So you’ve graduated from college with a degree in chemistry, toxicology, safety management, or food engineering and want to start hunting for a job that will utilize your hard work? Food Safety Management may be the field for you. The fallout from the events of 9/11 has created a need for increased safety measures and this has become especially true in food safety. Food Safety Management is a rapidly expanding field with many openings in companies from restaurants to food manufacturers.
PREPARING YOUR APPLICATION
Create a resume that highlights your experience, training, and education that is RELEVANT to the position that you are applying for. Read through job descriptions and match your experience with what the hiring company is looking for. Prioritize the most important elements of your background by listing them first or in hierarchical order. Try to keep your resume to one page if possible.
Your cover letter should introduce yourself, what position you are applying for, where you learned about the opening from, include job code number if available, and direct the hiring company to the elements in your resume that make you the most qualified candidate. Do not simply restate your resume.
Example: I noticed that you are looking for someone who can create analyses models. If you look under my job duties at XYZ Corporation, and my subsequent certification as a Food Analysis you will see that I not only have experience creating models but also in applying them to real-life situations and utilizing the results to create a more secure food preparation environment.
Also when you are drafting your cover letter, don’t include personal or irrelevant material. These elements only distract the hiring company from the important content in your letter and may cause them to overlook vital elements of your qualifications.
Follow application directions to the. If the hiring company requests three letters of reference and further specifies 2 professional references and 1 personal reference, don’t send 4 professionals. Following the instructions will not only comply with their request, but also shows that you are able to follow directions and follow protocol. Both of these skills are vital to the food safety management profession.
Have transcripts, certificates of educational achievement, seminar certificates, and letters of reference available in case the hiring company requests them. It may be helpful to take skill tests at your local employment agency to further support your claims about your abilities.
There are several ways to find job openings in food safety management: recruiting agencies, employment agencies, newspapers, industry journals and newsletters, and Internet job board searches.
When you begin your search there are similar questions that will be asked of you:
What experience do you have in the field?
Are you willing to relocate? And what areas of the country would you be willing to relocate to?
What salary range are you looking for? What benefits do you want or need?
And what are specific job titles or positions within the food safety management genre are you applying for?
Anticipate these questions and have answers available. When applying submit via the method requested and provide only the information that is asked for. Deviating from the requested format may lead to your application being disqualified. If you have not heard back from the hiring company by two weeks after the closing date, it is all right to call or email for an update on the position. However, it is not all right to harass the company.
So you’ve submitted your application and have been selected to interview with the hiring committee. Don’t panic. The important thing to remember at this stage is to be organized and prepared. Have several copies of your resume and training information packaged together to hand out to all the people sitting in on your interview. Before the interview list questions, you think the company will ask during your interview and practice answering them in front of a mirror. This will help you answer questions quickly when asked, and the mirror will help you fine-tune your body language.
It will also help you locate idiosyncrasies that distract from what you are saying. Dress professionally, but comfortably. Take note of people’s names as they are introduced and try to use them when addressing questions. This will help you make personal contact with your interviewers and help to make you stand out from the other applicants. When answering questions be direct with the answers and stay on subject. Don’t tell antidotes or relay personal stories at this point. When listening to the interviewer, make good eye contact and nod appropriately. Have all your papers organized and ready to retrieve quickly.
AFTER THE INTERVIEW
When the interview is over send a thank you note with a brief recap of your qualifications and why you are the best candidate. Don’t badger the company too much. If it has been more than 2 or 3 weeks since your interview, a follow-up email or phone call would be appropriate to get an update. However, don’t call more than once unless the company specifically tells you to try back in a couple of weeks or after a certain date.
While you are waiting for an answer keep looking for other positions. If you are offered more than one position this may be a good negotiation tool for you to get a better salary and better benefits.
While you are waiting