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Searching Through the "Want Ads"

Want ads or classifieds can be found in almost any newspaper on any day of the week. Unfortunately using want ads as the only source in a job search is really not a good idea.

For every want ad there are hundreds of job openings that are not advertised in this way. Generally, though not always the majority of these positions are entry level, part time or temporary. For other positions you find advertised in the classifieds that may suit your background there will be hundreds, perhaps thousands or other people who will submit their resumes also so yours may get lost amongst all of these.

The following advice on how to get through the maze of want ads and focus on the best sources for valuable classifieds ads.

Concentrate on sources likely to have openings in the area in which you are looking. In other works, look in the right places which sounds simpler than it seems. There are so many places to find want ads and that is what makes it more difficult.

The following are some of the best sources for classifieds or want ads.
  • Internet online career sites
  • Company web sites
  • Trade publications relevant to the industry you are seeking employment in
  • News papers especially Sunday editions of the major ones.
  • Business publications

What ads should I answer?
You can certainly answer every ad that interests you even if you are overqualified for the position. This takes a lot of time and you may never get a response from the ones you are under qualified for. You may get a response from the ones you are over qualified for and indeed may even be called for interview. Ask yourself if you would be willing to accept a position well below what you are actually capable of with less money than you are used to getting paid before applying for these positions. If the answer is yes, by all means go right ahead and apply. However there are some ads to watch out for even if they do look like the types of positions you want. Ads with promises of fast cash or unlimited opportunity should make the red alert flag go up.

The following advice can help you make a decision on which ads to answer.
  • Asks yourself if you actually got the job, is it something you would accept.
  • Would the salary meet your needs?
  • Are you really keen on this position?
  • Would the position offer the challenges you need in a career?
  • Does your background and skill set match up nicely with those required by the position?

If you can answer yes to these questions then by all means apply for the position. Don't waste valuable time on other applications if you cannot answer yes to the above questions. Now that you are ready to answer some ads, how do you actually respond?

Responding to an Ad
Most classifieds will instruct you on how to respond. Some may simply ask you to call a number for further instructions and others may require you to fax, email or mail your resume and cover letter to a specific address. Take note if you need to send to a specific person or title and also what is the last date for accepting applications.

You should always accompany your resume with a cover letter detailing where you saw the ad, what position you are applying for and that you are qualified for the position.

Always try to respond to an ad within three business days. For entry-level positions the company will be flooded with resumes and may stop accepting applications after a number of days or on receipt of a specific number of resumes. It is best not to state salary requirements in this first correspondence unless absolutely directed to by the want ad. In fact some ads will state, "Resumes accepted only with salary requirements". In these cases you must put down what you need for a salary. If you do to get a response from your application don't fret as the company is probably unable to meet your salary needs in which case you are better off not to proceed with the application anyway. One more word of advice- don't put down a specific amount for a salary, instead put down a range. If you get offered the position you can negotiate for a salary at the high end.

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