Office JobsCredit: Workplace

You need not be embarrassed to lose your job or fail to  find a first job through no fault of your own. That can happen to anyone from the highest-paid officer to the lowest-wage clerk or college graduate. Time on the job and major accomplishments often mean absolutely nothing when a company has decided to downsize the workforce. Taking charge of your life after 6 weeks or 37 years on the job is absolutely essential just as soon as you recover from the shock and can think straight again. You need a well-written, professional resume in hand at the same time you engage an employment agency staffing service to find temporary work or a permanent position.

In larger cities, there are many employment agencies. Picking the right one or ones to assist you is not as simple as flipping open a telephone directory and making a telephone call. Different agencies specialize in placing workers for only certain job categories, such as high, mid, entry-level professionals or high level administrative office work in varied industries normally located within their area. Other staffing agencies will only handle IT, medical, legal, banking and other single-type professional job-finding services. A general agency taking all applicants might not be the best bet unless it is large and has dedicated staff to handle all different kinds of job requests.

Once the correct ones for your skill set and abilities is located, access those websites to learn more about them to prepare yourself before you make the initial call. Many times their job offerings will be listed with the salary and requirements for open positions. The employer will not be named. Helpful items to know ahead of time that many of these offerings might contain is whether the job is available immediately, the duration of the work, if it is temporary, temp to hire or direct hire. This puts you in a position to decide which agency is most important to contact first.

It is important to apply for unemployment compensation as quickly as possible. Your state should have information on open positions. According to "Claimants who file for unemployment benefits may be directed to register for work with the State Employment Service, so it can assist you in finding employment. If you are not required to register, you still may seek help in finding a job from the Employment Service." While it is likely you will find work more quickly through employment agencies (because these agencies earn commissions on placements) than a state service, it is important not to limit your opportunities.

In any event, it is important that you find at least temporary work because, in most states, it is not against the law to discriminate against the unemployed. New York City bans such discrimination and has made it illegal. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, New Jersey was the first to prohibit discrimination against the unemployed. Oregon and the District of Columbia have also passed a law against it.

Before you even contact one employment agency or take the time to find a professional resume writer or contact a resume preparation service if you do not feel your own efforts are adequate in today's market, do you need to clean up your web presence? Any social networking sites where you have your name, picture or identifying information that puts you in a poor position to be hired means you need to get this fixed promptly. Just use your favorite search engine and enter the words in the quote: "how to clean up your web presence" or something similar to get started.

To find additional places on the Internet where you are mentioned that can easily be found, enter your name and search. It is possible that additional qualifying information might be necessary to enter in the search box to narrow down the returns that actually identify you.

Do join sites like LinkedIn and begin to network with others. There are other sites like LinkedIn you might wish to join. Simply search using these words in quotes to begin: "other sites like LinkedIn". Networking with others can also open up a hidden job market and give you a huge advantage to land a great new job. Employers looking for new employees also search LinkedIn, making your presence on these types of sites an additional way where employment can find you. Be forewarned, scam artists can also perform the same types of search, so it is extremely important to carefully verify the contact before you respond with any personal information or click any links.

Employers expect a professional resume. If you are capable of writing it, do so, but get assistance to polish it from your state or employment recruiter. If not creating it yourself, get it done professionally. In addition to hard copies printed on good paper with matching envelopes, it must also be available on your computer to email as needed. It might need to be tweaked to fill in more information or delete some that isn't appropriate according to the type of employer searching for your skills or desiring to set up an interview with someone they deem appropriate.

Your resume should include the keywords used by an employer searching for applicants as they are often kept online instead of hard copies. The online copies can be searched using these keywords and help your copy come up in the results.

Attending an initial meeting with an agency is a real interview where they are going to assess you and your skills. Testing skills is also likely part of the interview process. These can be general tests given by the agency according to the job description or the tests might be required by an employer and given to the agency solely for their use. Always bring a hard copy of your resume with you any time you meet with the agency or at interviews. It seems redundant, but it does reflect your attention to detail.

Before you meet with any recruiter, it is advantageous to arrive early to fill out and sign any papers after you have thoroughly read, understand and can agree to the terms and conditions. You will be legally bound by these and now is the time to ask questions before you sign and begin the employment search process. Arriving ahead of time to do this will free up the time slot where you and the agency representative are free to discuss what you want and need to know.

It is important to have a recent hair cut, dress more formally than necessary for the type of work and act as if you were in a real employment setting and hired. Office casual dress can come later, after you land the job. If you've gone gray early or your hair color shows your age, it's best to remedy the color to look natural to your real color if possible to do so. You want to look as if you are ready to step into a new position within the next hour and are ready to work right now if requested.

Interviews are often conducted in your agency's office as well as the potential employer's office. You need to know as much and more about a potential employer than they know about you. This knowledge will prepare you to better and more fully answer questions which you will be asked. Be well prepared ahead of time to know how to effectively sell yourself by memorizing your accomplishments and work experiences to easily recite those that will help fit you into the new company and how it will certainly enhance their bottom line. Remember to smile.

Practice ahead of time staying cool, able to think and answer when you are asked "off the wall" or sometimes even somewhat offensive questions, such as: "You've been unemployed and not hired for six months now. Why do you think that is?" You can always continue your search if the employer is "not all that and a bag of chips" and know you won't fit in to their particular business culture.