Sunday, June 8, 2008
Finding Employment: Tricks of the Trade
So, you need a new job or just a job period?
Maybe I can help. I help people find employment for a living. It's my job to find people jobs. I work for the Texas Employment Commission. I've been somewhat hesitant to broadcast that fact because frankly, I like my computer time for me. I work eight hours per day and when I'm done with all the problems I face in that eight hours, I want to leave it behind. In order for me to help in a situation like this, there are some rules to go by to get started. I don't get paid commission, I'm not trying to sell you anything, I'm simply trying to help in a situation that can be extremely frustrating. So here are my rules.
1) You, the person looking for employment, needs to take the role of a boxer in a boxing match. I will be your corner man. I want you to win this fight. I want you to get a job. I want you to succeed, but you have got to listen to my instructions because you need to face the realization you are unemployed for some reason. I'm not saying it's your fault, but we need to figure out how you can win this next round, and if you win enough rounds, you can possibly win the boxing match and land a job.
2) Don't ask me squat until you have a decent resume. Don't darken my desk with your shadow until I see a resume in your hand. There are plenty of on-line resumes you can use. Don't give me an excuse about how you don't know how to operate a computer either. Oh, and here's a good one. "I don't have a computer." Bullshit, go to the library or most workforce offices have rows and rows of computers for you to use.
3) I will not let you lie to yourself! I don't care if we are friends or not, if I see something that needs improvement I'm going to tell you. I'm not here to make friends.
4) Why am I so hard? Because I want you to win this fight!
In case any of you have missed the news lately, unemployment took a huge jump last month to 5.5 nationally. Unemployment is a drag on our economy. I have seen parents bring their kids in my office while the parents are stressing about finding a job. We have got to get you employed. Your family is counting on you. I'm in that boat with you because I want your family to be able to pay the electric bill in 2 weeks. I don't have time to play the friendship game. I do want to make sure you survive.
Did you know in Texas at least, there are ways for the state to help in paying for tuition for school? I would imagine most every state has that program. Check with your employment office. What about child care while a single mom works? That too.
Wait, let me back up a second. Maybe I should tell you more about me so you know where I'm coming from.
My father passed away when I was four years old. My mom raised us four kids and I was the youngest. I know what being poor is all about. I know what education can do for a person. I know what non-education will do too. I am a veteran of the U. S. Army during the Viet Nam era. I volunteered for Viet Nam. I am not a bad ass. I only mention this to give you perspective on me. I've walked ten feet through burning coals, had two marriages and two vasectomies. Ladies and gentlemen it's all about attitude. You have got to have the right attitude to find employment.
Do not, I repeat, do not leave your house, don't even tell your spouse you need another job unless you have an up-to-date resume. People ask me all of the time how long should their resume be? If it takes three pages to put your information on, then use three pages. You won't go to jail for using a three page resume. Frankly, I personally like the longer resume but that's me. I have never had a potential employer say "Mrs. Jones was going to get that job but she had a three page resume and it knocked her out of the running." And be sure you hear this part: Put your resume on-line! Be sure you know or have someone help you be able to attach your resume to an e-mail. The old-school way of mailing resumes is long gone. Trust me on this, most employers today only accept resumes via e-mail or fax with more and more getting rid of their fax machine. Get the resume and be sure you can get it on-line. Oh, and by the way, get a business sounding e-mail name. Hotgurl4U doesn't cut it.
R-e-s-u-m-e got it?
And oh by the way, I forgot to mention that while e-mailing your resume is pretty standard now, video resumes are becoming very popular. Have a look.
The Way You Dress
This next item is going to sound so obvious, I hate to even write this down but I see it every single day. I see people come in with all of their tattoos showing, 50 ear rings in their ears, crap coming out of their nose and no telling where the hell else they have crap coming out of. Clean your nasty ass up!! And don't tell me that you are going to look different if and when you get an interview. Treat me like I'm a potential boss. Give me some respect too. I have to put on a tie for you, surely you can at least be dressed in business casual then right?
The Way You Smell
I've actually had customers come in to my office and have that smell of vodka from the night before. You all know that smell. I'm telling you it happens all the time. If you want to look for work tomorrow, don't get drunk today, because i can tell.
I know there are problems, but you have to be ready to fight. This isn't a party.
Motivation and Attitude
There will be potential employers out there that will just see you and think "no way am I hiring that person." Maybe you are like me, a little older. Maybe they won't like your gender, your race, obvious things that we can't change about ourselves.Do not, Let me repeat this, do NOT try to out think the person that you are interviewing with. Just be yourself. And be honest. People are like dogs. They can smell a liar. If they don't want to hire you it's their loss right. You can't make them hire you.
Make sure you have a firm handshake. People know this, but some folks just won't do it. I'm telling you, it's a big deal. And make the eye contact. Don't be negative about yourself in any way whatsoever.
Keep a log of every one that you apply with, send a resume to, and interview with and follow-up with them. It shows the potential company you are very interested in going to work for them. It also means they have to be accountable to you in some degree.
One Last Thing
Keep your chin up. Do your computer work at night so you can interview during the day. The main thing is don't bog yourself down by thinking too much. Maybe two part-time jobs to make it until you get that one good job. You can do it. Let me know when you go to work.