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Job Hunting in Liverpool NY

Job Search Strategies

What is a Work History Record?

In age of automated job application portals and algorithmic screening, having a detailed and well-organized chronicle of your job history is arguably just as important as a resume and a cover letter. This is because most your time will be spent typing the same bits of text into hundreds of little text boxes.

People like to joke that these application portals just make you fill in all the same things that are on the resume you already submitted, but that's not entirely true. Online applications will have you hunting down all kinds of random pieces of seemingly useless information!

  • What was your hourly pay rate and physical street address of your first grocery-bagging job?
  • What was the name and e-mail address of some manager that you haven't spoken to in 10 years?
  • What was your reason for leaving for every single job you've ever had?

You wouldn't put any of these things in a resume, yet online application forms will ask for all of these. Having a job history record with ready to go will help you breeze through form after form. Your job history record can be in Word, Excel, Google Docs/sheets, or whatever is most comfortable for you. I prefer Excel because having each piece of data in its own cell makes it easy to copy and paste.

This is is not a flowing, narrative document. It's not supposed to look good or impress anyone. Instead, it is a functional repository of information whose purpose is to save you time. It should act as a one-stop shop for every piece of data that a job application is likely to ask you about, and each piece of data should be easy to target for copy-and-pasting.

How to use this document to save time

  • Open your Work History Record in one window, with your application open in your browser.
  • ALT+TAB to switch between the two windows.
  • Select a cell from the spreadsheet and copy its contents using CTRL+C
  • Switch to the application, click the blank you want to fill, and paste with CTRL+V
  • Switch back to the spreadsheet, grab the next piece of data, and repeat.

Double-Check that E-mail Address

Not only is your e-mail inbox the central headquarters of your job search, it is also how you make those critical first impressions with employers. Employers expect applicants to reliably check their e-mail, so if you are not 100% sure what your address and password is, make time to practice logging in. It is that important. Do not rely on devices or browsers to remember your e-mail password for you. These methods will fail when you need them the most. Employers also expect you to know what is and isn't acceptable in the professional world. You should have an e-mail address that looks professional, so if you are still using that quirky screen-name from high school, it might be time to get a separate e-mail address for your work life.

This tutorial can guide you through the steps of creating a Gmail address, which also grants you an allotment of cloud storage - handy for keeping your application materials accessible no matter where you go.

Review Your Social Media Footprint

You should assume that an employer can easily obtain a list of your more obvious social media handles (ones that use your real name, or match the e-mail you used to apply), and that background check companies can uncover the more obscure ones if asked. Take the time to learn your social media's privacy settings, remove inappropriate posts and risque photos, and double check who you're publicly following. Google yourself and your past screen names, and be ready to answer questions about anything that you aren't able to get removed.

Check out this guide for more tips about managing your social media presence.

Create A Job Search Folder on Your Device or Cloud Drive

Save yourself the frustration of hunting down important documents over and over again throughout your job search. If you are doing it right, you will likely generate all sorts of files along the way. In this folder, you'll keep things like your work history record, your school transcripts, different versions of your resume, and the various individualized cover letters that you send to different employers. By saving your cover letters, you will also begin to build a back catalog of copy-paste-able text that you can salvage as building blocks for your next cover letters.

A nice bonus of keeping a copy of every cover letter you send is that this can act as a record of all the places you've applied to, and the specific way you marketed yourself to that organization. These will always be evolving as you refine you language and learn more about what employers in different industries want to see. Occasionally, you may also want to copy and paste job descriptions into Word and save them, because by the time the interview comes around, the job ad may be taken offline, leaving you floundering to remember all the skills you're supposed to be prepared to talk about.

Check out this tutorial to learn the basics of using Google Drive and Google Docs.

Click here or here to learn about more ways to use Google Drive to accelerate your job search.

Frustrated? It's not just you! The job search landscape has changed...

A massive share of the everyday American economy runs through the wild world of the job search websites, and it's an arena where the middlemen stand to profit. Normally, employers are bound by a great number of laws that regulate how they can interact with candidates, how they write job descriptions, what kind of questions they can ask in interviews, and how they treat employees afterwards. But that first step - the process that gatekeeps which job ads get in front of your eyeballs, and connect to the employer - is a chaotic and competitive industry in its own right.

This fierce competition, along with the many technological advances that employers expect applicants to keep up with, has made the modern job search quite daunting to those who haven't had to look for the job in the past decade. It has become a kind of standardized test in which you're often on your own, under a great deal of stress, making decisions about who you trust with some of your most valuable personal data. Tread carefully.

Watch out for scams

During your search, you may get job offers from fake companies, or marketing spam from employers you never applied for, or solicitations from recruiters who obfuscate the true nature of the jobs they're recruiting for. You may encounter pitches from multi-level-marketers (pyramid schemes), and pressure to pay up front for dubious certifications that won't get you any closer to actually landing a job. You might apply to a job listing for a fake company, whose sole purpose is to harvest your contact information, and then sell it to someone who knows you can't afford to ignore incoming messages. Fake employers could even string you along for the kind of private, high-risk information that you would normally give to a legitimate employer for background check and tax purposes, like your social security number.

Scammers thrive on feelings of desperation, anxiety, and impatience. They know that job seekers are especially vulnerable. When you're waiting on a phone call from a potential employer, you will feel more pressure to answer phone calls from unknown numbers. You will be tempted to welcome anything that sounds like good news, even if it's too good to be true. You can guard yourself against this by taking some basic precautions and staying informed.

  • Check out the FTC's page on common Job Scams to learn how to avoid getting caught up in these schemes.
  • Digital Information World has also created a marvelous infographic outline common job search scams.