Sunday, August 29, 2010

Job Market Woes Continue to Grow

Last month another 156,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed.  In June it was reported that there are 14.6 million unemployed people in the US, this is nearly twice the amount as there were in late 2007 and does not include those who have just given up looking.

Some companies are posting non existing jobs, collecting resumes of those who are willing to work for less than their current employees are making.So what appears as an increase in opportunities opening up may not really be the case at all.

In some areas of the country 1 out of every 4 people is unemployed, a very frightening and startling fact. Are you one of those four people? What are you doing to try and find employment? 

Since many financial analysts are predicting we may be in this recession/depression for at least another ten years and the likelihood of companies adding back a lot employees is dim, it is going to be imperative that those who are unemployed start to think about what they are going to do to earn an income. It is hard to think about humbling yourself to work below a salary level you were once used to earning, or in a position that doesn't have the "status title" that you once had, but it may be necessary in order to survive.

You are going to have to start thinking outside the box, perhaps learning new skills or rekindling old ones in order to bring home the bacon!  In some households, parents are switching rolls. It may be that your spouse has skills that might be more in demand than yours are. You, the man of the house, may end up being the one that stays home, cleans the house and cares for the children. Some men have actually found that this is very rewarding in several ways. They learn to appreciate their wives a lot more. If they ever thought that their wives didn't work as hard as they did, just wait till they take over all the chores of keeping house and taking care of the children! And to think that this woman never gets paid for doing this, only the love and appreciation that her husband showed to her. It also gives you, the husband, time to reflect on what really is important in your life. Maybe it is time to step back and not be so money and workaholic oriented. It is time to appreciate the finer things in life, the simpler life. It will also create bonds with your children that may not have been there before or strengthen them, whichever the case may be.

As a couple, try to set new goals to go along with what is now "the new norm" as it is being termed in today's rough economy.

Some things you might consider

Continue to keep your new way of living downsized even when the economy does turn around
Only pay cash for all purchases
Continue to buy American made products when possible to help strengthen America's worker force
If you didn't make a home garden this year, do so next year to increase your self sufficiency
Increase your pantry supply of foods so that you don't have to worry about going hungry
Any major purchases, agree upon together what you will save for and don't buy it until you can pay cash

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Help Me to Help You

In order to better meet your needs for information I need you to interact with me and tell me what you want to know.

What types of articles would you like to see here?
Do you wish to have me stay with just the job opportunities ?
Do you need or want articles that go into other areas such as
how to cope with job loss, adjusting your lifestyle to living on a reduced budget, how to cut corners in order to survive, money management and budgeting?

If you are interested in not working at home but wish to return to the regular workforce, would you like to see articles on how to write a resume, how to handle interviews in today's job market, how to dress for success?

You are the reason for this blog! So tell me what YOU want to read and learn about. Please leave me some feedback so I know if the articles I've been writing are helpful, or if there is a particular subject you would like to written about.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Temporary Employment Agencies

There is a great article over at Yahoo today regarding temporary employment and the myths that go along with them.

Having worked in the industry as a placement counselor, I can tell you that this article is right on!

A well written article by Doug White who is with Robert Half, International and I hope you will take time to go read it.

There are several additional things that I would like to point out that Mr. White could have added to his article.

When you do take an assignment, you will need to report that to your unemployment office because your check will be reduced by the amount of money that you earn on that assignment. You will need to report this after you receive you paycheck for the assignment and then your next unemployment check will be lowered by that amount.

Many temporary job assignments turn into full time employment. By hiring through a temporary employment agency, a company has an opportunitiy to see prospective full time hires in an actual work environment before making an actual offer to employ them. They can see first hand how you interact with other employees and supervisors, as well as how well you work independently and as a team member. As Mr. White pointed out, in these extemely volitle times, companies are cautious about making a hiring decision. The hidden cost of hiring is probably close to 33%  over an above the salary offered. There is a big investment to put someone on their payroll nowadays.

Back when I was working in the temporary agency field we did not offer any benefits to the people we sent out on assignments. I am glad to see that there have been some changes in the industry where some of the temporary employment agencies are now offering that to their temporary staff of people.

In this article, the author briefly stated that there can be opportunities to learn new skills, that the agency itself may offer you an opportunity to learn new skills right there at their office. I know that we used to do that all the time, everything from improving your typing skills to learning new computer programs. You can also  learn new skills directly on an assignment. I found that there were times when I had someone who was extremely computer literate but lacked a lot of expertise in one of the particular computer programs that a client might want for an assignment. If that person was strong in other programs, especially one that was similar to the the one they had requested, they would actually give that person an opportunity to fiill the assignment and then teach them how to use the program in question. Of course what comes to mind is working spreadsheets. Maybe you have experience using Lotus 123 but never worked with Excel; or you have used the Word word processing program but never used Works. If you have used one or the other, it is easy to switch over to the other program.

The other thing that I want you to know, from working in a temporary employment agency, is that we didn't just sit back and wait for companies to call us with their needs. We would actively call companies telling them about the great applicant that we are wanting to find work for to see if they might happen to have a position they could utilize their skills.

I worked for two temporary employment agencies where we would have engineers, computer programers, and management personnel seeking work back in the 1980's. We would actively look for positions to place them in on a temporary basis, calling companies to see if they might have a need for these people. Back when I was working, we never mentioned the person's name, just their skills. We did the same for all of our clerical and accounting people, as well as our construction personnel.

Last but not least, Doug White forgot to tell you that working temporary jobs will help keep your self esteem up as you go through this economically slow employment time. Getting out there and working on temporary assignments gets your face out there in front of potentinal hiring opportunities. You never know if someone you happen to work with on one of your assignments may know someone at another company who is looking for someone with your qualifications. Perhaps even within the company you happen to take the assignment for, there are other positions which you could qualify for on a permanent basis. By working temporary, you are getting up, getting dressed, putting on a smile and going out and doing something very productive!

Please don't think of working as a "Temp" is your last resort, make it one of your first choices. Go ahead and take some jobs that are different than you are usually used to doing, go have some new experiences. You might find that they are really something you need to explore further in your permanent job search.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Interviewing Processes

Looking for a job in today's job market is so different than it used to be. Years back you could present your resume to a company that was advertising that they were hiring, except a call within a week to come in to talk with them, have one interview, with someone in the personnel department and be hired.

Then years later, the interviewing process changed again. The companies began adding some additional steps to the interviewing process. Not only did you interview with the recruiter in the Personnel or Human Resources Department, you now have additional interviews, with the person who will be your immediate supervisor and then with the department supervisor. They can be individual interviews or they can interview you at the same time. 

As the use of illegal drugs and alcohol has increased most firms now require drug testing. This wasn't done years ago. Another test you might get is where they have you do a "Why do you think you are qualified for this position" statement, done in your own handwriting. This is done not only to see exactly how you think you qualify and fit into the position offered and to see your thought processing abilities, but they are also doing an analysis on your handwriting by a qualified graphoanalyst or graphologist. You are also likely to be asked to take some psychological tests as well. I personally can tell you, hands down, that the graphoanalysis will be much more accurate of your total personality than the psychological tests!

Many companies, once they have received your resume and either prior to or after your initial interview, will be headed to the Internet to begin checking you out before going further into the interview process. They don't want to waste their time interviewing just to find out later on in the process that you are not a good match for the company. They will begin by checking out your social networking sites. If you have any blogs or other websites of your own, they will be looking at those, checking out the content and how well you are able to express yourself. They will be evaluating the content of your site, to see what types of subjects you are discussing, how you are handling any conflicts and your opinions on different subjects. They will also be scrutinizing the people that are your contacts on those sites as well.  So if you have a Face book, My Space or any other social networking site, or any blogs, be sure that you remember that what you are discussing is open to public viewing. Your prospective employer will also be obtaining some other important reports about you. They will get a copy of your credit report and do a criminal background check on you. These two reports probably won't be done until they are almost sure that they are going to be offering you a position. Don't be surprised if during your final interviews, if you have any blemishes on any of these things, that some questions are posed at you in regards to them.

The overabundance of qualified people out there in the job market competing for positions, as well as the Internet,  has totally changed the dynamics of the interview process. You will have to really hone your interviewing skills, in order to stand out amongst the crowd of others applying for the position. Be prepared for not only days but weeks in between the multiple interviews that you will be going through. Use your time wisely while waiting. Read up on the company so that you are familiar with their operations, if they have a website, go visit and browse through the different sections on it. Pay attention to their Mission Statement. If they are on the stock market, go look at how they have been doing over the past quarter.  You have an obligation to them as well as to yourself to be as informed about them as they do to know about you. You want to be sure that you are accepting a position with a good stable company, one that is going to not only weather financial storm in our present economy but one that will be able to forge ahead and show continual growth over the coming months and years. You are looking for a position with a company where you will have opportunities for advancement in position as well as increases in salary. You want to know that there is a retirement program in place with this company that is diversified where your contributions will be as secure as possible for continual growth so that when you are ready to retire your nest egg has grown to your expectations and needs. Your goal is to find the best possible career position you can so that you can grow with the company and have a secure future. You don't want to have to be out there going through this entire job hunting process again in the near future.