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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    32

    Need tips/advice: looking for a job

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    I think I need some advice.

    i've mostly had temp jobs here and there and I'm not done with my college degree yet. I have more volunteer work than real jobs. So I'm searchin' but no one wants to hire someone with no experience even at a restaurant or as a barista.

    why are all job applications online now? and have to ask me the same multiple choice questions over and over for each company? I feel like I've never had any luck apply for jobs online. I'm assuming their system looks for keywords in your resume or something.

    If I'm looking for a job even if it's at the mall should I be dressed nicely? Would it be weird to weird to go in while in my bike jersey and leggings asking if a place is hiring? haha. It's just sometimes I'll be riding and want to go in and ask if they are hiring but then I realize I'm wearing my bike jersey so I don't go in.

    When I ask some places if they are hiring like coffee shops or bike shops they ask me if I know how to make coffee or fix a bike but I've never made "real" coffee or know how to fix bikes other than basic maintenance. How can I get those kinds of jobs with no real experience in those settings?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,176
    It is hard to put yourself out there!

    Keep looking, ask everyone all the time. Look good, be well groomed, smile. Say that you love their coffee and can hardly wait to learn how to make it. Say that you love this particular mall store because of the smell, or the colors, or the lighting or whatever--especially if it looks like someone worked to make that so.

    A wise man said: A good student is one that makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.
    It is also true that the good job seeker is one that makes the (potential) employer feel good.

    Most of the time you won't get a job. Maybe only one time in a hundred or a thousand, so get out there and start asking your hundred or thousand people.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I may be very old fashioned, so consider this advice like you were getting it from your mother.
    You need to be dressed nicely, even when just going in to get an application or inquire about openings. I have found that wearing a small, but unique accessory, like a pin, sometimes is a conversation starting piece. It sounds weird, but true. Although I have no compunction about wearing bike clothes in any setting, I wouldn't wear them when trying to get a job.
    What have you done in your volunteer work? Take those skills and try to make them into something you can apply in a paid job.
    If you are in school, use your university/college career services office. They are extremely helpful and often have part time job listings for students. They can advise you on how to use the web, how to dress, how to revamp your resume to help you get a job. And, if you are a student, it's free.
    I met with the director of career services just before I got my master's in clinical mental health counseling in 2011. I put my resume on their web site and had them review it. I also spoke to her about the age discrimination issue. She was great; she told me that I had done the right thing by putting my volunteer bike trip leader experience on my resume, as it shows I am fit and active, and also, she noted that I don't dress like an old lady! This was not offensive at all, since she is about my age. On the other hand, someone who graduated with me and is my age got a bit of a different "talk." In other words, the career services director was diplomatic, but honest, in a way that helped the other person get a job.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    As someone who hires recent college grads exclusively, I may have a tiny insight into what you are going through.

    Yes, most companies use online systems now. And they do ask a lot of repeat questions or the same questions show up for multiple jobs. It mostly goes towards record keeping and streamlining things on the hiring end. Don't let it discourage you! When you are applying for a job, don't just apply for everything. Read the descriptions carefully and apply to the positions for which you think you'd be the best fit (that align with your experience or background). Blanketing a company by applying for every single entry level position or internship without regard for what the job is will not get you hired (ask me how I know!).

    That said, I think it is totally fine for you to ask if a business is hiring (and perhaps ask for an application) while in bike clothes. Just don't show up for a scheduled interview that way!

    Have you tried online tools like Monster or Indeed? These systems pull job postings from all over the world and consolidate them into a place where you can search for them and then have a resume online to make application easier.

    Also, do not hesitate to pull every string you can. There is zero shame in using a guidance counselor, a parent, a dentist, the friend of your hair dresser, your sisters boyfriend's third cousin, etc as a source for information. If they can get you names of people they know at places that might be hiring, it's a start. And let every single person you know that you are on the hunt for a job or an internship. Tell them what you are looking for and ask them to keep their eyes open. It is mind-boggling how many jobs are gotten through random contacts.

    Check with your school for 'industry' events sponsored by student groups, academic departments or career services. I've attended many of these as a rep for my company where seniors (or just students) from different majors get to mingle with industry people. It's a great way to get to know what is out there and to get yourself in front of people. In fact, one of my engineering internships came about because I had the balls to sit down at a table with the CEO of a company during one such event and chat him up. I impressed him and he created an internship to suit me the following summer! So the idea is to make some contacts and keep in touch with them. You never know where the next person you meet may lead you. And, in that vein, don't go out in public looking like you don't care about life. Bike clothes are one thing...PJ bottoms and dirty/messy hair are something else. That random person who is looking at canteloupes next to you at the grocery store could be your in to your next job!

    Another idea would be to seek out non-traditional ways of getting experience. Internships (paid or not) are great for this. Volunteering could be a good route. Seek out professors at your school that do the things you want to do and see if they need help in any way. I got most of my engineering experience from internships and assisting professors before I had graduated. And from a hiring manager's perspective (at my company anyway), internships are sometimes critical to whether or not a manager will even consider a recent grad at all. And some companies offer training programs, so I would a little research there in your area of interest. When I graduated with a BA in Sociology from a liberal arts college, I lucked out and landed a position in a department store 'executive training program' where they paid us to learn for the first few months and then...if we were lucky...we got permanent jobs as department managers. That program is long since shut down, but I'm sure there are others out there if you look. I know that my company is looking to implement something like that in the next 5 years, so I'm sure others are as well.

    Lastly, don't give up. It's a difficult process and the work-world is not kind to recent grads (depending on degree - if you have an MSEE with an RF specialty - send me your resume, we are hiring!!) these days. Don't get discouraged and do get creative.
    Last edited by GLC1968; 11-19-2012 at 02:22 PM.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    40
    Job searching can be so frustrating. Fortunately I haven't had to do it in a while, but I do conduct interviews.

    I agree with Crankin that you should always look good, even if you are just picking up an application. That doesn't mean you should wear a suit, but unless you are applying to a bike shop, don't wear a jersey. I also agree to check with the job placement offices at school. Also let your professors know that you are searching. When we open a new candidate search, the first person I call is my graduate advisor.

    Think about the challenges you faced in the temp jobs or volunteering. Did you have to work with a lot of people and personalities? Handle high-pressure situations? Learn new skills quickly? Operate on a shoestring budget? Organize other volunteers? Parley these into skills on your resume.

    When they ask if you know how to make coffee or fix a bike, don't tell them what you don't know; tell them what you do know. "I do small repairs on my bike, but have limited tools... I am very mechanical and learn quickly... I help my friends do simple repairs on their bikes..."

    Also, when you apply on-line, notice the key words in the ad and tailor your resume to include those words. Whether it is scanned by a computer or a person, those words will be picked up on. Just don't turn your resume into a stream of jargon. And do NOT use the same resume for every job.

    Good luck.
    I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood--Susan B. Anthony

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,023
    Re: asking about jobs while in biking clothes - I forgot that I live in the Portland area where biking clothes in all forms are kind of a 'norm'. I don't know where you live, but if you are on the east coast like Crankin is, she's absolutely right. You probably should look a little more presentable.

    I have gotten so used to the ridiculously laid back attitude of the west coast that I forgot that not all places are like this!
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    Best of luck. At minimum, just wearing a pair of dress pants and plain classic shirt with good shoes would be suitable for alot jobs in retail area for interviews.

    For professional positions, you need to throw on a dress jacket to match pants. Note: I didn't say skirt, but still applicable. Unless you are in the design/creative sector is better to look neat, polished and organized. Not scattered fashionable.

    Alot of major employers even for their higher paying positions. require one applies for job via their database. It's a way for managing the information for an organization. Time-consuming/space-consuming to keep paper.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

 

 

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