Monday, October 27, 2014

The Changing Face of Job Hunting

"Back in the Old Days" as we "seniors" like to say, you had to do a lot of hard work hunting for a job. If you were out of work, you spent as much time per day looking for a job as you used to spend actually working each day and in some cases even longer.  There was a  lot of walking, worn out shoes and attempts to keep a smile on your face day after day, even when you didn't feel like it.

You were up at the crack of dawn with the day's newspaper, looking through the want ads, checking for any new listings. You were making sure that you had plenty of resumes and cover letters ready to put in the mail or to hand carry into local businesses to submit an application. Then there is getting together an outfit that is appropriate for job hunting or interviewing.You eat breakfast, grab a shower, are dressed and out the door shortly after 8am so you can start "pounding the pavement."

Nowadays, you grab that cup of coffee, head to your computer. The first thing you do is check your email account to see if there are any requests coming in for you to come in for an interview or forward additional information in another step up to getting an "in person" interview.  Then you start pulling up all the job boards that you are registered on to see what is available

At this point, lets address that email account. When you sign up for all those  job hunting websites, set yourself up one special email account to which you are going to direct all responses to and from potential employers. In this way, you are going to isolate and concentrate all your energies into your job search there will  be nothing to distract you. Also be sure to check your spam folder carefully, you never know what could be in there by mistake.  I say this because this is going to be another entry....about how a wonderful opportunity could have been overlooked if the Spam folder hadn't been checked carefully!

There are also newspapers on line who do not make you go through places like Indeed or The Monster Board, so be sure to check them out, not only in the city you are presently in but also in areas where you are interested in possibly moving to. Also by checking various newspapers, you can get a general feel for what is going on in that community. Checking their Chamber of Commerce website will also be beneficial. You may catch an article about a given company who is expanding or laying off., of new companies who are in the process of moving to the community. 

Hopefully you have set up a way of tracking your job searches. Some people like to do a daily journal while others prefer a spread sheet record where they can see at a glance, who they applied to, the date and any contacts and followups.  I personally like the idea of definitely using a spread sheet so that you don't let following up with various companies that you are really interested in, slip by the wayside.  A journal is also useful as far as writing down your more personal thoughts about the companies, your personal outlook of each day and writing down your goals for either the day or for the week.  Write down positive affirmations in your journal every day to help you stay on track and to maintain a positive attitude.

The goal should be to send out at least 10 new resumes each day, make 5 follow up phone calls with your networking group and to check your spread sheet to be sure you are not letting opportunities slip past you.
Just remember to treat the process of getting a job as if it IS your job. Put in the time and effort every day to look for work. It may not come quickly or easily, but eventually it is going to pay off.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Long Overdue Post

As I begin today with this post, I realize how many months have passed since I last communicated with everyone.

I have to say, that I truly found it difficult to "keep a stiff upper lip" and encourage everyone to press forward looking for a job as the prospects for finding employment continued to dwindle and it became much more difficult for everyone of all age groups to find a decent paying position.

I was reading a report today where it stated that the time between 2007 and 2009 was the worst downturn in employment since the 1930's.  That all sounds fine and dandy but to those who continued to want employment and are still unable to find employment from 2009 to the present, it just sounds like fake rhetoric. I'm so glad that the report now says we are once again back up to the employment level that we were at prior to the recession. Sounds well and good, but what about all the years since the beginning of the "recession," as the article calls it, where there has been no additional growth?  To me and anyone else who has been looking for work, it is like being at the bottom of a well, with a ladder where the rungs are broken and continue breaking out from under you. One step up and you fall back down two or three!

The report stated that there is now 37.2% still who are unemployed and many of those have totally given up searching for work. The article was lamenting that those in the baby boomer era who are either old enough now to retire or in their mid to late 50's are finding it very difficult to locate meaningful employment  along with those in the 18-24 age bracket. One of the problems for the older worker is that the employer is unwilling to pay them their actual worth, considering that they have been out of work for several years, expecting them to take deep cuts. It is so much easier to hire one or two younger people who would equal the pay required for the seasoned worker and train them. Also their insurance costs would be drastically less and they most likely would be assured of having them around as an employee for much longer than the older worker.

So yes, anyone over 50 is still having a very difficult time trying to find proper, well paying employment even though there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with more people finding employment. If you are going to be lucky enough to locate work, be prepared to take a healthy pay cut from what you were earning, especially so if you have been out of work for more than six months.  I've not been able to comprehend how some employers think that just because you have been out of work for a few years, means you have not retained your education and ability to work with others. Granted depending on your area of expertise, you may need to brush up on certain aspects of your job, if you are in areas where licensing regulations may change or where there are many advances in technology. But to be expected to rehire in at half of what you were making?  I do believe a drop that steep in salary is uncalled for.

Also current reports are that even college graduates, two years out of college, are still depending on their parents or other family members for some type of financial assistance. Students were tracked and surveyed who started college in 2007 up through 2013 for these statistics.  Not only are they postponing marriage but also having children and owning a home. Even a percentage of them stated that living on their own was unimportant, which I found very interesting.

Of those surveyed, only 49% of the graduates stated they were working a full-time job and of those, approximately half said they still had to rely on family for financial support.  With the full time workers, they earned between 40K and $60K a year, while part time employees were earning between $25K and $40K. The burden of their student loan debts and a poor job market is holding back many "life decisions" that would have normally been made by now in this age bracket. The average graduating college student had approximately $30K to pay out in student loans. When I see that figure, on top of normal living expenses, it is no wonder that they are postponing leaving the "family nest" in order to reduce their monthly living expenses.

As you continue your search for work, use every resource possible and turn every stone because job hunting today is so different than it was just five to six years ago. Today, the magic word seems to be networking. Let every friend and associate you know that you are looking for work. You never know who might know someone who is looking for a person with your education and experience. For example, do you get your car repaired by a specific mechanic or use the same barber to cut your hair, or the same dry cleaners for your clothes? What about letting the people at your church know ? Do you have a social group such as being on a bowling team or bridge group? What about sports activities with your children? Every single person in those environments knows other people who just might need a new employee in their business.