General Question

Carly's avatar

What kind of jobs should I be applying for with my current experience and education?

Asked by Carly (4550points) January 16th, 2011

I’m currently trying to look for a job. It could be part-time, full-time, retail, office, I don’t really care as long as it pays at least 10/hr (so I can pay my bills). For the past two months I’ve filled out about 20–25 applications. Most are for jobs at shops in my local mall, target, walmart, panera, but I haven’t heard back from anyone. At first I thought it was because no one is really hiring right now, but then I thought that maybe my references and experience might be creating the appearance that I’m “over-qualified”.

Here are the following things I usually put on my application. After reading everything, would you recommend I apply for other kinds of jobs, or should I focus on things I did back in highschool (until I finish my degree)? :

I have 4½ years of college, but I haven’t finished my BA degree (in English) yet. I’ll probably be done in about 2 years.

I had an internship last Summer as a camp photographer, but I currently don’t own a personal DSLR.

I’ve been a cashier at several different retail places as well as a couple food services.

I’ve worked as a student library assistant for two different university libraries.

and I’ve never been fired. :)

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15 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

Hi Carly

I am in Australia and a lot of the larger retailers here insist people apply online, but if you don’t have to do that, I would do up a resume of your education background and your work experience. Take it round stores. Get dressed nicely and walk in and ask if they have any vacancies. Get the manager’s name. I would also encourage you to telephone people if you are knocked back for a job after applying. Ask them why politely. What did you need to do or experience did you need to have to get that job? Show you want to learn.

The sorts of jobs you are going for sound about right to me. Retail, junior office positions. If you are studying have you checked on your own campus about employment opportunities? Does your college have an employment agency? They may have contacts in the local area that they can connect you with.

Good luck!


zenvelo's avatar

sounds to me like you’re trying for the right types of jobs. It’s a tough market out there though. were you bonded at your cashier jobs? That’s the kind of job that shows someone trusted you to be responsible and honest.

Carly's avatar

@zenvelo no I wasn’t. Im not even really sure what that means though. :/

zenvelo's avatar

bonding is an insurance thing where they check your background, and if you have no criminal background, they’ll put you on the business insurance.

but play up your strengths and past jobs, you sound like good employee.

jerv's avatar

It sounds like you are going for the type of jobs that our country is actually creating; low-end service jobs. And it doesn’t matter too much what your education or experience is if that is the type of job where you are most likely to get hired. I have a friend with a Masters degree who works at Home Depot, and you will find a surprising number of people with at least a bachelor’s degree working the Fryolator at McDonalds.

Personally, I am a machinist by trade and I have at least a couple of year’s worth of experience in many other fields (electrical, automotive, IT, management, warehouse…). Accordingly, there is a lot that I wind up leaving off of my resume to avoid intimidating people. The last time I gave a potential employer a full resume, they came out and said that I was too much for them, they felt the job was beneath me, and that I would be bored if they did hire me. Tell them just enough to get them interested but not enough to get them quaking in their boots.

Likeradar's avatar

Is what you wrote in your question actually what’s on your resume? You follow up a few points with something negative. Make your qualifications and experiences shine, instead of telling them what you’re lacking. That might be preventing an employer from being interested in you.

zenvelo's avatar

@Likeradar has a good point; be positive, upbeat, and honest.

Bellatrix's avatar

Hi Carly, I agree with Likeradar too. I noticed you follow each positive with a negative. Do you know anyone who employs staff and so reads resumes and job applications? Get someone to read over your resume/applications for you. You want to sell your good points!


BarnacleBill's avatar

@Carly, how long did you stay at each position you’ve had?

I would just list yourself as college student, and skip saying that you’ve been in school for 4–½ years, and have 2 years to go for a BA but haven’t worked full time. If your GPA is really good, you should mention that, but otherwise ignore it.

Focus instead on promoting the skills that you used for each position; sometimes you have to state the obvious. In working at a camp, you’re part of a team of counselors, directing kids so you can get the photo, organizational skills to get the photos distributed – think about what you did that has value in the workplace. In working at the library, you were providing customer service, learning the shelving and distribution processes. Cashiering and waiting tables – customer service, cash management, fast-paced environment.

Focus on skills acquired from each position and how that translates into an employer benefit for a new position. What do you bring to the table?

Use the university placement services to both look for positions, and hone your resume.

Sometimes it takes follow-up and a little pre-work. Find out who the manager is, and what’s the best time to drop off an application so that you can give a 30 second pitch about why hiring you is a great idea. Sometimes that can get you noticed and hired, just because of the effort that you put in.

In the meantime, while you’re looking, consider volunteering at some place meaningful to you. It will expand your work experience, give you more contacts, and demonstrates work ethic. Both my daughters were hired at jobs because they had 200 hours of volunteer experience at a museum each summer for several summers.

choreplay's avatar

@Carly, Maybe its all about your approach. Your current approach sounds like, submit an application and wait, submit an application and wait, over and over again. Asking fluther is a good first start. But think of this. Network, Network, Network.

Give a call to one of the managers of one of the stores you applied for; aknowledge that you realize you didn’t get this position but you just wanted to talk to someone in the industry about where you might find a position like this, what it would take and if he can give you some advice on how to improve you resume. One of a handful of things might happen, he might be impressed and hire you, know of someone else that hiring, give you great advice to get hired at your next try or on and on. This puts him in a non-commitment situation as you not going looking for him to give you a job, your just going for his advise. That is how I networked my way into my current profession.

This is a powerful tool though so I suggest you shoot for the job you really want and use this tactic. Also do some research on what jobs are thriving in this economy. I like your combination of experience; the english is strong for the business world (we business majors don’t win any grammer and spelling contest) and you have experience doing research. Good luck. Please come back and tell us when you suceed at landing employment!

BarnacleBill's avatar

I will add that $10 an hour can be pretty ambitious for a part time entry level. A major reason for being turned down is if you put expected salary $10 an hour on the resume, and the job is only paying $8, they will not call you back.

You stated that you want $10 an hour but don’t care if it’s full time or part time as long as it covers your bills. The hourly rate is not what’s going to pay your bills. Working 30 hours a week at $8 is the same as working 24 hours a week at $10. What you are facing is that for what you’re qualified for, you are going to have to work more for less.

jerv's avatar

@BarnacleBill Unless you live somewhere really cheap, $10/hr will not cover the bills. Trust me; that is what I earn right now, and if my wife didn’t earn almost as much as I do, I’d be fucked. Just saying…

BarnacleBill's avatar

@jerv, In most locations, working at Target, Wal-mart, Panera, etc., which is where Carly said she’s been applying, will not hire someone at $10 to start. These are the jobs she’s being turned down for.

I agree with you that $10/hr will not cover bills. My daughter works full time for $8 an hour, and she can make rent, utilities, food and gas money for that. She cannot afford to pay tuition, cell phone, car insurance, car repairs or medical expenses.

XxSHYxxGUYxX's avatar

If you had a DSLR, you could’ve been a photographer for weddings/birthday parties, etc. Anyway, since you’re doing english, I recommend you work for like a magazine or a newspaper as an assistant or something. That way, at least you’ll be doing something related to your degree. You could also try a bunch of retail stores like Best Buy, Apple, Clothing stores, etc.

Bellatrix's avatar

While you are lookiing, you could consider doing some volunteering for organisations? We have sites where organisations list work they need doing. If you looked for work in communications/photography or customer service, you will be doing something useful AND gaining more experience and you are helping your community. Volunteering also looks great when you go for jobs and my unpaid work experience has definitely helped me when I have gone for interviews. As another benefit, you may actually get offered a paid job. Beats waiting for the mail man to bring you letters or waiting for the phone to ring.

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