Help Wanted: From graduation to gainful employment

Part-time to pass the time by Adam Clair
June 29, 2009, 3:55 pm
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Adam Clair

Adam Clair

I’ve been out of school and living at home for more than a month now, and the job market remains pretty sullen. I’m still looking, but I can’t rationalize sitting around all day at home waiting for a job offer.

Thus, I’ve taken a job in the marketing department of my dad’s architecture firm. The position (basically an intern) is not especially high-paid, and I’m not sure it’s a great use of my expertise or a place I’ll be able to gain many new skills, but I’m only committed for a few months. And since I’m living at home (and not paying rent or for most of my food), most of the money is saved. I had considered working in a bookstore or art supply store or something around my neighborhood, and while this is more of a commitment (40+ hours a week, plus, because I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and the office is in Center City, more than a two-hour round-trip commute each day), it’s probably a better resume-builder. It’s easier to find a job when you have a job, I’m told (daily).

In any case, when the job is up in a few months, I have several options. Provided there’s still work available, I can stay onboard at the firm, but in order to get raise and benefits, I’ll likely have to commit to more than a few more months at a time. If I decide against that (and given how far removed this job is from what I want to do longterm, it’s certainly a possibility), I can make a clean break and, if possible, work wherever else immediately. Or, I can just take another indefinite hiatus from the workforce while I make job-hunting my full-time job again. The last option I’m considering at this point is, with all the money I’ll have saved, moving cold to Athens, Ga., and working more intently on the book I’m writing about a group of musicians down there. Regardless, I have a few months to figure it all out. I do have to keep reminding myself that this is just temporary, though, that I’m only 22 and that I haven’t yet signed away my life.


Still on the job hunt by ahoffstrom
June 26, 2009, 3:10 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

I didn’t get the part-time position I interviewed for earlier this week. The company decided to hire the other candidate, but the owner told me over the phone it was very close. “Like flipping a coin,” he said.

Apparently, our experience was nearly a perfect match, but the other person had a little more Web experience than I do. He told me he would keep my name on file should the other person not work out or if they decide they need to hire an additional employee.

While this presents a setback in my plan for summer employment, I am feeling all right about it. Of course I am disappointed because I thought I was more than qualified for the job, but I have a couple other temporary and permanent opportunities I’m waiting to hear back from.

Rejection is hard to take, so if you are in the same boat I am, I feel your pain. All we can do is get back out there and hope that something even better comes along.

With that said, my plan is to keep applying for jobs and fall internships I find online. I found some openings today that I am interested in and will submit resumes over the weekend.

As I keep up the job search, I will also continue reporting on smoking bans for the nonprofit, State of the USA. I have a second draft due to the editor by July 8, so that will keep me busy for awhile. For those interested in reading my article on college mental health and suicide rates, you can find it here. It’s long, but I feel proud of it.

The Job Interview by ahoffstrom
June 24, 2009, 2:43 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

On the day of my first post-college interview, Mother Nature decided to make it the hottest day in Madison with a high of 94. So, I spent the morning trying to pick an outfit that looked professional but wouldn’t cause heat exhaustion. Something about the job description told me I could be business casual instead of business professional.

I think getting dressed is one of the hardest things about preparing for an interview. I absolutely did not want to look like a slob, and I know I didn’t. But when you’re interviewing for a part-time summer job, it’s hard to convince yourself to opt for the business suit.

To prepare, I also tried to think of possible questions my interviewer would ask me, considering what I would say my greatest strength and weakness are, and how to answer the all important, “where do you see yourself in five years?” With the current state of the media world, I think that one is the most difficult for me to answer.

It turns out my interview actually wasn’t a traditional interview at all. Instead, I spent five minutes hearing about the Web site I would work on if hired and the next 20 minutes filling out a job application, listing past employers and writing answers to many of the questions I had practiced. The final page was a short copy-editing test that I think I nailed. I was only verbally asked where I was from and whether I was looking for a short- or long-term position. It was a relatively relaxed atmosphere, and I can see myself writing and editing for the real estate Web site, if not after August, definitely for the summer.

As I was driving home, I heard the voice of my former adviser and job-search class teacher saying a simple Thank You note after an interview can make or break your chances of being hired. I wrote and put one in the mail as soon as I got home.

My potential new boss told me he has one other candidate to interview on Thursday and expects to make the hiring decision by the end of the day Friday. He said the position is very flexible and could coordinate around another part-time or full-time position. So, whether or not I get this one, I will still be on the lookout for a permanent job.

Possible lead on a summer position by ahoffstrom
June 19, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

As I mentioned in my last post, I saw a part-time writer and editor position open at a real estate company in Madison that I was thinking of applying to. After sending in my application materials on Sunday, I got a call to schedule an interview!

It took me a minute to remember what the position was since I’ve been applying to other positions, both full-time and part-time, and placing calls to sources for an article I’m writing about smoking bans. My mind was a bit distracted when I answered the phone, and hopefully, the time it took me to remember won’t cost me the job.

Once I realized who was talking to, I got really excited and scheduled the interview for the first available time slot: Tuesday at 1 p.m. I will use it as my time to shine, selling my skills and talent.

The company is “seeking someone who can give 15 to 20 hours per week (check), for at least 10 weeks (check, though I think my lease ends before that, but I’m sure something could be worked out). Very flexible on hours worked (Great, so am I!) Organization is creating a real estate-related Web site with an emphasis on the Dane County Area. It is not imperative that the person have a strong understanding of real estate (cool) … This person needs excellent grammar skills and comfort with editing (check). Employee will be working with text for multiple Web pages … skills in Web coding or programming not necessary, as writing and editing are primary” (awesome, writing and editing are my primary passions).

I’m not sure how many candidates I’m competing against for the position, but the job sounds ideal for my wish to stay in Madison for the summer, write, edit and make some money in the process. It will also give me a chance to get out of my apartment on a regular basis, something I desperately feel I need to do for my sanity.

Yes, my goal still is to find a more permanent, full-time job after August, but the job posting indicates there is a possibility that the person hired could eventually become part of the Web site staff. I really hope the interview goes well and I can write a post announcing my hire next week.

Waiting for an interview by ayhosier
Alexis Hosier

Alexis Hosier

I still haven’t landed my first interview. However, I have sent out a lot of resumes and DVDs showcasing my work. Now the waiting game begins. When my phone rings I hope it is for a job interview. I am currently applying for jobs at television stations and random places that have nothing to do with the field I studied in college.

While looking for my first full-time job, I am also applying for part time jobs just to have something to do and to make some money. This seems to be the theme with a lot of the people I graduated with. We need money so we end up working at the mall or waiting tables. I am not opposed to working at those places, it is just a hard pill to swallow when in the back of my mind, I know I have a bachelor’s degree.

I have been looking for jobs at, Emmis Communications, NCAA, Indiana Broadcasters Association and other popular job search sites such as Hotjobs on Yahoo. I am finding a lot of openings for positions that require five or more years experience. The entry-level positions are harder to find, but I have found that if you keep searching through the Web sites sometimes deep within the sites there are job openings. It is like a scavenger hunt for jobs.

No job but still reporting by ahoffstrom
June 15, 2009, 7:33 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

I wish I could say that I spent the last week actively seeking jobs to apply to, but that would be a lie. Since my last post, I’ve applied to one position: Interactive content editor for a fitness company in Minnesota.

I put off looking for a job last week to work on an article about student mental health and suicide. The article examines stress related to college life and how universities are trying to help students deal with the pressure. It was really interesting to talk with college counselors across the country and hear what outreach they do to help students in need.

While reporting, I found a poll in which 85 percent of students reported feeling stress daily—a serious statistic when stress can lead to depression. I also spoke to someone who said suicide in college is rare, partially because the routines that come with college are protective. He said summer is sometimes the worst for depression and suicide because students do not have as much to do.

After talking to him, I started thinking about how I no longer have a daily routine. I don’t want to give the impression that I am depressed, but I can understand the feeling of not knowing what to do without a routine. It’s been difficult to adjust to non-class and non-work life, especially when my roommates are taking summer classes and have summer jobs.

With that said, I am seriously thinking about finding a part-time job in Madison—something that will give me a routine again. I saw an opening for a part-time writer and editor at a real estate company over the weekend that I think I am going to apply to. Hopefully, I’ll have good news to report here soon.

This coming week will be much of the same in terms of looking for long-term jobs, because I will be reporting for a new nonprofit organization, The State of the USA. I’m working on an article about statewide smoking bans and whether or not they actually reduce the number of smokers. I think it’s an interesting time to be writing it when Congress just passed legislation that will allow the FDA to regulate tobacco products for the first time in history.

Settling in at home and at work by jssutton
June 11, 2009, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
John Sutton

John Sutton

Today will be my first official day working as a copy editor for The Star-Ledger, while I must admit I am a little nervous about the prospect of starting a new job, it is very exciting because I actually have a job only a month after graduation in this economy.

The job is a one-year copy editing internship with the Ledger mostly reading sports. Wednesday I drove in to Newark from my home in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., for training with the new program they will use in the newsroom called Jazbox. The sports department will not be using this system for another two weeks so today I must get used to the old system called Newsmaker and quickly forget it once Jazbox is implemented.

The entire process is filled with many changes and new ventures that I have never encountered before in my career. I do not have much experience copy editing or writing headlines and cutlines, but I will have to adapt quickly in the new job.

One of the aspects of my life for the next year that will remain the same is the fact that I will still be living in Atlantic Highlands with my parents for the entire year. This situation has its pros and its cons. While I might have originally dreamed of moving out to the West Coast where the weather is warmer and I would be on my own, I can’t complain about my current situation.

I will be able to save tons of money by living at home, perhaps the best pro of the entire deal. My parents are not making me pay rent while I am living at home and my food will be paid for by my parents for the most part. This will make my biggest expense gas as I make the 30-plus mile commute to Newark everyday for work.

This will allow me to save up some money and maybe even start paying off some of the loans that will begin to pile up very soon. I just might be able to have some extra money around that could pay for some trips out to the West Coast to visit some friends during the one week of vacation that I will have during the year.

The cons of living at home are obvious. I will have to re-adjust to living back with my parents after four years of freedom at Syracuse. The social life I had in school will obviously be much different at home because of the significantly lower numbers of friends who will be around, and the fact that it just simply isn’t cool to have parties in the house while your parents are sitting on the couch watching the Mets game.

In the end, I really can’t complain about my situation. I have a job in journalismand that’s not an eay task. I do love my family so it is not the worst thing in the world to be living with them for the next year. Overall, I am excited to see where this year takes me and very happy with how my post-graduation life has gone thus far.