From a Human Resources’ perspective, it is important to have a ‘value added’ portion to your cover letter and resume….something that says that you are unique. Showing that you studied for four to five years to obtain a college degree use to do this but that was when the number of well paid jobs expanded at a faster rate than the number of college graduates. This is simply no longer true. I remember seeing an article in the New York Times during the height of the recession that a restaurant was opening on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (a new restaurant opening at that time was an anomaly in and of itself) and 12 PhD’s applied for one kitchen position. The article never informed as to whether any PhD was offered the open positions.
Back to ‘value added’...First of all, if you are unemployed then you have all the time in the world to look for a job…develop a system for job hunting. Learn to organize and keep track of cover letters you send out, phone conversations that you have, interviews (this will be easy for you will probably not have many) that you have. Learn to sell yourself in your cover letter, your resume and on the job interview. What is it that you can offer that others can’t? People need to realize that there is no such thing as a hidden job market. It is there and you have to keep on looking until you find it. You may not know about a job opening, but it is not hidden. Finding a job is all about catching a potential employer at the right time when they need someone with your skill set. Finding a job is all about how you come across in your cover letter, your resume and the interview…that is the bottom line.
Take the time and do whatever you can to earn money while you are job hunting. Which is the greater pain: Working really hard at a number of different jobs or not being able to pay your bills? A lot of people don’t look outside the box enough…people can tend bar or wait tables at night and look for a position during the day. One can register with Care.com for various positions that are designated short term and hourly. You can deliver newspapers/pizzas or clean houses; do handy work for friends/neighbors while waiting for your profession to ‘come back’. The job you have today does not have to be the job you have forever.
There is an adage in sales and marketing; one has to spend money in order to make money. The same can be said regarding job hunting; an effort has to be put into joining groups (Joseph’s People), Organizations (try your local Chamber of Commerce), taking classes (Community College’s offer inexpensive classes as well as local libraries). You should take the time to evaluate your skill set and see if there are courses that you could take to help you market yourself more. For example, if you are a RN that has been in the clinical arena for a number of years, would it be in your best interest to attempt to become certified as a Case Manager? Would it improve your chances of being hired if you returned to school to obtain your BSN? Loans are available; there are even grants available for those wanting to return to school…look into them.
DO NOT spend your time looking for a position online. Only between 2% and 5% of job seekers obtain a position online. The statistics are not clear for no one really knows what finding a job ‘online’ really entails. Sending your resume online is great if that is how the resume is requested, however, you MUST pick up the phone and follow that resume with a phone call. Talking to the supervisor, hiring manager, HR representative is the important part. To find open positions you must call everyone that you know...friends, family, former employers, neighbors, companies in your geographic area to see if there are any open positions. Call and Communicate.
The average resume is read in 10 seconds. REMEMBER to include performance on your resume. Where you worked and how long you worked is important, but what you produced while you were there is much MORE important. After sending out your resume, call and introduce yourself. 98% of all companies in the US have 100 employees or less; this should not be hard to do.
Remember to go on the interview thinking about what you can do for them. You don’t ask what they can do for you until AFTER you have received a job offer…then you can begin thinking about what they can do for you.
Winners do what they have to do and figure out how to make ends meet. You pick up the phone and you go to work. Next to dealing with the death of a spouse, child or parent, the fourth most emotional thing that we do is look for a job. People need to deal with the emotions. Recognize that you are emotionally strained and drained. You need to accept this part of your life and move on. The sooner you do this, the better it will be for all concerned. The longer you put it off; the harder it will be for you.
I’d like to make a comment about appearance on an interview. It is important. It is EXTREMELY important. Be very aware of your cleanliness, the type of clothes, etc. If you are extremely overweight or struggling with your weight, this is a good time to begin some clean eating habits for I can promise you that appearance on an interview DOES MATTER, as it should. You will not hear this from the average HR person with whom you interview but appearance is important and you should be doing everything that you can to insure that when you have the opportunity to interview for a position, you make the best impression that you are able. I’ve seen way too many experienced individuals lose out on offers due to the fact that insurance costs are large concerns for companies today and obesity causes way too many health issues.