CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — A successful job search, especially in this economy, begins with a neatly prepared resume and polished interviewing skills.

With the local unemployment rate still hovering near 9 percent, you want to be at the top of your competitive game in this labor market.

Deniece Thomas with the Clarksville-Montgomery County Career Center says that, first and foremost, you should be truthful when writing a resume.

Stretching the truth can come back to haunt you in many ways. “Don’t over-exaggerate your experience,” Thomas said. “Quantify. Instead of general statements, be specific.

“‘Increased sales’ is dull in comparison to ‘Increased sales revenue by $100,000 during first year.’

“Focus on results. Spell-check to avoid common mistakes. When an error-filled resume is submitted to employers it gives the impression that the applicant produces shoddy work or does not pay close attention to detail. It is obviously important that the resume gets noticed by the employer, but it is more important to provide substance instead of fluff. Fancy words and animated designs may grab attention but true experience is what the employer is after,” Thomas said.

Good job interviews also require a certain amount of preparation. An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications to an employer, so it pays to be well-prepared.

First, research the company prior to the interview. Dress appropriately, and go alone to the interview.

“Turn off your cell phone during the interview and give specific examples when asked about previous work experience. Practice, practice, practice. A mock interview is a great way to prepare, and we offer this service at our local career center,” Thomas said.

Further, job-related networking can be useful, provided it’s conducted well. Let your networking group know what type of work you are seeking. “Keep in touch,” Thomas said, “and attend networking events.”

“It is very easy to be withdrawn and distant when you are not working but you have to get out and get noticed. Don’t overwhelm everyone with the woes of your job search. Remain upbeat and motivated. Notify the individuals on your reference list that employers may be contacting them. Volunteering is another great way to partner within your network. This is a great way to showcase your skills,” Thomas said. Many people are practicing social networking these days as a job search tool, especially online. It comes with its own pros and cons. “Be cautious when posting certain pictures, blogs, and other features. This could potentially derail your chances at landing a job,” Thomas said. “Be open-minded … ask for suggestions or feedback. Seek out groups with similar occupational backgrounds. If you have been out of work for some time, this will keep you atop industry changes.”

Source:  Written by Jimmy Settle, Leaf Chronicle