Seminar advises students, others on job process

PLAINVIEW - Before jumping headlong into the job search process, prospective employees should first do a little soul-searching, said Daryl Salyards, distribution manager at McLane Company in Lubbock.

Salyards shared tips to preparing for the job hunt and following through the process in a seminar Feb. 20, sponsored by the Wayland Baptist University chapter of Students in Free Enterprise.

Opening with a few positive comments about the job market outlook for the future, Salyards said a predicted labor shortage will mean jobs will be available for the coming years. But he encouraged job seekers, especially students who will soon be completing a degree and entering the job market, to begin the process not with the classifieds but with some introspection.

"If you have never been honest with yourself before, now is the time," he said. "What do you want today? What do you want in five years?"

Salyards said most people want interesting work where they have promotion opportunities, good wages and job security. But job hunters need to step back and assess their own skill levels and talents, their needs and wants and job readiness before looking.

When it's time to hunt, Salyards suggests networking as the best way to begin, visiting with family, friends, church associates and classmates. The traditional methods of newspaper classifieds, trade journals and headhunter services are also options, but Salyards recommends keeping on top of the information to make sure it's not dated.

After researching the job options - including knowing background and future possibilities with a company - job seekers are open to begin the job-getting process. He suggests preparing a cover letter, resume, interviewing skills and thank-you letter that are specific to the job being sought. Salyards also recommends the following tips for those documents:

  • Cover letter should be one page only, with professional and perfect grammar and format, directed to a specific individual and feature selling points on yourself.
  • Resume should be visually appealing, concise, professional, specific and laid out in a logical manner. Suggestions include simple fonts, specific language to the job and action verbs.
  • Before an interview, know something about the position and the company, your own needs and wants and the market position. Be professional, be early, be prepared and be wary of bad-mouthing previous employers.
  • Follow an interview immediately with a thank-you letter by mail and email, keeping it brief but reiterating your interest.
  • Before accepting an offer, make sure you have covered all pertinent questions that you need to know, such as compensation and benefits, and that the company still fits within your own personal goals.