General Question

Facade's avatar

Any tips for my ongoing job hunt?

Asked by Facade (22899points) April 26th, 2009

So I’ve been looking for a job for almost a year now. I’m pretty sure no employers have even bothered to acknowledge my dozens of applications because I have very little experience (6 months total in retail). I have a high school diploma and I went to college for a little while. Oh, and I’m 20.
Any tips for me?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

32 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

I was in a similar boat. But I had never had a job. I tried and didn’t have any luck. But a friend got me a interview at a movie theater.

So, I would hit up your friends or family.

And make a resume and cover letter. They are getting tons of applications and you need to stand out.

asmonet's avatar

Just keep it up.
I looked for a job for six months, I only had a GED when I started but I had a ton of great references and experience. And I posted my resume on Washingtonpost.com which lets employers find you, and I sent off my resume every single day to any openings I matched with.

Eventually, I got a job where my friend works.
Hit up friends and family. Just like JP said.

Facade's avatar

@johnpowell How am I supposed to stand out though?

Facade's avatar

@asmonet I’d need to borrow some friends…I’ll try the link posted

jrpowell's avatar

You stand out by submitting more than a simple application. It shows you put some effort into it.

I was involved with hiring when I was at the theater. This was a minimum wage job. Most applications never got read. We got 10 per day. But we would read a resume.

asmonet's avatar

Then if you have to post fliers in your neighborhood, dog walk, pick up groceries, check on elderly neighbors, clean houses, mow lawns, clean gutters or whatever, you do it. Anything to get you out in front of someone else, who can form an opinion of you – a good one. Network locally. Get to know everyone, eventually one of them is gonna remember that nice kid who helps people.

I’m sure one of your neighbors needs help with something. And who knows which one of them is looking for someone to join their workforce?

And like JP said again, resumes stand out.
In the past I’ve given out resumes with my regular applications as well. And before this economic downturn, I never got turned down for an interview. And after that, I never got turned down for a job I interviewed for. You are your on product. You have to sell yourself and do it well.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

-Dress up for every interview. Go the whole 9 every time.
-Look in the mirror and rehearse your interview lines. Work on these ahead of time.

Get familiar with these three questions:
-What is your greatest asset as an employee?
-How did you deal with a difficult situation at your last job?
-Why should we hire you?

asmonet's avatar

Dress for the interview when you pick up and drop off the applications to for that matter. Too many people hand in an applications and jeans and a tank top only to have their application tossed once they exit the building.

You don’t want to look cute that day you want to look professional.

YARNLADY's avatar

Provided by CNNMoney.com
and Yahoo news:
Wallmart stores: hiring thousands
Hewlet Packard, Palo Alto CA: 150 openings
Bank of America: over a thousand openings
State Farm Insurance companies: hiring hundreds
Well Point Health Services: over a thousand openings
Boeing, Chicago, IL: over two thousand openings
Met Life: hiring over one thousand
UPS: over 3,000 openings
Medco Health solutions: hundreds of openings country wide
Lowe’s: Hiring thousands of people
Home Depot: Hiring thousands nationwide

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Don’t work at Wal*Mart. Just don’t.

jrpowell's avatar

Asmo is absolutely correct with her last comment. Get dressed up when you pick up and drop off applications. I have been interviewed on the spot when I was dressed up and handed in a application and a resume.

Facade's avatar

@the poeple who gave me interview tips..I’m great with interviews. I just have nothing to offer on paper because of my lack of experience. Plus, I haven’t worked since the summer of ‘07 :(

SuperMouse's avatar

What kind of position are you looking for?

You know how they always say to send a thank you note after the interview? Well make sure you do. Very few people do that and it will help you stand out. Send your resume and cover letter of good bond paper. Even if you apply online, follow up with a hard copy by mail. Also, whenever you can, go in and see the people who are hiring. Show them you went the extra mile to drive down there and see them. I had a career counselor tell me once to go out and buy a bunch of giant plastic paper clips and put one on every resume and cover letter that goes out, that makes them stand apart.

Also, I have seen tons and tons of resumes and most of them are mediocre at best. Make sure yours is well written and free of typos and mistakes. Don’t just go with Times New Roman font, there are some other cool fonts that are totally appropriate but again, they make your resume stand out (Bookman Old Style for instance).

Network, network, network. Talk to everyone you know and be sure they know you are job hunting. Even people you hardly know, let everyone know you are looking for a job.

Facade's avatar

@SuperMouse I need a job where I’m sitting most of the day. I can’t stand for more than about 20 minutes without having pain. This fact alone makes it extremely difficult to find somewhere to work.

asmonet's avatar

@Facade: I have Achilles Tendonitis as well as Plantar Fasciitisin both feet. Put simply, my feet are fucked. And that also complicated my job search. I eventually landed a job in a ‘call center’, with my own desk and everything. And I did it through all the things I mentioned above. But, I had to put in my time. And my job comes with 2–4 weeks of training in the stores. Something that is gonna have me on my feet nine hours with no breaks and probably crumpling into a ball crying at the end of the day. But I knew that after training this job would be ideal compared to any others I had seen.

I had to sacrifice discomfort in the short term to make gains long term. I know it’s hard, I get it, but you have to barrel through it and keep at it to find something for yourself.

I originally sent my applications and resumes to receptionist and administrative assistant openings. And always tailor your cover letter to reflect the job you’re applying for. I changed it each time for every application so that it said I was looking for that job specifically.

Just because it was mentioned, I used Castellar as a header for my resume and cover letter.

Darwin's avatar

Something else you can do in order to get some experience is to sign up with a temporary agency. Then during each assignment you get do your best, be on time, make contacts, show an ability to learn, get along with co-workers and meet deadlines. You can then use these jobs as a source of references, networking contacts, and experience to fill out your resume.

Sometimes these same employers are also looking for permanent employees and if you have impressed them you could be the next one hired.

Facade's avatar

@asmonet Yea, I have the conditions you mentioned plus other undiagnosed things (I was a gymnast while doing every other sport in the book. Bad bad bad idea)
What’s castellar?

asmonet's avatar

It’s a font.

Facade's avatar

@Darwin I tried to do that, but I wasn’t sure exactly how so I ventured in another direction. Do you know of any good temp agencies?

asmonet's avatar

Randstad is amazing where I live. DC Metro.
What area do you live in?

Facade's avatar

I live in Virginia Beach (The Hampton Roads area of Virginia)

asmonet's avatar

Okay, here is an article on temp agencies.

Randstad is in your area as well as a ton of others.

Facade's avatar

If I may add another question in here because you guys are being extremely helpful.. Should I not apply for the same position at different locations of one company, or is it ok to do?

SuperMouse's avatar

@asmonet makes a great point about tailoring your cover letter, you can also tailor your resume for each job. If your education helps you qualify for a certain position, put that first, if your experience helps you qualify for another, put that first. Also, put the skills that are required for the job you are applying at the top. During a job hunt I tend to send each employer a unique resume directed 100% at the position they have open.

Facade's avatar

@SuperMouse I try to do that each time

Darwin's avatar

My department used to hire people from Manpower always and I see there is one office in your area. I always worked for a company called Olsten Temporaries in both Texas and Florida – I don’t know if they are near you or not. The closest I can find is in Roanoke. Other agencies I know of personally are Kelly, Randstadt and Spherion.

I always took either temp or temp-to-hire positions. The latter is where they hire a temp but if the person works out well they offer them a permanent position.

I did a number of jobs for them and some involved sitting. Those included proxy counting, receptionist, mortgage foreclosure clerk, and data entry clerk. More active positions that involved at least some walking included file clerk (not too much at a time) and product demonstrator (lots of walking). I was offered permanent positions as receptionist and mortgage foreclosure clerk.

Basically, you walk in to the agency, fill out their paperwork, and then they match you to open positions that they have. You turn in your time card at the office each week after it has been signed by your supervisor at the site where you are working. You get your check in the mail.

As to tailoring your cover letter – that is an excellent idea. With the Internet, these days you can look up all sorts of info about a prospective employer so you can wax enthusiastic about some aspect of the company that stands out for you. It makes it sound as if you really want to work for them, not that you are desperate for a job, any job.

Good luck!

Facade's avatar

@Darwin What should I put on a cover letter when applying to a bank? I’m doing it right now

asmonet's avatar

@Facade: It depends, if one HR department handles all of their locations hiring, then no, it’s redundant. However, if each branch or store hires within themselves, go ahead.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

There’s never a reason not to submit a resume or application. If you don’t get the job at one branch, submit an application at another. The worst they can do is say “no”.

You may also consider talking to a temp agency like Adecco. They’ll get you good contracts which will get you valuable work experience.

Darwin's avatar

@Facade – I would look up the bank on the Internet and say something related to what you see there. Perhaps they support a charity you like, they offer a particular benefit that interests you, they believe in promoting from within so you can look forward to a long career there, or even when you were little you or your parents had a positive contact with that bank (if true – don’t make it up). Just find something that lets that bank think you want to work for that bank in particular, not just any bank.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Take a second look at your resume. There are Numerous ways you can fix it up to help you out. With the economy the way it is right now you absolutely need a perfect resume.

I had an excellent one. And I have tons of experiences and a Bachelor’s degree. I still wasn’t getting jobs. I took a second look at my resume and some advice from friends and after I fixed it up again I got several job interviews. I’m not sure what the issue was with the previous one but it helped me a lot to re-do my resume.

Also you should create job-specific cover letter and take a second look at that as well.

When I worked in retail I was told several times that they prefer someone who does not have much experience that way they can shape you how they want to. Also most retailers now have those ethical questionnaires. I would take a second look at how you are answering those questions. I know when I first started answering those I failed, lol. Till I figured out what the good answers were.

It can also help to include recommendation letters even when they aren’t asked for. And to provide great references of course.

And one other tip is to talk to a manager of where you are applying in person. Perhaps after you submit the application you could go in and check on your progress. Or before you submit the application you can talk with the manager to get an idea of what the job is like. This will let them put a face with the name on the application and help you out.

abhimanyu's avatar

First off, you might want to fix your resume. Here are two awesome links that I’ve used, that helped me get professional results:
http://bit.ly/uvCfw
http://bit.ly/Wzb9M
Next, since you’ve only got six months of experience and that doesn’t seem to attract employers’ attention, you might want to consider applying for an internship. If you perform well, that might even extend into a probation period and eventually a full-time job. Good luck!

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther