I can't find a job and I'm worried about my bills - what do I do?
How to Find a Job
Finding a job is difficult, as shown by the current unemployment rate (9.1% in the US as of June 19th, 2011). Although the economy seems to get better, it's still having some bumps. However, it is possible for you to get a job even with little experience.
Step 1. Know where to look
If you need a job badly, you need to know where to look for jobs.
- Ask your friends, previous colleagues/professors, or relatives that you get along with if they know anyone who is hiring. Having a personal recommendation will make it easier to be accepted into a job so this should be your first step. Remember, it's not always what you know, sometimes it's who you know (or rather, who your acquaintances know)
- The newspaper. Most newspapers have a Help Wanted section. Ideally use reputable newspapers such as the Daily News, but if you can't afford a subscription or to buy it daily, there are free newspapers and town criers you can read.
- Online. Sites like monster and snagajob are great for finding jobs.
- Online again. If you're interested in a store or office and you know their website, check out their careers section.
I recently applied and was accepted for a job at Petco. I found out about the position on Snagajob.com, which then took me to Petco's website to finish out the online application. As it turns out, they only hire online, so online applications should definitely be worth looking into.
Step 2. Swallow your pride
You might look at those jobs and go "I don't want to do that" or "that pay is too low". Swallow up your pride. If you need to pay your bills, or if you don't have much experience under your belt, you'll have to learn to settle. An $8/hour job is better than $0/hour unemployment.
And as it turns out, there are plenty of small jobs available right now for those that look. I see many retail stores and small restaurants with Help Wanted or Now Hiring signs.
As a college student, you would think I'd want to aspire for a job with at least $13/hour right? However, I had absolutely NO experience. I also needed money right away. Suddenly cleaning up animal cages and ringing up customers at a cash register for $8/hour didn't seem all that bad. So when I started job hunting, I applied to a variety of places: Gamestop, Boston Market, a bowling place, and Petco. As a backup, my relatives were willing to find out if some of the people they knew in their community were looking for a waitress.
Step 3. Traveling and shift hours
Not every job available will be within easy walking distance or driving distance. Sometimes you'll need to be willing to ride a bus or drive on a highway for an hour or so. Make sure to calculate the costs it would take for you to go to your job, and then back home when you finish. For example, I take a bus ride so that $2.25, so really it takes me $5.50 per shift for me to work.
Always find out how much it takes you to travel to your potential job place, and what kind of shifts (in daily hours) you would have.
For a good rule of thumb, you can spend up to a half-hour wage for every 2 hours of work. So at $8/hour (which is more like $7.5 if you count in taxes), for me to spend $5.50, I would need to work at least 4 hours to truly make it worth it (because a half wage of $8 is $4, and 5.5 is greater than 4, so only 2 hours is not enough, but for 4 hours, it'd be twice 4, which is 8 and 5.5 is definitely less than 8). Since all of my shifts are 6-8 hours (usually 8 hours), this means my job fits my travel expenses very well.
At the Inverview
- Dress Appropriately. If it's an office job, dress professionally. If it's a minor job, don't dress professionally, but still dress nicely (ex: nice sweater or appropriate t-shirt, slacks or black jeans, clothes properly tucked in if needed, clean workable shoes or solid dark sneakers).
- Have a resume ready. Keep it short (1-2 pages) so focus on the really important stuff. If you don't have job experience, focus on personal experience. You may not have had a job, but maybe you took care of kids and thus you know the importance of responsibility. Maybe you often help your friends with their problems and thus you know how to be patient and would be able to treat customers well.
- Don't seem desperate but don't seem too uptight either. Make it known that you're available to work, and if you think there are unpleasant tasks people wouldn't like to do, let them know (without them asking) that you wouldn't mind doing such tasks (and don't lie...Make sure you honestly would be OK with doing unpleasant tasks).
A Petco, they sell animals. These animals need to be cared for. This means they need people who are willing to handle, feed, and clean the habitats of various animals. These can be "cute" animals like hamsters, but they also include "creepy" animals such as rats and mice, or even "scary" animals such as lizards and snakes. Finding people willing to get over animal fears in order to clean animal habitats can sometimes be hard, so I made SURE to tell them I'm not generally scared of animals and that I honestly wouldn't mind spending time cleaning cages. Now, every Monday morning, I clean Small Animal (rodents and birds) cages.
Keeping your new job
Once you have your new job, you will need to make sure you aren't fired within the first month.
- Learn about the company and expand potentially helpful knowledge on your off-time.
For example: Even if it's something as simple as working for Macdonalds, take the time to find out people's opinions about various sandwhiches (online customer reviews can easily be found on google), learn about the ingredients for the various options and how they can affect typical allergies.
- Find out ways to help out during less busy times
During slow times, sometimes your boss or manager will tell you to do other tasks. Sometimes they won't. If they do, make sure to actually do them in a timely manner. If they don't, or if you've already finished your designated miscellaneous tasks, figure out for yourself things you can do. Whether it's arranging a desk, reorganizing files, grabbing a broom to help clean up an area, or writing a new sales pitch for a product you know your boss really wants you to sell. An employee who has the drive to find work when hours are slow is one worth paying - make sure YOU are that employee.