Series: Earning Money

Page 1 of 2

What It Takes to Get a Job Terms of Use:

Most anyone can get a job. Big national companies such as Wal-mart, Target, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and others often need new people. They will hire senior citizens, part-time workers, or teenagers without experience. If you frequent these places, you'll probably like working there. Ask to fill out an application and you're likely to land a job.

A job application will ask for your name, address, phone number and date you can begin work. In addition, you (the job applicant) will list your education, skills and work history. Don't forget volunteer work, too. Be prepared to list previous employment dates and contact information. Be neat, thorough, positive and follow directions on the application.

You will need a Social Security number and identification proving citizenship, such as a driver’s license. The Social Security number is necessary for tax reasons. If you don’t have one, you can get one at the Social Security office in your city. See their website by clicking here.

An employer pays a salary, or a fixed sum of money, to its employees on a regular basis.

Most beginning jobs pay only minimum wage. Minimum wage is the least amount of money an employer can legally pay its workers by state law. You don’t need special skills for these jobs, and you will typically be trained your first week on the job.

If your job search is for a professional, technical, administrative, or managerial job, you will need a resume to give to a prospective employer. Applications for many clerical and sales positions also require a resume.

A resume (click here to see a sample) has the same kind of things on it that a job application does. It has information about your education, job history, and what position you are looking for. Think of it as your own personal sales presentation of your abilities and experience.

Some people include names and addresses of their references, or simply state “references available on request.” Your references are people who will vouch for you when the company asks them about you.

If you have access to a computer with word processing software, you may have a resume “template” or form that you can use to create your resume. Or you can pay a resume service to craft one for you. It should be printed in black ink on good quality paper.

In today's job market, you may find employers want your resume emailed to them. For help creating a winning online resume, click here.

The next step in your job hunt is to ask friends and relatives for help. Ask them to pass your resume to potential employers.

Series: Earning Money

Page 2 of 2

What It Takes to Get a Job Terms of Use:

Employers often hire people they know first and people sent to them from people they know second. Some experts estimate that at least 80% of all people newly hired got their positions through personal contact. Usually, the higher the pay, the more likely you’ll get hired through personal contacts. Many openings won’t even be advertised.

Nevertheless you need to check your newspaper “Help Wanted” ads and job websites every day for leads about job openings. Internet sites such as include cover letter and resume advice, interview hints and more, in addition to job openings.

You may also consider using a Personnel Agency. These companies match the right people to the right employers. They typically charge a fee once you are hired which is sometimes paid by your new employer.

On the trail of your job hunt, don’t forget your local college or trade school’s job placement center. If you are a member of a trade association or professional organization, you can also check with them for job leads.

Another idea is to break out your local Yellow Pages and list places where you would like to work. Contact each place and ask if they need any help. You can also write each one a letter that introduces you as a potential employee and asks for a job interview. Enclose your resume.

The job interview is one of the most important parts of any job hunt. Usually employers weed out the majority of applicants, and interview only their final choices. The interview may be in-person or over the telephone.

Employers decide if you get the job based on your qualifications, appearance and how well they think you'll fit in the organization. Show up early and dress nicely. It’s critical to look and feel your best and be aware of your actions. Don’t chew gum or smoke.

Make sure you’ve done some research about the company before you show up so you can talk about the business and ask good questions. Express interest in the company and the person interviewing you. This will show that you're organized and really want the job.

According to the book "The 250 Job Interview Questions: You'll Most Likely Be Asked...and The Answers That'll Get You Hired" by Peter Veruki, you’ll need to prepare convincing answers to important questions like “Why do you want to work here?” or “What makes you like this company in particular?” Another sure question is “How do you see your future with this company?”

Be ready to explain yourself, if you have periods of unemployment or if you left jobs because you were fired.

After the interview, follow up with a letter thanking the person for meeting with you, and again expressing your desire to get that job.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment & Training Administration provides services designed to help in all phases of a job search.

If you’re looking for a government job, here are some sites to check out:;; and

See what you learned.