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My how things have changed since I stumbled into the job market a while back. I'm gathering ideas for a page about how to approach finding a new job or changing jobs in today's world of giant job boards, email thank-you notes and unacknowledged application submissions. I have plenty of ideas about what might be useful to readers, but I'd really like to hear from you. What's the biggest challenge you face, have faced, are facing, in the search for your perfect job? Is it how to format your resume? Is it protocol? (Do you send a hand-written thank you note after an interview, or is it okay to email?).
What about your friends? How do you network?
Please leave comments.
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Oh the everlasting search for that perfect position. I can agree with every comment on this board. I have had to deal with ageism, sexism, job fairs and even stupid agencies who promised there would be a position for my skills. After being in the human/social service field I was laid off (supposedly due to downsizing) for the third time in 2006. The last conversation my then supervisor and I had was that even though I was the best worker he ever had he could do nothing for me without a degree so of course I did the only smart thing available. I return to school for a degree. Here's the hard part.... Im one year away from graduating and have been on numerous interviews in an attempt to find part-time employment for this final year. I have been told by employers that while they can use me I have to chose between finishing school (Hey Im one year away and have a full scholarship) or working for their company. I have been told by others that I don't have "the look
needed to fit into their organization, Im an african American female who looks 22 but actually Im 30 and that dig was at my age and not my race and then there is my favorite a conversation I had just last week with a HR recruiter who (when I attempted to explain to her that I was only available for part-time as listed on my CV) informed me that she hadn't even bothered to review my resume she just checked to see what degrees I had attained to date. So what problems are out there....most companies don't always look for the most qualified worker but the one who will fit in best with their plans. Of course I can understand that to them the needs of the company must come first but in this day and age where the pay and benefits are smaller and smaller one has to do what's in one own best interest. I have offered companies a promise of 2 to 3 years and suggested less pay and even no benefits in exchange for get this a flexible schedule to finish school. I haven't any takers yet which soon will not matter since I only have one year left to go.
As a mom of a college grad in social work ( BA ) degree, it is really frustrating to know that as stated, several places say they will return a call to let them know , and then never do. Many say they want BA degree, but then they list that they want 1-3 ormore of experience. Now I wonder, how do they expect recent college grads to have 1-2 years experience? Many of the internships through the colleges are for 1 or 2 semesters. Many of the students who are graduating today have had to work to help pay bills to get them through college, expecting to get out and find "the" job, but have limited experience due to recently finishing the degree for which they want to work at to GET the experience. This becomes a frustrating battle when they know college loans are going to be coming due, and interveiw after interview, gets then no where. Eventually the excitment of this new degree diminshes after no call backs, and comments as" we really are looking for someone with more experience." It seems to defeat the purpose of a college degree when the only jobs most can get is the lowest on the totem pole, being a tech, or an assitant, and making minimal money to start with. I wonder how do these young people pay for living expenses, and begin the paying back of loans when people aren;t willing to give them a job to have them start getting the experince they Need? Things are not the way they were when we baby boomers graduated, you got that degree and usually within a month or two , you were on the way to working at that career you went to school for 4-5 years to get! These days, employers want it all, someone that can pay a lower salary to with a minimal degree, and then say you need more experience.
My biggest frustration is that hiring managers do not read resumes and call you in for an interview. I take time out from work to interview in-person, only to hear the hiring manager say "you do not have so-and-so experience that we are looking for". Well, did you not read my resume? And what about a phone interview first? Your time is previous, well, so is mine. I have given 25-30 interviews, and every time I hear this. I am trying to change my field slightly in the same industry, so I know I need to work harder to find a job. But to see such ill-prepared and narrow-minded hiring managers is quite disheartening. It is not hard to learn to use tools, and I wish someone would take a leap of faith and hire someone smart over very specific skills set.
As for recruiters, I avoid them like the plague. After speaking with umpteen agencies in the last 3 years on various job search processes, only one was good - only one. They tend to lead you with big talk, call you in to fill paperwork, and then never get back to you. They will even get all the information from you and not even give you the company's name. I don't even return their calls now. As it is most of the positions are online, and LinkedIn is a good source of contacts. Most of the time such recruiters don't even understand the job description.
In response to "abby's" post, students struggle greatly in financial terms during uni. I'm 18, a full time student looking for part time work because i have no money, & recieve no financial help. The only experience i have is working in a charity shop, merely because no one else will take me on. Became underweight in the 1st term of uni to the point when 17 was the normal BMI. This was due to little food & a busy lifestyle, 1000 calories wud be pushing it, more like 600. Should a tall fully grown woman be living like this? Thankfully i've got myself a bf who is now literally providing me with enough food so that i would regain the weight i lost, as he was worried about my health cause i was "wasting away" & looked like i was "dying"...thanks! He offered so no golddigger comments please! Its so depressing handing in CV's and application forms, joining with agencies and NEVER getting a call back. I've only been to 2 interviews out of all the jobs ive applied for. One for working in game, which i didnt get & the other for McDonalds which was ment to be a summer job but sadly they didnt get back to me on my application till 4 months later when i was going to uni 2 days later. The annoying thing is that everywhere says they want experience but how can u get that if no one hires you! & all u can get is a few months charity work & STILL no luck with jobs. This is so irritating good grades, go to a good uni, a part time job so i can buy food for myself wud be nice. I dread the day when my bf dumps me...goodness knows how long i wud starve for & where my health wud be going untill something comes up. Its got to the point whereby i couldnt even afford bread & cheese so i cud have a sandwich, but instead i got 2 pot noodles for £1.20 thanks to an offer...so no nutrition aswell as lack of food! The friends i know that have jobs most got them through a family or friend who works/ed there & one acquiantance even flirted her way into employment! So what about the rest of us who dont have such contacts & who have some self respect. Making an honest living for yourself really is difficult when the government tells us how important degrees are but we recieve little help. Dont talk to me about grants or buseries cause self employed familes are not eligable, despite their earnings.
How about employment agencies and head hunters making you take assessment tests which takes approx. 1 or 1 1/2 hours of your time? The worst thing after seeing them is that you NEVER hear back from them for any openings with their clients.
What job seekers have to realize about employment agencies is YOU ARE NOT THEIR CLIENT. They really could not give a hoot about whether you find a job or not - their interest is in finding someone who will look good to the BUSINESS who is their CLIENT. The only way to find a good job is to network network network. Start with the contacts you made at your last job (assuming you left on good terms.)
What is it with these jobs that require you to have all sorts of advanced skills and to complete a ridiculously long and complex application process only to offer a salary of $9/hr? How do companies expect to attract quality employees when they aren't willing to pay them what they're worth? I realize that $9/hr is better than $0/hr, but when you have rent, student loans, and utilities to pay, $9 is not going to cut it. Nevermind the fact that I did not work my butt off to graduate from college with honors and get myself $25,000 in student loan hell so that I could make only $2 or $3 above minimum wage. I'm sick of looking for a decent job; it is a needlessly complicated process. I'm trying to stay positive, but at this point, I'm completely disillusioned and demoralized.
Job searching is all about attitude, and I must say, most people's attitudes here suck. Just maybe that is why you are not getting a job. Finding a job is supposed to be hard work. You all sound like you want something just handed to you. And all the HR hating is so inappropriate. I work in a government agency helping people find work and I guarantee you that if we put your knowledge of careers against mine, you are going down. But even then, all companies do things differently. If they ask questions it is not that they are stupid, but need to know how your company did things. And your resume most likely does not say what skills you have since most people can't write a decent resume to save their lives. Also so many people lie, and exagerate their abilities. I don't know how many net administrator wannabes I have interviewed that could not tell me even one network operating system they know. And yet this country is full of talented folks. If you are not getting a job either there are those in line more talented than you, or you are just making mistakes, especially thinking everyone is against you. And for the person who the HR person asked when you finished school, did you tell them all the classes you have taken and the methods you have used to stay current? Business's biggest problem is employees who think once they get the degree they don't have to stay current anymore. It is just so easy for people to blame age descrimination. Heaven forbid that there might be upteen reasons you are shooting yourself in the foot. And if you don't hear anything from them, that is what the telephone is for. No one owes you a job, and it is a numbers game, especially right now with layoffs right and left. One thing you can do, is start your own business. But that would be too much effort and you would have to take responsibility for your own lot in life. Just don't start your resume with the line that you are looking for a responsible company that will use your skills and accomplishments to benefit them--and exactly what would those skills be? And don't ask me in an interview where I see you fitting into this company because I generally answer that one with I don't believe I do. You tell me where you belong, you tell me what you can do. And get off your high horse and act like a decent human being.
I am a recent college graduate and searching for a job is depressing. In my mind I thought that since I did have a degree that I could find a job fairly quickly. It seems that most employers want experience and I almost feel that entering the job market and trade school after high school would have been more beneficial than spending almost 5 years to receive my degree.
I have sought out employment almost everywhere. I've applied with 3 employment agencies, multiple online job postings, and craigslist has become my new best friend. I've sent out hundreds of resumes and I have the email to prove it. It's either I'm over qualified or under qualified.
With the economy not doing so well I hope to find a job soon so I can began my career path and start paying back my student loans.
The real secret to getting a new job is networking, networking, networking. I have been sitting at my office desk for months trying to find a new job. I have done all the things the rest of you are doing - responding to ads on craigslist, signing up with multiple agencies, going on useless iterviews etc., all to no avail. I have a degree, endless experience and great skills but no one seems to care. But then over the weekend I came across a notice in the business section that an executive I knew several companies ago had just been installed in a new high level position. I found his email address, sent him a note of congratulations and just asked him to keep me in mind if ever there was a need at his new company. Before day's end he had responded, thanked me and told me to send him my resume. He is a senior level executive and his telling HR about me personally is just invaluable. He forwarded my resume to HR and I got a call less than 24 hours later. I have an interview on Monday. No guarantees but it feels very promising - and a MUCH better commute is just gravy. My point is that you just never know when an opportunity might show up in an unexpected place.
Ditto on everything. I have been looking since June 07 and NOTHING. I WANT to work, I HAVE to work, I know how to work, but no one hears what you say. YES age is a big problem. I think it should be outlawed on every application. Either you know how to do something or you don't, so you can be trained. Age should not be a factor. AND, wieght is also a problem. So if you are a- BBB - big baby boomer, it seems there is no one out there who wants you. Manners are are thing of the past. I just wish that all the people who list the jobs on the internet, in the paper or the agencies, had to do look for work and all of us could ignore them. PLEASE, is there any help out there?
Quoting this person’s argument of insults at potential hires, this letter is from the Federal and Diplomatic point of relational tatter back next to this person who stated “I work in a government agency helping people find work and I guarantee you that if we put your knowledge of careers against mine, you are going down. But even then, all companies do things differently. If they ask questions it is not that they are stupid, but need to know how your company did things. And your resume most likely does not say what skills you have since most people can't write a decent resume to save their lives.” [end of quote citation] So now, I guaranty this person if I place personal qualifications in line comparison to those under Federal Investigation for Misconduct by a Government Employee, that person’s qualifications would be discredited, for statements made on this site, downplaying potential hires wits, credentials and strengths, lowering their self esteem [Placed Psychological Warfare on Job Seekers]. So now, this was as is a Misconduct of a Government Employee of which should have been assisting, not tattering on a blog posting site, belittling potential hires, and employment seekers, with such *** of battling of skills, intelligence, so forth. This person’s qualifications of helping people and her guaranteeing people a battle of wits, has been lowered. This one is going down in comparison to another Government Employee’s smarts in a battle of wits in line, of who was in Misconduct in their professional position, of lack of assistance to those seeking Employment, and necessities during their troubling times, so one might as well state back to this individual the same liner back, “I guarantee you that if we put your knowledge of careers against mine, you are going down.” Last final note, why did she NOT invite them over for assistance, to locate them work, assist in lessening their stressors during Job Hunting, and why didn’t she provide her location of her Gov., Agency to assist those on the site for employment? These job seekers stated nothing wrong, with all correct manner of wits on the HR’s, example finest of them all as used in this battle to that person who committed misconduct, so now from two Government Employees and a Diplomat, and please be advised personally posses BS in Forensic Psychology and on a CIA Master Thesis, than a Diplomat, the other one is a PhD in Psychology on the CIA level, and than following, how easy it was to locate a deviant mind of which works for a Government Agency; where one should be assisting those on this site, not belittling with arguments in a wit battle with those on this site, of which are writing about their Job Hunting Stressors. These type of Government Employees break the role of Societies Government Agencies Good Names, Assistance and Good Charitable Work, placed to Assist anyone during any time with any attitude, during their Job Hunting Period, to those in need during Financial Hardships, and any other Hardships where people are seeking assistance, not a persons smart mouth Psychological Warfare of wit battles. Excuse my grammar and spelling mistakes, sure your liner of English Rhetoric’s within the English Language would battle in the comparison of intelligence, knowledge, and skills, as quote again, “I guarantee you that if we put your knowledge of careers against mine, you are going down.” And now it is legal for me to say back to the original statement maker. Basically if one was NOT arrested for any crimes, nor ever placed into a drug rehab, and or posses legal credentials as for valid residential cards, with citizenships rights in the U.S. and than so forth with CIA one can be a Foreigner under a hire, please understand during times of job seeking, look into NSA, CIA, or USSS or Police Department Employment, NASA, FAA, U.S. Marshals, and any other State or Federal jobs that might be available to those with clean records, and proper documents to work, and reside in the U.S., than again seek into the CIA sometimes they assist with other arraignments. One person being laid off or being fired has nothing to do with anything of a potential strike on a record for a hire, it might turn into your last employer on a record of an investigation, so do not be discouraged from applying to State, Federal and Central Intelligence Employment Openings, and those who have stepped out of Military Employment think of the mentioned divisions on this posting, do not waste precious time, and it pays well. This is where some Government Employees and their Private Contractors pick up the slack, make up for the wrong of the abusers of their Government Employment, please provide her name, address of Employment and send it to an FBI Office, to have this person fired, out of her Government Employment for that one line alone towards those on this site seeking Employment, this statement alone would have one fired, released from work, from any State, Federal or City or any funded Government Agency for these words alone, as again quoting “I guarantee you that if we put your knowledge of careers against mine, you are going down.” [end of quote citation] Instead of providing ideas of work, and where to find or look or where one might be suited for Employment, that one discouraged and has belittled those on this site; one should have been assisting not belittling. Let me locate this persons Government Employment, of their Agency, it would turn into a release from work for such abuse of seekers, display of misconduct by a Gov., Employee. 6 languages mean CIA, or FBI or USSS, so forth, with great pay and benefits, and so forth any other skills one might posses. Now you met one Government Employee who out beet your credentials. You have no chance Ms. Thang! So now everyone into the positions mentioned please, seek into it with an open mind, and no hesitation, and clear your minds of anything one might have heard or has a less of a good view of those Central or Federal or State Employments. Excuse my personal grammar skills, might be of a different English Dialect or Spelling, Grammar, and so forth. Was this one that educated to know the difference of English Grammar and Spelling, or would it have been an ESL class?
Having read all of your comments, I find that I too have a lot to say on age discrimination, fat discrimination and agencies and how they work. I guess you could say I've had some luck with the agencies in the big city in which I live. I've actually got placed in a full time job but it's morphing into a position that I dont' want. Like many of you, I find it's very hard to find the time to take off work to do interviews and then do second interviews with not even a day's notice some time. I've decided that it just has to do with how dedicated your are to finding and getting into the new position. If you want it, then you have to prioritize above your actual job that your in. It sucks but that's the way it is. They call, the I go and make some lame excuse as to why I have to be away from my desk. I also have found that recruiters don't look at the resumes and then when you go in, they say we'll you dont' have this experience or skill and you're like well didn't you look at the resume! I'm a large woman and I also know that when I go into an interview with recruiters or just an interview for a job that sometimes they're discriminating. I've had people come out to greet me for the start of the interview and their smile just fades as they look me over and see how big I am. I dress nicely and professionally. Other times in meetings with recruiters, I've found that they'll say that really they were looking for someonoe who has this skill and that I don't have it. It's usually so glaringly obvious that they're just trying to find some excuse as to why they're not interested in putting me forth for this job. They'll say something like, "Oh, well, we were looking for someone who has an MD degree in addition to their admin skills(I apply for Administrative assistant type jobs). Oh, are there any recruiters and better yet, businsses for direct hire that might be willing to do Saturday or Sunday interviews? I mean if the right candidate were really that important to them you think they'd be willing to do it. Taking off work is so hard and frustrating!!! All I can say, is the only way to freedom from jobs is saving saving saving!!!
I worked with a resume writing company that provided me with all the tools I needed to find a job. It's not just resumes anymore. There's the unadvertised job market and how to deal with companies who use computers to pick through resumes. it's a whole different world! The company was www.precision-resumes.com and they were just great..