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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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Wow, your comments are making me nervous! I am in my mid 50's and haven't held a job since my son and daughter were born 27 years ago and am considering going to school for becoming an Administrative assistant If I could go back, once thing I would do, is join the military. Yes, a lot about it isn't good, but consider things like medical, dental, education, pension...no, I am not a recruiter.
When I graduated from university, I took a fulltime job and three part-time jobs to make ends meet. Worked over 100 hours some weeks. Then a friend told me about teaching English overseas, and that is where I have been for the past 12 years, now as a lecturing professor in Japan. Found a wife, have a child, got a Master’s in education, and right now I am in the middle of my 10-week paid vacation. I have another 10 weeks next semester. Bad news is my current 4-year contract is up, and at my age (37) it is more and more difficult to get fulltime contracts, and the demographics also work against me (fewer students each year in Japan as the population gets older). So, I want to make a transition sooner rather than later. Next year we are planning to go back to my hometown Canada and I want to start up a business. So, I am using my vacation time, and this next year, to prepare for my transition. What is the prep? Finish a book on teaching, finish papers on ideas I have had and get them published one way or another. I am organizing some international events for a volunteer teachers association I worked with for the past 3 years. I want to close that chapter on my life by tying as many loose ends as I can, and then look ahead with no regrets. On a personal note, my plan is to lose 15 kilos, get a certificate in business management (online), and buy income property with savings (we live like paupers but save about 50% of my salary). Have a triplex and a duplex now, hope to pickup a laundromat and two more duplexes this year, one of which we hope to live in. With this subprime mortgage mess, now is a buyers market! The property holdings company I am starting up will provide about 2500 a month net cashflow, so I will need part-time work to supplement. I also am planning on doing volunteer work in the energy industry with non-profit agencies, and so hope to develop contacts, because long-term that is where I want my business to develop. This is a completely different field, and I know that I know nothing compared to the people already there. But, I want to have a new challenge, and I believe that I can learn fast. And if people don’t want me, that is their loss. The people on this list seem to me to be walking around looking at their feet. You need to prepare for the future. You need to protect and preserve yourself. No one is going to do it for you. Not your company, not your government, not even your friends and family. Always have a plan, keep your options open (except in the area of personal relationships!!), and when opportunity comes, jump. But you have to look ahead to plan, and look up to see opportunities falling. You can’t change the way companies do business. You can change yourself. Study. Volunteer. Work in Asia as an English teacher. Get in better shape by eating right, moving more, and getting enough sleep. Make new friends. Read more (good) books. Just DON’T sit at home and gripe how the world in unfair, and poison your mind with the negativity of TV.
Gerry, Good for you! You are so right about looking after yourself and planning for your future. Good luck to you in your new endeavors.
Gerry, A lot of what you said are good points. I posted earlier about generalizations of what I had experienced since getting my degree in 1990, and I've learned to take more charge of my life and not let conditions and situations control my life. I was in Singapore, which is my wife's country, for several years, and I ended up teachng English as a freelancer while my wife worked full-time with her teaching career. Now that we're in the United States, we've been making general business plans. In the meaningtime, I've been working a blue-collar job. The better paying career white collar jobs may not be scarce necessarily, but according to my own experiences and the similiar ones I've been reading here, there's just too much red tape involved in order to land a career job. I've read that a typical job posted on the Internet, such as those posted on Monster.com and CareerBulider, has 1400 resumes that. And there's the HR departments I read about in the posts which add to that red tape. I guess employers aren't in too much of a hurry to fill these jobs. I'm part of a generation (I was born in the mid-1960's) which realized that we needed to get some post secondary education or training in order to get a job/carrer which would pay a livable income - with the high-paying factory jobs disappearing during the 1970's-80's - but we often found that the college education and/or skills acquired weren't always enough, particularly with some of the economic trends since the early 1990's. My motivation to be self-employed comes in two parts, and the first is the desire to be more in control of my career, but the other is the lack of acquiring employment which reflects the schooling, education, and other credentials I have attained over the years.
Job-hunting within it's self is a job with no pay, however I do agree with the comments that Mike has made about the agencies in the 21stCentury. Some of the individual that I have spoken to about these agency seem to think that they have their favorites, whom they will call for a position that is available regardless if they have the experience that is needed for the job. Many of the company employees are also picky about everything as well. I too have been looking for a job with advancement, training, and good pay. I guest it's just a dream because the individuals that do the interviewing make bad decision, judgment calls or they just might be confused. The job market today is rotten and full of confusion. I do not think that many employers realize how many good, hardworking individuals that they have passed up, for whatever the reason may have been. I am starting to think that lie is the way and the only way because moral and values are no longer important in society today.
I agree with everyone who’s posted to this list. I work as an Executive Administrative Assistant and like doing this type of work – I worked as an Assistant categories for more than 30 years, beginning as a Clerk Typist and working my way up to where I am today. I was born and raised in Oklahoma City, OK – I did not finish college at OSU, however I did complete a “Certificate” program through a top rated business college. This was a self-paced program of 12-months, which I completed in just less than 6-months. I was the highest tested person at the school until my younger sister enrolled 3 years later and she surpassed me by 2 points! I worked solidly from 1973 to 1985, and by that time I kept getting “Your Over Qualified” label or “If we hire your, we’re afraid you won’t stay” label. I was so tired of this I packed up and moved to San Diego, CA. When I arrived in San Diego, I knew know one – I actually lived in a shelter for a month, however I applied with a temporary staffing agency and had a job for the following day before I ever left the building… I worked for various staffing agencies for nearly 3 years until I was actually hired by a company that I was work for – most simply because I knew how to use their systems, where were quite old, but nearly 5-years later when the aeronautics down turn came I got laid off… so I went back to temping for the company I had worked for previously – they treated me so poorly that I moved to another agency and while in the application process was asked to go out on a job as their first representative for the company because the client company manager had ask for a non-(former agency name) temp! Well I went out there and did 6-assignments back to back over the next 18-months. Then I was asked to do a job for the UCSD Medical Center, which I ended up doing 4-assignments for in a 12-month period, I kept replacing the UCSD in-house temporaries, so I went to work for them – but before they could put me to work, I was asked by the agency to go on one last assignment and “save” their contract! I was sent to a large HMO Medical Center to work in the executives offices for the Nursing Executive Office – I was the 5th person who had been sent on the job! I actually was put on a probationary period for 1 week, but within 4-hours on the first day was told not to worry about the probationary period that they were happy to have me there – I spent 6-months on the job. So I went back to UCSD Temps, did 11-assignments between July 1997 to November 2000 when I was hired on my last assignment, spend 6-1/2 years in that department within various divisions. Finally salary was $40,044 a year and that as a State employee was 15% below a normal “State Employee” salary. Moved to Austin TX in September 2006, when I began looking for a job, I went to a branch of my former Staffing Agency, I was interviewed by the manager – but she told me that while I had all the skills that local employers were looking for – my salary history was to high for the local employers, and that I should look in the Technical Industry because they paid better. Well I’m still looking, but I’m working as a Temp through 2 Staffing Agencies, and also work through the University of Texas at Austin temporary services. FYI – the highest classification I can get into at UT is an Administrative Associate, which averages $2,500 a month! I can’t get into the Executive Assistant classification because UT restricts this to people who have had 7-9 years prior experience at UT! Some Administrative Associate positions are also restricted to hiring within the “hiring department”. Which I believe is actually in conflict with Federal Guidelines for organizations receiving Federal Contracts and Grants. Well I’m still looking – not finding much…respond to openings about 8 to 10 a week, so far this year – yes it’s March – I’ve had 3 phone interviews! Good luck everyone!
I relocated from NY to Az for a better "quality of life" here in Az. Previous to moving to Az I maintained employment in one organization for 15 yrs, another for 10, here in Az 3 jobs in two yrs, is it me or is the "quality of life" here in Az for a certain few.
I have experienced all of the above problems; age, race, being interviewed by Supervisors that don't want to hire previous Supervisors because they feel threatened, even after you tell them all you are interested in is being employed. I have been interviewed by persons who I would not have hired because of their incompetency, dealt with agencies and HR representatives who don't have a clue, they read from a script, and if you should go for an interview don't expect a return phone call from most of the people in charge of hiring or don't expect that call saying you didn't get the job, it's just not going to happen. I've called back to several employers and still they don't have the common decency to call back. Here's a good one; completed a application for employment for GE Money, took a two hour test, passed it, went back for interview and sat with THREE gentlemen and answered all of their scripted questions, when I called to follow-up on the position and finally after two weeks able to find someone in their company that actually did work and inquired about my application. To my surprise I was informed, I had an appointment for an interview, but I never showed up. I described what each interviewer was wearing, what they looked like, I had to receive a Visitors Pass from Security to even be in the building, but I was never there? I did call back to see if with the information I supplied assisted in representatives from GE Money remembering I was there for the interview, I was then told they had gotten me mixed up with someone else and I could reapply in another 6 months. WHO IS IT THAT IS NOT QUALIFIED FOR EMPLOYMENT???????
WOW..most of the people on this board are seriously living in a fantasy world. What have you been doing for the last 10 years...living under a rock? In case you haven't heard, the economy is crap, people are losing their jobs all over the country, the bottom is falling out of the housing industry..etc
It would be a much easier task is all of you whiners would have been saving some cash while employed instead of living beyond your means just 'to keep up with your percieved idea of what the notion of success means'! When I was looking for a job the key was PERSISTENCE! Don't be afraid to be demanding, ask for what you are worth, don't settle for less. Call everyone back. Realize they don't care about you..they have a job, YOU don't. Make the extra effort to go and SEE them in person, wait for the 'meeting' to be over and look the people in the eyes and SELL yourself as the best candidate!
What kinds of jobs do you look for with an Associate of Science degree in Agriculture Business and An Associate of Science Degree in Agriculture Sales and Services?
No Jason haven't been living under a rock been working hard, to get where I was and would appreciate just a FAIR CHANCE to get a job, got any in mind. And oh yes my money is saved and I'm trying to keep it that way. In case yu didn't get the jist of what these people are talking about, they ARE trying to find a job, and the odds for one reason or another are not working for us. Walk a mile in our shoes, and then shut up!
Nailin, why see if you can apply your science background with ethanol producers, or biomass alternative energy providers? That is a burgeoning area, is getting tons of funding from the feds, and probably they are screaming for applicants. This is one area that requires feet on the ground, ie can't outsource those jobs to India.
Just to clarify, a lot of agricultural land is being converted into ethanol and biomass production. That is the connection with your current background and training, Nailin.
Patricia, that really sucks. I have also felt that I could have the done the job of many of the managers and supervisors I have worked for and with, as good or better. A recent survey I ran across suggested that about 70% of the American workforce felt the same. GE LOST your application? And then they told you to re-apply? Wow. That is pathetic. Seriously, would you want to work with people as lackadaisical as that? No wonder GE can't get its act together, and why its stock has basically flatlined for the past 5 years (probably declined in real terms if USD depreciation is factored in). Its workers maybe just don't really care.
No they didn't lose my application, they said I never showed up for the interview, they got me confused with someone else. I had decided then I didn't want to work for them, but right now I would almost work for anyone. I 've registered with so many Employment agencies, I had to make a folder just to keep the passwords and user names,been on God knows how many interviews, (in my best Monkey suit, which I intend to burn if I ever do find a job. Got any suggestions for someone who has been in the Health Care Finance field for 25 yrs? There goes that ageism again!
Hi--I've been looking for a job for a while, and have just started thinking about maybe switching tracks entirely--going out on my own. A friend told me about wrapping--companies like apewraps and buswraps seem to be really busy. I started looking for training. Most is really expensive. But does anyone know anything about the dvds out there? like from realwraps.com ?