I am a production manager at a manufacturing facility for my regular job. As the main person who does the hiring/firing at my plant – I have come across pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to employment issues.
With the unemployment problems this country has – for some “survival” today means getting a job – or keeping the one they have. I hope with this post to provide some insight and recommendations to improve your situation whatever it may be.
For the Unemployed –
A few thoughts for those that are looking for a job:
- Have a resume.This is important. When I look at a stack of applications – the ones with a typed resume stand out. If you go to a temp service or staffing agency – bring a resume. It may seem ridiculous to bring a resume with your employment history and then have to turn around and write it all down – but the resume tells a prospective employers something about yourself – you care enough to come prepared and want to make a good impression.
- Bring a damn pen….please!!! Whether you go to a company to fill out an application or to a staffing agency – bring a pen. Do not show up and ask for something to write with. This is not kindergarten – this is your livelihood….your career. I can tell you that if someone shows up without something to write with – that gives me a bad impression right from the start.
- Correct grammar and spelling. If you fill out an application and spell your name wrong – forget it. It happens… believe me. You really must pay attention to your grammar as well. None of this – “I ain’t there anymore cause I didn’t like my boss.”. Everything that you provide your prospective employer is a reflection on you. Your material might be one of a hundred that is being considered – make it good.
- Fill everything out completely – be prepared!!!!Do not leave anything blank. If the application requests something that does not apply – write down”NA” for Not Applicable. Leaving blank spaces – especially regarding employment history or criminal record history – looks suspicious. If you have had several jobs – know the dates you had them and the supervisors names. Imagine you’re “the man” looking at several applications and one of them is written neatly, filled out completely with proper spelling, good grammar, detailed – and the rest of them are a mess, empty spaces, incorrect spellings, etc. Who would you choose to interview?
During an Interview –
- Make sure you are absolutely on time – do not be late!!! That is about the worst impression you can make.
- Dress appropriately for the job – but do not overdress. When I interview for an operator/factory job – clean jeans and a nice t-shirt is fine. For a more technical job with supervisory requirements – a pair of Dockers and a golf shift would be just fine. A Foreman/Shift Manager position – from Dockers up to a suit.
- Have a firm handshake. If you do not know why – ask an older male friend.
- Answer questions clearly and no BS!!!!! Just tell the truth. If you got fired – admit it. Everyone makes mistakes. I really appreciate someone that is honest tells me they got fired from a job in 2005 because they were…..blah…..blah….blah.
- Do not…..let me repeat…..Do not talk bad about past employers. It will make you appear to be a whiner, a cry baby and a troublemaker.
- During the interview make sure you ask questions related to details of the job and what you will be doing. This makes you appear interested in a job – not just a paycheck. It also shows your prospective employer that you think….not just do. I place a great deal of importance on the ability for an employee to think, react, evolve, determine and respond – not just clock in and out.
- Do not curse, spit, use slang, or try to “buddy up” to your prospective employer. It comes off as either rude or sucking up. Don’t do it.
- Shake your interviewer’s hand and tell them you look forward to hearing from them. This portrays some confidence and makes a good lasting impression.
- Lastly – if you are desperate for a job – say it – in a professional manner. Don’t cry and don’t beg. Just say something like “I have been unemployed for 6 months and am looking for a job that can be a career. I have 2 kids at home….and if someone would just give me a chance….I won’t let them down”. Go ahead – pull the “kids” card – it works.
- If you are given a chance…..and a job – do not screw up. I do not know how many times I have given Joe Blow a job after they have pulled the “wife and kids” card and just need a chance – and then they call in sick the first Friday after they get their first check. Unbelieveable – and they are gone.
Now – the two sections above are for those looking for a job. I am sure that there are other tips and tricks – but those are the ones on my mind right now.
For the currently employed that want to keep their job –
- Be on time to work on time every day – no excuses. No explanation needed.
- Be at work everyday you are schedule. I know things happen that are serious and may cause you to miss work. If it is bad enough to miss work – then it needs to be very bad. Remember – this is your livelihood – that which feeds your family and possibly provides insurance as well. Miss work for things such as deaths in the family, so ill you have to go to a doctor, or you are in an accident on the way to work. If you miss work because you are sick – provide a note from the doctor. If you have a death in the family – provide an obituary. If you are in an accident – provide a copy of the police report to your employer. Why? Because when it comes to lay-off time and your boss is reviewing all of his employee’s – he needs to compare your attendance with everyone elses. You need to look better than everyone else.
- Perform your job!!!! You need to perform your job like you know it can and should be done – not what everyone else is doing around you. I have to be honest – many employee’s out there take short cuts that they think is in their best interest. If you package bad product because it is a pain in the a$$ to fill out the reject tag – that is not performing up to your best. That product may get returned – the customer may switch to another company – your company loses that account and has to lay people off – then you lose your job. Should’ve filled out that reject tag, huh?
- Go above and beyond. In today’s tight job market – employers are looking for the best employee’s they can find. When looking at people internally to the organization – those employees that are leaders by setting the right example will shine and be the last to go in the event of a layoff. You have to decide if you feel comfortable for what follows – not all places have a culture for this. Look for ways to improve things – idea’s to improve production, sales, safety, downtime, quality, or just make the job easier. Approach your supervisor and tell them honestly that you have some ideas that you want to explain to him to make some improvements. Tell them that you know the economy is tough and you want to do your fair share to help the company. Only share these ideas with your supervisor as if you go over their head – it may come across that you are undermining their authority. If you do not feel comfortable coming forward with ideas – then just do the best job you can and stay out of the “negative spotlight”.
- Do not be a problem employee. Do not be a chronic complainer. Do not be a smart-ass to your boss. Do not feel like the job owes you more than what it has given you – you get paid for every hour you are there. If you work for a crappy employer that doesn’t appreciate your efforts – go back to the top of this post and work to find a better job. Imagine if you owned the company – there may be reasons for decisions that are made that you question or do not like. Don’t rock the boat. If you do not want to be vocal about improving things for whatever reason – then keep quiet and do your job.
- One last thought – it is not “you the employee” against “them in management”. You are all in it together in this tight economy with tremendous competition. If the company goes under – everyone will be standing in the same unemployment line.
I hope this helps someone out there in their quest to find a job – or keep the one they already have.
Take care all –
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