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.

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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.



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.



One less job seeker by jssutton
June 9, 2009, 5:36 pm
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John Sutton

John Sutton

Last week, I received some of the best news I have heard in a long time. I was brought in for a second interview for the copy editing internship with The Star-Ledger. Just as I arrived back home from Newark, I got a phone call from Mark Miller, the man I had the first interview with last week.

He was calling to tell me he wanted to offer me the position. Therefore, pending the results of a drug test, which I don’t see how I could fail, I have a job as a copy editing intern for one year.

Finally having this job secured, or a job of any kind for that matter, iss such a load off my mind considering how tough it has been over the past 10 months of searching for a job.  I no longer have to worry about sending out resumes and networking all the time. It also means that I will be able to make some money, which is great considering the student loan payments that are quickly approaching.

The Ledger is also a great paper to start my career. While there have been many layoffs there over the past year and the job might only be under a year contract, I am extremely excited to start working there and start my career.

I have to thank my friend Matt Gelb who is interning with the Ledger for the summer and who I worked with during my time with The Daily Orange in Syracuse. He was the one who let me know about the job and gave me some of the connections that helped me get the job. I would have never known about the opening if it wasn’t for that, and the job hunting process would still be going for me.

Although I might end up being back on the job market in only a year, for now I can relax. I start training with the Ledger on Wednesday but am still not sure when I start full-time. The process should be interesting and I am excited to start.



Passion vs. paycheck by ahoffstrom
June 8, 2009, 12:42 pm
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Amanda Hoffstrom

Amanda Hoffstrom

Being unemployed with three months remaining on my apartment lease in Madison made it difficult to justify spending the summer anywhere else. So, I’m back at my college apartment, reminded daily that I am no longer a student and I need to find a job.

My personal job-search consultant, i.e. my dad, fills my e-mail inbox with job postings nearly everyday. He’s in human resourcing for a living, so finding jobs for people is his natural calling. Some of the openings he sent me include marketing positions, assistant editor positions, and federal government and higher education positions.

In speaking to some of my recently graduated friends who are also unemployed, we all seem to have a similar dilemma: Is it best to apply to everything and anything we see or is it okay to be somewhat selective?

Though the postings I’ve seen are related to my degree, some of my friends have talked about taking unrelated interim positions to bring in a paycheck. Is it seen as desperate to take a “right now” position while we look for something more permanent in our chosen fields?

My parents would say it is best to apply to everything I see regardless of whether or not it’s what I really want to do, where I want to live, or if I fill all of the requirements listed on the position’s description. Apply, apply, apply they say. I’m not sure. I want to be passionate about what I’m doing.

I will keep looking at the openings my dad sends me and apply to the ones I can see myself fitting into. I have applied to a couple positions that I hope will result in interviews, one that my dad did actually alert me to, so I will write about any updates should I hear back from them.

In the meantime, I am working on some summer reporting projects that will keep my learned skills fresh. I’m not getting paid to write, but I was never paid for the majority of my articles in college and I still found the experience incredibly rewarding. I expect the articles I write this summer will give me the same feeling.