Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Unemployment

I just read a comment on a forum that I quite liked. The gist of the topic was discussing how much time someone should spend looking for a job when on unemployment. Some people mentioned they looked for at least an hour a day, etc. But one came in and said that basically, if they were working 40 hours a week previously, they should be putting that amount of time into job searching. I laughed because I agree. Okay, maybe it is boring as heck to pound the pavement for 40 hours a week looking for work - however, it makes sense to relate the two. If a person was previously working 9-5 Mon - Fri and was physically capable of doing that, why would they only job search for an hour or two a day after that? And the fact remains that a LOT of people don't even do that - it's more like a couple hours a week. Not everyone, but LOTS. Do you think your chances of finding another job would be greater if you searched 1 hour a day, or 4-6+ hours a day?

In some regions this is not going to help. Jobs are pretty scarce. But I have heard people for months in my city talking about how there is no work - yet the newspaper is full of jobs. Every day. Some are jobs with specific qualifications, some are general with no experience necessary. Some are a lot lower on the pay scale as people's previous jobs of course, but some are about the same - just in a different field of work.

There is also the problem of being considered 'over qualified' for a job. I have seen a lot of programs on this, one namely where a previous executive tried to get a job delivering pizzas (I posted a vid of this last year). The shop owner laughed at the resume, seeing a former salary of $250,000/yr and decided the person was not serious. But instead of taking No for an answer, the applicant went down and spoke to the manager in person, explained his situation, and assured him he was serious about the job and he would do it well. Bingo - he was hired. Just that little extra effort - but how many people actually do that?

Or take for example, a family member who wrote up his resume saying his last job was as a warehouse Manager... he was not getting call-backs for more menial work so he removed the 'manager' part from applications and resumes. He was not lying - he did work in a warehouse lol. But removing the stigma of 'management' got him a job lickety split. People tend to write up one resume and give that to EVERY potential employer - where perhaps it might suit the situation better to have slightly different resumes for different types of jobs. If your resume looks like you are going to submit it to Wall Street, but you are applying to work the til at Burger King, imagine the manager who gets it - he will probably set it aside and go for a less qualified person. But if you send in a generic run of the mill resume detailing your years of service at various jobs (showing stability and stamina), but not quite so heavily detailed in all of your fantastic qualifications (for other jobs), maybe you will have a better chance.

If I were to make up a resume today for a job at the local newspaper office (which I have been thinking about for real), I would not hand them a detailed list of all my childcare qualifications for my current field - they would be bored to tears reading an endless list of child development courses... I would give them a resume with a point-by-point list of my JOBS, high school and college time, etc. I would imagine they would be more interested in seeing my longevity at any workplace, but not the nitty gritty 'childcare this, childcare that' part. So why do people insist on putting out resumes that have nothing to do with the jobs they are applying for? Perhaps if they put a little more effort into specifically targeting prospective employers, rather than showcasing details of their past qualifications for unrelated fields, they would have more chances as well?

It's worth a shot, don't you think? Some things you cannot avoid - like an application asking what your previous salary was (although in the case of the pizza delivery driver - why on earth was that question even on the form???), but you would appear to be more serious if you actually took the time to THINK about each job you are applying for, and act accordingly. If I was going to re-apply at Safeway, I would hand in a resume more detailed in my past history of working for them and two other grocery stores, with a general list of any differing jobs I have had since then (and again, no huge list of all the childcare courses I have taken). I would in effect be creating a resume specifically FOR that one job, and if I applied at another daycare center the next day, I would have my resume ready that was more detailed in THAT field, with a light gloss-over of my past in retail.

At my center, we receive resumes all the time that you can tell are just handed out willy nilly to any and every business around, with no particular attention paid to details. We get some that have 2 pages of very detailed previous careers in mechanics, business, retail, etc and a one-liner about finishing their childcare assistant course. Those resumes get put to the back of the pile because it does not give us enough detail about why they want to work with children, and not enough about their experience (volunteering, other courses taken, heck even number of years babysitting as a teen lol). I think it would help if more people were more serious about their careers and not get stuck in the hole that UI can eventually create - where you don't want to go off it because it 'pays' more than actually getting a different job.

4 comments:

  1. Good points. I would hasten to add that resumes that appear in the mailbox addressed to "To Whom It May Concern" find their way to the shredder even faster than junk mail.

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  2. My disclaimer: I have been very lucky perhaps in my past. I never went more than a couple of weeks without a job. I got fired from two, and quit one, and had another job very quickly afterwards. The rest I only left because I moved - so technically I quit, but it was circumstance, not because of the job itself. I moved to Germany and got a job working in a newspaper shop, which then led to some extra shifts in the neighbouring canteen. I volunteered at a playschool when I was bored out of my mind in a new town, and that led to me taking over two part-time shifts when the other workers moved away.

    I moved to England and got a job within a month despite my new employer not really being able to check my references in Canada (I'm sure they were ABLE but was it worth the phone bill for a cashier job? lol). I moved back to Canada with a 9 month old child and had another job within a month. And the list goes on. So I have been lucky, or I managed to present myself as a stable, dependable person. Who knows.

    But I do know that I have heard a lot of single moms at my work talking about how hard it is to find a job, but in the mall today I saw listings for 5 full time and 5 part time spots that do not require any former training/expertise.

    I suppose I could use my ex as an example too. He has talked about not having enough money, has been late with child support several times, but he refuses to do jobs outside his field to top up the cash. He could work at a gas station on his days off if he really wanted to earn more money, or he could have taken a job in a larger area so he was getting called out more (paramedic)... but he CHOSE not to do that. He actually told me that it was TOO BUSY. But now he is late again with support and struggling with his bills, so I can't help but wonder why he doesn't pull up anchor and move somewhere that would be much better for job prospects. For the past several years, Calgary has been BEGGING for paramedics and EMTs but he stayed rooted where there is less work......... that kinda stuff makes no sense to me.

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  3. Boy, you're sure good at pointing out the obvious aren't you? You must think that there are a lot of stupid people in countries with high unemployment rates.

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These are my views and opinions. If you don't agree or think I am sadly misguided, that is your view. Feel free to share your thoughts but I also reserve my right to moderate content (IE foul language, excessive flaming, etc).

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