Respond promptly to a message for an invitation to an interview. Wait too long and the chance may be gone.
* Use the employment history blocks for volunteer work. This allows you to give relevant job skills. Insert "Volunteer Job" beside the name of the organization.
* Be prepared to sell yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses and why you want the job. Familiarize yourself with the job description before applying and again before the interview. Be prepared to relate skills you have that match the job that you are seeking.
* Speak clearly.
* Visit the business if possible. Avoid rush hours. Check out the surroundings and talk to the staff. Ask for the hiring manager and let that person know you are applying or would like to apply. Pick their brain for what they are looking for in applicants. Ask how they advertise for their openings.
Take advantage of the resume books and interviewing books that we have in the 650.14's. Good luck.
Lynda Whitton is the head librarian for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.