Tips for job seekers

FRESNO, California

Jobs remain hard to find -- those looking for work can expect stiff competition, that is why it is imperative that you prepare yourself for that all important job interview.

The job interview -- the experience for some can be described as a scene right out of a movie.

This movie clip may be funny but job seekers like 42-year-old Verles Page say there is nothing humorous about the interview process "Basically it's like going in and standing in front of a firing range."

After what could be described as a successful career as a business technology professional this former Marine found himself back out on the job market.

"I was 16 years old," said Page. "That was the last time I had to go and look for a job."

Verles knew he needed to sharpen his job search skills and signed up with Central Valley Professionals -- a volunteer based program that provides resources for those looking for work. He participated in a mock interview -- a process that is as close to the real thing as you can get.

Paul Jones, with Manpower Employment Services, says it's important to understand that your interview begins as soon as you walk through the door. "Show up just a few minutes before the interview conduct yourself in a proper manner when you are in the lobby because you are being interviewed by the receptionist, or possibly the interviewer could be standing in the lobby when you get there."

Come prepared and have answers to what can be some tricky questions most employers will ask. And for someone like Verles, who has been out of work for six months, be ready to tell the interview panel what you've been doing since your last job.

"I have been attending the Central Valley Professionals program, during which time it has allowed me to keep my skills going," said Page. "I've also done some consulting work."

Jones says it is important to let employers know you've stayed engaged between jobs and are working to keep your skills current -- today you must be proficient in computer programs like Excel and Power Point. "They want to know where your skill level is before you get to the next step of the interview process."

If you want to give yourself an edge during the interview, research the company you are interviewing with, understand the organizations values and mission.

Jones said, "It makes the interviewer feel good that they took the time to learn about the company they are interviewing with."

The biggest mistake job seekers make besides dressing inappropriately -- is talking too much and giving out more information than they should.

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