Need a Job? Read on!

I am full of bright ideas. Now you know why.

I am full of bright ideas. Now you know why.

You know I’m here to help, right?

I’m thinking that there might be lots of government workers out of a job soon. And there are lots of people who could use some extra money for, oh I don’t know, “extras” like electricity or a respirator.

So I want share some tips on getting your résumé ship-shape and acing that job interview. Mind you, I’m not an “employment specialist,” but I have skills. Well, I used to work. I remember the old job hunting days like they were 20 years ago.

Enough said. Do you want the benefit of my faded memory wisdom or not?

Time to focus, Job Seekers!

I thought you’d see it my way.

How to (and How Not to) Present Yourself on Paper

I assume that you’re at least a three-dimensional person. Your task is to look fantast-a-dab-a-doodle, but as a two-dimensional person. Looking good on paper without any origami antics involved isn’t easy.

Keep these things in mind as you write your employment life story for some stranger to maybe read.

1. Employment History. Just list the last three jobs you had. If you got fired from your last three jobs or don’t have three jobs to list, it’s okay to be creative as long as you list “creative” or “imaginative” under the “other skills” section of your résumé.

2. Job Descriptions. There’s a fine line between “honest” and “making yourself look humdingerific.” Say your last job was working for a fast-food franchise in a non-management trainee position (see, I’m already doing it–I didn’t say “part-time fast-food grunt-worker slave”), you could say your duties involved “customer service and satisfaction, compliance to standards of food and environmental safety, efficient and consistent product quality assurance, and maintaining high sales volume.”

Sounds better than than cleaning toilets, wearing a stupid hat, scraping fat off the grill, and saying "Do you want fries with that?" doesn't it?

Sounds better than cleaning toilets, wearing a stupid hat, scraping fat off the grill, and saying “Do you want fries with that?” doesn’t it?

3. Words to Avoid in Your Resume. Most experts tell you to avoid clichés such as “team player” or “innovative thinker” I’m telling you the following words won’t go over too well either: “rehab, probation, aliens, cybersex, or fart.”

4. Length of Resume. Again, most experts say one page. Piffle! One page makes you seem like you’re a loser with no experience and nothing to brag about. Make it at least two pages, even if you have to make up shizzle about awards you won on a fake bowling league. And staple the pages together. The staple makes your résumé weightier. And harder to turn into a paper airplane.

5. Cover Letter. You have to know how to write a proper letter. Cover letters aren’t a curtain for your résumé; they actually tell the reader how you found out about the job, why you’re perfectamundo for it, and how excited you are to work for these strangers. And to say thanks for looking at your résumé. Make sure the letter is only one page long and doesn’t have any errors in it. If it’s not a good letter, it’ll make a great paper airplane.

Oh, goodie! Mommy's been interviewing people for her office again!

Oh, goodie! Mommy’s been interviewing people for her office again!

Impressing the Interviewer

If you followed all of my advice on the résumé, you should get a call for an interview. Don’t panic. I’ve got equally great advice for you so that you charm the legal pad off that way-too-serious personoid.

1. What to Wear. Definitely wear clothes that’ll conceal any accumulating sweat. Bring a brief case to carry an extra shirt, blouse or pair of underwear. Always be prepared. Men, wear a shirt and tie. And pants. Shoes too.

Women, it’s trickier for you. Dress too much like a man and some employers will either be confused or put off; dress too slutty  femininely and some employers will either be confused or put off. See? It’s tricky. I can say for sure, Women, don’t wear a tie or a black bra with a see-though blouse. Beyond that, you’re kind of on your own.

Probably not the best choice for your interview. Of course, don't send your Avatar on your interview either.

Probably not the best choice for your interview. Of course, don’t send your Avatar on your interview either.

2. How to Greet the Interviewer(s). Smile. But not too much. They want to know you’re friendly but serious about the job. If you overdo the smile, they might take you for a psychopath or someone who just had expensive work done on her/his teeth and is just showing off. You don’t want that.

Pleased to make your acquaintance. I really need this job. You have no idea what I'm willing to do do to get this job...

Pleased to make your acquaintance. I really need this job. You have no idea what I’m willing to do to get this job…

Your handshake should be firm but don’t be a “carpal crusher.” Also, let go. It becomes weird quicker than you think. You want them to remember you for your winning personality and skills, not as that strange person with the creepy smile and bizarre handshake.

And absolutely no hugging. Ever.

And absolutely no hugging. Ever.

3. Questions NOT to Ask During the Interview. “Can I bring my dog/imaginary friend/probation officer to work?” “Does your health plan cover medical marijuana?” “My old boss was a complete idiot. What will my new boss be like?” “Do alien abductions count as sick days or vacation days?”

4. How to Follow Up After an Interview. Send an email after 2 or 3 days thanking them for the opportunity to interview for the job and how much you enjoyed the experience. Lying is easy via email. After about a week, send a real letter (same caveats as the cover letter apply) expressing the same sentiments.

Do not send flowers, do random drive-bys, or hire some “muscle” to intimidate them. You probably don’t have the money to spare.

Well, they probably come pretty cheap. But scare tactics rarely work at landing you a job.

Well, they probably come pretty cheap. But scare tactics rarely work at landing you a job.

If they don’t issue a restraining order, it’s a good sign. Sit tight and wait for them to contact you.

Good luck, People!

Don't spend that first pay check all in one place!

Don’t spend that first pay check all in one place! Although you probably have put off some general maintenance.

~ by Lorna's Voice on October 9, 2013.

24 Responses to “Need a Job? Read on!”

  1. I am speechless. I’m also glad that I’m not looking for a job.
    I like the ‘What to Wear’ part. It seems there is a lack of proper dress codes out there. There should be one more …. Mouth Hygiene – like in no tongue rings if you have to speak. Spitting isn’t a good thing.
    ~~~~~ : – )

  2. If being imaginative is OK, do you think we should mention if a job (or jobs) we have listed on the resume is imaginary?

  3. Thank you so much for your brilliant words of advice. As you may or may not know, I am a government employee by day. The shut-down hasn’t prevented me from going to work, but all the work I do is not allowed to be done during the shut-down. Yes, you heard me. They’re paying me to come to work and do nothing. Once the hot-shots get their $h– together there’s a chance I could get laid off, and your resume and interview advice will be invaluable!

    • Really? They make you come in and NOT work? Why am I surprised? I really hope you don’t get laid off. And I hope they work this thing out so you can get back to work and work–it must be so boring and the days must drag (or do they let you bide your time doing reading or other things?).

      • They don’t “let” met do anything, but I find ways to keep busy. Like reading blog posts! I think my job is pretty safe so it’s kind of like a vacation without losing my vacation time. Except I have to get up at five flippin’ o’clock in the morning to do things I could do if I slept in until 9:00. It’s all pretty frustrating.

  4. There is a lot of sense and humour here. A very good introduction to resumes apart from anything else, and the pictures !Where do you get them. They often have me chuckling, regardless of the subject matter

    • I spend way too many hours searching Google images for just the right image. I have an idea of what I want and then I go hunting for it. It takes as much time as writing the post! But it’s worth it since you (and I’m sure others) enjoy them so much. :)

  5. I wonder how they feel when you enter for the interview and promptly place your feet up on the desk?? Think it’s a good idea.??

    • Well, maybe if you are interviewing at a shoe company and you are wearing their brand of shoe… ;) Still, I would say it’s generally best to keep your feet on the floor–good advice for men and women, right? ;)

  6. My dear Lorna, your advice couldn’t have come more timely. There is only one way out of the maze: Go self employed. You still have to sell yourself but at least you won’t have to write a ‘resume’. I wrote a brilliant resume. I crammed a whole life onto one page. Including my USPs. Human resource personnel does not take kindly to saving them them a lot of reading. And they want dates! What do I know when I did what? I am a career temp. Here today, gone tomorrow.

    Thanks for boosting my morale. And I shall remember to not smile so much. Hangdog look might convince someone kindly disposed that even I need to eat. Unless I forget.

    U

    • Anything I can do to help a kindred spirit…

      In academia, we have “curriculum vitae.” Those are supposed to be as long as possible. Mine was 13 pages, can you believe that? And they have “search committees” of dozens of people. The whole process is quite different than in business. So I really don’t have a clue what I’m talking about here (although my advice on words not to include in your resume or questions not to ask during the interview was probably pretty good, don’t you think?). ;)

  7. Oh shit, I have to change my resume to remove rehab, alien, and fart. Phew, so glad I saw this. :-) (made me lol)

  8. I just read the above comment, Lorna. Have no fear. Anybody who takes this advice is not going to get the job anyway. (Unless a GOP congressional slot opens up)

  9. Interesting advice. ;-) I taught resumes and cover letters and interviewing skills for years. I’m quite sure my knowledge base and lectures weren’t as quirky or fun to listen to/read. :-)

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