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Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:03 am

Getting into state and SIU jobs

Win a state interview with a complete, correct, relevant application


Embarking on the circuitous path to employment with two of Springfield’s largest employers, the state of Illinois and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, is a challenge even in years when Illinois has a healthy budget. Both are still hiring, but in these days of the budget impasse it’s more important than ever to make sure your correct, complete application gets you in the door for an interview.

Getting started
Both SIU and the state of Illinois provide important application and job opening details online.

SIU offers two helpful web pages of instructions, including questions and answers about the application, testing, interview and orientation process. Start here: http://www.siumed.edu/jobs/hireprocess.html.

The state offers a question-and-answer page at http://www.illinois.gov/sites/work/pages/exam_faq.aspx with links to openings, procedures and schedules, application locations for people without home Internet service, accommodations for people with disabilities, and much more.
Job lists
SIU School of Medicine posts new jobs on Fridays at http://www.siumed.edu/jobs/ divided into faculty, administrative, research and civil service classifications. Select the job of interest, read the description and apply through their secure system. Complete your application before the following Friday.

Note that a job listing is not the same as a job opening. At SIU, only jobs listed as current openings for specific departments actually have start dates. Successful applications for “ongoing recruitment” are put into a group for consideration when a job becomes available. It’s the same for the state, where applicants can test for a much wider selection of jobs than is actually open and hiring immediately.

Visit http://www.illinois.gov/sites/work/Pages/default.aspx for state jobs lists by category, agency and county.

The application

One Springfield resident spoke with us after completing his application for state employment. “It’s important to fill it out completely. If it asks for the complete address of the school you attended, put it in. And when you describe jobs you’ve had, list every skill and every task whether you think it fits exactly the position you want or not.”

He notes that it’s not a speedy process, even for a college graduate with good, solid work experience. “It takes longer than you might think. I spent a few hours completing the written sections and uploading the required documents, and then another few hours taking the written test. They allow three hours for the tests and it took all of it.”  

Of course, if you can word your skills and experience in a way that supports the requirements of the job you want, even better. Related volunteer experience may be counted as well.

From SIU’s “hireprocess” html site: “Our application form has been carefully designed to gather information we believe is necessary to determine whether or not an applicant appears to be a viable candidate for employment opportunities at SIU School of Medicine. Accordingly, we will be unable to process any application for which the instructions have not been followed.”

In short, an incomplete or incorrect application will be rejected. Be especially careful to present a continuous employment record and explain gaps of all lengths.

It takes time, but both SIU and the state systems will keep your application on file. All it takes to apply for another position is an application update.
The test
Your successful application will get you in the door to test for jobs. The tests for Civil Service may include typing, math, basic office skills, data entry, proofreading and spelling, and more, depending on the position requirements.

At SIU, only applicants with the top three scores from the entire group are moved to the interview stage, but retesting is allowed and the HR testing staff is helpful and encouraging.
Following up
SIU and the state offer free job counseling. For information on improving your online application or navigating the application process, make an appointment to talk with a career counselor. SIU School of Medicine 217-545-0223, state of Illinois 217-524-1321.
Freelance writer and trainer DiAnne Crown is a frequent contributor to Illinois Times.


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