Interviewing Tips/unable to find job
Hello. For the past 4.5 years, I have struggled tremendously with getting a good job. In fact, I have not managed to get a good or even decent full-time job in that time period. A lot of that time, I was totally unemployed, and the rest of the time I worked either at a temporary minimum wage labor job or at a job that was just a few hours of work per week. By this time I am very frustrated and discouraged. I am not sure what to do anymore.
I have applied to many jobs, have gone to job fairs, have had some interviews, and have had help from employment specialists with improving my interviewing skills and my resume. I have also acquired more interviewing outfits. I have also moved to a different city where the job market is supposed to be better. Even just in the past four months, I have applied to over 200 jobs, so I am definitely making an effort. I also pray about the situation daily. Unfortunately, none of this has appeared to help.
I have a bachelorís degree and two masterís degrees. All three degrees are in the social sciences, so they might not be considered to be in the most marketable fields. However, all of them also took me longer than the normal or ideal amount of time to complete. I was in school for nearly 10 years, and it seems it should have at least helped with getting a job. I still need to make significant college loan payments, but that has been put on hold for the time being.
(For a long time, my goal was to obtain a PhD and then to work as a college professor. However, as the years went by and that goal was still not accomplished, I became worried also about my bad work history. For some time now, I have decided to focus on work. I had hoped to obtain a good job, then to enroll in an online doctoral program. However, that has not happened since I have not managed to get a job.)
The kind of job I would prefer at this point is an office job at a university. I had that kind of job before when I was between degrees. It paid decently and was not very difficult. I seems like the ideal kind of work for me to do, and I figure with that kind of job I should also earn enough money and have enough energy left over after work to be able to get moving on that online doctoral degree. I would like to work at such a job full-time and attend school part-time.
The problem, of course, is that I have just not managed to get a full-time job, especially not one that pays more than minimum wage. I have been completely unemployed for some time and am currently living in a homeless shelter. I apply for many different kinds of jobs, not just the ones I think I would really like. But I havenít had any success. It seems as if I donít know how to get my foot in the door.
This has been very upsetting to me. People often mention that the job market is bad, but that has been said for years, and usually the people saying that have great jobs. While the unemployment rate is significant, it is considerably less than 10%. That means more than 90% of people do have jobs. I would like to no longer be part of that unfortunate unemployed minority.
Even years ago (long before that 4.5 years of unemployment/scanty employment), I struggled with getting jobs. Sometimes in those days, I settled for working part-time in fast food restaurants. However, since I was so much younger then and not yet that educated, it seemed acceptable at the time. Later, sometimes I got jobs when someone I knew ďpulled stringsĒ to help me get a job. However, currently there is no one in my life who would do that for me.
I have tried different approaches. I have tried calling places if I applied to jobs online to notify them that I have applied and that I am definitely interested in the job. Many of the jobs I apply for do not require one to have much education, so a lot of times I do not mention all of my degrees anymore. Someone interviewing me last month asked why I would apply for a job as a dishwasher when I have a bachelorís degree (I didnít even mention the two masterís degrees), but the truth is, Iím just desperate at this point since I havenít been getting ANY job. I should mention though that more recently someone pointed out to me again how important it is to fine-tune each resume to fit a particular job. I have even applied at some temporary agencies. Iím not sure what more I could do.
Being homeless and so stuck in life has really taken its toll on me. I donít know how much longer it might last, or how much longer I can take it. I have been contemplating suicide. I donít seem to know how to get out of this situation, or how to get my foot in the door, so to speak, to a better life.
Do you have any suggestions? Is there anything that can be done?
This request will require quite a bit of additional feedback so I will start with a few tips and then we can keep in touch to move you forward a few steps at a time.
1. The degrees in Social Sciences are not going to hinder landing a job in certain industries or fields as it is the skill and ability to do the work and your previous work history that is most important; unless specifically stated in the requirements of a job posting, as long as you have the background to help the company accomplish their goals then you should be able to bypass the fact that your degrees are in that specific area.
2. Do you have a LinkedIn.com profile?
Fill the profile with a the copy from your resume to complete.
If not, I encourage you to do so and once created begin to invite every and any professional or contact you can think of to connect. LinkedIn.com is a valuable tool, it is FREE, and used by recruiters and hiring managers to find talent. LinkedIn.com has a higher landing rate then the job boards like Monster. One of the better job boards, if you choose to use a job board, is INDEED.com.
3. Network, network, network. Someone you know, knows someone, looking for you and your background. You must tell everyone and anyone what you desire. Face to Face communication develops a more sound relationship for referral. It is important when going to any event to extend yourself. I take it from your request that you would have comfort meeting new people?
P.S. While I realize money is tight, creating a business card on Vistaprint.com with your name, email address, and phone number (if you have one) is professional when networking and looking for a job. Vistaprint.com runs specials for first time customers: 250 cards are FREE and you pay the shipping (Can you ship to a relative or friend's home?).
4. Contact the Career Services of each of the universities/colleges where you acquired your master's and bachelor's degrees for support. They have specific lanes for alumni in career services to assist you in the process and due to your financial status they are cost free as you completed their programs and they will also be able to support your efforts in looking for a job.
5. The best plan of attack is to target companies/universities versus just the job itself. Most people go right to job boards looking for a job, however, only a small percentage of those postings are actually relevant and/or filled or landed. The best plan is a number of approaches, job boards, networking, target specific companies and asking friends/family to keep a watchful eye for opportunities.
Most reasonably sized organizations have their own career portals that funnel directly into the company and you can bypass the job boards and see all relevant possibilities.
6. Your local library has FREE Internet access if you are limited by your circumstances regarding the use of technology to uncover opportunities and create your profiles.
Please assess, above suggestions, and then we can continue the conversation once you have taken the above steps. This forum is a bit limiting, however, I am on LinkedIn.com and also on Facebook, so feel free to connect on those sites with me, as well. Thank you, Lisa and I will keep you in my thoughts.
Also, go to Thumbtack.com, Elance.com, and Flexjobs.com one of those sites may be able to use your background to get some money in the door while you are looking for a more stable role.
Denise Anne Taylor, Career Catalyst