So … Out of work now and have to look for a job? Maybe it has been a long time since you have done this. The longer it has been, the bigger the changes are going to seem to you. Your friends and family will think you have all this “free time” now that you are not working. What most people fail to realize is that looking for a job is a full-time job (if you are doing it correctly and honestly). So be prepared to work looking for work!
The first step to finding a job is filing for unemployment benefits, if you are eligible. Depending on the state you are filing in, this can be a job in and of itself. If you are eligible, file – some money coming in is better than NO money coming in. Make sure you file DIRECTLY through your state’s official agency, not a handler or middle man company. Once you file, there are requirements such as documenting the jobs you have applied for (online, in person, and/or by phone). When you file your claim with the state weekly, bi-weekly or whatever the requirement, it helps to have good records. Most state unemployment agencies have resources such as assessment testing, job boards, locally sponsored job fairs, skills improvement courses online, etc. Make use of every free resource available to you: Free is good!
The next step is to rewrite your basic resume. Understand that you will be tweaking your resume EACH time you send it out because you will have to tailor it to the particular position you are applying for. You will have to write a new cover letter for each position you apply for, for the same reason. Save copies of everything you send out. If you have a “cutesy” email address, use a different one. “LustKitten@whatever.com” is not going to get you looked at (in a good way). Understand that there are varying points of view on resume writing: read up and use what fits your situation, but use common sense.
You have your basic resume and you are ready to start looking. So where do you look? That really depends on what type of job you are trying to find. After some looking around you will see that there are a lot of sites that want to sell you stuff; “help” send you back to school, “train” you, and so on. If you choose these options while you are applying you WILL get contacted by these people trying to hook you in. Be careful: Understand that everyone in this process will be making money off you except you. Use reputable sites. After a while, you’ll see who is reputable and who is not.
Perhaps the most frustrating part is that you hardly ever get any feedback. You have retooled your resume and it is clean, no typos and your cover letters rock. You submit applications but do not get phone calls, call backs or follow ups. You hear nothing. So why no call backs? According to an article I read recently, reasons for not hiring folks include: no qualified applicants, poor resumes with typos etc., you didn’t optimize for “key words” and more. Also, in this economy, there might be hundreds of people applying for the same job you did. Competition is fierce!
Then of course there is the employer’s point of view. This article mentions several issues employers say they have to deal with. It discusses them leaving jobs vacant and divvying up the work between remaining employees and not wanting to pay higher wages. To some extent, there ARE workers that can fill positions but employers do not want to pay them what they are really worth. Since it is an employer’s market now, they can and will continue this behavior. Also: How demoralizing is it for employees to have to do additional work on top of the work they normally do without any incentive to do so besides “Well if you don’t I can hire someone who will.” This is very prevalent in so-called “Right To Work” states.
Another thing that you have noticed is that sites will have a job STILL open and posted months after YOU applied for that same job; and we are not talking about rocket science jobs where you look for Oppenheimer or Einstein to fill them. You shake your head and ask yourself “Really?” One reason for this is that employers will post positions just to have a stack of applicants on file – even though there really is no actual vacancy.
In the event you are lucky enough to get an interview, half the time, the person interviewing you is snooty with you, and has not even read your resume before you arrived. You sit down after saying hello and realize that this person knows nothing about you. Most people are thinking “They wanted me there on time, well dressed and well-groomed, and informed about their company. They could have been professional and at least glanced at my resume before I arrived.” Back at home you send a quick, brief e-mail thanking them for the interview. Ninety percent of the time, you will not get a reply. Furthermore, at the interview you were told “If you don’t hear something one way or another within a week, call back and check in.” So you do this and they seem perturbed that you called like “Why are you bothering me?”
So what can a person do? First, do your best not to let it get you down. Use every resource at your disposal including friends and family because networking IS important. Believe in you always! Keep at it. Lastly, never give up on the search because then you have given up on yourself.
***** Some Links To Check Out *****
Use the job search feature(s) at LinkedIn If you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn yet, you should!