Help Yourself Job Search Tips

Information that will aid you in your ceramic or ceramic related job search:


Your Career

Take home copies of performance reviews, "attaboys," awards, and records of achievements.   Keep  this Career File up to date, know your company's market share and mission statement, learn what your options will be if your company is in trouble.

Be Ready when Opportunity knocks.  Read industry magazines, attend conferences and seminars, study for certification, study for another degree.  Learn about prospective employers' market positions, policies, and benefits.

Remember Your Manners.  Express gratitude to co-workers whose efforts have contributed to your success.  Keep in touch with former teachers, bosses, and co-workers. 

Keep Your Cool.  No matter what the provocation, maintain a calm exterior. Your words and the way in which you use them can follow you around for the rest of your career.

Express Yourself Clearly.  If your speech is not readily understood by co-workers, your career can suffer. If English is not your first language, try listening to public radio and television, and practice speaking English at home.


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Your Resume

Be Legible.  Please use a type size and style that can be easily read on the computer monitor, with nothing on the page smaller than 10 point type.

Be Concise.  A few carefully chosen words can convey more useful information than several paragraphs of flowery prose.

Be Specific.  Include dates and locations for employment and education.  Discuss the industry and products that you are familiar with.  Mention your GPA if it's a high one.

Be Grammatical.  Proofread carefully.  Is your message clear and well-presented, error-free?  Numerical and punctuation errors are easily overlooked. Spelling errors can slip through the spell check program, turning Manager into manger.  Read your resume backwards, and then read it out loud.  Ask a friend or colleague to review it, especially if you are not writing in your first language. A native speaker of the language you are using can help with structure and phrasing, giving your resume the polish it deserves.  Be very careful.  Your cover letter and resume represent you. You want to appear as good on paper as you do in person.


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Your Ceramic Industry Job Search

Sell Yourself.  Always present yourself in a positive fashion, in print, on the telephone, and in person.  This does not mean giving false information (also known as lying) to make yourself look better. It means having a positive attitude about yourself and conveying that attitude to other people.

Ask A Lawyer.  If you have signed any kind of employment contract or confidentiality agreement with your current employer, be sure that you understand what you have agreed not to do before you start looking for another job.

Check Your Smile.  Visit your dentist if necessary before visiting a potential employer.  If you smoke, consider quitting.  Most employers now prefer hiring non-smokers.

Check Your References.  Before giving anyone's name as a reference, be sure to get permission.  Then learn what he or she is likely to say about you.  Ask if contact should be made at home or at work and get contact information.  Ask if any travel plans will affect his/her availability.  Ask for a letter of reference.  Remember to update the list occasionally, as people move, retire, or die, which is why letters of reference are good to have.

Organize Your Papers.  Assemble your college transcripts, work references, company newsletters or other non-confidential information about your responsibilities and accomplishments; samples of your writing ability such as proposals or reports; and a well-written resume. Make copies to give away and keep important original documents clean in transparent covers. Carry a leather folder or briefcase to interviews; produce documents upon request.

Ask Your Friends.  Ask friends for referrals to recruiters and other sources of assistance.  Now is when the efforts you have made to maintain good relationships with people and to keep in touch with them will help in your job search.


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Your Recruiter

Send A Resume.  When a recruiter contacts you, send a resume and other requested information, even if the current opportunity is not right for you, so that you will be called in the future for a more suitable position.

Respect Confidentiality.  If a recruiter calls you, you may not be told where he or she got your name or the full details of available positions. You will receive information as you need it, and will be expected to keep it to yourself.

Help A Friend.  If a recruiter calls about a position unsuitable for you, please pass along names of potential candidates. Your participation will be confidential and you will be remembered when "your" job comes along.

Help Your Recruiter to Help You.
It is necessary to share enough personal information with your recruiter to enable him or her find you a suitable combination of company, position, compensation, and location. Do not be dishonest with your recruiter, as this can create problems for both of you.

Call Your Recruiter Promptly.  After your interview, please phone your recruiter while everything is fresh in your mind.


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Your Telephone Interview

Prepare for the Screening Interview.  The phone interview is used to evaluate candidates and screen out all but the most qualified and articulate.  Prepare for it carefully.  (See Your Interview FAQs)  It is appropriate to follow up a telephone interview with a brief (carefully composed and thoroughly proofread) email letter to the person who spoke with you.

Keep An Open Line.  If your telephone is frequently in use, consider adding a second line to expedite your job search.

Listen To Yourself.  Call your home and listen to your answering machine's message. This might be a potential employer's first opportunity to learn how you present yourself.

Answer The Phone Properly.  Even if you are not in the habit of receiving business calls at home, present yourself in a professional manner when you answer the telephone.  Teach your children proper phone etiquette also.

Answer Opportunity’s Ring.  Be sure your phone is always answered. Get a voicemail system that records incoming calls when nobody is home or the line is busy, and enables you to review your messages from another location.

Think Before You Speak.   Develop your thoughts before speaking and explain things thoroughly.


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Your Interview Travel

Carry It On. Plan to take everything you need for a brief interview trip on the airplane with you. Never entrust to baggage handlers anything that you absolutely must have for your interview.

Be Prepared. No matter how infrequently you fly, if there is any possibility that you may have to travel on short notice, keep a suitcase ready with personal necessities, including a full set of grooming items.

Press for Success. Always have a travel iron or steamer in your carry-on luggage in case your hotel doesn't have an iron available.


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Your Face Interview

Rehearse with a Friend. Tell your "interviewer" to ask tough questions and to be as thorough as possible.

Have a Dress Rehearsal. Wearing your interview outfit, look at yourself in a full-length mirror. With your shoes shined, suit pressed, accessories in good taste (including a watch appropriate for business attire), hair neatly cut and styled; you look businesslike and professional. Put concerns about your appearance aside and concentrate on other aspects of your interview.

Watch Your Step. If there's any chance of a factory tour, take some walking shoes. Without suitable footwear, you could be barred from some manufacturing areas. Worse, you could stumble and fall.

Avoid Bad Scents. Perfume, heavily scented grooming aids, or an aura of stale tobacco smoke clinging to hair or clothing annoy some people and trigger allergic reactions in others.

Eat Breakfast. Don't set out on an empty stomach and allow a mid-morning slump or a postponed lunch to cause you to interview less than your best.

Be Yourself. Be your very best self, not someone else you think the company might hire. The offer you get will be for you, not for someone you pretend to be, and you will be more likely to do well in your new job.

Be Polite. Do not act condescending toward receptionists, secretaries, food service people, or anyone else you meet during your interview visit. This behavior could eliminate you as a candidate and you may never know why.

Smile. Even if an interview doesn't go well, maintain a pleasant and positive attitude. Someone that you meet on an otherwise disastrous interview trip might be impressed enough to recommend you for a more suitable position.

Don't Flirt. Don't say anything suggestive or flirtatious to anyone. Your clever innuendo may be taken as condescending, threatening, or just plain ignorant. Be polite, friendly, and businesslike with everyone.

Be Discreet. No matter how justified your negative feelings toward a former employer or associate might be, keep them to yourself. Say something nice or nothing at all.

Be Honest. If you tell a lie, can you tailor everything else you say to fit it? What happens when the truth finally comes out? Honesty is the best policy. There will be other interviews, but you have only one reputation.

Expect a Checkup. Most employers require a pre-employment exam. It is not intended to eliminate anyone - UNLESS a candidate fails the drug test. All recreational drugs other than alcohol and nicotine are routinely screened for, and a positive reaction will cause an offer to be withdrawn.


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Your Interview FAQs

Questions appropriate for you to Ask:

  • Why is this position available?
  • What are the most important qualities that a candidate for this position should have?
  • What do you expect the person who fills this position to achieve during his/her first year?
  • What advancement opportunities are available to someone who performs well in this job?
  • What types of training programs are available for your employees?
  • What career paths are available in your company for someone with my degree?
  • What is your company's primary market? (Automotive, Telecom, Military, etc.) (Always be prepared to ask pertinent questions during a plant tour or after an explanation of a company’s products, policies, etc. Act interested.)

Questions that you should be prepared to Answer:

  • Why are you looking for a job?
  • Are you (and your family) willing to relocate?
  • Does your employer know that you are looking? OR Why are you unemployed?
  • Why are you interested in working for our company?
  • What do you have to offer our company?
  • What is your opinion of our ______? (Always have something nice to say during and after a plant tour. At any time during the interview, expect to be asked about your impression of the company, its products, its personnel policies, etc.)
  • What do you like most/least about your current/recent job(s)?
  • What have you learned from your current/recent job? Or from any other job?
  • What suggestions have you made or what actions have you taken to improve the way things are done in your department?
  • What do you consider your most significant personal accomplishments?
  • What have been your most significant contributions to your employer(s)?
  • What would you like to be doing five years/ten years from now?
  • If you receive an offer, would you consider a counter-offer from your current employer?

Examples that you should be prepared to give:

  • Structure: Show how you have been able to develop structure for yourself and others, for day-to-day activities and for project activities, by using examples from your own experience to demonstrate your ability to structure work assignments and complete them within time and budget constraints.
  • Timelines and Deadlines: Tell how you establish a timeline, make and carry out a plan, and establish deadlines for yourself and others. Explain how you orchestrate activities with other people, and how you drive a project to completion.
  • Performance and Accountability: Tell how you judge performances, including your own performance and the performances of others. Tell how you correct problems and bring performances up to desired levels.

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Your Interview Types

Your Serial Interview
Ranges from a couple of hours to a day-long trek from office to office, plus a plant tour and a mealtime quiz . It often begins and/or ends in the Human Resources Department, where you learn about the company’s benefit program and have your psyche probed a bit. Try to anticipate the questions you must answer during the day and prepare your responses well, as you may have to give them several times.

Your Panel Interview
Usually takes place around a conference table, with an HR representative as moderator. An efficient way of screening candidates, it has advantages for you as well: You answer each question one time. You observe the interaction among your interviewers, learning a bit about the company culture. It is stimulating and challenging. You may also have a facility tour, a luncheon interview, and a one-on-one conversation with an HR representative.

Your Mealtime Interview
Treat your food server with respect. Avoid dangling pasta, greasy finger foods, runny dressings, and anything that you have never eaten before. Don’t talk with food in your mouth. Take small bites so that you can chew and swallow before answering a question. No alcohol. No smoking. Go easy on sugar, caffeine, foods that linger on the breath, and foods that cause gas. Carry a small toothbrush and use it afterwards.

Your Off-Site Interview
This might be in an airport or some other stop in your interviewer’s business travel, a sign that this company expects a lot from its employees and is looking for people with a get-it-done attitude; or it could be part of a routine screening process held in the office of a university placement department, an outplacement organization, or a recruiting firm. If it goes well, expect to be invited to the facility for a more thorough interview.

Your Secret Interview
This is often a search for a replacement for a current employee who is not yet aware that he or she is being replaced, and usually takes place off-site. Don’t expect to learn too much about the company or position on your first interview. Do your homework ahead of time and treat this as an opportunity to get acquainted and present your credentials.


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Your Follow-Through: After The Interview

Remember To Write. Always follow up a personal interview with a letter to the person(s) who invited, interviewed, and/or entertained you. Show appreciation for the effort expended on your behalf. Send a carefully written and carefully proofread letter by email and/or US Postal Service as soon as you return home.

Ask For The Offer if you are really interested in the opportunity. Your follow-up letter should demonstrate how your qualifications fit the company's needs and show your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

Be Sincere. Don't ask for an offer if you don't intend to accept it. Understand the offer. An offer may be extended by a hiring official, a member of the H.R. Department, or your recruiter. It may be in person, or by phone, mail, email, or fax. Consider it carefully and ask about anything you don't understand.

Protect Yourself. It is fine to accept an oral offer, but get it in writing before giving notice to your current employer. Send your new employer a written acceptance agreeing to the terms of the offer and confirming your projected start date.

Prepare For Departure. Plan to work a reasonable notice, but be prepared to be asked to leave immediately. You may be paid for the time you offered to work, and your new employer may be glad to bring you aboard early.

Depart In Style. Tender your resignation in person and in writing, give notice and be prepared to work it. Be polite and tactful, and leave your work in good order so that you will be remembered in a positive fashion.

Insure Your Future. Consider using the Federal COBRA law to extend your health insurance coverage until you are covered through your new employer.


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