You need a job. Somewhere, an employer has the job you want. How do you get the job? To get a job, you need to:

  • Think about your interests and skills.
  • Find job information.
  • Write résumés and application letters.
  • Get ready for job interviews.
  • Plan your time.
  • Be prepared to take tests.

Tips for planning your job search

  • Make a "to do" list every day. The list will help you think about what you need to do to look for a job.
  • Apply for jobs early in the day. You will make a good impression. You will also have more time to complete applications, have interviews, and take tests.
  • Call employers to find out the best times to apply. Some companies take applications only at certain times or on certain days.
  • Apply at several companies in the same area when possible. This saves time and money.
  • Be prepared. Have a "master application" and résumés, pens, maps, and job information with you all the time. Who knows when a "hot" lead will come your way?
  • Follow up right away on leads. If you find out about a job late in the day, call right then! Don't wait until the next day.
  • Network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Stay in touch with friends and contacts. Follow up new leads right away.
  • Read pamphlets and books on how to get a job.
  • Make a list of your background and experience. If you think you don't have experience, think again! You may not have specific job experience, but you do have work experience. You have "worked" as a student, homemaker, volunteer, in a hobby, or some other activity.

Tips for making a list of experience


List your hobbies, clubs you belong to, sports you're involved in, church and school activities, and things that interest you. List things you are good at. Look at the first item on your list. Think about the skills or talents it takes to do that item. Really think about it!

Here are two examples:

Playing basketball:

  • Ability to interact with others ("be a team player").
  • Ability to use basic math skills (keeping track of the score).
  • Skills in directing others (calling plays).


  • Ability to manage budgets.
  • Ability to handle many tasks.
  • Knowledge of human behavior.
  • Skills in organizing, cooking, cleaning and laundry.

Work history

List any jobs you have had. Include volunteer, summer, and part-time work. Next, write down your job duties for each job. Think about what other skills you used. Add them to your skills list.


List any school you attended. Include military and vocational schools and on-the-job training. List degrees, certificates, awards and honors. Ask yourself what classes or training you liked. Why did you like them?

Physical condition

Do you have any disabilities limiting the kind of work you can do? Companies will often make special accommodations to employ disabled persons.

Career goals

What kind of work do you want to be doing five to 10 years from now? What kind of job could you get now to help you reach this goal?

Finding what jobs match your skills

Look at all the skills and experience you wrote on your list. You have many skills and talents you use every day. Now you need to match these skills with the right job.

Start at your local State Employment Service Office. While you are at the employment service, ask to see the Guide for Occupational Exploration and the Occupational Outlook Handbook. You can also get these books at your public library. These books describe:

  • Work duties for different types of jobs
  • How to enter an occupation
  • Where jobs are located
  • Training and qualifications needed
  • Earnings, working conditions and future opportunities.

Match the skills and abilities in your list to the skills and abilities in different jobs. Don't limit yourself. The important thing is not the job title, but the skills of the job.


  • University System of Ohio. OhioHigherEd: Students: Between Jobs: Education Resources for Ohio Adult Workers in Transition. Accessed 4/23/2012
  • US Department of Labor. CareerOneStop: Pathways to Career Success: Job Search Help Accessed 4/23/2012
  • Department of Labor Tools. Accessed 4/23/2012

© Copyright 1995-2012 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 4/23/2012...#4210