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finding a job shouldn't be this hard


cristomeyers
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I graduated college about a month ago. Had a job lined up, but the office moved to Downtown Chicago (a 30 min train ride and 20+ block walk away from where I live) and I wasn't making nearly enough to justify that, the train rides alone would run almost a full day's pay (even if I bought the bulk pass). I quit, mostly because of that, but also because it was door-to-door sales (a fact hidden until the second round interview and I had no other options). I've been unemployed for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and I've been putting in applications for other jobs for almost 5.

 

Now, I know that the HR dept of most places is too busy to actually call me if the answer is no thank you. But I'm really getting sick of calling them, getting a 20 minute runaround, and ending up hanging up without ever talking to whoever's in charge of hiring (Best Buy, After Hours Formalwear). All I want is a quick answer, yes, no, or I haven't gotten to it. Not that hard.

 

Then there's the personality exams that every online application has that I inevitably fail (damn me an my honesty). Here's the thing, my old workplace, Pizza Hut, had to make me reapply the first time I came back from college because I had to quit rather than go on leave of absence (policy wouldn't allow one long enough). It was a formality, they were going to hire me anyway. I failed, but I held that job for almost 5 years and was Employee of the Month 3 times and was next in line to become manager (despite my age).

 

The kicker came just yesterday. A nearby Target had Now Hiring signs up, one of which read "Hourly Supervisors" I go in, spend an hour total filling out their application, actually get to talk to the hiring manager, sign the application, and find out "We're only hiring for the overnight shifts, so I really can't help you."

 

So far I've applied to Best Buy, a Cingular Store, Target, Sears, JCPenney, Lone Star Steakhouse, Afterhours Formalwear, TGI Fridays, Circuit City. Sears and Circuit City dismissed me out of hand, Best Buy and the restaurants keep giving me the runaround, Afterhours "sent the application up the ladder" so I can no longer get any information from them, and the Cingular Store hasn't been returning my emails (which everyone has said is the only method of communication with the manager).

 

It shouldn't be this hard to find full-time work.

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I feel your pain. Looking for a job is one my least favorite things to do. :wacko:

 

Have you tried the temporary agencies?

 

I have had pretty good luck with them. Most of the ones around here are actually "tem to perm" places. Which just means that most of the time when they place you in a job it is with the understanding that if you like the job and they like you then you get the postion permantly. It is a great way to try out a job and if you don't like it you just call up the agency and say "find me something else." Basicly you have someone else trying to find a job for you- and you can still look on your own too.

It is also good if you need to get some income incoming quickly- even if you don't get something permant right away you can work some temp positions and get a little pay coming in.

 

Good luck!

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Looking for work can be hard, and it can be demoralizing, and it can impact your ego in a bad way. So although it's hard because you're worried about being unemployed and about money, make sure you take some time everyday to focus on some things that ARE going well, and do something nice for yourself. Take a long hot bath, read a book you didn't have time to get to during school, set aside some time to paint a mini, etc. Jogging or walking and doing stretches are also important ways to reduce stress.

 

Have you used your school's resources for the job search? Most schools have some connections with surrounding businesses or even placement counselors. This might not pan out, but it's worth it to talk to them. Also, make sure you keep in touch with the people you graduated with who got jobs. They can give you an insiders edge into their company. Talk to family and friends. A large percentage of jobs are based on who you know, and not what you know, so keep up the connections.

 

It also helps if you are focused and you know what you want to do. It might be good to have other people review your resume and cover letters.

 

Trust that you will be able to find work. It may not be what you want at first, but it's much easier to move upwards while you're employed and have some income than to feel you need to accept what's available because you don't have a fallback position.

 

Hang in there, and good luck!

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There is no way for me to say the following without sounding like a jerk, so I'll begin by apologizing, and saying it is not my intention to be a jerk. ::(:

 

You say you just graduated college, but the list of places you are applying are stuff high schoolers would apply to. If I was a hiring manager, I wouldn't hire a college graduate for these places.

 

What on earth did you go to college for to come out and apply at places like this? The entire last year of college should have been focused on finding a career in your field.

 

What did you major in, and what was your plan for finding real employment after school when you first started college? Are you just looking for a survival job until a job in your field opens up?

 

I've heard it said that you need to give a job search one month for every $10k of salary you are looking for. So if you are looking for $30k, you should assume it will take 3 months of hard core searching.

 

Again, I'm sorry to sound like a jerk. I really don't want to offend/hurt you. :unsure:

But I am curious about what you majored in...

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heck I'm in the job market myself, I have a job now, just reeeeeeeeeeeaaaally P'ed off with it right now, sad thing is there is no job market in my area. or at least nothing I'm really qualified for(sadly it's not the good qualifed either). I didn't go to college (didn't have the cash for it), hopefully something will turn up for me, as I know there are better jobs out there. I just need to keep searching.

 

Hopefully your search will end as well, soon.

 

RM

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This is going to sound incredibly cynical, and perhaps it is...

 

Sadly I know your pain and feel it too. I've been through numerous interviews, thought I had a job, then nope, didn't go through. It's why I'm still working at Michaels and not someplace else where I could use my degree. They give you this song and dance in high school and college that having a degree makes you more marketable and makes you able to get a job easier. It's a line of bull. I think I've lost count of the number of places I've applied to, sent resumes to in the past five years since I graduated with my MA. (Last I tried counting I hit 200, and after that lost track.)

 

Something sad? I'm not the only employee in my store in the same dilemma. Another woman has her MA, and another few have at least a BA or a BS and they cannot find jobs either. Michaels doesn't seem to care if you have a degree or not. If you have a pulse, can lift boxes, climb ladders and count, you're in. Yeah they have those honesty tests too. Most of the places I've looked at in the retail world don't care if you have a degree or not. Though I will add in that having a degree does in fact help you get into management positions easier.

 

So far all I've seen my degree useful for was my brief stint as a professor of Anthropology, and proof you can bust your butt off for seven years in higher education to get this piece of paper that says that's what you did. I sometimes think it would make better kindling in a bonfire out back than the decorative piece it currently is on my bedroom wall.

 

So yeah maybe some of you wouldn't hire someone with a degree if one applied to work for you, but with the current shape of things, it's our only shot in the dark to earn something resembling an honest paycheck when other avenues keep failing miserably. Afterall, we need to eat too, pay for our medications and pay the bills just as much as someone with only a high school diploma does.

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And the flood gates open...

 

I have a BS in Theatre and a certificate to teach Theatre and English Language Arts and Reading. I got those in 2004 and 2005. I had one high school that I interviewed with the Principal, he said he really like me and my ideas. He introduced me to the Vice Principal and said he wanted to do a second interview with her and he would call me Monday to set up the time (It was Thursday). I didn't hear back from the school that whole next week. I called the following Monday and left a message with the secretary because she had no clue what was going on. She calls me back an hour later to tell me the position has been filled! :blink: I tell myself, "Fine, if they can't call me back and lie to me like that, I don't want to work for that school anyways."

 

I had an interview set up this year at a school for an English Position. They call me the day before to ask if I speak Spanish. I say no, my degree is in English. (nowhere on my application did I ever say I spoke spanish, because I don't, I suck at learning foreign languages) So they dropped me for that interview because they had already hired the two non-spanish speaking English Positions.

 

So I feel your pain.

 

I tried to get a job at a couple of bookstores during the school year because the hiring time for a teaching job is small and we needed for me to have a job. I didn't get either of those because I had a college degree. I couldn't win.

 

So yeah, I really feel your pain. :upside:

 

But you got to keep trying, maybe take an adventure and move to another location.

 

Good Luck!!

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Echoing a bit of what Gus said regarding Temp Work. When I graduated with my degree in engineering, no one was having luck getting jobs. Most of the people I knew gave up and went for their masters. We'll just say that I had neither the drive nor the money to that.

 

After working for a hardware store for a while, I called a Temp Agency. Smart move. While I never quite reached continual employment, the higher pay than retail offset it nicely. I was exposed to several industries and office cultures. I was using my brain more than my back.

 

Some days you answer phones, other days you make invoices to charge the Big Three, and still others you prepare presentations for school districts.

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I want to second what Gus said. Having a degree does not guarantee you a job. It just helps open some doors for a better opportunity. Your (university) exit strategy is up to you. And having a degree does not get you a $60k job.

 

Does your degree fit? It doesn't always work that way, but it helps. But having a history degree is not much use to an engineering firm either.

 

Do you have any experience? Summer internship? Previous work in the field? Temp agencies are a great way to get your foot in the door.

 

Is your field located in a specific area? If you are into movie production - plan on moving to Hollywood.

 

Retail is probably one of the poorest payers of all ends of the economy until you reach management level. And sales is one of the best paying professions that you can enter without a degree. Working a floor at the local big box store is not sales.

 

@Cristo - what is your degree in? What are your goals? Why are you having trouble with personality tests? If you are looking to work at Target, why can you not work the night shift?

 

@Mystic - I thought everyone was looking for teachers? I also thought you applied at the county or city level (except private schools)? Have you tried working as a substitute? Sporatic work but it pays pretty good.

 

@Enchantra - your degree is in?

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My degree is in English (not Education, Editing and Proofreading). I knew going in that it would be a hard sell and had been looking for jobs in my field since January through Monster, CareerBuilder, two of my professors, and my soon-to-be mother-in law. I took my previous job only because we would lose the appartment we had put money down on if we didn't meet the income requirement by a certain date.

 

It's not the night shift at Target, it's the overnight shift, as in store closing to store opening. Late nights aren't a problem (UPS would be about 10 pm to 3 am), entire nights really mess with my system.

 

Yes, this is survival work until an opportunity opens up and/or the local PD's open testing comes around next year.

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I have only tried temp work once, and with enormous success. I was offered a temp job the following week, and ended up being hired permanently a few months later. I was making $13/hour as a temp, and ended up making twice that in the time I was there (3 years). I also found out later that they had had many temps in that position before me, but they all flaked out after a short time (some the same day). They just couldn't handle the work (which at the time was mostly typing). My guess is, if you have a brain, computer skills and a good work ethic, any respectable temp agency will love you.

 

 

See if there's an Office Team location in your area. www.officeteam.com

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I work the graveyard shift, I'm the freight manager & the frozen food dept manager (thou I feel like that part is just so they (day guys, managers) don't have to mess with it anymore). So I know the overnight feeling, been doing it for almost 14 years (Aug 2 is my anv date there).

 

Anymore thou, I feel like I'm being taken advantage due to I'm a fast thrower, I can throw close to 100 cases per hour + I'm quick in other things, thus the managers see that & say hey we can stick this newbee with the crew & he'll (me) pick up the slack. Also we had a guy quit (was worthless to start with), supposedly he overheard me talkin to someone & I refered to him as a "worthless peice of #*#*", thus I got wrote up for that. & ever since that it seems like the manager are out for me. Also funny thing is I told them about 3 months into that guys work that he was worthless & didnt' want to improve or even try to learn how to get better. To be honest, I think it was cause the assoc. manger hired the guy & she doesnt' want to admit that he was a "Worthless bla bla" from the start, she is so high on herself. One time she asked me "do you like having women in manager positions??" I said in response, "I beleive in equal oppurtunity, thus whatever work need to be done can be done by anybody, no matter what the job is, wether it's lifting something heavy or sitting down & doing something." She was like "humpf" & walked off

 

One reason why I want out + I have a growing family (my daugther is 8 & my son turned 4 yesterday (Friday)--(did that kid make out like a bandit or what!! ha ha) & the night job & tryin to do things with the family is starting to take it's toll on me. I'm 33 but I can start to feel the pain associated with tryin to stay up all day & then work all night. Just can't do it anymore, beside I would rather be home anymore at night to tuck my kids or to be able to sleep in bed with my wife more then 2 nights a week (we're close to 9 years of marriage, so my work shift has encompassed my entire marraige)

 

+ I think I'm ready for a major change in my work career to be honest.

 

sorry to wander off like that, just the way I'm feeling about my job, but I know I need it due to the family, the house, the bills & my hobbies. Heck could be online if not for my job, so I'm thankful for that.

RM

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@Enchantra - your degree is in?

 

Sociocultural Anthropology.

 

BA is in World History and Native-American Archaeology.

 

Minor in Natural sciences

 

Supposedly makes me qualified to teach Anthropology at community colleges, work human resources jobs, Residence hall directors on campuses, and also positions for helping multinational corporations deal with other cultures. I've only landed one teaching position and it lasted a year. I've applied for anything I could find in the other three fields with Zero results, or a brief interview, got called for a second interview and then nothing.

 

I've applied to several high schools including Las Vegas which was crying for teachers and still is. Their response? We need teachers in math and the hard sciences, no call for history or multicultural teachers. (Really sad considering they had anthropology courses on their curriculum.) And sadly everyplace you look that's about what they want is math and science teachers. One of the women who works at the Michaels where I did over-nights is a state certified history teacher for grades k-12. She cannot find a job because most districts aren't hiring history teachers, or if they are, they want someone who is bilingual or who has a double certification in special education.

 

I was accepted at a local college into a certification program, I just didn't have the cash to go. With all the debt in student loans I already have, adding more wasn't an option. Yeah I would have had a second Master's degree and a certification to teach secondary social studies. Would have been a great thing to have, but considering no one wants to hire social studies/history teachers right now that would have been a bit of a wash leaving me right back where I am now.

 

So increasingly the places I look into are out of state, I've been focusing on the Northwest as there seem to be a lot of places there with job openings. I keep saying a prayer that something comes through, as I'm becomming very tired of retail. I love the people I currently work with for the most part, like the solitude of working in the stockroom. However, the physical backbreaking work I do on a daily basis is starting to wear on me and even my Doctor has told me to get out of the job before it really hurts me. When a doctor looks at scans of my body and tells me I need to get out of my current job, I listen. It's just finding the job to replace the current one that is proving difficult. Yeah I could go work for another retail chain, but it would land me right back where I am now. I'd rather keep what I have till I find a job that pays well and is one where I can use my education to some extent. If that means moving out of state or all the way across the country, I'll do it.

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All I can say is:

 

Keep trying and keep re-inventing yourself. I was a Music Major first, a Computer Science Major next, a College Dropout, and now I'm an IT Geek & part-time mini painter.

 

If there's one thing I've learned, persistence gets you further along than anything else...

 

Good luck,

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