Clarke Law Offices is an Arizona Bankruptcy Attorney, and we know a lot of people out there are still struggling to find work and get their head above water. While filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a helpful tool for a lot of people to get a fresh start, we know it’s important to have employment to keep the street clean once you’ve filed Bankruptcy. So, we’ve put together some tips to help job hunters get their foot in the door.

1) Have a resume. No matter what job field you are applying in, you should always have a resume. Even if you’re able to pick up applications for a position (such as retail), include your resume with it when you return the application. This looks professional and shows potential employers that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make a nice presentation of yourself.

2) Taylor your resume for the job you are applying for. Look at the job requirements and description in the job advertisement. Do you have related experience for that particular job? If so, modify your resume to bring those qualifications forward. Employers don’t have time to read every word on your resume so be strategic and make sure you are offering them information they care to hear.

3) Send a cover letter, with EVERY resume. Your cover letter should be short and sweet with 3-4 paragraphs:

i. Express your interest in the position listed

ii. Discuss your specific qualifications

iii. Address any concerning items on your resume (gaps in job history or short employment periods)

iv. Tell them how to contact you and again of your interest in working for their company

Again, this is professional and shows your employer that you’re not too lazy to send a cover letter. I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it is! The trick is to create a template cover letter and make modifications where necessary for each new application.

4) Check for correct spelling and grammar; be meticulous! This is so important. Potential employers want to know that you’re smart and detail oriented. Have at least two other people review your cover letter and resume for spelling and grammatical errors. If you are making slight changes to either, for tailoring purposes, scrutinize your changes for any mistakes. Also, be consistent with spacing and punctuation in bullet points.

5) Network! This is the number one route to finding a job these days. Talk to people you know in your field, family, friends and acquaintances and tell them you’re looking for employment. Ask them to send your resume to their friends and professional contacts. Most people are willing to help a friend or even an acquaintance get their foot in the door, and most hiring agents would rather hire a referral than a random applicant.

6) Be persistent. You know the old saying “Looking for a job is a full time job.” Well, it’s true! Make a goal for yourself to send out 3-4 applications a day until you find employment. It’s easy to get discouraged but if you don’t apply, you won’t get the job. So keep moving forward!

7) Dress to Impress. Even if you’re just picking up applications, you always want to wear your “Sunday Best.” This means no denim, no tank tops, no t-shirts, no hats, no flip flops, MAYBE a clean pair of tennis shoes. Here’s what’s best:

i. Gentleman – Slacks with a button down shirt and tie. Jackets preferred especially if you are applying for a seriously professional job. Belt and matching shoes. Freshly shaved face and cut hair. If the job you’re applying for is more casual, khakis and a collared polo shirt (tucked in with a belt) are acceptable.

ii. Ladies – Stay away from the cleavage, tight clothing, super colorful makeup and inappropriate shoes. We aren’t going to the club here. Any skirt or dress should come to the knee or below. Nothing shorter. What works: Slacks with a sweater or blouse; A suit with pants or a skirt; A professional dress. Shoes should be conservative pumps, flats or boots. Have your hair washed and well groomed. If you have long hair, consider tying it back in a smooth ponytail. Limit jewelry.

8) Research your employer online before your interview. Employers love to know that you know about their company. It may come up only in small talk, but you will score extra points for knowing that the CEO just awarded a major gift to a local charity or that the company only buys locally grown fruits and vegetables for its restaurant.

9) Be professional and polite to everyone you meet on your way to your interview, even at the coffee shop down the street. You never know if you’re interacting with someone from the company you’re about to interview with. Even if it’s just the janitor, companies respect the input of their current employees.

10) Send a thank you note no later than one day after your interview. Hand written notes are always a nice touch but it may not be feasible, especially if they are going to make their hiring decision quickly. Make sure you get business cards from everyone you interview with and send them each a unique letter by email or snail mail. If you forget a card, call and ask the receptionist for their emails!

11) If you don’t get the job, don’t get discouraged. Hiring is a tough job and it’s easy to choose the wrong candidate or to have to choose between two right candidates. Tell the employer that you are still thankful for the opportunity and if their hiring decision doesn’t work out to call you. I’ve personally done a lot of hiring in my past and many times the new hire doesn’t work out within the first few days. I always go back to my second choice to see if they are still available.

I am a Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer and I help clients file for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Arizona. We’ve mentioned in previous posts about the importance of lining up a job prior to filing for Bankruptcy because you only get the chance to wipe the slate clean every 7 years. Bankruptcy is a great tool for people who have fallen behind due to hardship and are on their way to recovering.

For more information on Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Arizona, visit our FAQs page.

If you are thinking about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Phoenix, Arizona but have questions, call us at 602-952-3232 for a free consultation or submit an online case-review form.