Fight the resume and unemployment blues
Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 22:09
Almost every morning as I drive from my house in Cape Coral to FGCU, I pass a man sitting in his old Ford Explorer with a sign stuck to the doors that says he is unemployed and will do anything for food. I have seen him there for at least two years and at all times of the day.
This man scares the bejeesus out of me. Not because he may be an unsorted type or the fact that he may very well live in that truck, but because at any moment I could be him: stuck without a job and doing anything I could to make ends meet.
That's why I came back to school: to try and get into a field that is more recession-proof, but recently we have all learned there are no recession-proof industries, there are just people who can adapt.
In Washington, the focus is on jobs and the unemployment figures that are at a record high. Who has the Bureau of Labor and Statics said may be the hardest pressed to find a job in this hostile climate? A recent college graduate or the long term unemployed.
Why? Well, that is the million dollar question.
Many college students believe that coming out of school having kept the good GPA and doing everything their instructors told them is good enough to shoot right to the top of the resume pile, while in actuality it isn't.
Graduates are trying to enter the workforce with little or no experience in their field and they are unprepared to interview.
Human resource managers agree that some work is better than no experience, and yes, volunteering can count as experience.
HR managers also admitted in an anonymous survey that they may skip over long-term unemployed people if they have nothing to put in their resume for the time they have been out of work, also indicating that volunteer work looks better than a blank.
Giving your time can help keep skills sharp and show your willingness to work.
School, work and a stack of recommendation letters will only get you so far if you don't know how to interview. It can be very intimidating when you sit down across a desk from someone who judges you from the moment you drop off your application.
I know; I've hired a lot of people in my day. If you are asked to fill out an application, read it and follow all of the directions, including signatures and dates. If you can't do this simple task, then how can you do anything more complex?
Tell the truth so that in the interview you don't have to remember whatever lie you told on paper.
When the person interviewing you asks you a question, look at them and answer it with more than just a yes or no.
The interviewer is not only looking at your education, qualifications and appearance, but they are gauging your ability to fit in with their established employees to keep productivity and morale at a maximum.
Turn OFF your cell phone! It's bad enough when it goes off in class or the crowded movie theater, but it will not be over-looked if it rings during the interview.
In an effort to keep me and you from sitting in that Explorer reading a paper every day and waiting for someone to stop and offer you a job, I offer you these few tips.
Be proactive and help yourself. If you can work part time, then do it; McDonalds is not a bad resume entry. The interviewer may have started there too. I did.
Find a mentor. If you decide you want to specialize in something, look for someone who is successful in that field and offer your time as an intern.
If you can't work or intern for some reason, volunteer as much as you can. Office work, building projects, and community service speak volumes to your character, teamwork skills, and initiative.
Do mock interviews. There are events here on campus where you can hone your interview techniques. Attend them--—especially if you've never had a job.
Develop a network and don't burn bridges; you never know who you may one day be sitting across from.
You don't have to party with your network. Just respect the jobs they do and the time they put in.
Most of all, keep your head up. If you get turned down for a job, then keep a positive outlook and try again.
Think about that man in his truck who tries every day. He doesn't give up and neither should you.