Tag Archives: job search

Remember to Thank the People Who Help You Out in Your Job Search

I have always been a huge advocate of helping people. Whether I am doing it for friends, family or complete strangers, I am always willing to lend a hand.

Recently, I have received a lot of calls and emails from people in the industry looking for PR work. Some are just out of school, some are looking for a career change and sadly, some have been laid off.

Having been out of work for over a year in 2009, I am more than happy to offer any assistance in that department. I know how important connections are and how beneficial networking can be, which is why I don’t think twice about giving back. Help was given to me when I needed it, so I like to think I’m paying it forward.

Recently however, I have found that acquaintances and people who have reached out to me because they are connected to me personally or professionally have zero appreciation for my help. Now don’t get me wrong, my close friends don’t fall into this bucket, but I find it so hard to believe that anyone that offers you help or that you look to for guidance  (especially someone you don’t know all that personally) doesn’t even bat an eye when you’re giving up your time for them.

For example, a guy I work with asked if there were PR openings in my department and if I could assist his friend Cindy with some leads I might be aware of. I was happy to help. The girl reached out to me and I sent her names of recruiters and some background info. I never heard from her again.

A former colleague asked if I could help a family friend apply to a media program my company was hiring for. She reached out to me and I submitted her resume along with a recommendation (it turns out she was also an alumna of my alma mater). I emailed to let her I had done the paperwork and gotten her resume to human resources. I also reached out to the man I used to work with to give him an update. Neither acknowledged my contribution.

A few months ago, a friend reached out to me to see if I could help her friend in his job search. I sent him some listings I knew of from PR groups I was a part of and also some tips on what helped me with my job search. He fell off the planet. When I told our friend, she seemed surprised, but it didn’t make a difference.

Look, I don’t need to be thanked for every single thing I do (hello, I work in PR, one of the most thankless jobs out there), but if you don’t know me, and if you do, but not really all that well, show a little appreciation that I went out of my way for you. I know people’s situations change and life is hectic, but you should never burn bridges. I learned that early on in my career. If someone is willing to take time out of their schedule to help you in a job search or anything else for that matter, make sure to recognize their efforts. It’s really not hard.

So to all you folks who are “networking” and “connecting,” don’t forget those that are trying to help you. It’ll go a long, long way.

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How’d You Get THAT From My Resume?

Information Security Analyst. Licensed Practical Nurse. Project Engineer. Screen Printer. Speech-Language Pathologist. Intern.

Do any of these scream Public Relations / Communications professional to you? Yeah, me neither. But for some reason, they always seem to pop up in my daily job alerts.

I subscribe to a lot of job boards that automatically send you searches each day in an effort to “weed out” the jobs that don’t match your skill set or preferred job type. I have tailored these alerts time and again to meet my specific criteria.  After a year of job hunting, I have come to the conclusion that these saved job searches are a piece of crap.

I don’t know how anything in my resume would qualify me to be an Information Security Analyst. My specialties are internal and external communications, writing, and media strategies; not cyber threats and computer technology.  C’mon CareerBuilder, get your act together!

While there might be some similarities in the words in my resume and the professions listed above (can anyone say COMMUNICATIONS?), doesn’t nearly everyone have communications in their resume these days? Don’t we all possess communications skills in one way or another? Interpersonal, oral, visual, written, etc.? In this day of technological advancement, isn’t there some tool that can separate these jobs from one another? I mean, are the nurse, screen printer and project engineer getting my PR listings?

The job hunt is a daily struggle in and of itself.  The last thing any jobless person needs is a worthless job alert.  So to all the career sites out there that send automated job alerts, please do your due diligence to the unemployed and send the right jobs to your subscribers or don’t send any at all!

How Can I Apply for a Job Online When Your Site Doesn’t Work?

I have been applying for jobs for the last few months. It’s not a fun process. Sometimes I do it through a job site such as Hotjobs, Careerbuilder, Monster; the “Big Three” as we call them here in my household. Other times, there is a direct email address where I can send my resume and cover letter directly to the employer and/or their human resources department. Finally, there is the online site in which companies make you use their online employment portal to apply for job. Sometimes you cannot even get an interview even when someone wants to meet with you without going through this type of system. I hate online employment portals. Here’s why…

I’ve read what I need to apply for said job. I have the qualifications and materials needed to move forward in the application process. I go through the 25 steps it takes to sign up, sign in and register with the company in order to apply. Nine times out of 10, I have to fill out my job history and also paste or attach my resume. I think this is a waste of time because if you are going to read my resume, why am I spending all this time filling in boxes that you can read on the database anyway. I usually have to attach or paste something or I cannot move forward with the application, so why reiterate my entire job history? In addition, sometimes I am asked for samples of my work, but I am only permitted to attach one document…my resume. Make sense? Doesn’t to me either.

I can recite my resume and past job experience by heart. I have filled it out so many times on sites such as these. I understand they may be helpful to human resource professionals by weeding out those of us who don’t exactly match the job description. But does anyone even read what is written on those sites? Or what about how it says this will be helpful in matching you with other opportunities that come along? None of this ever happens. Who knows, maybe this is all true and I am just a pessimist. 

The reason I am writing this piece is not so much because I have to do double the work to apply for jobs on an online portal. I am writing it because I get frustrated when these sites don’t work. I have spent countless hours signing up on these types of sites, from the NJ Department of Labor to large and small corporations throughout the U.S. to job listing sites such as the ones I mentioned above. The problem is, you spend all this time filling in boxes and information and when you get to the end, it doesn’t take. Messages like, “Your request cannot be processed,” or “Invalid submission,” things that don’t make any sense to you because you were careful to fill out everything just as your were supposed to. All the formatting and character counting, it doesn’t stick or take and you’re back at square one by no fault of your own. You can press “back” on your computer, you can call a human resources specialist at a company (but at that point, you are hoping to just get their email and send your resume directly!) or throw your hands up in frustration and give up. I have done all three!

It’s hard enough to find a job in this economy. Even when it wasn’t so bad, it’s still not fun looking for a new job. But to add insult to injury, those of us looking for new gigs are left with wasted time and a failed chance at applying for a job that we might be the perfect fit for. I ask, employers, please make sure your online application sites work. Listen to the messages we leave on your voicemail about it. You are probably losing out on some really great, talented applicants because your systems don’t work properly. And that is a great shame for us all.