Tech Talk: Career Cruising, Part 1

This is the first post in a series delving into the various aspects of the Career Cruising database available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Digital Library. Read all posts here.

Career Cruising is a database that’s a very user-friendly one-stop-shop for all things related to college, career, and job search information. All you need is an East Baton Rouge Parish Library card and a computer with internet connection. Want to find out which university in your area offers a criminal justice major? Career Cruising can do that for you. Want to find careers that don’t need a 4-year degree but pay more than $60,000 a year? Career Cruising can do that (it identifies 20 occupations for these criteria, among them commercial driver, energy auditor, landman, and mortgage broker). Want to know exactly what an actuary does and what it takes to become one? Yes, Career Cruising has that information too. Need to find scholarships to pay for college? Again, check Career Cruising.

You can access the database through the EBRPL Digital Library, which will take you to the Career Cruising home page.

Career Cruising presents ample information divided into five tabs: Assessments, Careers, Education, Financial Aid, and Employment.

You can browse all information without creating an account (except for the assessments and the resume builder — for those you will need an account). While you can use most functions without an account, the database will not save any of your activities and you will have to start over the next time you access Career Cruising. It’s better to create a “My Plan” account with Career Cruising to save your assessments, education plans, and searches. This way you can come back, view your earlier activity, and continue where you left off at any time.

Now you are ready to plan your college or career journey. Not sure about your skills and interests? Start with an assessment. You can take the “Matchmaker & My Skills,” which assesses your interests and matches them with occupations, or the “Learning Styles Inventory,” which measures how you learn best and retain information most efficiently — valuable information for planning your further education.

You can either use your assessment results to research matching careers or skip assessments and jump into the careers tab right away. The careers section is such a treasure trove of easily accessible information that we will explore it in more depth in a future post. For now, here is an overview of the kind of information you can search for.

You can search for occupations alphabetically or by school subject, which will present you with careers related to your favorite school subject. You can also look at occupations by career cluster and by industries, and there is a separate section with explanations of military careers. Additionally, the Career Selector is a tool that lets you choose specific criteria, such as salary, core tasks, and education level, and matches those to occupations that fit your criteria.

The education section is also a one-stop-shop. You can search for universities by region or by major. You can conduct side-by-side comparisons of schools in terms of majors, size, cost, etc. And the database can give you a planning timeline by major, which will tell you which classes you should take in high school to best prepare you for your chosen major.

Now that you’ve chosen a college, you are ready to find scholarships. Use the Financial Aid tab to search among thousands of scholarship opportunities. You can use the alphabetical index to search according to scholarship name. Or you can use the Financial Aid Selector and search according to your specified criteria. For either search method, the result will give you a full scholarship profile and a link to the respective website. The site also features information about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Last but not least, Career Cruising can help with your job search. Under the Employment tab you will find links to information about job search skills such as cover letter writing, interview preparation, resume writing, etc.  There is a job search feature that links you to, a job postings aggregator that helps you find open positions in your field and location. To help you write a winning resume, Career Cruising also features a “Build My Resume” tool.

There is such a wealth of information in this database that this article can only scratch the surface.  Career Cruising is intuitive and user-friendly, so you will do fine just logging on and browsing the site. However, we will follow up with future posts elaborating on each section of this database.

Written by Anne Nowak.

Note: This article was originally posted in April 2017, and has been re-posted with updates to reach a new audience.

How to Succeed at a Job Fair

Job fairs are a valuable part of any job seeker’s toolkit. With dozens of employers in one location, job fairs can be an efficient way to make lots of contacts quickly. Yet, if you’re not careful, you could accidentally make a bad impression on dozens of hiring managers at once. Avoid missteps with our Job Fair Success guide.

How to Prepare for a Job Fair

Research the job fair. Find out what companies will be there and what types of positions they’ll be offering. Decide which companies and positions you’re interested in, which shouldn’t be every single one — lack of focus is unattractive to employers. If possible, go ahead and fill out the online applications for any positions you want.

Create and polish your resume. Make certain that your best, most relevant skills and experience are highly emphasized. Employ strategies to cover any problematic details, such as a gap in your work history. Ensure that your resume is easy to read, consistently formatted, and free of grammatical errors. (If you need help putting together a resume, come to the Career Center for in-person assistance, use our free resume templates, or check out our video tutorials.) Finally, print out many, many copies of your resume.

Prepare your outfit. You should dress for a job fair the exact same way you would dress for a job interview.

Practice your 30-second pitch. You will need to introduce yourself to employers at the job fair, briefly detailing what kind of work you’re looking for and what qualifications you possess. For example, “Hello! My name is John Doe, and I’m interested in becoming a delivery driver with your company. I have three years of professional driving experience as a deliveryman for FedEx, and I think I’d make a great addition to your team.”

Get ready for on-the-spot interviews. Most employers won’t have time for in-depth interviews the day of the job fair, but some will. You should be prepared to answer common interview questions, such as, “Tell us about yourself”, “Why do you want to work for us?”, and “Why should we hire you?” (For more assistance with this, check out our YouTube playlist of how to answer common interview questions.)

The Day of the Job Fair

Make sure that your outfit and appearance are neat, and that you have plenty of copies of your resume. Plan to get there near the beginning of the job fair — don’t wait until the end. Many employers leave long before the job fair is over. Once you arrive, get a map of the layout of the venue and where employers are located (if one is available) and study it to plan the order in which you’ll approach your target companies.

Make a good first impression on employers. When you go up to a booth, you will introduce yourself to the hiring manager using your 30-second pitch and give him or her your resume. Make sure you’re giving off appropriate body language. Be confident and friendly. Ask the hiring manager what the next steps in the process are, and follow them. Don’t forget to get the hiring manager’s business card before you leave. If they have no card, write yourself a note with the recruiter’s name and company.

They might not actually be hiring right now. Some employers at job fairs don’t have current openings. Instead, they’re using the job fair to expand their pool of applicants, network, and publicize their companies. However, you should still take them seriously, and make a good impression on them because they may have openings in the near future. Even employers that do have current openings will rarely hire someone on the spot during a job fair without a background check and in-depth interview. Don’t expect to be offered a job on the day of the fair — recognize that the fair is often just the first step of the process.

After the Job Fair

Follow up with the employers you met. If you haven’t already done so, fill out the online application for any company from the fair that you’re interested in. Then, email the hiring managers to touch base. Make sure you avoid sounding pushy, demanding, or desperate. Simply say something like, “I enjoyed meeting with you at the job fair yesterday. Everything you said about your company makes it seem like it would be a great fit for me. I just finished your online application, and I look forward to hearing from you.” Attach your resume to the email (rather than making them dig through the stack of resumes from the job fair to find you). You should follow up even with the companies that don’t have openings right now. Just let them know how interested you are in the company and how you hope they’ll keep you in mind for future openings.

The Most Common Job Fair Mistakes

  • Wearing casual clothes (jeans, flip-flops, t-shirts, etc.)
  • Looking ill-groomed (unshaven, wild hair, wrinkled clothes)
  • Having visible tattoos and piercings
  • Bringing children to the job fair
  • Having no resume or not enough copies of your resume
  • Going to every single booth and asking, “What are you hiring for?”
  • Saying nothing at all to the hiring manager other than, “Here’s my resume.”
  • Inappropriate body language when meeting employers (slouching, fidgeting, lack of eye contact, lack of smile, bad handshake, etc.)
  • Being unable to answer hiring managers’ questions about qualifications and skills
  • Not following up after the job fair

Written by Lynnette Lee.

Note: This article was originally posted in May 2017, and has been re-posted with updates to reach a new audience.

Get a Federal Job: The Schedule A Hiring Process for Individuals with Disabilities

Getting a federal job is usually a lengthy and complicated process. But for workers with disabilities, there is a program which may allow you to cut through some of the red tape and get assistance and accommodation with the application process.

what is it?

  • Schedule A is “a special hiring authority that provides federal agencies an optional, and potentially quicker, way to hire individuals with disabilities.”
  • This process is a non-competitive hiring process, meaning that it is not open to the public or current employees unless they have a disability.
  • Schedule A positions do come with a probationary period that can last up to two years before being converted into a competitive position.
  • You can identify the positions that have a specific hiring path for those with disabilities by seeing this icon:  

how to qualify for schedule A

You are able to apply to positions under Schedule A if you “have an intellectual, severe physical, or psychiatric disability” and it affects one or more major life activities.

You do have to submit proof in the form of a disability letter that states that you have a disability. This letter can be obtained from:

  • Your doctor
  • A licensed medical professional
  • A licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist, or
  • Any federal, state or local agency that provides disability benefits.

This letter does not require:

  • Details about your disability
  • Detailed medical history or records
  • Information about necessary accommodations

This letter does not have any expiration date or date of renewal once it has been submitted and accepted. You do not have to obtain a new letter for a change in position or location. You will still need to obtain and submit this letter even if you currently qualify for disability benefits; however, the agency providing you the benefits can supply that letter for you.

other requirements

You are required to be qualified for the position that you are applying to, as well as the pay grade required for the position. You must provide the standard documentation about your qualifications including, but not limited to:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Writing sample
  • Transcripts
  • Professional certifications or licenses

Applications that do not include everything required in the job listing will be labeled as “incomplete” and will be rejected.

how to apply

You will find all government positions available on USAjobs. This website will also be where you upload required documentation and Schedule A proof of disability documentation. You are also able to list your resume as searchable to those looking for Schedule A applicants.

You can apply online through the USAJobs website using Schedule A if the listing indicates that there is a hiring path for those with disabilities or it specifically states, “Schedule A”. Alternately, most federal agencies have a Disability Program Manager (DPM) or Selective Placement Program Coordinator (SPPC) whose role is to help the agency recruit workers with disabilities. You can reach out to that person directly, and they will provide guidance on the best way to apply.

The general recommendation is to apply through the competitive, or regular, application process and then either submit your resume to a specific federal agency’s resume bank (such as with the IRS) or contact the DPM/SPPM for that agency to determine the best way to apply under Schedule A. Another option is to reach out to the HR professional within the agency and explain that you are looking to apply under Schedule A for persons with disabilities.

keep in mind

It is also important to keep deadlines or cutoff dates in mind when applying, as the exact time can vary depending on your time zone. There are also some long-lasting openings, such as 6 months or more, where hiring can be done on a rolling basis. Generally, it is best to apply as early as possible because the entire process can take several months.

There can be seasonal or telework only positions, depending on the agency. Seasonal positions are full time, but you do not work the entire 12 months. Telework can be temporary until you move or can be permanent. You will likely have a distance requirement from the location in order to come into the office occasionally.

Hiring Process

Once the application has been submitted, you will typically see its status change to “referred”. This means that the application and resume are being reviewed to determine whether they match the required qualifications for the position. If there are any required assessments, that information will be provided after you have applied. You can request accommodations for these assessments.

The next step would be interviews; however, sometimes this step can be skipped depending on the agency, position, and hiring manager. The interview will be followed by the tentative job offer and then background checks along with fingerprinting. Once the agency has decided to hire you, they will give you a firm job offer with all of the information necessary to proceed to the next step. Then it’s time for onboarding or orientation along with whatever training is necessary for the position.

This entire hiring process can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months depending on the agency and the position. Accommodations work much like they do anywhere else, and you can get further information about accommodations in our previous blog post.

Written by Kathryn Cusimano

BR Works: A Local, Helpful, Free Job Board – and More

For those who currently live in Baton Rouge, or are looking to move to Baton Rouge, BRWorks has provided a full job board which gathers information from over 55,000 websites including Indeed. This site’s goal is to show local openings in order to encourage people to seek jobs in Baton Rouge rather than outside of the city or even the state. This website is an initiative of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber created in response to drastic changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. This website has evolved into providing information on job opportunities, educational advancement, training, and local resources for job seekers and employers.

Job Openings

There are several starting points on this website when it comes to looking for a job. The first option is to simply look at the job openings, which can be sorted by industry, city, company and full or part time. Each listing will have the job title, the company, the median salary, and the posted salary for most positions. This is a very useful piece of information to be able to see how the posted salary matches up with the median salary. There will also be a percentage listed on each position which will indicate how well your skills match up with the skills required for the position. In order to determine your match, you will have to input your skills into their matching system.

Get Matched

This is another starting point for finding a job on this website. You are able to answer several questions about your interests as well as any skills you have obtained. The first step is to answer a short series of questions about various tasks and indicating how much you would or would not like to do that task. This is a much simpler version of other career exploration questionnaires that are available and listed on our website if you would like more information on your interests and how they tie into job searching. You will then manually add your skills, and the skills list is searchable by job title, which can be very helpful. This can also be a very useful tool when creating your own resume! Once you have added your skills to your profile, you will see changes in the match percentage listed on the job openings, as well as a change in the types of job listings being suggested to you. This will allow you to then select jobs that you already have the skill set for or see which skills you still need to learn for your dream job which you will be able to indicate that you want to learn them by selecting the star next to the specific skill.


This leads us to the upskilling portion of the website, where you can see various different avenues to learn various skills. When you have chosen the skills you want to learn from the job listings, you will then be able to see specific courses and programs associated with those skills. These courses could be associated with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) such as Udemy or with local colleges which have relevant degrees and coursework. This website will tell you the average cost of the course or program when that information is available. Most of the courses recommended by BR Works do cost money, so before you commit to that, investigate whether there’s a way to get that training for free. We would like to encourage our readers to double check with the EBR Parish Library digital education offerings, as you will have access to free courses with various MOOCs using your library card number. There are also free Coursera courses offered through the LAworks website. This post will detail the process of signing up for that program. However, the BR Works site does allow you to have a more tailored view of the various course offerings as well as local college course/program offerings which is a very useful tool in advancing your professional enrichment.

Job Seeker Resources

This page provides information about local resources associated with job seeking such as Employ BR, HOPE ministries, local job fairs and a link to our website which is also full of valuable information! They also offer information on financial resources such as the GO Grant, LSU career change scholarship, and MJ Foster Promise project.

This website provides a lot of valuable information tailored to the residents of EBR Parish and could be very helpful in your job search. Please check this website out and feel free to also explore the resources available through our website and department at the Career Center located in the Main library on Goodwood. We provide information and assistance in job searching, career coaching, resume creation and interview preparation. If you have any further questions, you can reach out to us via email, phone or in-person or reach out to your local branch and ask for assistance.

Written by Kathryn Cusimano

A Guide to the Rights of a Jobseeker with a Disability: Overview

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted July 26th, 1990, over 30 years ago. This law was designed to increase accessibility for people with disabilities. The ADA is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). While the ADA covers every aspect of society from employment to public services and accommodations to telecommunications, this post will focus on the employment rights provided by this act.


The ADA defines what qualifies as a disability. A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities. This definition also applies to a person who has a record of a disability. Finally, a person who is regarded as having an impairment, meaning a person that is discriminated against because someone thinks that their impairment (or perceived impairment) is limiting is also protected by the ADA. A major life activity can include, but is not limited to, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, speaking, learning, reading and working. This is by no means a comprehensive list, nor does one exist.

Some disabilities are obvious, such as visibility impairments, mobility disabilities (using a wheelchair or other mobility aids), and deafness. There are also other disabilities that are not as obvious, such as learning disabilities and psychological/psychiatric disabilities. The ADA can apply to various learning disabilities such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia if the symptoms are enough to limit the person’s major life activities. Psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or schizophrenia also can be considered disabilities, as long as the symptoms are limiting in some capacity. It is important to point out that regardless of the disability, active self-advocacy is the best way to ensure your protections under the ADA.


In order to be protected under the ADA, you must have a disability as defined above. You must also be a qualified individual, which means that you can perform the essential functions of the employment position with or without accommodation. The employer is the one that defines the essential functions either verbally or with a written description. You also have to meet any other defined criteria such as education and work experience requirements. If you are a qualified individual, then you must be considered for the position along with any other applicants.

All of these rights are also afforded to anyone who is directly related to or a caretaker of someone who is defined as having a disability. So, you can be protected against discrimination if your child, spouse, or parent is someone who has a disability.


A person who is protected under the ADA cannot be discriminated against during the job application process. Discrimination can include limiting or classifying a job applicant or employee in a way that affects the applicant’s job prospects or opportunities. This can be as overt as refusing to finish an interview with that person or refusing to hire them on the basis of their disability. It can also be as subtle as not having an accessible flyer with easy-to-read wording placed in a location that is accessible. Inaccessible application processes or websites are also prohibited. Testing also cannot include any criteria that may identify disabilities unless that job requires the ability to do a certain task. For example, unless the job requires 20/20 vision, a test that excludes applicants based on their visual acuity is not legal.

Employers are also not able to ask whether you have a disability during the application process, but they can ask whether you need an accommodation in order to complete the application or interview. These points will be discussed in further detail on in future posts which will detail how and when to request accommodations during the application process as well as how to prepare for an interview as a person with a disability.

Written by Kathryn Cusimano

DISCLAIMER: The Career Center is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice. The general information on our site is for basic informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice of any kind.

Gearing Up for Your Job Search


You’ve  just (re-)entered the job market and are ready to get started and find that next job. Before you call everybody in your network, scan all the ads, and send out an email blast with your resume, stop, step back, and get organized.

before activating your job search: The Checklist

What kind of job do you want?

The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to find it. Clearly define what your strengths are, what contributions you can make to an employer, and what your job search goals are.

Are your resume and LinkedIn profile up-to-date, up-to-standards, and in sync?

Don’t just add your last job to the same old resume you’ve been using for years. Brush it up, do some research into prevalent resume styles, and get input from others. Resume styles and technical requirements — such as applicant tracking systems — change! Make sure your resume and your LinkedIn profile convey the same message. If you’d like expert help, contact us at the Career Center.

Is your online and phone presence free of incriminating evidence?

Google yourself to be aware of what pops up if a potential employer googles you (most of them will). Check the photos on your social media accounts. Check your voicemail message. It should be short and crisp, along the lines of “You have reached Jane Smith. I can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message.” No music and positively nothing like “Yo, I’m too hung over to answer the phone right now, leave a message”.

Is your email address professional?

If you have an email address like or, don’t use it for your job search. Create a new professional sounding email address like that you only use while job searching.

Last but not least, be organized.

When you are out of work, it is easy to lose track of time and just go with the flow. Give yourself a daily schedule. Keep track of all your calls, contacts you made, and applications submitted. Schedule hours for job searching and schedule time for self-care. Looking for a job can be lonesome and easily veer into negativity. Make sure you have a support system in place, carve out enough time to meet with friends, exercise, and do other things that make you feel good!

Written by Anne Nowak, Certified Job and Career Development Coach.

If you’d like expert help with you job search, contact the Career Center for assistance.

Note: This article was originally published in January 2017, and has been re-posted with updates to reach a new audience.

3 Tech Hacks for the Job Search

Technology can definitely make the job search more complicated. . .but occasionally, technology is there to bail you out as well. Here are 3 tech-based quick fixes we recently discovered that we think you’ll find useful in your job search:

Situation 1: You need to update your PDF resume

We sometimes see patrons who need to update or revise their resume but it is in PDF format. Many computers (including library computers) do not have the software necessary to edit PDF files. What can you do?

Sometimes that resume was originally in another format such as Microsoft Word and was exported as a PDF file. If you can track down the original file and open that in Microsoft Word and update or revise it with no problem. However, if all you have is the PDF, try this:


  • Convert it using Word. Newer editions of MS Word (2013 and beyond) are able to open a PDF and convert it to Word format. This is the most effective and hassle-free option. Here is a step-by-step guide from Microsoft. However it will not work with a scan. This works best with files that were created in Word and exported as PDFs. If the resume was originally created as a PDF, some of the formatting (such as font size and style) will be lost, but you can restore or modify that in Word.
  • Use This website converts PDFs to Word documents and produced excellent results when we tested it. It even does a great job converting fancy resumes formatted with tables. However it will not work with a scan.
  • Use Google Drive to convert it. Obviously this one only works if you have a Google account. Upload the PDF to your Drive and open the file as a Google Doc. Then, in the menu bar, go to File -> Download as -> Microsoft Word (docx). Again this technique does not work with scans.
  • If your resume is a scan, none of the above options will work very well. If that is the case, we have another blog post that explains what you can do.

Situation 2: Your employer sent you a packet of forms to fill out, but they are in PDF format

In the last few months we have worked with several patrons who found a new job, and their (new) employer needed them to complete several forms that are in PDF format. Some PDF forms are designed to be filled out electronically but this is uncommon. As in (1) above most computers (including library computers) do not have the software to edit PDF files and so completing these forms is inconvenient. Usually people must (a) print the forms, (b) fill them out by hand, (c) scan them, and (d) email them back to the employer. There is however a simpler way:


You can type in PDF files electronically using the website Kami at To use Kami you need an account but a basic account is free. The way Kami works is, you do not fill in the PDF form electronically so much as you create text boxes and type over those spaces in the form where you need to add information. It is very much like using a typewriter to complete a form except you are using a website on a computer.

Situation 3: You want to make sure your resume uses key words that match the job description

An important part of putting together an effective resume is using keywords that line up with a job description. That potential employer is looking for someone who has certain specific skills, and they use something called Automated Tracking Software (ATS) to look for those skills and keywords in resumes they receive. The bad news is, if your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords, it could be rejected by the ATS before it gets seen by a person. The good news is, there are websites that scan your resume and let you know how well your resume lines up with a job description. Try these websites to help you beat the ATS:


  • Skillsyncer at You can try it for free and can use it for free once per week. You can also subscribe for a monthly or quarterly fee, and this allows you to use it as much as you like, and you receive more thorough feedback. Upload your resume, search the web for a job that interests you, paste the job listings description into the Skillsyncer platform. Your resume receives feedback within seconds. Your match report includes a Job Match Score, Keyword Analysis, and Common Resume Checks for you to review.
  • Jobscan at It is more expensive than Skillsyncer although the feedback and recommendations you receive (include cover letter templates) are more extensive.

Written by Richard Wright

What We Learned by Completing Hundreds of Online Job Applications, Part 2

For Part 1 of this two-part article, please click here.

Here in the Career Center, one of the services we offer is one-on-one assistance with filling out job applications on the computer. Over the years we’ve helped hundreds of people apply for jobs online, and more recently we’ve filmed step-by-step walkthroughs for many common applications. During the course of all this, we noticed certain common threads: confusing features that kept coming up on applications, tricky questions, common mistakes, etc. We decided to create a guide to assist jobseekers with this process. Here then, is the accumulation of our wisdom (Part 2):

Tricky Application Questions

  • Be cautious about auto-filling the application. Some applications will let you use your resume or social media accounts to create a profile and fill in the application. But there are good and bad shortcuts here. Using your resume or LinkedIn profile can be a great shortcut – as long as you double-check that the application auto-filled correctly. But do not use any other social media account, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, to fill in the application. It’s an unprofessional look (and an invasion of your privacy).
  • Some questions are optional. For many applications, mandatory questions — those you must answer — are marked with a red asterisk or something similar. If a question doesn’t have a red asterisk, you can skip it.
  • There are certain questions you want to skip if possible. If you can, skip any questions that ask about your salary history or requirements – that’s something best discussed once they offer you the job. Also, skip any questions that might make you look bad, like “Why did you leave this job?”
  • If you have to tell them your salary requirements, prepare first. You don’t want to price yourself out of the running, but don’t undervalue yourself either. Do research to find out how much this position usually pays. Check,,, and/or the US Department of Labor.
  • If you have to tell them why you left a job, choose your words carefully. Negative-sounding answers (“I got fired,” “The management sucked,” “Too stressful,” etc.) will make you look bad. Some answers will indicate that you’re not a good fit for the new job — for example, don’t say “Left for more money” if the new job pays the same. Instead, try to give a neutral answer such as “Seeking career progression” or “Changing careers” or “Looking for a better fit for my skills.”
  • If they ask, “May we contact this employer?”, you should probably say yes unless it’s your current job. It’s completely understandable if you don’t want your current boss to know that you’re looking for a new job, so you can say no. But if you don’t want the new company to contact your previous employers, they’re going to wonder what you’re hiding.
  • “Are you eligible to work in the US?” The answer to this question is always yes if you were born in the US, if you have become a US citizen, or if you have a green card. If not, you may want to talk to an immigration professional to make sure of your status.
  • “Have you ever been fired?” You have to answer this question honestly. But if they give you a chance to explain, do so. Tell the story in a way that explains your extenuating circumstances, what you learned from the situation, etc.


  • Expect it to take some time. There’s a lot more to an application than just your work history. Usually there’s a section asking for demographic information and Work Opportunity Tax Credit eligibility. There may be online skills tests or personality assessments. Don’t be in a hurry; this is important stuff. Take the time to do it right.
  • If you can, use a computer. Many applications won’t work right on phones or tablets. And some applications won’t work in certain browsers, so if it doesn’t work in Edge, try Chrome or Firefox.
  • The library can help! If you don’t have a computer or the right browser at home, go use the computers at the library. It’s free, and the staff can help you.

Please contact us at 225-231-3733 if you have any further questions about job applications.

Written by Lynnette Lee

What We Learned by Completing Hundreds of Online Job Applications, Part 1

Here in the Career Center, one of the services we offer is one-on-one assistance with filling out job applications on the computer. Over the years we’ve helped hundreds of people apply for jobs online, and more recently we’ve filmed step-by-step walkthroughs for many common applications. During the course of all this, we noticed certain common threads: confusing features that kept coming up on applications, tricky questions, common mistakes, etc. We decided to create a guide to assist jobseekers with this process. Here then, is the accumulation of our wisdom (Part 1):


  • Know your employment history, including dates. If the work history you provide is incomplete or incorrect, that will be a major strike against you. If you’re uncertain of your starting or ending dates, find out before you start applying — call the company or your state employment office.
  • Keep track of things with a Job Search Notebook. This will contain all the information you need to complete applications, such as your work history, references, supervisors’ contact info, etc. It will also contain the list of what jobs you’ve applied for where and when, your usernames and passwords, and the other details you’ll need to keep straight. It can be a physical notebook, or a computerized database such as MS Excel or Google Sheets.
  • Have all documents saved on a USB drive or in the cloud. Scan any documents you may need, such as transcripts, certifications, letters of recommendation, etc., and upload them onto a USB drive. Save your resumes and cover letters on this device as well. Alternately, you can upload all of these documents onto Google Drive, MS OneDrive, iCloud, etc.


  • Every jobseeker should have a resume. Some applications cannot be completed without a resume. Others will use your resume to auto-fill the application so that you don’t have to do everything manually. Take the extra time and effort to make a resume first, and it will save you time and effort down the road.
  • Keep your resume in both PDF and Word format. The MS Word version is for you, so that you can make changes to the document and update it as needed. The Adobe PDF version, which is much harder to make changes to, is the one that you will upload to job applications.
  • Keep the formatting pretty simple. Try to avoid using tables, text boxes, and graphics. They may make your resume look beautiful, but the online application may have trouble reading them, which means your application may not be completed properly.

Creating/Accessing Account

  • You need a functioning email address. Email is the primary method by which employers will contact you, so make sure yours is easily accessible. Make sure you know your password and can check your email anywhere, not just on your phone. (What if the phone breaks?) Do not use someone else’s email address.
  • You have to create a new account for every single company. The application will start by asking you to sign in, which can be confusing – because until you’ve registered with this company, you can’t sign in. If this is your first time applying for that company, look for something that says “Create Account,” “New User,”, etc.
  • Keep track of your login information. Different applications have different security requirements, so you may end up with lots of user ids and passwords. If you don’t remember which password you used for which application, you can’t sign back in, which means you can’t apply for more jobs with that company. So every time you create an account, write it down in your Job Search Notebook, or on your phone’s Notes section.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Written by Lynnette Lee