Need a job? Here are some do's and don'ts when you apply for the next position
Updated as of Friday, October 4, 2019 1:39 PM
If you’ve been looking for a decent job, but you’ve been out of the workforce for a while and need a hand up, you needn’t fret if you live in the Quad Cities. There are plenty of people willing to help. You must be prepared, however, and know the do’s and don’ts going into job interviews.
Art Askew, a second-year NACOG program specialist in Prescott, is one of those who assists job seekers in trying to connect with a position in the community, while helping interested parties seeking training or retraining for a new career.
At the Prescott Valley Job Fair Sept. 25 at Findlay Toyota Center, Askew was one of 40-plus employers on-hand to take questions and guide applicants. More than 200 people attended.
Yavapai College’s Regional Economic Development Center, the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce, Arizona@Work, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, NACOG, Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation and the Department of Veterans Affairs sponsored the fair.
“Quite a few people are asking about different positions opening,” Askew said during the 2-1/2-hour session. “They are looking at positions we have, too.”
Askew added that he had seen more applicants interested in part-time work, partly because of the thriving retirement communities here. Job seekers were told how to apply for positions online and enroll in programs.
“It was a really good turnout, and I was happy to see people come out,” he said. “There’s a lot of jobs out there.”
Sherie Free, an owner/operator who has been in the carpet cleaning business, was at the job fair seeking a position in office management.
“I got two job offers,” added Free, who grew up in the area.
Hilary Joyner, who has been looking for a full-time job for about a year, has a degree in accounting.
“This was my first job fair,” she said. “I was nervous, but the people I talked to were welcoming.”
This free event for job seekers featured many of the top employers in Prescott Valley, including those in business, health care, nonprofits and military organizations. The employers answered questions and conducted interviews on the spot.
“We’re plugged in pretty regular,” Fann Contracting human resources director Garth Bascom said of the company’s attendance at local job fairs, adding that he’s looking for CDL drivers, skilled mechanics and laborers. “It will be a busier than normal winter [for Fann]. We’ve got the [new] airport terminal [we’re working on in Prescott], paving Highway 93 to Las Vegas and doing paving in Oak Creek in Sedona. We’re looking for a work ethic and an ability to travel.”
What follows are several tips Askew provided to the Courier about what job hunters should NOT do when they apply for a job:
• Make silly errors on your résumé.
Submit a résumé that’s formatted correctly, spellchecked, professional-looking, and up-to-date.
“That can be a pitfall for a lot of people,” Askew said. “A lot of hiring managers are turned off by errors; grammatical, etc. Make sure you proofread and that it’s done well.”
• Enter an interview unprepared.
Askew said NACOG offers workshops on résumé writing and interviewing skills, such as the Arizona Career Readiness Credentialing Workshop.
This workshop, a self-study online course developed by the State of Arizona, focuses on seven foundational career readiness and employability skills, including: communicating effectively; teamwork and collaboration; professionalism; critical thinking and problem solving; applied mathematics involving real-world applications (no algebra involved); reading for information, such as work orders and assembly instructions; and locating information, such as reading bus schedules and mixing charts for chemicals.
Passing a proctored exam earns a test taker a certificate of completion for the course.
• Dress inappropriately.
The commonly accepted rule is that an applicant dresses a step above the standard of the business for which he or she’s applying. For example, if the employer’s male employees wear button-down shirts and slacks, the applicant should wear a suit and tie to the interview.
Askew said your résumé gets you through the door, but other factors determine whether you get the job.
“Your résumé depends on your experience and education level,” he added. “It should be chronological and functional.”
Katherine Anderson, Yavapai College programs specialist, is a longtime organizer of job fairs, future-leader town halls and other such programs in the Quad Cities.
For the past five years, Anderson’s put on job fairs, and knows more than a thing or two about what applicants should and shouldn’t do during their job search. Her suggestions were the following:
• Do your homework. “If you go apply for a position at a company, you want to know something about the company,” Anderson said. “You want to sell yourself. … It shows you care and your longevity.”
• Know how to prepare your résumé.
“Use keywords and focus on the job you’re looking for,” she said.
• Look at the job description. “You can find out the skills and what’s needed for a position beforehand,” Anderson said.
• Dress for success. “Make an impression,” she said.
Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at email@example.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.