Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Few Tips

Here now are some job hunting tips from someone who has done a lot of that in the last few months.

Don't be too picky. This economy is so tight that you can't be unwilling to do certain jobs. With that said, don't apply for jobs that you wouldn't be happy doing.

Craigslist is a nice place to start looking for jobs, but some of their posts are suspect. Be wary of jobs that don't list the company name.

Monster.com is not that great of a place to find jobs.  Every job I get sent to me is in New York, and while I don't dislike New York, I might like a job closer to where I live now.

Try to find some places/companies/organizations that you might like to work for, and check back on their websites periodically to see if any jobs have been posted. I have several that I frequent, and some have yielded interviews. It's only a matter of time before one yields a job.

Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job. I have been told that "it's not what you know, it's who you know" and I now agree with that statement. Most of my best leads have come via friends who have had me on their radar.

In the same vein of the last tip, make sure to use any advantages that you have. If someone offers to make a call or send an email on your behalf- let them. It can't hurt.

That's all for now, but I have more pearls of wisdom for later.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don't Let A Job Define You

It's hard not to let what you do for work define you as a person. When you meet someone new, you immediately ask them, "What do you do?" Since I have been unemployed I have had difficulty answering that question, and usually I'll say something like "nothing, right now." This is total crap, however, because even though I am out of work, I do plenty. In fact, I might be doing more things now than when I had a job, so I need to rethink how I define myself.

In our society it is hard not to fall into the trap of jobs defining us as people. We think of ourselves as lawyer, teacher, waiter, administrative assistant, etc. We don't often think of ourselves as writer, volunteer, gardener, or even parent. Jobs are what we spend much of our time doing, but rarely do they really completely define us in every facet of life. It is pretty obvious when we stop to think about it, that we are so much more than our workplace selves. I am still the same guy now that I was a year ago when I had a job, but now I think of myself differently. I was the same me when I was a waiter in college that I was as a teacher.

Try to avoid the trap of using a job to be your source of definition and self worth. If all you are is the job, go out and find something else to engage in. Unemployment offers a unique time to really examine who you are, and what you value about yourself. I'm trying to change my answer to "What do you do?" from "Nothing, right now" to something like "A lot, actually." Because, after all, that's the truth.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Filling the Time

One of the major problems with being unemployed is that there is suddenly a wealth of free time that wasn't there before. At the start of your jobless time it is actually quite nice to have some quality days to just relax and get a few chores and errands done. After a few weeks or even months, it becomes clear that errands and chores don't really take up that much time, and daytime T.V. is pretty craptacular. I needed to do something with myself to not feel like such a waste of space, and here's some of the things I came up with.

-Volunteering for Utah AIDS Foundation
-Volunteering at KUED Channel 7 in the Creative Services Department
-Starting a Blog, or two
-Working on writing projects that I didn't have time for while I was working
-Doing Committee work for the Utah Heritage Foundation
-Substitute Teaching
-Volunteering for Peter Corroon's Campaign for Governor

These things might not be exactly what everyone else would want to do to stay busy, but they were good for me. I only put them down as an example of some of the many options out there for unemployed people. It was amazing how happy these people and organizations were to have me come and help, and how much better and more valuable I felt as a result. In addition to getting me out of the house, these simple activities gave me networking opportunities that I would never have gotten by sitting around moping. Getting out and meeting new people is a great way to find out about jobs and see what things might interest you in your search. Also, these types of things look great on a resume, especially if you have a sparse one to begin with. Check back for more ideas in this vein.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stuff I've Found

Since I've been unemployed people are constantly giving me articles and books about how to get hired, make use of all my free time and beef up my resume. As such, I will now begin the process of passing some of these things on to you. I will spare you some of the lame stuff that has been passed on to me and only give you the good things that have been helpful to me. Follow the link below for a good New York Times article about making your resume better and stronger.

Writing a Résumé That Shouts ‘Hire Me’


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Diary of An Unemployed Guy

I have been unemployed for about eight months. It sucks. For those of you who are also unemployed it hasn't been easy to be jobless in this economy, has it? Everyone keeps saying it's going to get better and that we just need to keep on plugging away, but that's easier said than done. It was easier to get a job as a pimply faced sixteen year old than it is now at 27 with two degrees. I'm off to a really bitter sounding start, but stay with me for the silver lining- it's coming.

Over the past eight months I have learned more about myself than I ever have before. Sure, that sounds really cheesy, but it's the truth. I'm almost grateful for this journey into what has been the most challenging and deflating time in my life. I hope that the rest of you who are unemployed have had the ability to see this time for what it is, and to not let it completely consume you. I am happy to say that despite not working for eight months, I have spent only a precious few moments in my pajamas watching Judge Judy. Instead of letting that feeling of failure, inadequacy and frustration take over, I have been able to do things that I might not have ever done if I had kept on working. This, my friends, is the silver lining. Yes, I would love a job and give up my current life for one in a heartbeat, but I have to be honest and look back at all the positives within the overriding negative of being jobless.

In this blog I hope to bring to light some of the experiences I have had so that they might help other unemployed souls not feel completely ruined by what has happened to them. I am very fortunate to have a supportive wife who has a solid job, and a fabulous group of family and friends who have kept me upbeat throughout the last eight months. My purpose in putting this blog out there is to show that silver lining to anyone who has been mired in the dark clouds that this recession has created. We will all work again, and when we do we will be forever better for our time in the jobless wilderness. Stay tuned, dear readers- I have help for you.