Searching For a Job…

Prepared  By Dr. Obaid Saad Alabdali

Management and Marketing Department, 1999



I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on finishing your studies at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). Since your first day of registration with KFUPM, every care has been taken to make your stay as conformable and enjoyable as possible. The University would again like to extend its help in making sure your search for a job will be made as easy as possible. Therefore we have developed this booklet to help you in choosing your career, writing your resume and cover letter, and passing your interview. We hope you will find them helpful.



 Planning Your Future

You must put considerable time, effort, and thought into getting a job if you want to have a rewarding and fulfilling work life. Think about your life, your interests, things you are good at (and those you are not) and the experience that have given you the most satisfaction. These make sound career decisions. I am sure as KFUPM graduate you made many important decisions during your life, such as choosing the University, selecting your Major, and changing major at least once in your college life. Therefore, choosing your career will be another important decision you have to make.



You must do some research to decide what types of job you want to have. Takes some time to answer these questions.

Which courses have you enjoyed most and least in school?

Recalling projects, on which you have worked in class, in companies or at work which ones did you like or dislike?

          ·          Do you enjoy working most with records, people, ideas, or things?

          ·          Do you enjoy working more with your mind, or with your body?

          ·          Do you prefer working independently on a project, or with a team?

          ·          How important to you is being your own boss?

          ·          In what type of work office setting do you function best: a quiet office, an environment with a lot of activity and people, or outside locations?

          ·          What type of work schedules would you prefer: fixed or flexible? Would you enjoy working days, nights, or even weekends, how eager are you to work overtime?

          ·          What is important about the geographical location of your job in terms of climate, size of area and location? Do prefer a particular city, region, etc.?

          ·          For what kind of organization would like to work, large or small, established or new? Commercial or government, or nonprofit?

          ·          With whom you would like to work?

          ·          How would you like to dress for work?

          ·          What types of material rewards are important for you in terms of salary, commissions, fringe benefits, security?

          ·          What about job training?

          ·          What are your career goals five years after graduating from college?


Your answer to these questions will help you identify the type of career that would offer you the most satisfaction and success.



Armed with your self-assessment, you should secure additional information – about possible occupation, demographic trends, and industries and companies that are interested. You should ask current employees (the nature of work, working condition, job outlook, etc.). You have to know about the job trends and industry and company information. You have to use your network to get information about jobs available. This search can start with your friends, family, professor, college alumni, or with a personal or professional connection.


Good luck with your job search



 Preparing Your Resume

A resume is a brief record of one’s personal history and qualifications that is typically prepared by an applicant for a job. (What I have learned and what I have done).


The emphasis should be in the future rather than the past; you must show how your education and work experience have prepared you for future jobs. Be realistic about the purpose of your resume. The purpose of the resume is to get you an interview, and the purpose of the interview is to get you a job. A resume is your way to an interview. Most of the time it’s the first line of contact. It gives the first impression. And you should write it well, it give a positive impression of yourself.

 If you write your resume in a professional way, it will help convince the company that you are the ideal candidate for the position. The job of the resume is to secure for you an interview.

 Research and experience shows us here in Saudi Arabia that for each available job opening there might be as many as 50 to 3000 resumes submitted. Therefore your resume should convey your hiring value over a competing individual for the position.

 The layout of your resume is also extremely important. Your resume needs to maintain a professional and “clean” appearance. It should allow the reader to access the information quickly. Neat margins, adequate “white space” between groupings, and indenting to highlight text, aid the ease of reference to the material. Use “bolding’ and italics sparingly. Overuse of these types of highlighting features diminishes their effectiveness in promoting the material they highlight.


The contact information (how the reader can reach you) is in essence, the most important information in the entire document. Make certain your name, address, phone number, and email address (if available) are clearly visible and at the top of your document.

 You should also pay close attention to your format and layout so that you make effectiveness use of the space available to you on the page.

 Don’t include any negative material on your resume at all. If that’s not possible, try to soften the negative impact as much as possible.

 Watch your wording when describing your work experience. Be positive and confident, but not smug.

 Don’t guess. If you’re not sure about your dates of employment or any other information on your resume, check it. One inaccuracy on your resume can make the rest of your information suspect. Check very carefully for grammatical and spelling errors. Honesty is even more important than accuracy, so be careful about telling the truth. You might be able to talk your way out of an honest mistake, but if you’re caught in a lie, you’re finished.

 First make sure everything on your resume has a good reason for being there. Second, make sure everything on your resume is arranged in an orderly and logical manner. Present your most important information first and follow through with the rest of your information in descending order of importance.

 Regardless of what your resume says, if it doesn’t look nice, you’re in trouble. It should be laser printed on good quality paper, with text arranged in a pleasant manner. It should be prepared in a typeface size that is easy to read (preferable 12 point, but no smaller than 10 point).


Think about the person receiving your resume. He spends no more than 30 seconds looking at each resume during the initial screening. How much information are recruiters are expected to read in less than a minute? Get to the point and say goodbye. Companies want to hire you not marry you!

 Many students are confused about how much is too much. And they think the thicker the resume, the more impressive the applicant? This is not true. Managers prefer a one-page resume for entry-level positions, and two pages for unusual circumstances. Too much information is as bad as too little.

 Your resume must be attractive, easy to read and concise, but a resume that does not fill one page may tell the employer that you have little to offer.

Focus on your accomplishments and achievements. Tell prospective employers what you’ve done in your past and current jobs.


The content of your resume is more important than the format, but first impressions are lasting. Before you begin writing your resume, think about the format, because some format decisions will affect the amount of space available to present your qualifications and background.

        ·       Customize your resume for each employment opportunity

        ·       Print your resume on a laser printer

        ·       Use different type of faces and different size and style of make different parts standout

        ·       Choose simple, easy-to-read typeface

        ·       Avoid special effects

        ·       Use a simple format with lots of white space

        ·       Use short paragraphs

        ·       Use logical organization

        ·       Format your resume on standard-sized paper (81/2 by 11 inches, or A4) so it can be filed easily

        ·       Avoid brightly colored papers

        ·       Dark colors do not photocopy well

        ·       Choose white or an off-white (create)

        ·       Use paper of good quality, 20-pound bond

        ·       Present a professional, conservative appearance

        ·       Your resume should 100% free from error – in content, spelling, grammar, and format.



        ·          There is no such thing as a standard resume

        ·          But there are standard parts of a resume



        ·          Name, address, and telephone number

        ·          Job objective

        ·          College major, degree, name of college, and date of graduation

        ·          Jobs held, employing company or companies (but not complete mailing address or the name of your supervisor).



        ·          Dates of employment, and job duties

        ·          Special aptitudes and skills

        ·          email address



You should not include any information related to bases for discrimination such as:

        ·          religion

        ·          age

        ·          gender

        ·          photograph

        ·          marital status

        ·          high school activities

(Note: I am not sure about this information in Saudi regulations)



Your name and your address including your phone number are crucial. Your name should be the very first item on the resume arranged attractively at the top. Use your complete name, avoiding any nicknames. Do not use a personal title such as Mr. a.


It is not necessary to include the heading “Resume” at the top (if your name is the heading, it stands out in the recruiter’s minds).


If you will soon be changing your address, include both your old and new addresses, along with the relevant dates.


If you will soon be changing your address, include both your old and new addresses, along with the relevant dates.


If you will be away from your phone, get an answering machine (to enable people to contact you).



The Job Objective section is a short summary of your area of expertise and career interest. Recruiters want the objective stated so that they will know where you might fit into their organization.


The objective must be personalized – both for you and for the position you are seeking and it must be specific enough to be useful to the employer, but not so specific as to exclude you from many types of similar position.



Unless your work experience has been extensive, and directly related to your job objective, your education is probably a stronger job qualification, therefore it should come first in your resume. List the title of your degree, the name of your college, your major, and expected date of graduation (month and year).


List your GPA if it will set you apart from the competition (at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale).


If you have made the dean’s list include it. Unless your course of study provides distinctive experience that uniquely qualifies you for the job, avoid including a lengthy list of college courses.



A list of any work experience-is a plus. If your work experience has been directly related to your job objective put it ahead of the education section. Include skills you have developed (human relations, communication skills) and show the employer you have the ability to work well with others (your communication skills). Competence and good judgment innovation and computer knowledge are assets that can be included on your resume.


In relating your work experience use either

Chronological Organization

Organize your experience by date, describing your most recent job first and working backward


Function and Organization

Organize it by type of function performed (such as supervisor or budgeting)



        ·          Foreign language

        ·          Competence in common software programs such spreadsheets, work processing (non-business major)

        ·          Include any honors or recognition that have relevance to the job you are seeking

        ·          Membership in business related organization

        ·          Involvement in volunteer

        ·          Include your hobbies and special interest

        ·          Travel experience

        ·          Willingness to travel.



A reference is a person who has agreed to provide information to a prospective employer regarding a job applicant’s fitness for a job.


The name and address of references should not be included on the resume itself. You may add (references are available upon request).


Your references should be professional references (University Professor with whom you have had a close and successful relationship).



An electronic resume is a resume that is stored in a computer database designed to help manage and initially screen the job applicant.


The applicant may mail or fax a paper of their standard resume, which is then scanned into a database.


On interviews, always bring along fresh copies of your resume.




“Do I really need a cover letter?” Yes you do, the cover letter is more than a way to dress up your resume. It has a beneficial purpose. If written well (focusing on how and why your particular skills, experience, achievements and personality can benefit a specific position and company), your cover letter can encourage your reader to turn to your resume with genuine interest.


What the Cover Letter Does that the Resume Doesn’t. While your cover letter acts as an introduction, it can also take your résumé’s information one step further by showing your reader how your history and past achievements can be applied to meet the needs, concerns, missions, and goals of the company you’re targeting. In this way, your cover letter not only confirms your qualifications for the position, but also indicates that you are the right person for this company.



There are basically two types of cover letters. One is used in submission to an ad or known position opening, commonly known as the “standard” cover letter. This type of cover letter is easier to write for an obvious reason – some of the criteria of the position is being made known through advertisements or network contacts, thus aiding the writer in knowing what specific criteria and needs the reader wants addressed.


The second kind of cover letter is commonly called a “broadcast” cover letter. This type of cover letter is used when targeting companies of interest but when no known position opening is being made public (or may not even, at the present time, exist).



First of all, the layout of your cover letter is as important as the layout of your resume. Keep in mind that the first thing your reader will see in your cover letter (okay, it’s actually the second thing they’ll see, following your envelop, we recommend using a 9 x 12 white envelop). Your cover letter should complement your resume in style, layout letterhead, print and paper quality.


Cover letters normally follow this general outline:

Your contact information (letterhead): Make certain this is easy to read. When all is said and done, your contact information is most important information in the letter.


Name of contact and their title: Get the exact name and correct spelling whenever you can ~ it will always have a greater impact than an anonymous recipient greeting. Follow this with the name of company, street address, city, and area code.


Jobe title or reference number: Re: ________________.


Dear: Use either the exact contact name, Mr. __________, or Director of Human Resources for Name of Company. Never use “Dear Sir or Madam,” “To Whom It May concern.”


Opening paragraph: Although you may be tempted to come up with an interesting opening sentence, there’s value for your reader in identifying for them the ad or position to which you’re applying at the onset of your letter. Your reader may be screening resumes for several positions, and including a reference to the position title and location puts the reader on the right track. Keep this introductory sentence to the point and brief.


The second line in your cover letter should be attention grabbing, should be a summary of what the letter’s purpose is: “My background in ________, _________, and __________appears to be a solid fit for the position of ____________> It is with genuine interest that I enclose my resume for your review and offer a brief summary of how my skills may benefit {Name of Company}’s _____________efforts.


The second paragraph: highlights not only those qualifications listed in your resume, but also the extended skills and characteristics you possess that will be of additional value to your reader and the position and company you’re targeting.


Closing paragraph: This is the only place in the cover letter where you indicate what you’re hoping to gain from this submission: a call and an interview. Avoid using gimmicks or threats. We’ve seen cover letters that sound desperate and nearly threatening, “If I don’t hear from you by {date} I’m going to call you.”


It’s perfectly fine to indicate that, with your reader’s permission, you’d like to call them on such-and-such a date at a such-and-such a time to discuss the position, with the added note that if this time is inconvenient they may leave a message with the receptionist indicating a time that would be preferable. Make this easy for your reader.


By the way, if you can’t be at your phone waiting for every call (you may wait a long time), consider purchasing an answering machine.


What to Do after the Cover Letter and Resume Have Been Sent? It would be wonderful if every resume and cover letter submission resulted in a telephone call. Unfortunately, we live in the real world and it’s very competitive out there. Be proactive in your job search. Be willing to follow up your resume submissions with a phone call or a note that reiterates your interest and offers to provide further information if necessary. Your reader may receive hundreds of resumes, and hearing from you may move your resume closer to the top of the pile. A good time frame to follow is that if you’ve heard nothing in the two weeks following your submission, go ahead and follow up with a phone call or note. Don’t do this by e-mail.



Use this checklist to ensure that your cover letter is complete:

        ·          One page only and limited to three targeted paragraphs

        ·          Type written or work processor, with full spell check and proofing

        ·          Written to someone specific, with the name and title spelled correctly

        ·          Company name and address are correct and complete

        ·          Quality bond paper, 8 x 11 inches, ideally the same as your resume

        ·          Three focused paragraphs (focused on the reader’s needs, not yours)Closes with “Sincerely,” – anything else can be too chummy

        ·          Signed with a blue or black pen

        ·          Includes a P.S. for emphasis

        ·          Place the resume behind and fold in a tri-fold, with no staples

        ·          Type or neatly print address on envelope

        ·          Seal the envelope

        ·          Conservative stamp on the envelope

        ·          Final step: do not forget to follow up, or all the other steps will be in vain!





If you have been offered an interview, it means that the potential employer or human resource manager has received and read your resume. They have determined that the information received was adequate enough to warrant an interview. Regardless of how you feel about interviewing, good planning and preparation for this event, in advance, can substantially improve your ability to participate in a productive manner, and will increase your confidence level in this portion of the job search process. Effective interviewing is more than answering questions with the correct responses. It requires knowing what questions to ask in return.


The purpose of the interview is to verify information on the resume. Explore any issue raised by the resume. It is an opportunity for both the applicant and the organization to which is applying to get information about the other.



Researching the organization

Learn any thing about the organization

Study the competition

Understand the market.



        ·          Tell me about yourself

        ·          How would you describe yourself?

        ·          Tell me something about yourself that I won’t find on your resume

        ·          What do you take real pride in?

        ·          Why would you like to work for our organization?

        ·          Why should we hire you?

        ·          What are your long run career objectives?

        ·          What types of work do you enjoy doing most? Least

        ·          What accomplishment has given you the greatest satisfaction?

        ·          What would you like to change in your past?



        ·          How would you describe a typical day on the job?

        ·          How is an employee evaluated and promoted?

        ·          What types of training are available?

        ·          What is your expectation of new employees?

        ·          What is the organization plan for the future?

        ·          To whom would I report? Would anyone report to me?

        ·          What are the advancement opportunities for this position?



        ·          Avoid putting the interviewer on the spot

        ·          Avoid asking about salary and fringe benefits during the initial interview



        ·          First impression

        ·          Pay attention to your dress

        ·          Dress in a manner that flatters your appearance

        ·          Wear clean, conservative clothing for the interview.



        ·          Practice mock interviews

        ·          Face whatever the interviewer throws your way.


To avoid excessive nervousness

Arrive properly equipped

Arrive on time (10-15 minutes early)



        ·             Observe the organizational environment very carefully, and treat people with courtesy.

        ·             Maintain formality.

        ·             Greet the interviewer by name, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and smile.

        ·             Wait till the interviewer is seated, and then take your seat.

        ·             Sit with your feet planted firmly on the floor

        ·             Avoid taking notes.

        ·             Never wander around the office.

        ·             Show interest in everything the interviewer is saying.

        ·             Do not concentrate so hard on formulating your response.

        ·             Answer each question in a positive, confident manner.

        ·             Answer each question as honestly as you can.

        ·             Do not try to oversell yourself.

        ·             If asked about salary expectation, try to avoid giving a salary figure.

Group interview  (Several people interview you)

        ·             Try to know names and positions

        ·             Address the answer to everyone.

        ·             When the interview is finished ask the interviewer when you might expect to hear from him.



Try to learn from the interview.


Send a short thank-you note or e-mail message as a gesture of courtesy and to reaffirm your interest in the job.


If you do not hear from the interviewer by the deadline date he gave you for making a decision, telephone or e-mail for a status report.



Do not spend your time after a job interview sitting by the phone waiting for word on the hiring decision. Go on looking for a job.


If you did not get the job, do not get angry.



A job offer is never “official” until is in writing.


Avoid making permanent plans until the confirming letter arrives. After the letter of confirmation you should write your letter of acceptance.


Once You Accepted the Job Offer

Immediately inform all other organizations at which you are seriously considered for a position to withdraw your name from further consideration.

If you receive other job offer you should decline it.



If you receive one job offer from one company while you still have other job interviews pending a request for time extension in a diplomatic way. Express appreciation for the job offer, tactfully ask for an extension and close by reaffirming your interest in the job.



A refusal letter should be written in the indirect organization pattern. Beginning on a neutral but relevant note states the refusal in neutral or positive terms.



Before the interview, continue to give yourself positive messages throughout the day, (“I’m a great candidate for this position. I can make a valuable contribution tot his company. I have skills and abilities that are worthy of compensation and a job offer.”)


Get a good night’s sleep, and get up earlier than normal for early morning appointments, so that you have plenty of time to get ready and relax.


DO NOT include a picture of yourself with your resume



To obtain a challenging position that would utilize any abilities and educational background.



King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, fall 95-Present. College of Industrial Management. Bachelor of Science, Expected Graduation, June 1999.



King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran. October 96-Present Senior Computer Lab Consultant

Aids faculty members and students in the University Academic Computing Labs.

Supports, maintains and installs Hardware and Software.

Troubleshoots, analyzes and solves various computer problems.

Assists in designing WebPages for the Computer Lab.

IBM, Dhahran. October 95-Present

Customer Service Representative and Sales Associate.



CIM Perfect Attendance Award.

Four IBM Customer Service Awards




Proficient in English, Arabic



Vice President and Public Relation Officer of College of Industrial Management, KFUPM, and student club.

Member of Student Public relation Club, KFUPM.



Operating Systems:

            MS Windows 95 & 3.11, UNIX, MAC, OS and DOS.

Office Applications:

            MS Office 97, Word Perfect and MS Publisher 97.

Graphics Applications:

            Adobe PhotoShop 4.0, Paint Shop Pro 4.14, and Paint Brush

Internet Applications:

Netscape Navigator and Communicator, MS Internet Explorer, MS FrontPage 97, MS Outlook.