It is safe to say that just about anyone who has ever looked for a job has answered a Classified Ad at one time or another.
While major newspapers (especially Sunday Editions) are still popular for Classified Job Ads, there are many other ad sources available to job seekers. Among these are the following:
*Company Job Posting Announcements
*Professional and Trade Journals
*Bulletin Boards (community, school and church)
*Public Signage (billboards, window notices, bus and cab ads)
*Television and Radio Spots
*On line Search Companies
*Social and Professional Networks
Though not a complete list, the point is that job seekers need to be aware that Job Ads are apt to appear anywhere. Of course, some ads may not represent legitimate job opportunities, so be discerning before answering any Job Ad.
That said, take some time to thoroughly review and evaluate the Job Ad. The following steps will help you determine whether the opportunity is one you may want to pursue or opt to ignore:
* Note the company or organization running the ad and research its products, services, organizational structure and financial information. An on line search or an Annual Report will yield much of this information.
* If a P.O. Box is listed in lieu of a company name and address, consider calling the source of the ad. Sometimes you can find out who placed the ad just by asking. It is not critical to have this information, just the same, it is
always preferable to know who you are dealing with up front.
* Identify the Job Title and list whatever duties and responsibilities are mentioned in the ad. Granted, Job Ads can be vague or sketchy with this information. In such instances, try to review a formal Job Description for the
In established companies, Job Descriptions usually resides in the Human Resources Department. These can generally be viewed upon request, provided the job seeker is an internal candidate.
Additionally, the U.S. Dictionary of Occupational Titles, available on line, is also a good source. Although the information found here may be generic in nature, it will still provide you with insights into the basic specifications of similar positions.
The major elements of a Job Description that you will want to review include the following:
Scope Of The Job
Supervisory Responsibilities (if any)
Major Job Skills Required
Education, Training, or Experience Desired
Job Conditions (hours, travel, etc.)
* If a salary or salary range is mentioned, note how this compares to what you are presently earning and what you are expecting to earn over the next year or two in your current job.
Once you gather all or most of the above information, determine whether or not you would like to pursue this opportunity. Should you decide to apply for the position, begin the task of preparing an application letter and any other requested information.
* Start by adapting your resume to highlight those aspects of your background that best meets the Job Description.
Of course, not even the ideal job candidate may meet all the requirements listed on a typical Job Description, but if you meet at least some of the basic requirements, then apply for the position. After all, you may possess other
qualities or experiences that are intriguing to a hiring manager.
* Prepare a non-generic Cover Letter. Make it upbeat in tone and “sell yourself” to the prospective employer.
Needless to say, applicants need to resist “over-selling” their suitability for a position. This tactic may result in a job interview, but most hiring managers will easily sniff out a dubious or embellished work history during the selection process. By all means, put your “best foot forward”, just make sure that what you write can be substantiated if challenged.
* Omit any mention of salary unless it is specifically requested. Should salary requirements be requested, provide a salary range. If you are unemployed or new to the workforce be flexible, but do not low-ball your salary requirements. Such a tactic will not give you an edge.
* Make sure you explicitly follow all directions for answering the ad. Use the address format listed in the ad. If you are responding to a P.O. Box, use “Hiring Manager” as your salutation.
* Package your resume and cover letter using standard business-sized paper and envelopes (preferably plain white). If responding to an on line ad, follow directions with respect to font and format.
* Edit and check for spelling, grammar, and word usage. Additionally, ensure that all requested information is included in your application package.
* If applying to a known company or organization, indicate some follow-up action on your part. (Usually a phone call is appropriate if you have not heard anything in a week or so.)
* End your letter by expressing your interest and desire to interview for the position.
For most job hunters, answering Classified or Want Ads remains a popular way of applying for a job. Although some would argue that Networking and the Internet are now more effective job sources, “checking the classifieds” generally turns out to be a job hunter’s first step when beginning a job search.