Tips for Getting the Job You Want


In today’s competitive market you, the applicant, will need to prepare for the job you want! The following tips are based-on the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, which will help you highlight and demonstrate your qualifications.


  • Include your contact information: name, mailing address, job search related e-mail address and telephone number.
  • Provide an objective/summary describing the type of work or specific job you are seeking or qualifications which describes your best skills and experience in just a few lines.
    Make sure the objective and qualifications you list are relevant to the position for which you are applying.
  • Include specific information regarding your education.
    This should include school name and its city and State, months and years of attendance, highest grade completed or diploma or degree awarded, and major subject or subjects studied.
  • List awards that might be relevant to the position for which you are applying.
  • Include your job experience, paid and volunteer.
    For each job, include the job title, name and location of employer, dates of employment, job duties and major accomplishments.
  • Include any special skills such as computer skills, proficiency in foreign languages, achievements, or membership in organizations in a separate section.
  • Be ready to provide references if requested.
    Potential references could include former employers, coworkers, teachers or anyone else who can speak to your abilities and job-related traits. You will be asked to provide contact information for the people you choose.
  • Make sure that it is easy to read.
  • Don’t rely solely on your computer’s spell check feature.
    Ask someone to proofread your resume for spelling and other errors that your computer may miss.
  • Strive to limit your resume to one page.
    Avoid long blocks of text and italicized material. Consider using bullets to highlight duties or key accomplishments.

Cover Letter

  • Refer to the job posting to determine to whom to address the cover letter.
    If no specific name is provided, then it may be appropriate to address the letter to “Whom it May Concern.”
  • Include your home and work telephone numbers.
  • Provide your reason for your interest in the company or position.
  • Briefly describe your qualifications for the position.
  • Respectfully request for an interview.
  • Look at examples and common formats of cover letters on the internet or in books at your local library or bookstore.
  • Do not copy letters directly from other sources.
  • Focus on accomplishments that relate most closely to the job you want.
    You should even use the job announcement as a guide, using some of the same words and phrases to describe your work and education.
  • Look for concrete examples that show your skills.
    Examples may include “Under my supervision, sales increased by 10 percent.” or “During my employment at ABC, I received three letters of appreciation from customers.”


  • Learn about the organization for which you will be interviewing and be prepared to answer questions about the organization.
  • Be prepared to relate how your experience and skills meet the needs of the organization and the job description for which you are applying.
  • Be ready to answer broad questions.
    These include “Why should I hire you?” “Why do you want this job?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
  • Practice your interviewing skills with a friend or relative.

Information to Bring...

  • Social Security card.
  • Government-issued identification
    Such as a driver’s license.
  • Resume and/or application.
  • References.
    Employers typically require three references. Get permission before using anyone as a reference. Make sure that they will give you a good reference. Try to avoid using relatives as references.
  • Transcripts.
    Employers may require an official copy of transcripts to verify grades, coursework, dates of attendance, and highest grade completed or degree awarded.

Personal Appearance...

  • Be well groomed.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Do not chew gum during the interview or smoke prior to the interview

The Interview...

  • Be early.
  • Learn the name of your interviewer and greet him or her with a firm handshake.
  • Use good manners with everyone you meet.
  • Relax and answer each question concisely.
  • Use proper English—avoid slang.
  • Be cooperative and enthusiastic.
  • Use body language to show interest—use eye contact and don’t slouch.
  • Ask informed questions.
    Ask questions about the position and the organization, but avoid questions whose answers can easily be found on the company Web site.
  • Avoid asking questions about salary and benefits unless a job offer is made.
  • Thank the interviewer when you leave and shake hands.
  • Send a short thank you note following the interview.

Additional Tips (for Civil Service and Merit System Exams)

  • Read the jobs posting announcements carefully to determine the registration requirements, as well as dates and locations for when and where exams are given.
  • Dress comfortably for the written test.
  • Allow adequate time to get to the test site (factor in weather conditions, heavy traffic or parking problems).
  • Listen to all of the instructions given prior to the test and ask questions if something is not clear.
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