Apologies for a lack of updates, random readers. This week has been taken up with much busy madness due to the Job Hunt I have been undertaking in the last week.
I am about to graduate. Upon graduating I will gain a Bachelors Degree, making me more qualified than over 75% of other US Citizens (according to this). I will also lose my current job, student library lackey at the Engineering Library. This makes me sad, as I rather love this job. My coworkers and boss are a lovely bunch and I’d keep working there if I could, not in the least because I can dick around on the internet while on the clock.
Sadly this is not to be, and in less than a month I will be expelled from academia into the cold, big world, where I must find gainful employment or starve to death/mooch off my parents until they set me on fire.
So here’s a few of my thoughts on hunting for jobs in today’s economy.
1. Job websites = a good thing
Last Tuesday I posted my resume on careerbuilder.com. The next day I got a call from one company asking for an interview, and the day after I got a phone call from a second company. Clearly this website posting idea was a good one. The first company offered me a first and second interview, and even though they weren’t quite what I was looking for, it got me started. So yeah, post your resume on a job website. All you have to lose is the occasional spam e-mail saying ‘we can hire you for work-at-home job! yes?! give us money first and we’ll hire you long time!!!!111!!!”
2. Shopping for Interview Clothes is hard
It has probably come to the attention of some of you that I am a girl (and if it hasn’t, well now you know). I am female, and have female parts. This is true. However, when it comes to traditional ‘girly’ things, I kind of suck. I’m not much for sparkles and bows, I own a grand total of two skirts which I almost never wear, I wear makeup almost never and I absolutely LOATHE shopping.
So of course, hunting down interview clothes this weekend was an ordeal. My mother, who is a saint for putting up with me, took me to the mall and ran me through the gauntlet of finding a nice pants suit, a few shirts, and new shoes. This took several hours of me sniffling and coughing (as I’m still recovering from the Cold of Doom I picked up last Thursday) as I tried on pants, jackets, shirts (both hideous and boring), and then proceeded to try on half the shoes in the store, most of which didn’t fit my canoe-sized feet (I’m a size 10 US Female. Finding heels for me is hard). This took several hours, and my mother, infinitely patient, rewarded me (despite my sniffling petulance) with quesadillas at Qdoba and going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that evening.
The moral of the story being, if you hate shopping like I do, try to get it done as fast as you can, and have a reward ready. Then you have a set of work/interview clothes, hopefully without losing your mind in the mall.
Also, my Mum rocks. I’m allowed to say that, even though I’m 23 years old.
3. Cut and Paste job application answers
In the last week I’ve managed to memorize my references, contact information and basic work history. Seriously, I know my boss’s phone number, my former boss’s phone number and the number of my friend and former coworker Sam. I’m not great with numbers, but typing these in over and over again has led them to be lodged in my brain like a bad Christmas Carol. That said, all the information they require you to put on online applications, especially describing past job duties, takes a lot of typing and a lot of time you could spend filling out other applications (or dicking around, whichever).
So I said ‘screw it’ and made use of my two favourite shortcuts on my keyboard: ctrl+c and ctrl+v. Made filling out three practically identical banking job applications that much easier. I highly recommend it.
4. Know what you can and can’t do
Sounds simple enough right? It isn’t.
I have limited job experience. I’ve worked in a library and in food service. That’s it. Now I’m about to expand my options and I need to start considering what kind of jobs I’d not only be capable of, but what jobs I’d actually be able to survive with my sanity intact. Now, I’m open to a lot of things. I thrive on office jobs (I type 70-75 wpm on a bad day), I love to cook (making food service tolerable under certain conditions) and I’m disturbingly good with people (I think this is because I hate them, more on this later). However, there are things I know I cannot do, and the big one is this:
Telemarketing and anything to do with extensive use of phones. I HATE talking to people on the phone. Truly loathe it. I hate the awkwardness of stumbling into each other’s sentences, can’t always understand what the person is saying, and overall just feel awkward. I’ll do it for little things, like answering the phone in an office, but spending an inordinate amount of time on the phone talking to a stranger sounds like my special kind of hell.
So when I was offered a job this morning in sales that involved a lot of cold calling, I declined. I know that whether I can be good at it or not, I’d spend my days contemplating stabbing my eyes out with pencils just so I can go home. That doesn’t sound like job satisfaction to me. And if it does to you, then you’re special and I’m going to run away now.
5. Care about Sports, or at least know enough to fake that you do
This one is more regional, but it contributed directly to my getting a second interview on Monday in my opinion, so I figure it’s important to share.
I live in Lincoln, Nebraska. Those of you who know anything about sports, or Lincoln, understand the rabid, undying obsession most Nebraskans have with the UNL college football team, the Cornhuskers, or Huskers. People out here live, breathe, and drink football from August to November, then wake up and repeat this for the bowl game (if there is one), and then yammer about the upcoming season for the other eight months out of the year. It turns downtown into the ninth circle of hell on gamedays for one thing, and turns normal civilized humans into drunken morons.
I don’t really care about football. I’m aware of it’s existence, but I’m not a sports person. I don’t watch Husker games, I don’t track scores online, I don’t really get upset if the team wins or loses.
But I still know the score. I know who won. I know if there was any team or crowd drama.
Because in this town, employers will talk to you about Husker Football to break the ice.
So it’s a good thing I pay attention to my facebook feed and saw that there was serious drama about players quitting, coaches getting in trouble and officials being unfair, because otherwise I would have stared at the nice man who interviewed me on Monday with a blank expression on my face and gone ‘derp’ instead of nodding and saying ‘yes, it’s horrible isn’t it?’
So, whether you’re from around here or another town with obsessive sports fans, it’s good to keep up to date, even if you hate it.
So there’s a few tips from my initial jobhunt experience. Those of you hunting, best of luck to you. Hopefully we will all be successful in finding day-jobs that don’t make us want to jab forks into our eyes. Or anyone else’s. lo