Career Talk, Part 2: Looking for another job

In my last column, we reviewed common circumstances that may be warning signs to watch for in your career. You may have reached the decision that it s time to seek employment with a different organization. How do you determine how to go about that process and where do you look? It s a good idea to be prepared in several areas before you begin your search for a new job.

First, you should develop or update your resume. In most cases you ll need to provide an updated resume in addition to completing a job application. A resume is a written presentation of your experience, training and accomplishments. It should include where you have worked, your level of education or training and any special awards or activities relevant to your career. You should research the different resume styles and pick one that fits your background. Most resumes are one to two pages long, and most agencies would prefer your resume be less than four pages in length. Ask someone you know to proofread it. Your resume is your first chance to make a good impression. A simple typo can cause a prospective employer to pass you by.

When you complete a job application, make sure it s neatly written and accurate. If they can t read your name, address or phone number they re less likely to contact you. The information on the job application should match the information on your resume. Whether you complete an application from a downloaded file from the Internet or complete one in person on site, it s important that it s neatly done and spelled correctly. Be prepared with contact numbers and addresses of old employers and supervisors. Make sure you provide all the information they request and don t leave key areas blank. Many EMS organizations and fire departments now require signatures giving them permission to conduct a through background check, and in some cases this includes a credit check.

Always include a cover letter with your resume. This is an opportunity for you to expand on specific points in your resume and to emphasize your unique experiences or backgrounds. This should be no longer than one page.

Another item you need to prepare is a list of references who, when contacted by a perspective employer, would highly recommend you. It s always a good idea to contact these persons prior to listing them as references. You should be able to ask them what they would say if asked about your background. Then decide if you want to use them as a reference for your employment search.

How to find who is hiring will require you to look at EMS organizations you know and the different places where these organizations advertise for open positions. Many organizations now post information about hiring on their Web sites, including some state EMS agencies and state and national organizations. You should also review newspaper ads and national magazine ads. [Click here to access the JEMS classifieds.] Keep in mind that some organizations hire only when they have openings and others take applications on a continuous basis.

There are a couple of things you should not do when looking for a job. It s usually not a good idea to tell anyone at your current job that you re looking or applying for a different job. This kind of information always gets back to your boss. If you have a boss who encourage employees to better themselves then no problem. If your boss believes anyone who leaves is attacking them, then you may worsen your current work environment.

Make sure you don t use the company address or e-mail to receive correspondence about your job searches. You should use your home address and phone number for any employers to contact you.

Developing an effective resume and submitting an accurate application will often get you into the hiring process. Most organizations now use an assessment center to evaluate candidates to determine the person(s) best suited to the open position.

In my next column, I ll have some tips on performing well at an assessment center and during an interview to get the job you want.

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