How to Apply for your First Job

Fresh out of high school or college? Looking for your first-ever job can be daunting and terrifying, but you should know that you can get a great work opportunity even if you are a newbie in the employment world. Just follow these tips on how to apply for your first job and you can be part of the workforce for the first time in your life:

Be on the Lookout.

Before you can get a job, you first need to know where to find work. Make sure to check newspapers, job vacancy websites, recruitment agencies. You can also stroll around down and look at shop windows to see if there is an employment opportunity that fits your talents and skill set.

Cold-calling is another way to find potential job opportunities. When doing this, make sure to phone in during off-peak hours. If not, you will end up hanging up on the line as the boss tries to cater to his flock of patrons.

If you cannot find any vacancies in the aforementioned industries, you can always give your resumes to companies that tickle your fancy. Just make sure to show how talented and charming you are when you drop your resume! By doing so, you can be their first option once they have an opening.

Prepare the Papers.

Your resume or curriculum vitae is a piece of document that can make or break your chances of getting your first job. As such, you need to have a good and impressive one at hand. When making a resume, you should make sure that it contains all the pertinent information that an employer is looking for, including your personal details, skills and experiences relevant to the job opening.

Apart from your resume, you also need to prepare a cover letter that expresses your intention of applying for the job. It should also indicate why you think you are the best candidate for the opening – despite the fact that you lack work experience.

Follow up.

It does not hurt if you follow up with the company you have applied for days after you have sent in the resume. While the employer might say that there is no opening at the moment, telling him that you will be happy to take on a job in the future might just give you a boost once a vacancy becomes available.

Practice Interview Questions.

It pays to be prepared, especially if it is your first time to get a job. As you eagerly wait for an interview schedule, make it a point to practice questions that might be asked during the interview. Ask your family members or friends to help you out with an ‘interview role play.’ Ask for their opinions and comments so you can change what needs to be modified before the real job interview.

Suit up for the Interview.

This means literally! Once you get scheduled for an interview, you need to arrive there in snappy clothes. Ditch your comfy sweats for the meantime and dress professionally. Fix your hair well (avoid loud colors for the meantime), and make sure to wear the appropriate footwear. Remove any piercings that will cast a shadow of doubt on you.

Be on Time.

First impressions last – and if you want to make a good one, arrive at the interview on time – even a few minutes earlier! Being the early bird will give you a head start in case you get lost, or in case of traffic.

Be Truthful and Respectful.

Your interview is one of the most important deciding factors for the employer – so make it a point to be truthful and respectful during the process. Address the interviewer respectfully, and do not be afraid to tell the truth about your first-ever job hunt. Who knows? This truthfulness might get you ahead of the pack.

Getting your first ever job comes with obstacles, but if you are persistent – and if you follow these tips – you will surely land an employment opportunity that fits you well.

What are Good Jobs for a 13 Year Old?

As a 13 year old, you know how hard it is to get extra allowance from your mom and dad. But if you are determined to make additional money for your hobbies – or new gadgets – then a good way to do so is to get a part-time job.

Although you are young and under the legal age requirement, you will be glad to know that you can find many employment opportunities out in the open. As such, it is best if you pursue the following work options:

Babysitter

Perhaps the best and most basic job for a 13 year old,baby sitting gives you the chance to earn money simply by playing the part of a responsible ‘tweener.’ Unlike other options, you do not have to go outside – all you just need to do is stay at home and watch over the small kids.

To get a feel of the babysitting job, it is best if you work for your parents or relatives first. Once they prove that you are a good babysitter, you can rely on them to make your services known throughout the neighborhood.

A good thing about babysitting is that you get to increase your rate as you get ‘more famous.’ So make sure to work hard so you can get better compensation along the way.

Pet sitter/ walker

Do you love pets? Well then, you will enjoy a job as a pet sitter or walker. Just like babysitting, all you need to do as a pet sitter is to watch over pets while their masters are away. Pet walkers just need to take the mutts out in the neighborhood, so they can exercise their little paws. Not only is this a great way to get your body moving, it is also a good method to meet other pet enthusiasts.

Athletic Team Assistant

Most know this as the role of a “Waterboy,” but additional specifications have improved the job title to “Athletic Team Assistant.” If you are too thin or frail to join a sports team, you can always take part in their victory by corresponding to their needs as an Athletic Team Assistant. Not only will you get a handsome pay with this job, it also entitles you to a VIP seat to the hottest sports events in your region.

Home Cleaner

If you have a natural knack for keeping homes spotless, you should find a job as a home cleaner. Although it can be particularly tiring and exhausting, this job is a good way to make money during your free time.

When home cleaning, you need to be very careful, especially when going through expensive figurines and vases. If not, you will end up racking a debt that will take you years to pay back.

Farming Jobs

When you think of the word farmer, you might immediately think of laborious toiling under the sun. But as a 13 year old, you get to pick from less strenuous roles. Examples of good farming jobs include berry picking, tree trimming and detasseling, to name a few. With these jobs, you get to earn money – and take home fresh produce by the end of the day!

Grocery Bagger

Grocery bagging might be a repetitive task, but it is a great entry-level opportunity, especially if you want a part-time job that you can come back to year after year. As long as you show your determination and patience, you can be able to get a higher-paying job sooner or later.

 

Even at 13 years of age, there are job opportunities that can help you earn well. Just make sure to choose any of the aforementioned jobs in order to get a great and rewarding part-time work that fits your young age.

3 Things to Check Before your Job Interview

Your job interview can make or break you – as such, you need to be prepared before going in. But before the day itself, you need to make sure that everything falls into place. While you might think of yourself as highly-prepared, you still need to go over the basics. Here are the three things you need to check – at least before you go on with your job interview.

1. Your Documents.

While you might have submitted your resume before being called in, it is essential that you have your CV with you before you go to the job interview. You can assume that the interviewer has a copy – what if he does not? Being unable to produce a copy of your resume will dampen your chances of being hired.

Apart from making sure that your documents are with you, you need to check it twice or thrice for mistakes, typos or grammatical errors. Maybe you spot one or two booboos in your document – make sure to rectify these mistakes immediately, at least before you attend the job interview. If you were not able to refine your resume before you submitted it, make sure to do so before meeting with the employer.

2. Your Knowledge about the Company.

Most job experts recommend researching about the company before participating in a job interview. After all, your knowledge about the firm can greatly increase your chances of being hired.

The essence of knowing the company can never be understated, especially because the interviewer might ask you why you would like to work for his company. If you do not know squat about the company, chances are you will not be able to answer this question with conviction. You might end up with generic, run of the mill answers – replies that might throw you back from the selection table.

Some interviewers also ask what you can contribute to the company – so if you have knowledge about the industry, you can answer this question with much persuasion. Because of these factors, it is a must that you NEVER leave the comfort of your own home without doing a quick research about the firm you are applying for.

3. Your Appearance.

Your appearance is one of the most important things you need to check before heading on to a job interview. Here are some dressing tips that can help you scale the ladder to success:

Men:

  • White or Blue solid shirt.
  • Dark-colored, single-breasted suit with 2 or 3 buttons. 1/2 inch of the shirt cuff must be exposed, while the jacket sleeve should not go beyond the knuckles.
  • Dark-colored pants – Cuffed for tall men, uncuffed for short males.
  • Solid or conservatively-colored tie.
  • All clothing items should be well-pressed and wrinkle-free.
  • Plain or capped rounded toe Oxford shoes with closed lacing that should be polished!
  • Belt that matches the color of your shoes.
  • Hair should be recently cut.
  • Well-shaven face, facial hair must be kept to a minimum.
  • No perfumes or aftershaves, please.

Women:

  • Dark, two-piece suit in gray, navy or black. Pantsuits or Skirt suits? Your choice.
  • Light-colored cotton shirt or blouse. Avoid strapless tops and spaghetti straps.
  • Sheer or nude-colored hosiery.
  • Closed-toe pump with mid-sized heels that should be clean and polished!
  • Briefcase or leather purse.
  • Well-trimmed nails with neutral-colored polish.
  • Minimal make-up.
  • Neatly-fixed hair that is tucked away from the face.
  • Conservative watch with link or leather strap.
  • For inclement weather, a dark-colored trench coat would do.
  • Avoid wearing flashy jewelries and baubles.

While a job interview might sound intimidating, keeping these three things in check can improve your chances of being hired. So before you hurry to the interview location, make sure to keep these factors in line!

How to Write a Resume

Your resume, also known as your curriculum vitae, is one of the most important documents in your employment arsenal. As such, it pays a lot to create a great resume – as it can impress the employer and make him want to hire you.

Want to end your unemployment days for good? Here are some helpful tips on writing a resume – and how doing so can help you get the job you have always wanted.

1. Make it readable.

When it comes to writing a resume, always go with readable, aptly sized fonts. Avoid using script fonts or small sized ones. Your resume’s readability can spell the difference between a possible hire and a document tossed into the shredder.

2. Include all pertinent contact information.

Say that the employer is interested in your skills and talents – but how can he contact you if your resume is devoid of such information? When making a resume, make sure to include all your contact information, including your complete address, e-mail, home phone number, mobile number and fax number.

3. Be specific – include an objective.

In order to get the job you have been eyeing on, you need to add an objective to your resume. This will give the employer the idea of the job you are applying for (as he might have hundreds of opening at the moment.) As such, you can use this to your advantage by mentioning the skills and talents that make you the best candidate for the job opening.

4. Throw in some keywords.

Perhaps the employer is looking for an experienced cashier. In order to land the job, you need to include some keywords – specifically those which were mentioned in the job ad. Incorporating such keywords in your resume will make the employer feel that you have the skills that they are looking for.

5. Put the relevant information at the upper half of your resume.

HR managers need to sift through thousands of resumes and applications – so they usually have short attention spans. Sometimes, it only takes them just a few seconds to go over a certain resume.  If you want to capture their interest right away, you need to place the most important facts at the top part of the resume. With so, you can score a chance for a job interview – even a hire!

6. Quantify your accomplishments.

You might be a good marketer, but how can you prove that with just this statement: “Generated sponsors for XY company?” When it comes to writing a resume, it is best if you included factual figures, such as “Generated $200,000 worth of sponsorships for XY company.”

7. Use bullets.

Yes, you might have hundreds of relevant accomplishments, but if you write them as paragraphs, then there is a big chance that they will not be noticed by the reader. Avoid this pitfall by making use of bullet points. Since they look less-exhausting to read, they will most likely be scanned by the employer.

8. Make your resume short yet relevant.

If you are an over-achiever, it does not necessarily mean that you have to include all of your skills and qualifications – as these can bore the reader to tears. As it has been said, even the most patient of individuals have shortened attention spans, so it is best that you made the most out of the opportunity by making your resume short yet relevant. Include your skills and talents that relate to the job opening, and skip the ones that would not be needed in the job. As per experts’ recommendations, two pages are enough to impress a probable employer.

9. Proofread your resume.

Before passing your CV to employers, make sure to read it twice – or thrice! Typos and grammatical errors can immediately turn an employer off. Do not miss that golden opportunity of a job by making sure that your resume is flawless and error-free.

Waiter and Waitress Wages

The waiter
The waiter

 

Waiter and waitress wages can be a very confusing subject. While the Federal government does impose a minimum wage, there are exceptions, and there are also state laws which can override the federal law in some cases. The bad news is, for 50 states and 3 territories, there are 48 different sets of rules. The good news is, you only need to worry about the one set that applies to your state.

 

Since July of 2009, the Federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour, though all four West-Coast states have higher state minimum wages, and Nevada imposes a minimum wage of $8.25 for employees who do not receive employer-provided health insurance. Montana also has a slightly higher minimum wage for some hourly workers, depending on the size of the employer.

 

So, how do employers get away with paying some servers $2.00 an hour? Well, the Federal wage law has exceptions for some classes of employees, and tipped employees are one of those. Federal law defines tipped employees as “those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30.00 per month in tips”.

 

Basically, the Federal law says that your employer can take a “tip credit” of up to $5.12 per hour toward the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, if the employer can show that you regularly make that much in tips. This allows the employer to actually pay you as little as $2.13 per hour. Having waited tables for a living myself for seven years, I can testify that a decent server should be averaging at least $10.00 per hour in tips even in a coffee-shop, and in an up-scale restaurant twice or three times that much.

 

Now, there are two conditions to this “tip credit”, but they don’t provide you much protection. First, the employer must tell you they are taking a tip credit, and fill you in on what the law says about it. Second, you must keep all your own tips, unless a valid tip-pooling arrangement exists.

 

(While we’re on the subject, let’s talk a bit about tip pools. Your employer can impose a tip pool, and you can be required to share your tips with employees that customarily receive tips, such as busboys or hostesses. You cannot legally be required to share your tips with employees that do not customarily receive tips, such as cooks and dishwashers. Furthermore, your employer can only take a tip credit for tips which an employee actually receives, and under no circumstances may an employer ever take any of your tips for themselves. If your employer is dipping into your tip pool, they are breaking the law.)

 

If you look at the distribution of state laws across the map, you quickly realize that this is very much a regional issue, with the states on the West Coast providing the most protection to the worker, (California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska prohibit tip credits completely), and the states on the East Coast allowing the greatest degree of exploitation. Fortunately, most states do not allow waiters and waitresses to be abused to the full degree permitted by Federal law, even on the East Coast. New York State, for example, limits the tip credit to $2.25 per hour, requiring employers to pay a cash wage of at least $5.00 per hour.

 

For details on how the tip credit works, see the US Department of Labor document here, (http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.pdf ), which contains a number of interesting rules for special situations. Possibly the most interesting is this one, “Where the employer takes the tip credit, overtime is calculated on the full minimum wage, not the lower direct (or cash) wage payment. The employer may not take a larger tip credit for an overtime hour than for a straight time hour.

 

For details on the state laws for each state, see the US Department of Labor document here, (http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm#.UHnrySJTeKk ), which actually lists in detail exactly what the relevant laws are for each state. Give it a second to load, this is a large document, though you only need to read the small part of it that applies to your state.

 

For details on the Federal Minimum Wage law, and exceptions to it, see the US Department of Labor document here, (http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/q-a.htm#.UHnssSJTeKl )

 

If you work as a server in the state of New York, there is a website dedicated specifically to the issue of your compensation, ( http://waiterpay.com/ )and having a look is well worth your time.

 

And there you have an review of the subject, with links to the official documents containing all the detailed information you might ever need or want. And remember, serve from the left, clear from the right.

 

 

 

Helpful Tips On How To Get A Government Job

LA fitness logoIf you are planning to work on a government institution you might be on rigorous preparations. If you need help then there is this good article posted on The Washington Post that will help you throughout the process. Working in government office will put you on a stable position that entails good benefits though going up the ladder takes slow and long process. It is important in every application process that you know what you are applying for and whether or not this coincides with your core competencies. It’s a great advantage that you already had an idea on what type of questions that might be thrown by the interviewer to better prepare yourself and be able to answer it straight to the point. This article talks about the necessary points on how to better prepare for a federal interview. Points like: Showing Them Why You Really Want It, Preparing for Some Tough Questions, Arriving Early etc. are being highlighted and explained in this article. Also tidbits of knowledge from hiring managers are being quoted to add more credibility and substance. Links to various government sites are also provided to give you added information on how the other agencies are thriving as a place of work. Here are some lines taken from the article:

 

Be Ready to Work

Depending on the position, you may expect a tiered interview process involving different types and several rounds of interviews, questionnaires and writing tests. NCIS special agent candidates, for example, begin with a prescreening interview with a senior special agent trained in interview techniques, according to Marsh. If the person passes the prescreen interview, he or she will have a panel interview with three special agents that may last for four hours. Other tests round out the process.

The details of each interview will vary based largely on the preferences of the hiring manager — and also may depend on the level of the position. For lower-level jobs, you might only need a phone interview followed by one on site. “For senior executive positions I have seen up to four or five interviews, including meeting with a panel and even the agency head,” says Palguta.

You can gather some information about the process early on. When human resources calls to set up your first interview, ask them what to expect — then repeat the question as you leave your first interview to gain insight into potential future rounds.

 

Do Your Homework

Career experts always advise interviewees to research the organization they are interviewing with, but it’s especially important for federal jobs. The reason: There is so much information available on federal agencies the interviewee has no excuse not to be prepared and be ready to ask substantial questions of the interviewing.

Check the web for recent news, says O’Donnell. “Do a simple Google news search by the name of the agency. What are the current issues they are grappling with? More than likely these will be on the mind of the interviewer.”

Then keep surfing. Beyond agency Web sites, Palguta recommends looking the agency up on sites including Results.gov, BestPlacestoWork.org from the Partnership for Public Service and the Web sites of the Office of Management and Budget and Government Accountability Office, where you can learn about how they rate as a place to work, recent reports and appropriations and other data.

“As a hiring manager,” Palguta adds, “I will be very impressed if someone is asking me thoughtful questions.”

Bad news for temporary job seekers

Unemployed people standing in line at a job fair.

Job fair. Image credit: “Waiting In Line For Hope” by Cycrolu on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The Washington post has a worrying story about the amount of temporary jobs available. Though tehre are only a few of these jobs versus normal positions, they are indicators for the health of the economy. This is because they are created quickly when a company needs to grow. A study has found that:

 

Continue reading Bad news for temporary job seekers

Employment interview questions 101

Ah, the interview question.

 

worried face

 

Interviews are always a tense experience, just with handling the basics, and then some dirty rat of an interviewer goes and hits you with a question you have no idea how to respond to. Your brain locks up tight, you can’t think of an answer to save your soul, and you wind up hemming and hawing, stumbling over your tongue, and generally feeling like a fool. Well, it happens to all of us; for most of us it happens over and over. But there are some steps you can take to prepare yourself ahead of time, in order to minimize your chances of getting caught short.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the general categories of interview questions that are frequently asked.

 

 

The Work Experience Question

For most of us, these are the easiest ones to answer. Just be sure your answer casts you in the best light. I’d never suggest that you lie about anything in an interview; a lie is too likely to come back and bite you. But there’s nothing wrong with replying in “interview speak”. It’s perfectly legitimate to exaggerate your responsibilities at your last job by a little, it’s perfectly OK to emphasize the more difficult parts of your last job, and gloss over the menial things, like having to clean the bathrooms at the end of your shift.

 

Still, it’s a good idea to practice in front of a mirror answering the following two questions, so you have your answers down pat –

 

  • “Describe your duties at your previous job”
  • “Why did you leave your last job?”

 

The Weird Question

Many interviewers will hit you with one of these, sometimes to see how you react to the unexpected, and sometimes just because they enjoy messing with the applicants. The big thing is not to let yourself be shaken by the question; the answers don’t matter nearly as much as your ability to answer. Smile at the interviewer, as though you were sharing a clever joke, and toss off some casual reply. While there are far too many possibilities to prepare for them all, here are three of the most commonly asked Weird Interview Questions, and some possible answers.

 

 

  • “If you could be any animal, what would you be?”

My favorite answer to this one is, “I would be a beaver, because they’re known for always being busy and working hard”.

 

  • “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

One good reply here is, “I would be a pine tree, because they grow fast, they always look nice, and their wood is the kind most useful for building new things”.

 

  • “If you could be any color, what color would you be?”

With this one, it doesn’t really matter how you reply, it’s just important that you not let it fluster you. One possible response might be, “I would be the color green, because it’s calm and relaxing, and it doesn’t distract you from your work”.

 

 

chimpanzee in a suit
Waiting for the interview…

What Do You Know About XXX?

You’re interviewing at Widgets-R-Us, and the interviewer asks you, “So, what do you know about Widgets-R-Us?”. You had better have an answer ready ahead of time, or you’re going to lose points on this one. You don’t need to say that much, nobody expects a detailed answer from you, but you must have some answer prepared. The easiest way to get the information you need is from the company website. Almost any business site is going to have an “About Us” section. If it’s a larger company, a quick look at Wikipedia may be worthwhile. If all else fails, just Google the company name and see what pops up. Something short is all you need, “Widgets-R-Us imports quality hand-made widgets from East Widgetistan and retails them through its chain of designer widget shops”.

 

Tell Me About A Time When…

These can be a real bear, and again there are too many possible variations on the question to prepare for them all ahead of time. The biggest thing to remember is, be careful not to make yourself look bad. If you can devise an answer that makes you look good, that’s fine, but mostly just make sure you don’t harm your case.

 

There are three very common versions of this question that you should give at least a little thought to preparing for, the Ethical version, (“Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical problem at work”), the Challenge version, (“Tell me about a time when you faced a serious challenge at work”), and the Goal version, (“Tell me about a time when you had trouble meeting a goal at work”). These three variations will cover about half the times when this sort of question comes up.

 

Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?

This is another simple question that can leave you tongue-tied if you’re not ready for it. It’s important to remember that you’re not being asked for facts, you’re being asked for your imaginings, so anything you care to reply is legitimate. If you are just looking for a McJob to get you through your Freshman year of college, you’re under no obligation to tell him that. One possible reply might be something like, “I see myself well embarked upon a career with a great company that offers me lots of challenges and good opportunity for growth”. Yes, it’s shameless brown-nosing, but that is a legitimate interview tactic.

 

Nothing you can do ahead of time will remove the anxiety from the interview process completely, but by taking a little time to prepare for these five categories of questions, you can go into the interview feeling more confident in your readiness to answer those difficult ones.

Employment applications help for almost any position

With today’s lousy economy in the U.S. it’s becoming harder and harder to get a job, so knowing employment applications basics is essential for getting hired. Employers are getting more and choosier about who they hire for the few jobs that are open, so a job hunter has to be ready to find the upper hand in their job search. Part on that upper hand is knowing the best way to fill out the job applications in order to impress the employer.

First: Be Prepared For Everything

Answer all of the questionsOnce you get to the job site and begin to fill out the job application, be sure that you have anticipated and brought everything you need. This will include a pen with black or blue ink – employers frown on glitter pens or those that are strange colors of ink like purple, pink or green. Be prepared to hand over all of the pertinent information on previous job history, phone number of previous employees and references, dates of service, the names of the educational facilities you attended, as well as copies of appropriate certificates such as your diploma or degree for the job field you are applying to.

Fill Out the application carefully

Be sure to read the application carefully, including every bit of the directions, before you start. Then, write legibly and stay in all the boxes or lines on the application. Be sure the employer knows you have read everything by putting N/A when something is not applicable to your own situation. If you are asked to put down your salary requirements, put in that you are willing to negotiate, as sometimes this is used as a screening tool and you don’t want to be left out immediately. Often is is acceptable to put in $1 or some other obviously low value.

Another important factor to consider is that employers don’t like gaps in job history. If you have such a gap, be sure to put in what you were doing such as you were attending school or doing volunteer work. This will show that you weren’t just be lazy and not doing anything at all. Be sure to remember to sign and date your application.

Double Check Phone Numbers or Other Facts

Make sure any contact numbers you list on your application are accurate and preferably one that only you answer or that has a voice mail to leave you a message with. Be sure the voice mail is not something silly and is just a matter of the fact message that asks the caller to leave a message for you. You should also be sure to tell the people you list as references that someone may be calling them to talk about you. This way they can have something prepared to tell the potential employer about you.

Check the Application for Mistakes

It’s also important to proofread the application and make sure that there are no errors. Make sure no words are spelled wrong and that you haven’t left out any data that the employer will need in order to hire you. You will be surprised with the number of employment applications that are thrown out just for simple mistakes. Unfortunately many employers are not willing to read through a mistake filled form just to find a diamond in the rough.

Get all you need to apply for jobs and tips on which companies to work for