Getting back to work takes preparation and a good attitude

Update your resume, leave your worries at home and be willing to take a job for less pay

With more competition and higher unemployment, job-seekers need to be more prepared than ever.

The Job Council, at 673 Market St., Medford, has seen more job-seekers coming in for advice on resumes and cover letters, and for help in honing their interviewing skills.

If you're

looking for a job:

  • Be prepared to change your resume often to tailor it to the job you're applying for.
  • Get access to a computer, because many companies accept applications only online.
  • Comb through the newspaper, the Internet, job boards and employment offices continually for job listings.
  • Get help writing

a resume or cover letter and remember that employers are looking for something that gets to the point.

  • Tap into The Job Council, the employment office, the library and look through books and other materials to find out how to market yourself.
  • Fine-tune your interviewing skills.
  • Brush up on your computer skills. The Job Council offers tutorials on Microsoft Access, Excel, Word, PowerPoint and QuickBooks.
  • Even though you're struggling to pay the bills, try to have an optimistic attitude during an interview or while searching for a job.
  • Be prepared to take a job even though you are overqualified or it doesn't pay as well.

"The number of people coming in has increased — at least doubled," said Jill Wilson, program manager at The Job Council.

A computer resource center at The Job Council used to have two or three people looking for jobs or brushing up their resumes, but now the room often is filled with people.

"Our focus is just to get them prepared for work," said Wilson. "We tell them it is tougher to find work."

Because of greater competition, Wilson said job-seekers need to make sure everything is in order. Resumes should be changed according to the job sought. Most applications now are filled out online.

Job-seekers should not be embarrassed that they are unemployed and should let as many people as possible know about their situation, she said. The more people who know you're looking for work, the greater the chance a prospective employer will hear about you.

Expectations may have to change, said Wilson. A former manager might have to settle for a different type of job that pays less, she said.

Some job-seekers might be having other problems, such as trouble paying bills, that influence the way they conduct interviews, said Wilson. She advises job seekers to leave their troubles at home.

"When someone gets laid off, people want to blame somebody," she said. "There is really no one to blame. We try to focus on the positive not on the negative, even though it seems like it's all negative."

Employers aren't advertising or recruiting as much as they formerly did because so many people are looking for work, she said.

"They don't want to be overwhelmed," Wilson said.

Instead of advertising, employers sometimes let other employees know they are looking to hire someone. If they do contact an agency, they might say they only want five applications.

Wilson said people need to look at multiple sources when looking for a job, from newspapers to Internet sites.

Even though health care has had layoffs recently, Wilson said it is still a good field generally.

However, she adds, "There isn't any field that is still the hot field."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or

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