General Question

lbwhite89's avatar

Why might my fiance be having trouble finding work?

Asked by lbwhite89 (1208points) January 25th, 2011

A week and a half ago, my fiance lost his job at a factory. They let go 5 people that they had hired in the past three months and he was one of them. He did nothing wrong, but they let him go. Since then, he’s been looking for more work.

I know it’s only been a week and a half, but he’s gone to every single place I could find in the industrial/manufacturing field in our area and only a handful were hiring. He’s already gotten turned down for two (maybe three) of these positions, and we’re having a hard time staying positive.

He’s trying to get on unemployment, but it’s taking longer than we expected. Luckily, I work and I’m able to help a little bit with bills, but it won’t always be that way. Even with his unemployment, he probably won’t be able to pay all of his bills and he’ll need my assistance. I’m willing to help, but I’m a college student and I really need to be saving my money as much as I can.

He’s never truly been turned down for a job. Before now, he’s landed every position he’s ever interviewed for. Now, he’s not getting any calls about the jobs he’s applying for and he’s even getting rejection emails from companies.

He laid hardwood floors for 5 years, worked in warehousing for about 2 years, is forklift certified, and then got 3 months of manufacturing/machinist experience at his most recent job. He’s an extremely hard worker and his resume is better than a lot of the ones I’ve seen. I just don’t get why we’re having such a hard time.

One job, for example, was a sales position at a car dealership. He even had a referral from an employee there. He called a couple of times to check on the status of the application, and then we find out today through the friend that works there that he was turned down for the job. They never even called him. A guy I work with applied for the same job yesterday and got a call back today. He doesn’t have sales experience either. I just don’t understand that.

I feel like we’re stuck. What if he doesn’t get another job? What if the only job he can get is some minimum wage position that won’t even pay his bills? What if we run out of money? What if we lose our place? All of these thoughts are constantly weighing me down and added to my work and school schedule, I don’t know where to turn.

I’m trying hard to keep my worries from him so he doesn’t get discouraged, but it’s hard. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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20 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Because for every job opening there are a hundred qualified workers applying. My son has been out of work for over a year now, and he is a skilled, trained computer technician.

gorillapaws's avatar

Has he been researching each company he’s applying for? Is he customizing each application to highlight just how he might specifically be able to improve their team? Maybe he has some ideas that could help make them more money somehow based on his previous experience? He needs to do things to make himself stand out in a positive way from all of the other competitors.

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager who has dozens, (hundreds?) of qualified applicants applying. What would you want to see from your employee? Have him run through this exercise for each position he applies for. Each company will have different challenges they are facing, so try to figure out what those might be and how your fiance can be more than just a warm body that’s capable of meeting the minimum job requirements.

blueiiznh's avatar

Keep focused on finding and dont give up. Make sure the resume is polished. Subsrcibe to job sites that are worth the effort (monster, hotjobs, dice, etc…)
For every job, there are hundreds of applicants. I was recently let go due to a restructuring and was out for 5 months. It hits your esteem hard, but keep positive. Then one day, I had two great job offers in front of me at the same time.
I do well once I get in front of people, but it’s like American Idol, you have to be spot on for what they need and come across flawless. Its like you are a lost puzzle piece and they need and will wait to find the right one.
Glad that he is varied in skills and jobs, but he needs to speak to that to ensure it does not come across like he doesnt know what he wants or is a job hopper. He needs to brush up on things he is applying for and yet be himself and not give BS answers. Find things to distance himself from the other candidates. Hiring HR and Managers and interviewing peers will see through it. Most places not only look at talent and skills, but how you will fit into their culture and with others. Its easy to hire people, but harder to get gid of people that dont work out.
He will find something, just a matter of how long it will take. Keep looking daily. check sources not obvious.
Be supportive of him as you are during his tough spots during it. Also allow him to emote his frustrations in the process too.
I wish you both well. Update us as it goes along.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Three months isn’t an awful lot of time to be looking for another job. Try and patch things together and make it run until something opens up. He should take even temporary and part-time work if he can find it… anything to put bread on the table.

jerv's avatar

I was in a similar position; I was laid off about two weeks before half of the plant was. (I went first since I was the new guy.) I have a couple years of warehouse experience, a few years as a CNC machinist, and quite a few other marketable skills, so I thought it’d only be a couple of months before I found something.

Well, it took almost that long just to get my unemployment claim approved. Thanks to the high rate of unemployment, the state offices all over the country are swamped! They have a backlog that, depending on the state, is from 4–10 weeks.

I started applying for all sorts of jobs; bicycle mechanic, commercial oven cleaner, warehouse worker… basically anything I was able to do regardless of how little it paid. Thirteen months later, I was finally hired as a temp someplace at $10/hr, which is not much above minimum wage (WA state has a minimum wage of $8.67 as opposed to the Federal rate of $7.25), and a far cry from the $17/hr I was getting.


Okay, now that I have you scared and/or depressed, here is the good news; you can make it work. We were also worried about making it on just my wife’s meager paycheck. Would we lose our apartment? How could we eat? What about buying a car so that I could get a job more than a couple miles away? (We just moved here, and we sold our old car before moving as opposed to driving it cross-country.) What if nobody ever hires me? It drove me nucking futs!

Unemployment came through (with back payments). We found a reliable old Toyota for only $300 on Craigslist. Food stamps decided we were eligible for quite a bit of assistance given our circumstances. Yeah, I was still jobless and we had to cut down on a lot of things, but we still had food on the table, kept a roof over our heads, got myself a cool set of wheels, and now I am back in a machine shop (as a permanent, full-time employee) doing what I love even though it’s not what I was originally hired to do.

There are millions… tens of millions of Americans in the same position. And there are tens of millions that manage to keep their shit together, keep on plugging away, and to make it through the ordeal.

Does it suck? Royally!
Is it stressful? Hell yeah!
Is it survivable? You betcha!

Here are the key things:
1) Don’t worry about stuff you can’t control – Stay focused on the things you can control, like keeping your resume updated, scouring want ads, etcetera. If you stay focused on what you can control then the things you can’t control will work themselves out.

2) Persistence pays off – I got discouraged more than once, but I kept going anyways. Giving up won’t accomplish anything anyways, so why bother giving up? And finding work is hard work, but no harder than having a job is. Just keep trying and trying and trying….

3) You have each other – If it were not for my wife, I may have broken down. However, there was no way I would let her be homeless and starving. That gave me even more reason to keep going, in addition to stubbornness and spite.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
MissAnthrope's avatar

Times are tough right now. Lots of people are looking for work and having a hell of a time finding anything. I know, I was one of them until recently.. took me about 4 months to find a job and I’m highly qualified. This has been a humbling experience. I was a bit cocky before because I was used to showing my resume and getting the job immediately, being in demand. Now, so many people are looking for work, it’s a buyer’s market for employers.

Just keep plugging. Craigslist, Monster, HotJobs, pound the pavement, network.. do whatever you can. Diversify if necessary, too, I mean, there is no reason he couldn’t work at McDonald’s (or whatever) until he finds something in his field.

jerv's avatar

@MissAnthrope The position I was originally hired for at the company where I now work was outside my field; I transferred into the machine shop through a bit of luck. My wife is also working outside of her field and below her old station, but there isn’t as much call for A/R people or warehouse crew here in Seattle now as there was back in NH a few years ago.
So yeah, diversifying is pretty much mandatory.

augustlan's avatar

A week and a half out of work is nothing in this economy. Both my husband and I were looking for work for over a year! It’s way too early to get discouraged. He just needs to keep on plugging away, and doing all the right things. Best of luck!

BarnacleBill's avatar

I have to concur, a week and a half is nothing.

He needs to be plugging away at this, not you. “We” are not applying for jobs because “we” are not going to show up for work every day—“he” needs to do this. If he isn’t capable of looking for a job on his own, then perhaps that’s coming through in the interview.

The answer to the question, “You don’t want to hire me, do you?” is “No, I don’t.”

marinelife's avatar

Where have you been the last three years? Jobs are scarcer than hen’s teeth in this economy.

He might want to look into using his unemployment money for training in a new field.

john65pennington's avatar

You are not alone. You two seem to be very much in love and that’s the biggest hurdle you have passed. Needless to say, our economy has been much better in the past. What few job openings that exist, are going to the highest qualified people, as a general rule. You two are not the only ones facing money problems. I mean this in the kindest way.

My suggestion is this: have your s/o flip hamburgers at McDonalds, if he has to. Anything to keep you guys together and paying the bills. You appear to be doing your part and that’s great. Working and school is a tough schedule. His time and your time will come.

Have your s/o do anything, just to pay the bills and food on your table. you will make it.

It’s the tough times that make the good times even better.

gorillapaws's avatar

I will say that if his resume and cover letters aren’t being written to really stand apart, and his interviewing skills are average or sub-par, his time would be better spent improving those so he can get a higher-paying job than he would flipping burgers. Have him practice, practice, practice for the interviews, think up questions they might ask him, and help him craft intelligent/memorable responses. Role-play with you being the interviewer, do this for each job and go over it many times. Have him Google each company and really research the hell out of it, so he can make his cover letter specific to that company/position, and walk into that interview and talking specifics. Have him engage the interviewer, asking them questions about their business and how he might be able to help.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws Some of the jobs I tried for were getting over 300 applicants per hour so no matter how good you are at writing or interviews, there are many others that are as good as you there, meaning that luck plays a huge role.
I’m not saying you are wrong (you aren’t), just that there is more to it.

lbwhite89's avatar

@marinelife I suppose the reason this is shocking to us is because in about two weeks, I received 4 job offers when I was looking for work. These weren’t minimum wage jobs and I don’t have anything more than a high school diploma right now. In addition, my fiance found his last job on a whim. He’s never really had to struggle to find work, even in a bad economy. We found good paying, steady work fairly easily…yes, within the past three years.

And using his unemployment money to go to school is completely out of the question. He plans on going back after I finish, but two college students trying to pay rent, insurance, and bills is not ideal. Unless we want to move back in with our parents, we have to do it one at a time, even if it means him working a minimum wage job for awhile.

@jerv I completely agree with you about luck playing a role. Yes, the more qualified you are, the better you are and interviewing, and the better your CV is, the more likely you are to get a job, but I’ve seen less qualified applicants get jobs because of who they knew or simply sheer luck. And anyone that disagrees with that is dead wrong.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jerv I completely agree. I’m just saying that he needs to do everything within his power that he can to improve his odds. All of the things I mentioned are things within his control, after that, luck plays a big role. But people who are well-prepared and have done their homework up-front tend to get more “lucky” than those who don’t. It’s definitely worth the effort to do the things you’re capable of doing and then hope for the best with the things beyond your control.

When I read resumes, I would say 90%+ have red flags on them, which means that the people willing to invest the effort to really stand out are the ones I’m calling back for an interview. I’ve had to reject qualified applicants many times because there were so many applying for the position, but if you can consistently keep yourself in that pool of people getting called in for an interview, then you’re going to get a job a lot sooner than the people who aren’t getting those calls.

blueiiznh's avatar

Many employers utilize a staffing organization. Don’t forget to get into their structure too.if that is appropriate. Places like account temps, robert half, etc. These places will represent you and try to put you in jobs they are brokering.

jerv's avatar

@gorillapaws Okay, we are on the same page.

@blueiiznh Very true. I got my current position through such an agency; my employer doesn’t hire people straight on. And after I got out of the Navy, I spent a couple of years working various temp jobs, a couple of which gave me skills that are important in my current job that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

blueiiznh's avatar

Also be prepared for a temp 3 month term before permanent. I have been finding this is something employers are utilizing to “feel a person out” first. Then they can cut bait at any time before onboarding. Be prepared for this as a tool employers are using as opposed to something quirky about that company.

glenjamin's avatar

it took me 2 years of job searching to find my current job, granted I wasn’t out of work at the time, but it was that tough and this was in 2006. he might have to settle for something just to get through the interim, and keep looking in the meantime. sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Temp agencies might work as was stated above. As far as luck, well that has alot to do with it, but as my high school English teacher always said, “luck is the residue of design.” It’s going to be a struggle unless you’re really lucky, so you have to keep at it and don’t give up no matter how discouraged you get. Also, make sure he tightens up his resume and has a working cover letter, it might be worth the investment to pay someone to work on improving his resume or there are even agencies that will apply to jobs for you (though I can’t vouch for how good they work).

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