Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hmm, What a Conundrum

You know I’m known as the Queen of job applications. I have this whole process I follow, which I’ll go into later, but sometimes even I can’t seem to find any jobs to apply for. We were talking about this in my networking group early this week. Is it a matter of there truly being fewer jobs to apply for (nowadays that’s always an issue) or is it, for some reason, in your mind? Does one feel like the all the jobs are, mind numbing, eyes rolling back in the head boring, or like you’d rather live out of your car, than do these jobs? Perhaps, you might feel like you’re not qualified. I especially liked the ad for Lifetime network operations that required the ability to write in English and Korean, for crying out loud! You really do need to put yourself in a certain place. I know I am having a really hard time doing that this week. I’ve only applied for three jobs so far, and one of those was from a company that approached me. On that point, it is worthwhile to post your resume on I’ve been approached by employers mostly from that website. With all that being said, why was I able to find fifteen jobs to apply for one week in November? You know there weren’t a whole heck of a lot of jobs then either. I think the answer is, you have to continue to be creative about how you go about seeking positions. If you continue down the same paths, day after day, they get pretty boring and you start to see more jobs that you aren’t really interested in. I find ideas on how to approach the application process from my local newspaper, “Tools help seniors on job hunt”, in “The Economist”, and even in the, dare I say it, printed version of the “New York Times”. I also put places like Omaha, Charleston, San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago in my search engines to see if there are more opportunities in those cities. I realize not everyone can relocate, but it’s a thought just to shake things up a little and to get other ideas when you feel like you’re running dry.

Before I forget, here is my process for applying for jobs. I actually created it years ago when I was unemployed, back in the day when you had to mail in a list of jobs you had applied for, just to get your unemployment check. Yes it was a bit more onerous back then, but I think it may have been too bad that they stopped asking for that sheet, because it did force me to actually aggressively seek employment. Anyway, I start the week with a “to do” list, one of the tasks being “apply for ten jobs”. This is helpful in a couple of ways; 1. Keeps you on track of things you mean to do and that’s not always easy. 2. Tends to give you a sense of accomplishment and of control over your life, which may be sadly lacking when you’re out of work. When I’m actually looking to apply for those ten jobs here’s what I do:

1.)Pull up the various job boards and sign in.
2.)Look for “new” postings.
3.)Keep my searches very broad. I find that if you make them too narrow you’re going by the engines definition and not yours and their version misses some great opportunities.
4.)Find a job, print the job description. If you don’t often times it’s lost when you’re transferred to the job site for application and it’s hard to capture correct items in your resume to match the job.
5.)Apply for the job. I usually only fill in the required fields, but it depends on how I’m feeling. I don’t give specific date unless asked for and I never give dates of graduation unless absolutely forced to. It ages you and your degrees, so beware unless you’re right out of school when it might be a good thing.
6.)Then I go to my job search spread sheet: (I was trying to attach here but can't seem to do it. I 'll keep trying or if you send me your email address, I'll mail it to you) and fill in fields.
7.)Finally, I put date I applied on top of job description and file in a folder for that month. This way, when they call you about the job, you simply go to your search sheet, find when you applied for the job, and pull it from the appropriate folder and do so much better on the phone because you know what they are speaking about.

That’s it. You’ll see on the sheet that I’ve also put tabs for recruiters, rejects, and interview notes. Hey it’s nothing more than what you’d do if job hunting was your job right? Wait. That is our job!

Before I finish, let me give you just a few pieces of advice for those of you who have just lost your jobs. Let it land. I don’t care if you hated the job or not, it still hurts. Wait before you make any major decisions. You might want to put together a spreadsheet of your expenses. It helps contain the panic, since it also gives you a sense of control. Finally, get out and get some exercise or do something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time, take a deep breath, and remember you’re not alone. You really aren’t. That was the main reason for me beginning this blog. Oh yes, go back and read my earlier blogs.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my conundrums. While attending a networking event where you meet professionals and share your contact information or business cards. What do you do when you are talking to someone who is not receptive to taking your information after hearing you are "unemployed"? I witnessed this at an event where the person outright said they were about to retire and didn't know anyone or just could not help. I consider this rude (especially when your plan is to meet people at these events) because it is inevitable you are going to run into a professional who is interested in your business and would like to explore an opportunity. I say why not be courteous and take the card? You just might know someone who is recruiting in the future or even if you don't know right then - you never know what will happen these days - you could be next in the staff reductions at your firm. I certainly would not wish it on anyone but I've seen it happen to some people I know. I wonder how many others have had a similar experience.