A Job Seeker’s Toolkit

By Jim Dittbrenner

As an individual in the job search mode, you have been thinking about what you need to do.  Friends have been pushing you for your resume.  You have purchased, borrowed, or checked out from a library a book on resume samples.  You are using your single resume as the cornerstone of your entire search; HOWEVER, there are only five situations that call for a resume:

  1. Providing your resume to a friend who will review and return or pass it on to a decision-maker.
  2. Answering an advertisement or job listing.
  3. Providing your resume, on request, to a prospective employer or recruiter
  4. Posting your resume on the Internet where you update it weekly.
  5. When you introduce your resume into the business discussions called interviews.

The following 10 elements need to be in your job search tool kit:

  1. Attitude.  Attitude towards oneself and then toward the ability to effectively contribute.  Knowing what it is that you wish to do next goes a long way towards success in your search.
  1. A written list of your accomplishments.  Add to this list as you identify additional relevant accomplishments.  Your list should reach 60 to 100 within a week, if you will look outside the box.  Continue to add.
  1. Verbal presentations.  Prepare and practice your verbal commercials.  First, your “Tell me about yourself” 90 second commercial, then your 30 second commercials.  The 90 second commercial speaks to who you are professionally, your competencies, your expertise, and should be “given” comfortably in less than 90 seconds.  The 30-second commercial, which you will use most often, should speak to the expertise you bring to the table.  Remember to practice all of these verbal presentations until you are comfortable in presenting each as “conversation.”
  1. A professional, one page biography.  This is a one page narrative of what you have done, emphasizing competencies and strengths, and written in the third person.  You should also develop a chronological resume to use in your resume database.
  1. Target company list.  Research specific organizations that interest you, research further until you have the names of the hiring managers or executives.  Find sources to deliver your focused resume – this is Employee Referral at its best.
  1. Networking list.  Identify and begin contacting the people you know personally, both personal acquaintances and professional associates.  Continue to build both, volunteer, particularly for Membership type roles.  Reason:  Obvious.
  1. Professional References or Board of Directors.  Identify and contact Superiors and Peers who will sing your professional praises to potential employers.  Write their script for them.  If you plan to work for five years or more, then create your own Board of Directors to serve both as References but more importantly, as counselors, mentors, and advisers throughout your career.  These Board Members can make referrals on your behalf.  Change Directors as needed.
  1. Resume Data Base.  Develop and have accessible a data base for each element of the resume and cover letter, including: Accomplishment/Achievements, Objectives, Summary Statements, Profiles, Schooling and Training Programs and courses so you can “reach in” easily and draw out closely relevant statements that require the minimum wordsmithing to ensure always having a relevant, and unique set of documents.
  1. Tracking system.  It is essential for you to maintain a record of your activities and contacts.
  1. Resumes.  This is the last and least important (when doing a quality search) element, but still indispensable.  A quality search requires a resume prepared for the specific opportunity with a specific organization.  Remember, the resume’s sole purpose is to get you an interview.

With the integration of the first nine elements above and the selected use of the resume you will add power, professionalism, and flexibility to your search.  It requires time to develop the above documents as well as using them effectively, but it is well worth it.  You are building a career, not just seeking a job, and building a career is easier when you use the right tools.

©D & A Industries, Ltd. – Re-published with permission from the author.

About the Author
Jim Dittbrenner is the owner and managing partner of D&A Industries. He strongly believes in service to his country and community. A second generation Army mustang, Jim works with transitioning military and their families in helping them find employment. This is his “pay it forward.”


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