Guys (and Gals), I need your input.

Posted March 22, 2009 by CindyBurns
Categories: Uncategorized

Don’t be shy. If you want this blog to continue to be about being unemployed, finding a job, etc. you need to tell me. I know people are reading this because the hit counter keeps going up, but I feel like I’m talking to myself. To be really helpful, this thing has to be interactive. You need to tell me your stories, tell me your needs, share your trials, tribulations and eventually your sucesses. (Because you all will succeed eventually.)

If I don’t get some comments in the next couple of days, I’ll be changing the focus of the blog. It will still be Time to Make the Donuts, but it will focus on my critique of television commercials. (Some of you are hopefully old enough to remember the Dunkin’ Donuts commercials featuring the phrase, “time to make the donuts.”)

So, if that idea sounds lame to you or you want this blog to remain unchanged, you have to let me know. Please?

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Should I end the blog?

Posted March 19, 2009 by CindyBurns
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s been about a month since I last posted. That’s pretty sad since I started out writing every day.  My apologies to any loyal readers.

I think I stopped writing because I was in a funk.  I was spending all day thinking and worrying about finding a job.  I’ve redone my resume more times that I care to count.  We had gotten to the point where money was becoming very tight and the phone was ringing from creditors wanting to know where their money was.  I was very honest and everyone was very understanding and some were even helpful in making payment arrangements that would fit in with our new budget.

This afternoon, I spoke with a very nice woman at Alltel about downgrading our cell phone service.  It ended up that I couldn’t do it because the account is in my husband’s name and he would have to make the call.  Before she hung up, she said, “Don’t worry Honey. You’ll get a job soon.”  I laughed a little at that because that’s what I thought 3 months ago.

Almost as soon as I hung up the phone, it rang.  This time, it was a woman offering me a job.  Not just any job but a job as a QA Lead in a stable medical transcription company – my field!  It didn’t matter to this company that I don’t have cable or DSL.  I didn’t waste any time accepting the offer.

Guess how I found this job?  I didn’t.  It found me.  A former co-worker is the recruiter for this company and she read this blog.  She called me a couple of weeks ago to see if I’d be interested if a slot opened up.  Of course I was interested, but there was no guarantee of when or if a job would be available any time soon.  I got lucky that someone decided to retire and my friend told her boss that I was the only person that she would consider for the job.  (Thank you, Annie!)  Now, I have to live up to the hype, I guess.

So, an online presence got me a job.  Not just a job but a job I actually want.  My advice to everyone looking for a job is to network, network, network.  Tell all your real life friends, relatives and acquaintances that you are looking for work.  Use the internet.  Twitter away!  Blog.  Go to message boards and forums.  Use My Space and Face Book and LinkdIn.  Leave no stone unturned.  A job will open up and you will be gainfully employed too.

The funny thing about all this is that I had this window open to write in the blog before I got that call today.  I was going to update you all on how my search was going or not going.  I was even thinking of selling cars!  (Yeah, in this economy a dealership near me is actually advertising for a salesperson.)

So.  Is anyone interested in continuing to read this blog if I continue to write it? Is “One Woman’s Job Search” appropriate now?  Do you still want to hear about all the things I did, any ideas I have, any suggestions that pop into my head?  Would you like to have a place to come and share your unemployment woes, joys, failures, successes?  Maybe there’s enough of that online.  Maybe I don’t qualify any more.  I will write if you will read.  Just let me know.

Love you all!

Please read the comment to the previous post.

Posted February 13, 2009 by CindyBurns
Categories: Uncategorized

Stan made some really good comments and gave some great advice in his comment on  my previous post, Let Your Fingers Do The Walking.  I would have reprinted it as a new post, it’s that good.  But I don’t have his e-mail address in order to get his permission.  (Of course I would have given him the credit!)

Seriously, what he has to say is too good not to read.   I really think some of you will find it very useful.  Please read it and leave your own comments.

Let Your Fingers Do The Walking

Posted February 12, 2009 by CindyBurns
Categories: Uncategorized

I had the bright idea of using the local yellow pages to find companies where I’d like to work. I’ve lived in this area only 4 years and worked from home during that time. So, my local contacts and knowledge of the area have been limited.  What better way to get to know what’s out there than the yellow pages, right?

I started at the beginning, with the letter A, of course.  The very first category was Abortion Alternatives.  Not quite my cup of tea.  Scanning the next few pages came up with lots of accountants and attorneys.  I have no accounting or legal background, but do I really need that to answer phones, file, keep a schedule and other assorted administrative assistant duties?  So, I dog-eared those pages since there were too many to bother writing on my handy dandy legal pad.  I skipped anything automotive.  I have no real car knowledge and zero desire to sell or fix them.  On second thought, car dealers and large repair shops do need office support.  Okay, going back to dog-ear those pages too.

Now I have about 30 pages dog-eared and I haven’t even started the B’s.  Sigh.

Maybe this wasn’t such a hot idea after all.  I mean, really, what’s my next step?  Do I call each of these businesses and ask if they currently have a need for office support services?  Do I mass mail my resume to them all?  Do I spend the next 3 weeks personally visiting each place of business and still only getting through the A’s?

Sometimes a good idea is just that.  A good idea.  It should stay in the idea phase because putting it into practice is not practical.

Have any of you used the yellow pages to target your job search?  I can see where it might work if you knew the type of business where you wanted to work.  But what if you don’t?  What if your skillset can apply to multiple industries?  I’d really love to know your thoughts and experiences on this.  Don’t be shy.  Share!

Some Interesting Links

Posted February 8, 2009 by CindyBurns
Categories: Uncategorized

Help a job seeker.

E-mail tips for job seekers.

Why the internet is bad for resumes.

Craigslist job postings. Real or scam?

Posted February 5, 2009 by CindyBurns
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been applying to jobs posted on my local craigslist.  Some of them seem to be right up my alley but they are blind ads, so I have no way of knowing the actual company.  I don’t mind that so much.  If they want me for an interview, they’ll tell me who they are then and I’ll have a little time to find something out about the company.

Unfortunately, pretty much every e-mail I send has been replied to with another e-mail asking me to go to a web site to complete the application process.  Even though the web sites sometimes have different names, they all have the same form to complete and all end up at the same place:  http://career-network.com.  You fill out some very basic information and are given options to find out more about starting a business, getting more education, or getting help with your credit.  You are given the option of saying no to all of these, and I decline them all.  It’s my understanding that this type of advertising allows the site to be free for employers and job seekers.  You then upload your resume, even if you’ve done it multiple times in the past.  (You all do know not to include your SS# in a resume, don’t you?)

After jumping through these hoops, you are then told that your resume is being sent to the employer and your application will be updated within 24 hours.  The next day, you get another e-mail telling you to finalize the application process.  When you go to “your” home page, you see all the jobs you’ve applied for and the status.  If any are pending, you click on them and go through the same basic questions and refuse the optional offers.  Eventually, you get to a page where you are asked to enter your references.  They seem to send out e-mail to your references almost immediately and it appears that they need to complete one for each job you apply to.  If you apply for 5 jobs in one day, your friends and colleagues will get 5 different e-mails that take them to the same online form for each job.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve completed 13 of these applications and have yet to hear from an employer.  I haven’t really noticed any increase in spam and my friends and colleagues aren’t complaining about the many reference requests.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if I’m wasting my time.  Is this some kind of data mining scheme?  Are there real jobs behind these craiglist ads?  (Each ad and each followup e-mail are worded differently and really do sound legit.)  Have you had any experience with this?  Good or bad?  If you’d rather not leave a public comment, please use the contact form or send me a tweet or direct message at http://twitter.com/cindyburns and I’ll DM you back with my e-mail address.  THANKS!

Turn Rejection Into a Lead

Posted February 4, 2009 by CindyBurns
Categories: Uncategorized

I have no idea why I didn’t think of this before.

When I’m shopping for a specific item and a particular store doesn’t have it, I ask if they know where I can find it. Very often the salesperson will direct me to one or two places.

Today, I met with a recruiter for a staffing service. (I found out they don’t call themselves employment agencies these days.) She was very helpful. Well, as helpful as she could be. They didn’t really have anything for me and she didn’t think she would for at least a couple more months. But, instead of ending the conversation there and sending me on my way, she gave me some suggestions on places to apply on my own. Of course, she couldn’t guarantee anything but they were places that I hadn’t thought of myself.

I’m going to follow her lead. The next time someone tells me that they aren’t hiring or accepting applications at this time, I’ll ask if they anticipate needing someone in a few months. If that’s a dead end, I’ll ask if they know of any companies that are hiring or places where I might be a better fit. It can’t hurt. Or can it?

What do you think? Is this a good plan? Have you done anything like this? How did it work for you?