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With a new year, comes the opportunity to start anew.  Perhaps that means a new job, but job hunting can be intimidating.  With most job applications being online these days, applying for a job can be quite daunting.

Where do you even begin?

Your friendly neighborhood Harris County Public Library, of course! We have lots of resources to help your job search get off on the right foot: 

Job hunting on a computer

A good application and strong resume are key for getting an interview invitation. Here are some tips for filling out the job application:

  • Good Grammar: Capitalize all names. john r smith, 100 main st, houston, tx doesn’t look professional at all.  Do this instead: John R. Smith, 100 Main St, Houston, TX.  When typing, use the “Shift” key to capitalize letters. 
  • Fill out all required boxes: The more information you can provide on your application, the better.  An asterisk (*) by a box usually means it is a required field. This means that the website will not let you submit the application until those boxes are filled out.
  • Write out your qualifications in full sentences: If the questions ask you describe something, like a time you had to deal with a difficult situation, answer the question in complete sentences, and use correct grammar with capital letters at the beginning of sentences and periods at the end of sentences.
  • Use keywords: Look in the job description for keywords and be sure to use them throughout your resume. If the job description says, “Assist in the more routine maintenance chores,” make sure to use the word ‘maintenance’ in your resume. This will help your application and resume make it through the vetting software that many companies use to find the right candidates for the job.

A good resume is important.  The computer application will catch the attention of the hiring manager, but when it comes to the interview, managers will be looking at your resume.  Resumes need to be eye-catching and clear.

  • Resumes should look professional, but they don’t have to look boring.  Have fun with the resume, but make sure you use fonts that are clean and easy to read.  Don’t go too cute.  Make sure the font is easy to read. Use large print when appropriate, but don’t go smaller than a size 12 font.  Times New Roman, 12 font is always a safe choice.
  • Clean formatting: If you have spacing in the resume, like in between employer names and dates of employment, make sure each time you have the proper spacing so that it lines up with other similar spacing.

          For example, don’t do this:
          Harris County Public Library                                     January 2000 – December 2010
          Buckees                                      June 2011 – February 2012

          Do make sure things are lined up:
          Harris County Public Library                                     January 2000 – December 2010
          Buckees                                                                    June 2011 – February 2012

  • Grammar, grammar, grammar!  Make sure you use capitalization, punctuation, and correct spelling.
  • Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself.  Put your abilities, qualifications, and advancements on display.  Show the new company that you are the best person for this job.  Does the job need technical skills?  List the computer programs you know how to use, or the equipment that you know how to work.  Do you have a special license to run machinery or a certification of some sort?  Make sure to list it!

Some recommended job search websites include. With these sites, you can search for jobs and they provide direct links to applications. | | Monster Jobs | Harris County Careers | HCPL Careers page               


Thumb up, Good Job

Remember, it can take time to find a new job.  You might have to apply to twenty jobs or more before you get an interview.  If you are truly ready to make a job change, keep applying and don’t give up.

When you are ready to write or update your resume or apply for a job, visit your local library to use their computers.  While the librarians can’t fill out your applications for you, they are happy to show you how to upload your resume to the online application.  They can also help you with printing resumes and navigating job websites. 

Happy New Year and happy job hunting!

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