Job Searches

Before you begin to seek employment opportunities, be certain that you have a strong resume. According to Gil C. Yancey, executive director of the George Washington University School of Business Career Center, "Start early. Do not wait until the last minute. There are 26 million unemployed or currently underemployed. It's not rocket science, but finding employment opportunities in today's competitive environment is hard work."

If your job experience is limited or you are a college student beginning a path to a job search, Yancey suggests a technique he used with his students, creating a "portfolio of accomplishments" to help you craft a standout resume.

"Think back on your experiences — hobbies, church activities and volunteer work — and skills that you used. Talk about your passions and your interests and your skills." Then, use a self-assessment tool to find out what you offer the market. Your public library, campus career center or local job center can help you schedule time with these tools or find places to take them. Examples include:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
http://www.myersbriggs.org

Strong Interest Inventory
https://www.cpp.com/products/strong/index.aspx

StrengthsQuest
https://www.strengthsquest.com

CareerLeader
http://www.careerleader.com

These tools will create a personal report that will advise you on the best areas to pursue. "It is comparing the information you provided with the normative group of others that are constructed the way you are. These are approximately 40,000 people who have pursued these careers and are successful at it," Yancey says. He continues, "Once you choose a field, if you know nothing about that function, the next step are research tools online like Vault.com to help you learn about the industry, look up companies, see their history, what it does, their ups and downs, and available positions."

The most important thing to remember? Never construct a resume and force-fit it to a job opening. "Tailor your resume to the employer or recruiter," Yancey reminds us. "You should not have a hard resume that is inflexible. It should adjust based on what the employers are looking for."