Looking for a new job? Need some tips and tricks for updating your resume or preparing for an interview? Your Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin is dedicated to helping people achieve their highest level of independence through the power of work, and that starts with our online guide.
Digital Skills Can Provide a Career Path to Middle- And High-Skills Jobs
Mastery of digital skills can replace the educational requirements for many occupations, and advance individuals upwards in their careers. Higher level digital skills needed for specialized roles and advanced positions lower the risk of automation.
Baseline Digital Skills Serve as a Door Opener
More than 4 million annual job postings call for baseline productivity skills like using word processing programs.
Visit GCFLearnFree.org to build the skills you will need in today’s workplace and beyond. All modules are free and you can learn at your own pace, starting where you need to.
Intimidated by computers? New to email or the web? Want to stay safe online or understand how your operating system works? Learn all of this and more in our Technology section
Looking to advance in your career? Embarking on a new one? Use these lessons
to plan your career, apply for jobs, balance work life, and get the training needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.
Whether you want to learn new words, practice your reading skills, or expand your knowledge of fractions, decimals, percentages, and algebra, our interactive lessons
Reading & Math
Whether you want to learn new words, practice your reading skills, or expand your knowledge of fractions, decimals, percentages, and algebra, our interactive lessons
Digital Skills Pay More
Baseline digital skills like productivity software pay 17% higher wages than non-digital middle-skill jobs.
Advanced digital skills such as experience with Information Technology (IT) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software place individuals in the top quarter for all earners.
This digital skills information is credited to Urban Institutes.
Assuming that you know what you want to do and where you want to do it, you’ll find millions of jobs posted online. Start with 1 and go through the whole list. Some will work better for you than others, but don’t spend more than 20% of your valuable time completing online job applications:
No one wants to read this advice, but networking is the quickest way to a new job. Networking doesn’t mean attending events in big rooms full of strangers! Networking means staying in touch with people you know and meeting new people.
You are five (5) times more likely to be hired if an employee refers you than if you apply without knowing anyone. Employers really prefer to hire someone known to a current employee than a complete stranger off the street. The most effective method of landing a new job is connecting with people at your target employer(s) or choosing to work for an employer because you already have friends or family who work there.
Developing a list of target employers is the foundation of a successful job search today. Check out the employers’ sites so you are familiar with what they do (products, services, senior management, locations, etc.), and use that information you collect in your
interactions with the employer. You will be more effective in social media, your applications, and your job interviews when you have researched your target employers thoroughly.
LinkedIn is currently the most powerful and effective professional social network. LinkedIn also has job postings (see the “jobs” link below the search bar at the top of every page). Also check out the Jobs tab in LinkedIn Groups (you can join up to 100), and the company profile pages for your target employers.
LinkedIn is one of the best online venues for connecting with people who work at your target employers (and who worked there in the past). Use it to vet the employer, too. You can also find job postings and employer/company pages that provide you with information about the company as well as how you might be connected to current
Social media is a powerful way to connect with a job. Unfortunately, not done well or done without concern for your online reputation, social media can ruin opportunities for you, too. Ignoring social media, particularly LinkedIn, is not optional for most professions and locations. In addition to LinkedIn, job postings are available through both Facebook and Twitter. Many employers have Facebook pages for both marketing and, often, also for recruiting. Employers are increasingly posting jobs on Facebook. In Twitter, follow your target employers’ Twitter accounts for news and look for a Twitter account for jobs, too.
Recruiters, Staffing Firms, & Head Hunters
Recruiters are the traffic cops in the process of hiring people. They can help or hurt you, and several different kinds of recruiters exist. The important thing to remember is that recruiters work for employers, not for job seekers.
Job boards are still very popular, but, as employers have increased their recruiting on their own websites and as the aggregators have made those jobs more visible, the general job boards are perhaps not as effective as they once were. Look for niche boards like Dice.com (for IT) and Idealist.org (for nonprofits). Be careful to avoid the imitation/scam job boards that exist to collect your personal information but offer you no benefit.
Online classified ads, particularly on sites like Craigslist.org, can be very effective for job search because they are very low cost to use, and free in many locations. That low cost attracts small employers who can’t easily post jobs on their own websites. But do be cautious! Because the price of posting is very low or nonexistent, scams are posted.
Associations and Alumni Groups
Associations and school alumni groups are very effective for networking, and often their websites have job postings for members. If you have worked for an employer in the past, look for an “alumni group” for that employer. You’ll find many ways to connect with other alumni — both school and corporate — in LinkedIn Groups.
Google has many hidden talents plus excellent tools for finding job postings as well as helping you with your job search in many other ways.
Direct/Offline Can Work Well for Local Small Businesses
If you want to work at the local mall or in the local McDonald’s restaurant, go to that business and ask for an employment application to complete. Dress nicely, be polite, and complete the form neatly and legibly, and you’ll probably end up with at least an interview the next time there is a job opening.
Building a Résumé
Access Indeed’s free résumé builder and reference the information below to complete your résumé.
Choose a Format
Format styles include more traditional layouts like reverse-chronological, a functional or “skills-based” layout or a combination.
Sign Up for a Professional Free Email Account
• @gmail.com (Google account. May be difficult to get your name. Try other professional combinations of your name like firstname.lastname@example.org)
• @outlook.com (Microsoft account.)
• @mail.com (Less well known. May be easier to get your name.
Start With Your Contact Information
• Phone number(s)
• Professional email address
• Social media handles for job search (Twitter and LinkedIn)
• URLs to personal websites or blogs, relevant to job search
Notice you do not need to add any part of your address.
Write a Résumé Summary – what do you bring to the employer, not what you
• A résumé summary is a short (1-2 sentences, tops), snappy introduction that highlights your career progress and skill set. It should also demonstrate why you’d be a valuable hire.
• The average recruiter spends six seconds scanning your résumé.
• The recruiter is looking for very specific information and is only going to look
for it in the top third of your résumé. Make sure to grab their attention in this section.
Create A Skills Section
• Have a section labeled skills in the top third of your résumé.
• List your experience and accomplishments.
• Use the format Action Verb + Quantifiable Point + Specific Task.
• For example, “Implemented (action verb) new grounds maintenance crew processes (specific task) that resulted in 10% reduction (quantifiable point) in cost with 50% better (quantifiable point) attendance.”
Add an Education Section
List all of your educational background and any degrees you hold.
Save this as your base and target to each job to include key words, skill, and experiences the employer is looking for.
Adapted from https://uptowork.com/blog/how-to-make-a-résumé
Whether you’re job hunting, gathering leads, or networking in your industry, having a professional, eye-catching LinkedIn profile is an excellent idea to make sure that the right people can find you at the right time. First and foremost: It’s not about you! Write your summary in the first person (as in “I accomplished XYZ,”) but remember who your audience is. With each statement you write, consider who you are hoping will read it, and what you’re hoping they will take away.
For example, when reading about your skills, past job duties, or anything else on your profile, a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential customer wants to be able to imagine how you can help them. So, instead of “I managed a team of 10 people,” you might say, “I was able to attract and hire top talent to round out my team, which then exceeded sales goals by 15 percent.”
Filling out a profile isn’t difficult, but there are some important best practices you should follow to make sure yours is as powerful as possible.
Start With a Professional Photo
If you don’t have a professional headshot, add that to your to-do list, and go with the cleanest, most professional looking snapshot you have — and upgrade as soon as possible. And smile! Remember: That photo may be your first impression with a potential employer.
Make Your Headline Stand Out
By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your job title and current company, but you don’t have to leave it that way.
Consider listing your specialty and speaking directly to your audience. If you want your profile to be searchable, include important keywords; if that’s not as big of a concern for you, consider getting away from industry jargon to stand out. Try to keep your headline to about 10 words.
Summarize Your Biggest Achievements
Use bullets to make this easy to read. Think about your target reader and then paint a picture of how you can make that person’s life easier. You can also add media files, including videos, so if you are a speaker or presenter, an introduction video could be a great idea.
Add Images or Documents
Did you know that you can add media files to your experience? It’s a great way to create a visual portfolio along with your standard résumé information.
Fill Out As Much of the Profile as Possible
That includes skills, volunteer associations, education, etc. This is the place to put all the interesting stuff that doesn’t fit on your résumé but paints you as a well-rounded individual. One quick note: if your volunteer experience directly pertains to your job search, put it in as work history, so it’s up in the relevant section, not down at the bottom.
Keep Your Work History Relevant
You don’t need to list every single job you ever had. Instead, only list the jobs that are relevant to your current career goals.
Add Links to Relevant Sites
If you have a work-related blog or online portfolio, make use of the three URLs you are allowed on your profile and link to it. Probably better to leave off the baby blog and cat videos, though. Use discretion.
Ask For Recommendations
Endorsements are great, but recommendations are the currency of the realm on LinkedIn. Reach out to past colleagues, managers and associates and ask that they write you a recommendation.
Use Status Updates to Share Industry-Relevant Content
This can help show recruiters that you are focused and in-the-know in your industry.
Completing Applications with Honesty About Your Records
By: Amy White; from https://www.snagajob.com/resources/felon-job-applications/
Finding a job is tough with barriers in place for so many. We know you’re frustrated about trying to get your life straight and facing so many obstacles. While we can’t tell you what job to apply for or who can hire you, we want to share the most important thing you can do as you begin your job search: tell the truth. Studies show that nearly 80 percent of employers will do some sort of background check (including criminal history). Some may do a background check before you’re hired, and some will run the check after you’ve been offered the job. No matter when they do it, if you lie on your application and the employer finds out, they can and will fire you immediately. So be honest, and keep these five things in mind.
Read the Questions Carefully
YMake sure you give the employer exactly what they’re asking you for. Is the application asking you to list any previous arrests? Or just felonies and misdemeanors? Does it ask you for specific details about the offense? Don’t leave out important details – but don’t write down the parking ticket you got in 1993 unless the employer asks for it.
Know Your Record
If you’re asked to explain your criminal history, you’ll need to know exactly what your violations were. If your only violations are misdemeanors, you can typically obtain a copy of your record from your local police. If your violations were felonies, you’ll need to contact the state police. If you aren’t sure, start local and they’ll let you know.
If an employer asks what your convictions were, use the information on the record that you obtained from the police to answer the question. Be as brief as possible and be sure to offer to explain more completely in an interview. The application is not the place to plead your innocence.
List the Good Stuff Too
Be sure to list all positive, relevant work experience you’ve acquired either before or after your conviction. If you worked or received training while incarcerated, you may want to list this information in your work experience.
Know What You're Signing
Almost every paper job application will ask you to sign and date it. The actual language on your application will be something like: “I certify that all of the statements on this application form made by me are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief and are made in good faith. I understand that any misrepresentation of information shall be sufficient cause for rejecting my application, withdrawing of any offer of employment, or terminating my employment.”
Signing your application is a binding agreement between you and your potential employer, and by agreeing you are promising you haven’t lied. The last sentence literally means that they can throw out your application, take away any offer to hire you, and if you’re already hired, they can fire you. It’s hefty stuff, and the best thing to do is tell the truth, no matter what.
One last note: Stay positive! It’s hard not to take it personally when you don’t get a job, but you need to understand that many employers simply can’t hire employees who have criminal backgrounds. Typically, this has something to do with potential liability (the fact that they could be sued) if there is a repeat offense. If you have a felony, you may also be barred from jobs in government, healthcare or childcare (to name a few examples). So, you may have to knock on far more doors to get a job offer, but in the end it will be worth it. You will get a fresh start and the opportunity to prove that you’ve moved past your conviction. And keeping a positive attitude and telling the truth is the only way to get there.
The Interview Process
Leveraging Job Fairs
By: Martin Yate
Advice from the author of “Knock ’em Dead Social Networking”
If you’re looking for work, you may want to meet with prospective employers at a job fair, either in-person or online through a virtual job fair.
In-Person Job Fairs
You get direct access to many employers, plus meet company representatives and local employment experts. When you organize yourself properly, take the right attitude and work all the opportunities, live job fairs can generate valuable leads and contacts for your social networks.
Very few people actually get hired at the job fairs. Employers tend to use these events to collect résumés that will lead to meaningful interviews in ensuing days and weeks. Nevertheless, you should be “on” when you attend one, because serious interviews can occur on the spot.
What to Wear
When you attend a job fair, wear proper business attire. You may be meeting your new boss and don’t want your first impression to be less than professional.
What to Bring
If you are in transition, you might consider bringing some business cards. Don’t make the card fussy with special paper stock, gloss or graphics; simple and understated makes the strongest professional impression.
Communicate critical information: Your name, your target job title, your job’s No. 1 deliverable and your contact information. The No. 1 deliverable is the identification, prevention, and solution of problems within your area of professional expertise. Use legible, businesslike fonts. Make it readable. Limit the word count to maximize font size to increase readability. Take to the job fair as many copies of your résumé as there are exhibitors you want to see— times two. You’ll need one to leave at the exhibit booth and an additional copy for anyone you have a meaningful networking conversation with. If you have résumés targeted to different jobs, take copies of all of them.
Using Social Networking
Job fairs offer a great opportunity for social networking with other professionals, as well. Make the effort to speak to other attendees as you walk around. Introduce yourself, smile, share what you do, ask your contact for similar information, exchange contact information and make a commitment to share leads and connect through your social networks.
If you know other people planning to go to the same job fair (perhaps you are a member of a job search support group), attend it with a collaborative effort in mind.
Visiting the Booths
It’s easy to walk into a job fair and be drawn like a moth to the biggest and most attractive booths sponsored by the largest and most established companies and to ignore the lesser ones. But remember that companies with fewer than 500 employees generate the most jobs.
Collect company brochures and collateral materials. Ask questions about company activities and who the firms are looking for before you talk about yourself; this allows you to present yourself in the most relevant light. Collect business cards from every company representative you speak to so you can follow up with an email and a call when they’re not so harried. If you have a background and résumé that make you a match for a specific opportunity, make your pitch. Arrange times and dates to follow up with as many employers as possible: “Ms. Jones, I realize you are very busy today, and I would like to speak to you further. Your opportunities at __________ sound exactly suited to my skills and interests. I would like to set up a time when we could talk about _________ (job title).” Upon leaving each booth and at the end of the day, go through your notes while everything is still fresh in your mind.
Make Local Contacts
Contact your state’s local Department of Employment, Workforce Development, and/ or Job Center. Most local agencies will have staff dedicated to working with people with barriers to employment.