By Jacob Markey, LifeSmarts intern Summer 2010 The recession has been tough for many of us. Millions of Americans have lost jobs and benefits and find paying for some basic goods and services a lot more difficult now than in the past. The unemployment rate is currently 8.9 percent with the number of unemployed Americans hovering around 13.7 million. My family is no exception, and has also been affected by job loss. Just as with the optimism of better weather arriving with the start of spring, people need to stay optimistic and hopeful. Since the LifeSmarts topic area this month is Personal Finance, a post containing tips for job-hunting is just in time! For some people, this is the first time they have searched for a new job in years, if not decades. They may have no clue how to develop a resume or effectively use the Internet to search for jobs. This post contains a few tips and links to places with a ton of great information. An important place to start when searching for a job is to develop a strong resume. It is the first thing a prospective employer looks at and is a way for you to make a great first impression. A resume by itself is not likely to get you a job, but a poorly-written one can certainly decrease your chances of getting even an interview. Sending in an unprofessional resume with even simple spelling mistakes is enough to get it tossed into the trash. For a great tutorial with tips for writing a resume, check out this link. Another important step to take when searching for a new job is utilizing all available resources. Use the Internet to your advantage: while you can go to online to job posting and company web sites, you should also look for sites that cater to a specific field for other opportunities. Check out this link for a list of some good job search sites to experiment with. Of course, you can also look at traditional sources, like classified ads and through connections you gained from previous positions. You can even ask family and friends if they know of any available positions. A final tip is to demonstrate skills that employers look for in workers. While it may be important that you had X position at Y company, it may be even more essential to have a skill set that a prospective employer looks for. If you have expertise in a certain area or working with different computer and Web programs, put it on your resume and make sure prospective employers know about it when you interview. Teens should take many of the same steps in their search for summer work. Ask around and use resources like family, friends, and your school’s guidance counselor. You will also need to demonstrate professional traits to employers, such as being flexible in where you will work and what you are willing to do. It is in your best interest to be willing to work in many areas if that is the difference between getting a job or not. Using these tips will not automatically guarantee you will secure a job or an interview. However, they can help give you an advantage over other applicants. With effort, you increase your chances of finding an opportunity that matches your skills and interests.