Career Guide

8 Steps to Beginning Your Job Search

You may have heard that unemployment levels for Greater St. Cloud are at a startlingly low 3.6%. This means that 97.1% of St. Cloud Area job seekers are currently working. There are jobs to be secured, as it is a Job Seeker’s market, however, the results of your job search have a direct correlation with the time and effort you put into it.

Knowing which actions are important and where to start will set you on course to a new job. So, how do you begin? We have supplied you with some information about each step and identified links to websites that provide helpful information.

1. Write or Update Your Resume

A resume will help you showcase skills, experiences, or attributes that the job application may not cover. Online hourly job seekers will be asked to create a job seeker profile when applying on an employer’s website or a job search site. You simply provide the information about your work experience, skills, abilities, and interests and the system builds a profile.

For help building your first resume or updating your current resume, visit our Resume page.

A great resource for resume writing tips is It is a free site that includes a resume and cover letter builder. You supply the information and the site prepares a well-formatted resume. You can add premium features for a small fee, which provide examples of wording for every section of the resume.

2. Create A Job Search Plan

On your job search, a lack of planning can mean a lot of extra work and frustration. You don’t need to keep a detailed list of every action you take in the job search process, just keep a basic outline that will keep you on track. Create a personal marketing strategy or career planning game plan for your job search. It may be helpful to create a checklist to include in your plan and to keep yourself organized.

The Minnesota State Employment Office provides unemployment compensation, job search assistance, and training. You can save a lot of time and frustration by visiting Minnesota state's employment office website to familiarize yourself with eligibility requirements and the application process. The entire application process can be completed online at


3. Get Access To A Computer

Conducting a job search without the use of a computer is not an effective use of time. Almost all employers require completion of an online application. A computer is also necessary to research information about the companies in which you choose to seek employment. If you don’t have a computer at home, borrow a friend or relative’s or visit the local library or your state employment office. Our local Workforce Center is located at 1542 Northway Drive, St. Cloud, MN 56303.

Most employers also require an email address. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for a free email account at,, or many other free email sites.

4. Develop a List of Companies Where You Would Like to Work

Do you know someone who is always raving about where they work? Have you always thought it would be great to work at the business just around the corner from your home? Is there a company where you always go to do your shopping? Put together a list of 10-20 companies where you would like to work.

When you apply to these companies, make sure you tell them why you want to work at their particular company in your cover letter. Make this cover letter specific to each company (see our cover letter writing tips). Employers like to know there is a specific reason you want to work for them.


5. Post Your Profile or Resume on Job Sites

There are over 100,000 job sites on the internet. Posting your information and resume on a few of these job sites will jump-start your search. It is certainly recommended to also look at boards specific to your career type, as they are focused exclusively on job seekers and employers in those specific fields.

Employers have access to the database of resumes that job seekers have posted on job sites. On these types of sites, an employer will often search through the resume database rather than making a new post for an available position. It gives the employer immediate results and eliminates the need for screening through a lot of applications.

6. Start Networking

Networking is consistently cited as the #1 way to get a new job. It is estimated that over 75% of jobs are never advertised (online or in newspapers). The only way you will find out about these positions is through networking.

Of new hires brought in from outside an organization, 34% are employee referrals. Employers would rather talk to someone who's been recommended by a current associate because a referral means you already have a reference from inside the company. It also saves a company time and money when they don’t have to advertise an open position. When people in your network hear about an opportunity, you want to be the first person they refer.


7. Prepare for Your Interview

The next step in your job search will be interviewing. The success of your interview depends on how prepared and confident you appear to the interviewer. Here are some tips on interviewing:

  • Be familiar with your resume.

  • Practice answering possible interview questions. The more you practice, the more confident you will sound - the interviewer will be sure to notice.

  • Know the history, products, and philosophies of the company.

  • Write down the questions you want to ask the interviewer. Not only does the interview give the interviewer a chance to get to know you, but it also gives you a chance to get to know the company.

  • Make a great impression on the interviewer – arriving on time and being dressed professionally will set a positive tone for the interview.

  • Remember, an interview does not guarantee that you will be extended a job offer. You have to convince the interviewer you are the right person for the job.

  • Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get an offer. Learn from the experience. Every interview is a chance to practice your interview skills.

8. Follow Up

It is important to follow up throughout your entire job search, from the first application to the final interview.

After applying for a job:

  • When you submit your resume, let the Hiring Manager know you would like to have an opportunity to speak with them about the position and how your experience could benefit.

  • Give them a date you will follow up. This information can be shared in your cover letter or in a short email that you send along with your resume.

  • When the day arrives that you say you will call, make sure you call.

  • Many hiring managers say that they are more likely to interview and eventually hire a candidate that calls after sending in their resume. It shows that you are serious about wanting the position, and not just applying to as many postings as possible.

After an Interview:

At the conclusion of every interview, ask the interviewer for a business card and email address or office phone number. Address your email to the interviewer specifically.

Write a Thank you Note: Immediately after your interview, send a thank-you email to your interviewer. (Snail mail takes too long to arrive.) This shows the potential employer you are interested in the job and you have good follow up. Be sure you check your spelling and grammar before sending the email. In your email you should:

  • Thank the interviewer for the time spent with you

  • Express your interest in the company and the job

  • Briefly state why you are the right candidate for the job

  • Explain you hope to hear from the interviewer soon

  • Ask if there is anything further the interviewer needs from you

Follow-up Telephone Call: If you follow up by telephone, keep your follow-up call brief and focused by sticking with the objectives:

  • Reintroduce yourself and mention something you did or said in the interview to help the employer remember you

  • Briefly remind the employer how your skills and experiences make you an ideal candidate for the job

  • Ask if there is anything else they need from you

  • Tell them you want the job and will wait to hear back

Assertive Marketing: Assertiveness is an attractive quality in an employee; aggressiveness is not. To avoid appearing aggressive, adhere to these rules:

  • Make a follow-up call within 72 hours of your interview. If you are directed to their voicemail, leave a brief message thanking the interviewer and explaining your interest in the position.

  • If an employer asks for a certain amount of time without phone calls, respect their wishes.

  • If you don’t receive a definitive answer, ask when it would be appropriate for you to call back.

  • Limit yourself to one polite thank you email.

Don't Give Up! Stay Focused on Your Job Search

Experiencing a long job search can be like riding an emotional roller coaster. You are "up" one day when things are going well and "down" the next day when your search efforts seem stymied. It is critical you keep searching, applying, and interviewing. Ultimately, finding a new job is a numbers game – the more applications you submit, the more interviews you have, the more interviews you have the better your chance of finding the right job for you. Focus on improving your interview skills with each interview and on keeping your self-confidence high.

To buffer the negative effects of job hunting, it's helpful to have a support group to draw strength from during difficult times. Your support group may include a trusted mentor, past co-workers, family, or friends. They can help you fine-tune your interviewing skills, keep you focused on your search, offer words of encouragement, and help you keep everything in perspective.

JobSpot Best Practices

Greater St. Cloud JobSpot is central Minnesota’s premier talent portal for job seekers of all kinds, specifically highlighting jobs within the Greater St. Cloud area.  Full-time and part-time opportunities from entry level to executive positions are all posted on JobSpot.  Additional features include a job search platform, job alert emails and more. In addition to a job board, JobSpot also features a variety of information about the Greater St. Cloud area, as well as highlights many of the events and activities happening in the area.

Here’s how to register for an account, post your resume, and search for positions.

Create an Account

  • Go to and click on "Post".
  • Click on "Register".
  • Click "Job Seeker".
  • Complete the Job Seeker Registration form. You only need to complete the categories in red if you will be uploading a resume. Make sure you fill the security code and read the Terms & Conditions.
  • Click "Register".
  • Check your email for an activation link from JobSpot. Click to activate your account.
  • You have now created your account.

Post Your Resume:

  • Click "Post Resumes".
  • Sign in with your username and password.
  • Fill out all required information.
  • Upload your resume.
  • Complete any required fields.
  • Click "Post."

Search For Jobs: offers the following search options:
  • Keywords - Specific words to be searched for within the job posting.
  • Location - Employment based on a desired radius of your search.
  • Categories, Occupations, and Employment Types are also options for your search.

Ready To Start With JobSpot?