My name is Anisha Gillum. I am an HR generalist with Opportunity Partner.

It is important to spend some time getting prepared for your job search. Preparation is key for an interview.

The first step would be to research the organization that you are going to be applying for. Once you know the organization that will help you in crafting your cover letter as well as your resume.

Developing a professional resume is important because it is going to be the first interaction you have with an employer. In your resume, you want to include some basic information such as your name, your address, and contact information. You also want to include your objective.

It’s basically stating why you — or what field you want to be going into, and what job you’re applying for. You also want to state your educational background. You can include classes or courses you’ve taken and also any accomplishments or honors that you’ve received, as well as job experience.

That’s going to be key. Tips to making a great resume would be to make sure that it is one page, for it to be short and concise. You want to check it for any spelling or grammatical errors. You want to have someone proofread over it for you, and then you also want to make sure that it is professionally printed.

If you don’t have any work experience, I think we all have a lot of life experiences that we can draw from, and that can include things like school event or projects that you’ve worked on or been recognized for, volunteer opportunities that you’ve been a part of, church activities, really any social or educational activities that you’ve been a part of can be great tools.

When you’re selecting your references, you want to pick three or four people that really can attest to your skills. And so you want to make sure that they are people such as teachers or professors, advisors, coworkers, previous bosses, any professional person that you’ve worked with that can attest to your skill level.

Make sure that you speak with the people who you are going to list as references first to make sure that they understand what things you want them to emphasize to the employer.

Cover letters are strictly important. Your cover letter helps get the employer to read your resume. It really is the first opportunity to sell yourself to the employer. When you are writing your cover letter, it will be broken up into three sections. The first section will be a brief introduction of yourself and to inform the employer of what position you are applying for.

The second paragraph will be the longest paragraph. This is where you emphasize how your skills match up with the skills required in the position.

And your third section of your cover letter will be a call to action. You want to ask the employer to schedule an interview or to follow up with you in some fashion. [ Silence ]

The best tip that I could give for interviewing would be to prepare.

You want to rehearse as much as possible, so get your friends or family members to help you answer some commonly asked questions in interviews. I can think of five commonly asked questions that you will find in almost every interview. The first question is going to be “Tell me about yourself.”

That question is used as an icebreaker. It’s an open-ended question used to get you to start talking about yourself. Just keep in mind that the employer wants to know about you professionally and not personally.

The second commonly asked question that you will be asked if “Tell me about a time when you were required to do A, B, C, whatever that may be. A lot of employers are moving to behavioral-based interviews, and the point behind them is that your past performance is a great indicator for future performance. And so by asking you specifically how you handled a situation in the past, they can gauge how you may respond to that same situation in the future.

A third question that you may be asked is to tell me about your strengths and/or weaknesses. Of course, you want to put a positive spin on your weaknesses, so that way you’re not highlighting something that you may really struggle with.

A fourth question that I can think of would be to tell me about your best or worst boss. Once again, you want to make sure that you, while talking about that’s negative, keep it in a positive light. And one of my favorite questions that you encounter in interviews is “Do you have any questions for us?”

And you always want to ask a question in the interview to show that you are truly interested. One of my favorites is what’s next in the process? That shows that you are truly committed to the position and continuing in the process.

“Why should we hire you?” This is really an opportunity for you to sell yourself. You should not hold back at this point. Really sell your abilities and your skills, and let the employer understand why it is that you are the best fit for the position.

So how do you fill out an application?

When you’re filling out an application, you want to make sure that it is clear and free of any grammatical errors. You want to use black ink. You want to fill out all the questions, even if they don’t apply, you want to put “not applicable” or “NA.”

While that skill is very important, a lot of employers are moving to an electronic base. So it is important that you keep your resume ready, just in case the employer does [inaudible] to the interview.