Obtaining Employment During the Worst Depression Ever- Job Found!!!
To Employment and Beyond!!!
There are thousands of “find a job” web sites and tons of articles on how to land that perfect position however even though these sites and the information are readily available the news reports everyday that Americans have stopped looking for work. On Thursday June 23, 2011 after five years at a desk job, I was released. In all honesty this was a happy moment for me because, while doing that job I could not transition into the psychology field I love. As of Thursday, I became a statistic lending to the argument that the economy is bad. Adding to my issues is that fact that transitioning into a new field is even more difficult than finding a job.
Although I am not sad about this sudden employment change, I do realize the urgency in transitioning quickly into the psychology field. The urgency being that unemployment in Arizona is six months. After six months one of our vehicles would have to go back to the bank, all our “entertainment bills” such as the cable and netflix will go away and there is a good chance we would have to move to somewhere where the rent is considerably less. I do not have a mortgage on the line. I do not have credit card debt or other large obligations. That being said, the sense of urgency is there… looming.
I have thought about this transition for several days. It occurred to me that there are a lot of people who like me need a job. In the world today no one is meeting face to face. Computers have limited contact with potential employers. This is not the first time I have looked for work, even though the last two times I was recruited. Here is what I have decided, each week I am going to search for employment tips, for that week I will use those employment tips to try to find a job. At the end of the week I will report on this hub how the search went, if I got any calls, and if I get into an interview I will even ask what made that person call me back.
Statistically I am a 38 year old, with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology; I am enrolled in a combined Masters/Doctoral program. My GPA is 3.43. I have 20 years of management experience in everything from retail to Casino. Those various experiences include; extensive loss prevention, human resources, advertising, event planning, OSHA, Labor Laws, mountains of supervisory experience, I have written the training manuals and implemented training programs. Accolades; photos of my store were highlighted in company magazines and used as ad materials (May Company). I excelled at raising customer service scores when I worked for the Hilton, Harrah’s and OfficeMax. None of this experience is related to psychology.
I will also be outlining the hardships along the way, the transition of our family living off one income, and how the four residence of our family handle the transition. We have handled hardship before so if my position seems cavalier I apologize. Over the years we have been through this type of situation before and I know that most problems eventually pass. We are all on board with the idea of relocating for the right job. Starting Monday you all get to go with me on this journey. Let’s hope it is a short hub!!!
June 27, 2011-About.com
It’s Monday morning! The birds are singing in my backyard (read what you want into that). Taped to the edge of my computer monitor is a fortune out of a fortune cookie that reads “COURAGE AND OPTIMISM ARE YOUR BEST TRAITS”. I am going to digress for a moment and explain that I have a theory concerning fortune cookies. The theory is that the fortunes are written by a middle aged man, living in his mother’s basement in Scranton, NC. I picture him in that basement cracking out words of wisdom to help people and give them hope. This fortune cookie theory deviates from the idea that fortune cookie wisdom comes from the orient. There have been times that the fortune is dead on and I attribute this to one lonely little man in his mom’s basement. Maybe, I should include the Courage and Optimism thing in my resume.
Logically, I will need to update my resume, and to do so I am enlisting the help of About.com. If you are not familiar with About, it is a web site that knows everything, somewhat like Wikipedia but, not as visually entertaining. After careful consideration I believe it is important to highlight my education. So instead of going with the usual job history, accolades, education format, I am going to start at the top with my very expensive education. Here is a thought; in 2009 only 2.94 percent of the people in the United States had a Doctoral degree (United States Census Bureau, 2009). This statistic gives me hope for finding a job. There are currently 12 people in my Masters/Doctoral class. I am guessing they are about to be part of that 2.94 percent.
All that said here are today’s tips brought to you by the good people at About.com (nothing will be copied or pasted):
1. Digression over; I am going to start with the basics. The first thing is to choose a font. You are thinking “Michelle that is ridiculous why we would want to read about font choice?”. Stick with me on this. I am old school so other than the name at the top I have to go with Times New Roman size 12. This font means professionalism and business. Ariel font means you are a fluffy head from generation X and courier is annoying to read (it’s an imposter of New times roman and everyone knows it). Plus back before computers Times New Roman size 12 font was what most of the typewriters were built with and the chosen font of most publishers.
2. Create a custom resume; basically this section stated that it is important to highlight key experiences (About.com). As previously stated to accomplish this I am going to start with my education. Did you know that A Bachelors of Science in Psychology is actually a science degree where a person has to study the biology of the brain as well as theories of psychology. A lot of people do not know that. Studying the brain is like dumping three 1000 piece puzzles into a pile and then trying to put them together. Point of reference I love investigating the parts of the brain and their functions (who would have thought that would have been my thing when I was passing biology with a C in high school). Highlighting of education… check!
3. & 4. The next two things About.com suggests are using a resume template and creating a custom resume. I am using a template in Microsoft word so that almost anyone can view it. This is important if you are going to email resumes. Your Photoshop program may have great templates but, that is only going to help you if you are physically mailing the resume, otherwise you need to use a universal program. This may seem like a given however, I can not tell you how many times I would try to open a resume and it was in some off the wall program. I have created a custom resume so we will continue.
5. Avoiding the resume black hole. I have to say that About.com had some useful tips for avoid resume black holes. The first one that I noticed was creating a target list of companies (About.com). I like this idea, blanket searches in monster.com or jobing.com rarely turn up the type of opportunity I am looking for in a career. Here is the thing, I am wiling to relocate for the right job. I have even explored the idea of going to another country for a few years, banking some money, paying off my student loans, while expanding my horizons. That options has not turned out to be feasible as of yet. I will say that I am against moving to any area of the country that is prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, or flooding. That said I am going to search for mental health providers starting in my current area and branching out. Another part of the black hole tips is applying to the company, I will be doing this as well.
6. Resume length tips; at this point it became obvious to me that About.com is not as organized as I would like. All resume tips should have been together. According to About.com if you are looking for an executive position then you can have a lengthily resume. This may require that I have more than one resume. If I am appling for an executive position I should probably have the longer version of my experience listed. I still have a question as to if I should include a picture or not, let’s continue and see if About.com has a feeling on this…
7. Post resumes on Tuesday-Thursday, Monday is too busy and Friday is a termination day (About.com). WHAT? Are they kidding? Well I guess I cant post my newly constructed resume today (sad face). This does make sense, if they fired someone on Friday its going to take at least a day to post the opening. Today, I will collect companies and tomorrow I will apply. I guess I can go fold laundry now. Rest assured day one has been productive! See you tomorrow!
Sorry Hub followers but, I had some log-in trouble this morning. Today I took the advice we gleaned yesterday from About.com and I posted resumes to specific companies. So far I have five auto replies stating that my resume was being forwarded to the correct department, and one turn down letter. I had forgotten about the rejection letter factor. I am going to have to fortify myself if I am to survive this experience. Rejection is sort of like someone sticking you with a needle; it only hurts for a second. To survive; I am going to cultivate the attitude that I need to learn something from my turn down letters. This first turn down letter specifically stated that the qualifications had to be met because there was a government grant involved. Understandable but, still a bummer.
Speaking of survival, I have decided to be proactive in my financial situation. I called the cable company and cut us down to basic cable. The representative I talked to (Carlos) also gave me free HD for the next 24 months (Thank God for that I thought my husband was going to cry when I said something about getting rid of the HDTV) that dropped my bill by over $40.00. My husband usually takes care of our cell phones however; I have felt for a long time that our bill was out of control. Turns out our almost 13 years old son has been buying things online(ringtones & games). His cell phone is going bye or at least getting cut down to mobile to mobile. There is at least another $40.00. I am still going to call our provided because; I still do not have decent cell service. I have a lot of "Can you here me" moments.
My last paycheck came today. I just keep staring at it trying to decide if I should pay off a bill or sit on it til I need it. Tough call at this point. Last night was a train wreak. I tossed and turned all night. Being home you would think I have all kinds of time, but really I don't. There seems to be a never ending stream of things that I never got to when I was working. Things like washing my smelly dogs, cleaning the laundry room, organizing my studio... the list goes on. Meanwhile I cant help but remember why I got my psychology degree in the first place. To write books on theories I have developed over the years. Theories I have not shared with the general population.
Back to my "dream" job search, So far today I have applied at four organization for everything from management to counseling. Sticking with the About.com advice I am applying straight to the organization (no monsterjobs ect). I only had the one turn down letter from yesterday so there is still a slim chance that my application is under review. I am scouting web sites fro next weeks job search, if you see any interesting articles shoot them my way and I will take a week and follow their advice. Now I have to go clean something.
July 5, 2011- Jobhunting.com
As a person who appreciates the little things in life, I am excited to report that I had a pre-screening phone interview today! I know what you are thinking “Get out of here Michelle that was fast”. Yes it was! One week in and shazam! It went very well accept that my cell service is horrible! At this point we are confirming that About.com is right about choosing the companies you want to work for and applying there.
This week I am using Jobhuntingadvice.com as the “information” site for this week’s job search. We are starting with their “get the job” section. The first point is that employers want go getters not people who just want to pick up a paycheck, they do not give any advice in this section accept that the job seeker needs to change their attitude from “I need to pay the bills” to “what I can do for the company” I am paraphrasing but, these was not any real advice other than changing your attitude. So far I believe my attitude is fine so we will continue.
This sight has a lot of tips for writing cover letters. I have to admit, one of the best employees I ever had was someone who wrote a great cover letter (we are still friends).
Tips from Jobhuntingadvice.com
- Draft a letter that will work for multiple positions but is specific enough to look like it was written for that position.
- Spell-check (I thought this went without saying, however we will reiterate)
- Cover letter should touch on the correlations between your experience and the position in which you are applying.
- The cover letter should be bold.
My cover letters have been sort of.. just ok in the past. So this week I will utilize my writing skills to create a great cover letter!
That is right, I am awake trying to find a job at 1am. Why? Because it is very quiet at my house at 1am. What I have noticed is that many of the jobs I would love to do require the masters I am currently working on. Do you ever have that feeling that something is working against you? I mean there are people who actually counsel other people after taking a few courses and passing a test, so why is it that someone who has a degree has trouble finding employment?
There is another side to this, being home as much as I am has shown me that there are many things that have gone neglected for the last six years. I am not giving up on the job, just having a little job search frustration. .. I probably need to get some sleep.
HAPPY MONDAY!!! 7/11/2011- FORBES week
As of last week I have sent off 32 resumes to 12 states. In my research I realized that Colorado will actually allow someone with my current degree counsel people. That puts Colorado in front in terms of employers. In Denver they are looking for people with degrees. I guess some people would rather do without the snow.
Personally, I am not bothered by snow. My children have voiced a willingness to relocate. It is possible that the nomad spirit has been transferred to my sons. So this week I may be focusing on jobs in Colorado. I have not picked a web site for this week. I am considering testing University of Phoenix's job site. We are coming up on my month anniversary of unemployment. It can be difficult to get a job out of your system when you worked there for as long as I did. I am thankful to have had the job, yet I am also thankful it is over. Hostile work environments are not good for anyone.
In other news unemployment may be denying me for being a full-time student. Interesting that they will pay to send you back to school but, if you take the initiative on your own... you are denied benefits. Since I am actively looking for employment the unemployment benefit is not motivating me one way or another.
Without looking, I m going to guess the unemployment rate is still hovering around 9 percent (my percent key is not working). We all know that percentage rate no longer includes people who ran out of unemployment benefits. The job market is tough. There is a story I think illustrates the state of employment;
A few months back I read an article about a man who stood in front of corporations in New York wearing a suit and a sandwich board that said “Out of work stockbroker please hire me”. He was hired by someone in the building; reports are a little sketchy as to what job he was given. I like the sandwich board idea; it may be overkill for the small town I live in so we will put that idea on the back burner for now.
Forbes actually wrote an article titled: “The Best Way To Find (And Fill) A Job Online”. So this week we will be taking our directives from Forbes. In the article Forbes listed the top job search web sites. The way I see it, the top job search sites are also the sites to avoid because those listings are going to get a higher number of applications and resumes. This week we seek out more direct company sites rather than going though monster.
The tip I gleaned from the Forbes article is to use networking. I am already on Linked In so I am updating my profile. Actually, I will be using that site to look for jobs this week per Forbes. If that does not work then I will consider the sandwich board idea again.
7/14/2011- Forbes week cont.
I applied to jobs on Linked In yesterday. Now I am trolling for another social network to conquer. Someone mentioned to me that you ca find jobs on Facebook. I have to be honest, Facebook is a friends network and I am very politically outspoken. We all know depending on the employer, trying to find a job when people know your political views, could be tough (I am very conservative).
I have spent the last few days navigating Monster.com. I must say it is annoying. The profile portion of Monster is unnecessary and because of the profile portion, I am wondering what they send to employers. Being a doctoral student I know the effect facial expression has on another person. So if they are sending your profile to employers... its important that you are careful what your picture says about you. I am starting to think I need a white lab coat. I want my picture to scream "put me in a psych lab". So far I have not gone for an interview. Hiring and being hired takes time.
The bad news is that I did not win the lottery tonight, so I will continue on this search for a job. Its almost 1am, I am up looking for places to apply. The good thing about Monster is that you can apply to ten jobs at once. The bad thing is that some of those jobs are with hack pharmaceutical companies. What's worse is even though I have a degree and twenty years in management, its tough to find a job with my specific skill set.
When I started my degree program it was for many reasons. The first and most obvious reason was that every day people who were not making it in Social Security came to my office looking for a loan. Most of the time these loans were to pay living expenses or for medications. To me that was a wake up call that I needed to do something with my life before ended up like these people.The second reason is that I had a bad car accident in 1994 that left me with sever damage in my lower back. That means I cant lift anymore.The third reason is that I feel the need to make my mark, to really do something awe inspiring. Who knows there is still time.
7/ 28/ 2011- The week of Despair...
It started last Thursday, I received a call from a company for a management position. The call went straight to my voice mail. I called the person back and I went to her voice mail. Then she called me on Friday and again my phone never rang and she went straight to voice mail. I called AT&T at that point. I should explain that I live in town and I have an Iphone so there is really no excuse for me to have substandard service.
Monday she calls me again ... and it never rings goes straight to voice mail. This went on through yesterday at which point she stated that she did not know how she was going to get a hold of me. I may very well have lost a job opportunity because, of AT&T's service. I have to say that this is both frustrating and devastating because that was a 65k a year job and money is getting tight. I am considering suing AT&T. I am on the edge about getting a home phone because we pay $341.00 for service that never works (we have been fighting with them for a year now). To say I was upset yesterday would be an understatement.
It is important to note that I got the call because I displayed positive experiences at the top of my resume.
8/5/2011- NEW FORTUNE COOKIE
I am still dealing with At&T over the issues I previously mentioned. In the mean time I went out for Chinese food and our boy in Scranton sent me the following message: "Avoid Unchallenging Occupations- They are a waste of your time" . I told you that guy is good! I realized that I was not out there looking for a challenge I need a real challenge! In my doctoral program I am pulling down a 3.84 out of 4.0 GPA. It's not perfect but to say I am doing my best would be a lie. Psychology comes naturally to me, so far I am not challenged for anything but time. I really want to get into a research lab. I want to figure out brain waves and the effects of medications on parts of the brain. Challenge.... myself.
8/13/2011 The search gets URGENT!!!
Through some other hardships, I have ten days to find a job. To say that I have stepped up efforts and widened my search is an understatement. I am hoping to be able to post that I have succeeded by the end of next week.
8/15/2011- A week of desperation 12:17am
In the last 24 hours I have applied for more than 25 jobs. Most of them having nothing to do with psychology. Many of them involving management. I actually almost applied to the same job twice. In a moment of courage I sent a synopsis of a theory to David Eagleman's assistant. I realize the chances of hearing back are slim. It will probably be one of those "thank you for you letter" type responses. Right now I just need some sleep. Tomorrow is another long day....
Through out my life I have used my sense of humor to get me through intense situations. The reality hit me this week that I have exhausted the last of the reserve money we had. I sold the little bit of stock I had so that I can pay rent and make a car payment. There is nothing left. I am down to a month before we will be homeless. Today I filed for state aid but even though we cant afford our basic bills, they informed me that we do not qualify for assistance because I make the $240 a week from unemployment. The reality is, I don't want help I want a job. You all might find it funny that I applied for a position with the departments of economic security today. On the plus side I have a solid 3.83 GPA right now. The down side is I may have to finish this blog from the library after become street people.
8/23/2011 The Magic Number?
At this point I am over 100 applications deep. The thing to consider when putting in this many applications is that you are likely to get turn down letters for all those applications as well. It gets to the point to where you wake up to 10-20 emails telling you that although your resume is impressive they chose another candidate for the position. My husband made the point that I might want to take the Doctoral degree off my resume. People are intimidated by the Psychology degrees to begin with, add the Doctoral degree and the mind starts to conger up ideas of mind reading. Which is all ridiculous. Some psychologists are perceptive by nature but they are not mind readers even if they understand how people think.
I have to think there is something wrong with society when I have to dumb down my resume. After all I have been working a full time job and going to school for over five years. What in someones thinking would make them think that I cannot handle the position they have open. The point is that sometimes we have to suck it up and let other people feel superior to get a position because quite honestly their security has gotten the better of them. So today I will be altering the resume, not because I want to, but because unemployment is $6.00 an hour and who can live on that?
No sooner did I add the comment to my hub this morning... and I got a call for an interview! Not an interview for a retail position but, an interview in the WORLD OF PSYCHOLOGY! The interview is next Tuesday and to say I am excited... is an understatement!!! For the record I am almost 60 days into the JOB HUNT. I will let you know how it goes!!!
August 25Th -two interviews scheduled within a week!
Today I received a call for an insurance adjuster position. I interview tomorrow. For your benefit I am going to mention something. My husband lost his job in the middle of August. That left us without an income for the last month. Tomorrow while I am at a job interview my husband will be having a yard sale to pay our electric bill. I pulled the last of my savings to pay one of our car payments. My husband got a phone call for a controller position in Lake Tahoe and he may be going for a face to face interview in the next week or so. We both realize the precarious situation we are in and that we may have to live apart for a month or so to get to where we want to be. We do not own our home so we can move without consideration about leaving an empty house. I am a stickler for leaving a house in better condition than we got it. In this case it will not be difficult. In all seriousness one of us has to have a job by the end of next week or we will end up putting your stuff in storage and moving into a hotel.. not a pretty thought.
September 1, 2011
Today I got a call from University of Phoenix's Psych lab about an internship. I will not be able to do it... Because my husband took a salary position in a town outside of Reno, Nevada. Let me say this is just in time! I have put my job search on hold until we are moved. I will miss Arizona, however I am glad that I do not own my house and we have nothing keeping us here. I know there are a lot of people that would not think of crossing states to find employment but, I think in this economy we are all just doing what we have to do, to survive.
I almost feel like I am at square one with the job search., I have started looking in Nevada where we will be moving soon.... so far nothing promising.
9/26/2011- After the move.
Its the end of September and I woke up in the state of Nevada. After a grueling 17 hour straight through (minus an hour nap) trip, I began the task of setting up our home again. I loved Arizona. I had adopted Arizona as my home state. Now I find myself in new territory.. literally new territory.
Today I put in for 12 jobs. We will see if Nevada is better ground than Arizona when it comes to employment!
Throughout my employment journey I have felt that each web site had something to offer. This morning while I was cleaning the kitchen I realized something, my husband was able to find a job in three weeks. In fact he found a higher paying job then the one before. As I reflected on that fact I took a look at how he did it. I am going to give you the breakdown of what worked for him.
1. He applied for jobs that he had expertise in previously. (in this case accounting)
2. He did not limit the search geographically. (if you are tied to a home, let it go, rent it out)
3. He kept in touch with people who could vouch for his expertise.
4. He located a head hunter who put him in with the right jobs.
As far as I know my husband did not use anyone's advice regarding his resume. While I can't do this to find employment in a new field, I can find head hunters in my chosen profession. I hope this information helps someone who has been out of work.
OCTOBER 12, 2011
As of today I am employed! How did i get the job? I have been using the application with my education and highlights from my career at the top. I posted my application on career builder and I have had people contacting me to come in and interview. So What I can tell you is make it easy for employers to see your skills. Put that information first and then list work history. That way these employees can see what you are good at and match it with their open positions. I am very exited to be working again and I appreciate all your comments and thoughts.