The Smash-mouth Job Search Guide

As someone that’s worked since he was 16--and has held well over 30 jobs--I’ve seen everything in the book as far as jobs go. I've fried fish at Long John Silvers, shelved VHS tapes at Blockbuster (for minimum wage), worked for the top entertainment search engines (CitySearch and, and I gained a security clearance when I was working for the Department of Education (at upwards of $80K a year).

*Warning: Some of the stuff listed wouldn’t be looked at fondly by human resources managers if they knew you were gaming the system but we all need to eat and I’d rather see my people bend the rules than catch a case on some dumb stuff.*

I’ve seen cats asking for interview advice before so here’s what I’ve done nearly word for word to get a job regardless of the industry and you can try it out for yourself to see if it works.

1. Resume

My resumes have always been stark–no fancy heading or lettering; never on any bullshit colored paper either.
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I have literally used a variation of that resume for the last five years or so. The only difference is that I removed the "objective" section so that I can help keep everything on one page, more important than impressing anyone with flowery language that equates to ‘give me a job.' Trust me; they don’t care.

As for cover letters, this is the exact one I use every single time, without fail or variation (unless they ask for a salary, which I’ll throw in there somewhere too):
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Dear Hiring Manager,

In today’s customer service oriented society, timely, friendly, proactive service is sought to enhance future business growth. Customer loyalty is always impacted when you employ the right service professional to represent you when assisting your valued customers.

My long-term experience in the service industry has taught me how to meet and exceed each customer’s expectations with service that sells. I have assisted all types of customers in all kinds of settings. I realize that acquiring and maintaining loyal repeat business as well as spreading the word of your business through these loyal patrons is of the utmost importance in every company. Positioning a company for better exposure and greater marketability is a task that I have performed with success many times.

It would be a pleasure to interview with you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Very Sincerely,

Ratchetto De La Ghetto (DO NOT include this, duh.)

If your resume is spotty (like mine was), limit the number of jobs to 3, with jobs you have a good relationship with. If you only have one or none, make some up (no more than 2) with local area phone numbers that either ring friends who’ll cover for you or to local Google Voice numbers with the fake companies name in the greeting. I used my parent’s real business as my first reference (no one wants to call your mom for a biased view on your work), a made-up company with a reliable friend as the second and another temp job as the third. If you have a time gap between the last position that you had and now, explain during the interview that you were taking care of an ill family member but now you’re excited to get back in the job market.

2. Job searching

I have worked for companies directly and temp jobs, ultimately neither really matter because a check is a check. The first thing I did when I was looking for work was hit my city’s community college. The reason is a) it helps keep me focused on finding a gig instead of watching YouTube clips, b) they always had free internet access and c) most times they had a job board that had positions not posted online anywhere.

Go to Craigslist in your area and post your resume every day, at least 2-3 times a day. To keep spammers out of your inbox, set up a dummy account (like to catch whatever garbage that comes back around. Also, it’s suitable for those ridiculous after reports from Monster and CareerBuilder. When you post, leave all contact info off of it. The reason is two-fold; spammers will sell your information and will call you if your number is on there too. The second reason is it is easier to weed out the spam emails because a genuine person will more than likely include an ‘I didn’t see any way to contact you directly’ in the email.

Speaking of online job boards: Craigslist is #1 (because it’s a higher quality concentrated search), CareerBuilder is #2 (because of the quick apply option saving you a ton of time), and Monster is #3 (decent search but overall spammy experience). I’ve used all of them at one point plus many others (Snagajob, Thingamajob, HotJobs, Indeed, etc.) and they never turned anything up. So, I would suggest concentrating your search through these three and hit them EVERY DAY if you can in the morning, afternoon and evening because new gigs pop up all the time. Remember; the only fulfillment you’re looking for is in your stomach, and the more resumes you send out, the more likely someone will hit you back for an interview. –Miles (October 31, 2016), Courtesy of UPA

I’ll add Zip Recruiter to the list. It’s a very easy site for employers to post jobs and screen applicants. It places the best-matched resumes at the top of their list. It’s also very convenient for job-seekers because you can “quick apply.” Another bonus to job-seekers—if you’re observant—is you can spot when employers repost the same job by viewing your past applications and then reading the job descriptions of what’s posted. If it’s the same, that means that you--nor anyone else--was selected last time so you’ll know to move on to a different company. –Derrick Mills, 05/06/2018

3. Temp Agencies

Temporary Agencies can either be a quick come-up or a significant frustration depending on how you do it. Here’s the right way: start by collecting a database of temp agencies in your area. Visit Google and search ‘temporary agencies near me’ or something similar and note how many you see and the locations. Grab their phone numbers. The big guys in temporary placing are Robert Half & Associates, AppleOne, Volt and OfficeTeam but you’ll find a bunch of smaller ones as well. If they’re too far away to commute, don’t mess with them because they almost always require you to pre-interview before you interview with the real job.

After you’ve gone through all of those in your area, hit up Monster and CareerBuilder. Note those that post jobs you think you can get and add them to the list. Then, you call the entire list and ask to speak to a recruiter. Some will say you have to go online to fill out a general application before they can talk to you; others will ask you to send your resume via email. Hit the ones that just need a resume and come back to the application necessary ones if your leads dry up. Also, if they aren’t sending your resume out for a SPECIFIC job, there’s no reason to come in. It’s a time-drainer, and there're many that’ll bullshit you just to have heads on file. Ask them explicitly if they have an opportunity available before visiting their office. If they say they can’t get you in the system and out to jobs before you come in, go to the next one.

4. Phone Interviews

Because there are so many people out of work and applying for jobs now, many places are opting for phone interviews first before bringing you in. While it is an extra step between you getting hired, it can work in your favor if you do it right. The first thing to remember is because they can’t see you, they have to feel you through the phone. That means speaking concisely in an upbeat manner and enunciating your words. (Since the majority of human resources managers are older white women, using a Carlton like voice will drop their defenses fast). If you can, get up and walk around as that will get your juices flowing. Moreover, it helps you breathe, calm down, and sound like you aren’t dining on ramen nightly.

Most of the time they will ask you about your former duties; just reiterate what’s on your resume. Then they will come at you with open-ended situational questions like ‘what did you do when faced with a particularly difficult customer’ or ‘what’s your definition of customer service.' Their aim is to gauge how well you can articulate yourself; in other words, this is when they will make their decision on whether to bring you in for a real interview or not, so SELL YOURSELF.

Here are some useful phrases to throw into the mix. I damn near ran this down like a hook-pass play each time; the caps signal emphasis:

“I build RAPPORT quickly…”
“I UNDERSTAND how people relate to one another…”
“I’m RESULTS oriented…”

Basically, these terms all amount to the answer to the question they didn’t ask but really only want to know the answer to: can you come in, learn the job, and leave without killing anyone--if we decide to fire you. Should you do well, you’ll make it to the next and last step: the in-person interview.

5. In-Person Interview

Arrive there 15-30 minutes early in case they have you fill out an application and do prerequisite testing. If you see a receptionist there, introduce yourself to him/her precisely and ask his/her name. NEVER bring a paper resume with you because the majority of the people coming in for the position will. Just reply that you didn’t have access to a printer and when the logic hits them, slide in there ‘besides, I’m a much better read than my resume’ quip. Chances are they’ll laugh at your cheekiness, and you’ll further implant yourself into their memory.

Remember that saying ‘dress for the job you want; not the job you have’? Yeah, I found it bullshit too. Here’s how you should really dress, business informal in every interview. (Business informal is when you wear a suit without the jacket. –Derrick Mills) I had a white button down shirt with a black tie, black slacks and shoes that I wore every first interview and then a dark blue shirt I swapped out for the second meeting if need be. I did this purposely because in either shirt/tie combination I got positive feedback from interviewers which helped in building the ‘buddy-buddy’ dynamic that pushed me in front of legitimately qualified people. This also created a ‘middle-management’ aura employers like. Dress too casually, and they’ll immediately label you slacker. Dress in high fashion suits, and they’ll think they can’t afford you, and you’ll eventually quit to start your own business or take a higher paying corporate gig. A naked tie/shirt combination says that your entrepreneurial spirit is broken and you will gladly wear their yoke until you croak.

The question of ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’ tends to come up and like the other open-ended questions they want to gauge your intelligence. Realistically, no one knows what he/she will be doing in 5 years except the joyous and the downtrodden, and the company already told the joyous cat in the Brooks Brothers suit that he was ‘overqualified’ as the company's representative showed him the way out. Look them straight in the eye and say ‘I’d like to explore the possibilities here’; that question is their jab before the knockout punch of offering you well below what you should be making for the job and asking if that’s alright. They want to see if that glint of rebellion flares up from recognizing being played. Assure them that’s fine, and they’ll believe you to be so thirsty for a job that they can keep you in this range for many years to come.

When they ask if you have any questions, say this:

“I only have one. What is the skill set necessary to become the best employee possible?”

By indicating that you only have one question you are framing this one question to be meaningful to you and poignant (as it comes across as more fully vested into the job than the person who doesn’t need it). Because you came back at them with an open-ended question that isn’t easy to explain they will consider you intelligent enough to perform the duties well (aka they’re getting more for their money out of this mule).

On the way out, be a little loud, laugh and joke with the interviewer as you head back towards the front, especially if there are others there waiting to interview; this may help make them more flustered when going in and less memorable when compared to you. Also, if you can, ensure that the interviewer sees you say goodbye to the receptionist (and even shake his/her hand if possible) as the human resources manager and receptionist often compare notes afterward. Being a good mention from the receptionist can’t hurt.

If the interview went well you should hear back before the end of the day; if not, wait two days later to follow up (although if they haven’t called you yet, chances are you didn’t get it, or something delayed the process). Don’t send any sucker "thank you" notes; no one cares that much. –Miles (October 31, 2016), Courtesy of UPA

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