Saturday, December 31, 2011

This last year

It has been an exciting year for me all around. A little over a year ago I started my "Get the Job" group on Facebook, a couple of weeks ago I started this blog. I've also written a couple of books on hunting for jobs. One of the books "Additional Considerations" I made available as a freebie and a lot of copies have been downloaded. I've even had some success in my actual job in retail and am now working 40 hours per week now.

Why I started the Facebook group was that I wanted to help some with their job hunts. There are so many people that are looking for jobs that I wanted to do a little something about it. This blog is kind of an extension of that desire to help people. The reason for the books is also to help some job hunters, mainly my 20 year old Sons in their job hunt. If the books help some others also that is even better. If this next years goes as well as the last one has I've feel extremely blessed.

Enjoy the new year, I wish you much success.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Advertising and your resume

This morning I was watching some TV and I started paying attention to the advertisements. My thoughts became drawn to how those ads and a resume really are rather similar in some ways. Both of them are selling a product, in the resume the product is you. The more effective it is will make a difference in how often you get calls from employers. One of the things that I noticed most about the TV ads is that the most effective ones have very few words. This applies to resumes also, they also need to have very few words but yet they need to say a lot. It takes time to do that effectively.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

A look into the future

To look into the future you need to look into the past and then you can extrapolate what may happen. This is something that I learned years ago when I was learning how to work on computers in a correspondence course. I simply looked at what computing was in 1974 and what computing was in 1994 when I was taking the course. The thing that noticed was the fact that the 1974 computer was rather large and couldn't do too much. The 486 that I had in 1994 could actually do more and there was also a size difference in the two. By extrapolating I envisioned that a computer would eventually be something that you could hold in your hand and pretty much do everything. Smart phones and tablets are definitely living up to the promise that I dreamed all of those years ago.

While there are some that will disagree with where I think computing will be headed. I'm forseeing that we will have neural interfaces, that we will have our computers inside us instead of something we carry. Some people will be a bit scared of that thought, that you won't be able to be disconnected ever. In fact I think that if you aren't constantly connected in this way you won't be able to find a job in 2030.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prepaid cell phones

Another thing that has occurred is the ability to always be connected at all times wherever you are. In fact, there now seems to be an expectation that you are connected at all times by employers. There's a bit of a surprise if you aren't available constantly these days. While it might not be entirely welcome to constantly have a cell phone with you it really is necessity. You could easily have a prepaid cell phone, they can be a very good choice. If you have per minute prepaid service it can be rather expensive I'll warn you. At one time I had a couple of prepaid phones and I remember well that they cost 25 cents per minute. While the cost has came down a lot they still are very expensive if you're paying by the minute.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Being mobile

One thing that is extremely important in this job market is to be reachable where you are at. It will continue to be so long into the future also. This means that you do need a cell phone with you at all times during the day. The days of having a message number are long gone and are never coming back again. While you don't need a phone like the Blackberry that I am using to write this posting you do need at a minimum a basic phone with basic service. This will ensure that you are reachable at any time that you might get the call from an employer.

Several years ago I eliminated a home phone completely since working for a cell phone company for a while. We even use wireless for our home internet service today and will probably never again have a wired connection. I've found it to be very useful to be able to be completely mobile. Now I even have the capability to post a resume while walking down the street. While you don't need smart phone capability to find a job I recommend it and I could never go back to the way it was now.

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Monday, December 26, 2011


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself", FDR

One of the worst things that you can do during a job hunt is let fear get to you. Fear and stress goes hand in hand and a lot of the both cannot help you ever. They will make you nervous, make you worry and generally overwhelm you. Let the fear and stress go immediately and you will do much better during your interviews. You'll also do better in your writing every time that have to fill out an application or modify your cover letter. De-stressing will allow your wonderful personality to shine, to set you apart from other candidates for a position. This will make it easier for you to get the job and shorten your job hunt every time that you are looking for employment. This is what you want, to shorten the amount of time between jobs.

Personally, I don't like to hunt for a job and I never have. Because I was trying to do something about it I realized that fear and stress were things that I could control. These were things that I would never again allow to control me. This allowed me to de-stress and begin to do better during interviews and every interaction from that point forward. I began to take control of the situation instead of allowing it to control me. So don't let fear control you, get in control of it.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day today on this Christmas Day 2011. As I've stated in my previous postings and on my Facebook group things are looking up in the job market for 2012 and beyond. Another big call center is opening here in Colorado Springs and there are a lot of openings in the Denver metroplex. These are all great signs so enjoy the day and look forward to tomorrow and the coming year.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Be yourself

When job hunting you should always be yourself and no one else. This is part of how you set yourself apart from the competition out there. You need to do your best to differentiate yourself from anyone else. While there are limits to what is acceptable, if you're different you'll be the one noticed. Your resume will come to the top of the proverbial stack. This is precisely what you want, to stand out from everyone else. Your personality, the way you write, your body language are all part of what I would call your package. This is your advertisement to an employer, it's what they see.

Let's go a little further into the concept of a package. When you go into a store take a look at the boxes, the packaging that an item comes in. There are many parts to that package, there is the way it looks and the way it communicates. As a rule it will tell you what benefits that the item will bring you though it won't usually directly state that, you infer it in your mind. This is also something that an employer does when they look at your resume. They infer what the benefits are that you are bringing the organization.

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Friday, December 23, 2011


Historically, from about a week before Christmas until about the 2nd or 3rd of January there isn't a lot of hiring that happens. This doesn't mean that you have to stop applying for jobs however though I might be even more selective who I apply to. What I will recommend is researching more the companies that you are interested in working for. The more you know about a company or the job the better off you will be when you have an interview. Believe me, I've made the mistake of not knowing what exactly I was interviewing for with very predictable results. Needless to say that I didn't get the job every time that was the case.

I'll also say that now is a good time to double check your resume and cover letters. You want to make sure that they are saying what you want them to say, the image you want to present. Remember, you resume is a bit like an advertisement in some ways. It presents an image of you to the mind of the person reading it. An effectively written resume will make the person reading it want to meet with you. Following this advice will definitely help you to be prepared for the new year.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pure economics

One basic rule that you get from reading Adam Smith economics is that an increase in demand of something will increase the price. In this case I'm thinking of labor, it's also a commodity just like gasoline and cell phones. As the economy recovers and hiring increases labor will become more valuable. Employers will have to compete with each other for employees. This means that there will be wage increases over the next few years. I've seen a few indications that it is happening here at least in call centers at least here.

Part of why it is already beginning to be a bit noticeable here where I live is that so many of my former coworkers had to relocate. They didn't really have a choice if they wanted to work, they had to move to another town. Now, here in call center customer service there aren't as many people as there used to be. In fact, I would say that there are half as many. More recently one call center began offering a $500 bonus and another changed job classifications this week. The change in job classification, in this case brings higher wages are indications regarding the value of labor. All in all, it's a positive if you are looking for a job as you'll not only have an easier time finding a job you'll make more money too.

Another thing that comes with an increase in wages is other opportunities that open also. While the company that offers increased wages may not be hiring many businesses nearby will have an increase in openings. For me this means that any place within 3 miles of a business that increases wages there are new opportunities that will be available. So take heart, we've been through the worst of the downturn and it will be getting better. Opportunities will be increasing for the next several years with each year bringing more. Wages for the opportunities will also be increasing.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Military downsizing

Over the next few months there will be many who are just leaving the military and they'll be looking for a job. If you are one of those that is getting out of the military you have to know how to sell yourself effectively. Most employers don't exactly have openings for snipers, diesel mechanics and explosives experts. That being said there are some great openings in the mining industry for the explosive experts and the diesel mechanics. Primarily otherwise I would probably market communication ability, that you can follow instruction and that you can get the job done. Having been there this worked well for me as I was in Desert Storm.

For your best results while looking for a job don't mention most of the things you did in the military. Most employers don't want to hear it as it doesn't apply to the vast majority of jobs. I remember when I got out of the military the reaction wasn't very good among employers. It didn't take long for me to stop mentioning that I had been in the Army where I had been a diesel mechanic. How you explain what you were doing becomes very important for becoming employed is something I learned. From what I've been seeing regarding people getting out of the military nothing has changed since 1991.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Keep clear

When hunting for a job it's easy to let yourself get frustrated, I've been there myself a few times. I remember well thinking about the coming bills and wondering how I was going to pay for them. Also I was sending out a lot of resumes and not getting responses from anyone. It seemed like I was sending my resumes into a black hole and it was very frustrating for me. When I changed my attitude however that began to change and I began to get responses from employers.

Your attitude affects many things including how you write and how talk to people. It affects how you'll also do at interviews and it affects you in so many other ways including your body language. So clear your mind of negative thoughts and the problems you're facing. This is something that I had to do myself, at one time I was very negative and I showed it to everyone. This cost me a lot over the years though I couldn't see it then as the negativity colored my perception.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

A little break

We are of course coming to one of the biggest holidays of the year here in the US and that is Christmas. It's the perfect day to take a break no matter what you are doing and I do mean the whole day. Make sure you clear your mind from the job hunt for at least the one whole day, believe me you probably need the break. You'll be able to hit it hard again the very next day but you'll feel better and be a bit fresher. You also need to take a little break every now and then during a big job hunt. Taking a little break now and then is a good thing as you'll be more relaxed during interviews which can't hurt.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Interesting tool

I had heard that there were a lot of job postings on Twitter but I had never seen them until recently. I found a search engine for Twitter called twitjobsearch. It searches through all of the Twitter posts to find job openings. This is one search engine that needs to be part of your job search tools. Primarily, it seemed to have a lot of postings for customer service positions that it found. It didn't have very many restaurant openings if that is what you are looking for I'll note. It could be different elsewhere though than it is here. Whatever your employment choice is you need to maximize your job search as much as possible and twitjobsearch can help with that.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Social networking

During a serious job hunt you do need to be a little careful what is posted on some social networking sites. In particular Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are the three main sites a few employers will check when they are checking you out. You don't want someone to see photos of you on a drinking binge or postings that can be taken negatively. Your rants about something actually does need to be on a blog like this one your looking at (though you will probably never see me ranting).

The particular employers that will check what is posted are government employers more than most. There are a few others also that will check also but they far and few. Most won't let anyone know that they checked, here in the US that would invite a lawsuit. Governments on the other hand can't usually be sued so it is usually they that will look at your profiles.

In general, the higher the wages the greater the possibility of a social network check occurring. So, I wouldn't worry too much about it for most employers. It won't be a part of the process like the employer that I am working for at present. However, I did work at Comcast and on the US postal service help desk which did check what was posted. My recommendation is that you delete anything the most stringent employer would have an issue with. That's what I did and it paid off, I had a couple of really good paying jobs for a while.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Hiring plans

It looks like the best numbers since 2008 on Manpowers hiring intentions survey. 9% of employers in the US are planning to hire in the first quarter of 2012. This is a really good sign for the economy as a whole and some of the best hiring news if you're looking for a job. The only industry that is not hiring at all based on the survey is the construction industry. My viewpoint on the construction industry is that it will many more years before it recovers.

Mining, leisure and hospitality are the largest areas that are planning on hiring. In my own personal survey motels and hotels seem to be doing very well this winter compared to the last two years. It was nice to see agreement between Manpowers nationwide and my local survey done here in Colorado Springs. In my present retail field the outlook is in the average of 9% new openings. Manufacturing was at a 4% of all employers having hiring plans. It looks like based on what I see in the survey my primary employment targets would be nearby hotels and motels.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unemployment headed lower

Into 2012 unemployment will continue to head lower and it will be easier to find a job. I also have noticed that mortgage rates have started increase a bit, so has loan rates. Personally, I feel that the two go hand in hand, loans and employment. Taking a look at the economics most people borrow based on how much their house is worth. Since housing prices dropped so much the average persons net worth also dropped which lowered the amount they could borrow. This reduced the amount of total money in the economy and the amount to employ someone.

Late in 2007 our credit system actually came to a halt for a bit. How I found this out was getting a job at a new Apple help desk. I went through all three interviews successfully, received a job offer and had a start date set. About a week before I was to begin work though the position fell through because Apple was unable to get credit. When a large company like Apple can't get credit you have some serious economic issues and you will have a period of high unemployment. This also occurred during the 1930's so I do correlate the two together.

Since 2007 mortgage rates have dropped a lot along with home prices and it appears they have both bottomed out. This is good for the employment market with the ability for employers to get credit improved. What this will mean is that in 2012 and beyond your chances of finding a job and keeping it. So take heart, everything will be getting better on your chances in the job market.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some jobs

What I'm about to write about only affects a very few in the job market. My present job is in a porn store which is not kindly looked upon by quite a few managers. My recommendation is to not use the word "porn" during an interview. Only call attention to the retail and customer service aspects of the job. You want them focusing on your communication skills, your ability to get along well with others. The interview will go well that way and you will be successful.

This is something that I put into practice a few months ago during an interview. There was a job that I was interviewing for that a recruiter connected with. Having done so much job hunting the last few years I have many online profiles set up. There's almost too many of them to remember though I will say I was called based on my CareerBuilder profile. Nonetheless, keep on track and offer what they are looking for during an interview. You can greatly increase your chances of success.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Short and sweet

When it comes to writing a resume, cover letter or application you always need to keep it simple. The fewer the words, the better off you are. This is always the case no matter what the job market is like. Employers don't have a lot of time to go through resumes which is why simple is best always. Long resumes do not have a tendency to get read because of this unless it's a management resume. The higher up into the organization the longer the resume needs to be.

There is also a second factor at play and that is the effect television has had on society. Most of the shows on TV are chopped up into little scenes which has affected many things. Reading resumes is among the things that have been affected. Numerous studies have shown that watching TV shortens attention spans. I'll admit that texting has also had an effect on attention spans to and has probably affected the amount of time that someone will spend reading. With all of these factors keeping it simple is always best with applications at all times.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Job openings

Some of what I base my predictions on is the quantity of openings that are available. Years ago I set up email notifications with Beyond, Monster and Careerbuilder. In fact I receive multiple from each job board some days. These emails cover the entire front range of Colorado and some of the mountains. In June I remember only 1-2 jobs posted in each email. Now there are 6-7 postings per day. This tells me that the job market is improving dramatically this year compared to earlier in the year.

Of the jobs I'm seeing posted there is a definite change also. In June most of the postings were for commission only sales positions. Presently, about half of the postings are for full time permanent employment, another roughly 25%-35% are for part time temp positions. The rest needless to say are for commissioned sales positions. Yes, the job market is getting better which I'm very happy about.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Customer retention

One thing that will be an important consideration for employers is can you help retain their customers. They have begun to realize it's better to keep a customer than to lose one. While many companies gave lip service to this they didn't really believe it and they showed it in many ways. It was interesting for me to read a job description the other day for a job I used to do. At least half of the posting had to do with retention, keeping a customer. Just a personal observation here but if they had always been paying attention to retention it wouldn't be an issue now. Nonetheless, you will need to show that you can retain a customer when you are applying for job.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011


I've begun to see a little light at the end of the tunnel for wages lately. Recently Progressive has been offering a $500 bonus to new employees. I've also begun seeing some of the higher wage postings on some of the job boards. This is a good thing for anyone that is hunting for a job. I've also begun to see a few new companies getting their start and that they have begun to hire. Near my house also there is a new motorcycle dealership that opened a few months ago.

For the time being though you need to be on top of your game when you are applying for a job. Remember, you are being called because the business has a need. You are not being called because you have a need like a paycheck. Offer exactly whenever possible what they are looking for and you will have a greater chance of becoming hired.

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There are many assessments for just about every job these days. You need to be prepared for them if you are new to the job market. My Son was in the middle of doing one for Favoli's restaurants today. He couldn't complete it, actually kind of freaked out on it and left the site. That's why I know that he hasn't really been looking for a job, the assessment wouldn't have shocked him. This is also something that I called attention to which greatly annoyed him.

Don't let the assessments annoy you, they are a fact of life. Remember, the prospective employer doesn't really know or what kind of a job you've done. That's why many of the assessments are very much work related to test your skills, make sure that your skills are up to date. Most of the call centers I worked at made sure that I knew how to navigate Windows. Many of the assessments are also psychological in nature, they test the way you think.

You can definitely be successful at the testing if I was able to do it successfully. I've done many of them over the years and will do many more in the future I'm sure. If you think you can do it, you can and will succeed.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The last year

It's been a good year so far and I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a stable and steady job where I have been at for getting close to two years. That's what I was looking for when I was looking for a job the last time. After working for a few years in call centers a few years I was looking for a real change. A few of the call centers had pretty high turnover rates; it leaves you with a bit of fear. It may be irrational fear but it's still fear.

Of the four call centers I worked for three have moved, one out of the US. One call center that I was also hired to work at never got to open in 2007. The point is that there are opportunities out there that are available right now that will be long term. That is why I am thankful today, I have steady employnment these days. Retail seems to be something that I fit well in even though I really wasn't directly looking for a retail position.

Be open to every possibility that comes your way. Just because a new job isn't the same as your last job doesn't mean it won't be good fit. It might turn out to be a even better fit for you as my career change has been for me. You probably have a very extensive skillset that you just need to market effectively.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A brighter future

While I don't know how the job market is elsewhere entirely it does seem to be on the way to picking up here. We are having a couple of new call centers opening up here even if they are small call centers. There are also two data centers opening but it will be a while for them, about another year. I've also been seeing some nationwide ads for managers for car rental companies and some others. It's beginning to look to me that we have turned the corner on unemployment but it will take a long time to make a real dent.

For the next few years there will be a lot of competition for any available jobs. That is just a fact of life these days and will be for a while yet. Still, I personally know people that have found full time jobs the last few months and many others that have found part time jobs. In April 2010 I started at the job I'm working, went to 32 hours per week in June 2010 and last month went to 40 hours per week. That's why I say that part time jobs can become full time jobs. Don't be afraid of taking a part time job, it just might work out well for you as it has for me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Uploading resumes

every four or five days even if you don't change anything in it. About four days after you've uploaded your resume you'll stop receiving calls from recruiters. This is not a good thing unless you really do want a little break from the employment search. There was a couple of times I did that on purpose too the last few years.

By uploading your resume so often it brings it to the top of the stack so to speak. The freshest resume gets the call in just about every case. While other sites have the ability for you to post your resume the primary ones I received calls in relation to were Monster and CareerBuilder. All the other sites (and there were several) just make it easier to apply to jobs. Beyond the resume I will mention that any cover letters you post need to be extremely general in nature. Usually there's the ability to modify it slightly so that you can focus it to the position.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I'll never forget one time a few years ago as I look out at the present lightly falling snow. I had an interview for an appointment setting position with a roofing company. It was snowing a lot earlier that day, there was about six inches of snow on the ground. Since I ride a bicycle everywhere I ended up getting to the interview soaked up to my chest. Snow plows passing me doused me with slush, slush and snow splashed up from the tires. By the time that I got to the interview I was feeling a bit miserable as wet and cold as I was.

It ended up that I did get the job though it did turn out that I'm not a very good appointment setter. After going from door to door through several neighborhoods I never did get one appointment set up. Looking back I've thought about why he hired me on that day. It wasn't because he thought I was great appointment setter material, it was because I showed determination. Most people wouldn't have shown up to the interview when they ride a bike as primary transportation especially during a heavy snow.

If you can show that you are determined you will be a more successful job seeker when you do look for a job. You are showing the attitude that you will get the job done, the business will be more successful. This can't ever hurt your chances regardless of the job market or the unemployment rate. That seems to be a general trait of all us who found employment during the last few years. Don't ever be afraid of showing a can-do attitude when you are seeking a new job or career.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A really unusual technique

I just came across a really interesting story of an unusual job hunt and I've read some unusual ones. Even have a few unusual ones to tell that I did myself over the years. Alec Brownstein is an advertising professional who decided to bypass the normal process of submitting resumes and cover letters. He figured that most people Google themselves as I have myself a few times.

He bought ad space that attached itself to the names of top-advertising directors. When they Googled themselves his ads would appear at the top of the results. The ads reportedly stated that Googling yourself is fun and that hiring Alec was fun also. There was then provided a link to his website. It only took a few months and cost about $6 to find a job with Young & Rubicam.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In the past, a lot of call centers

Having worked in a few call centers in the past I learned one main thing. Always be ready at a moments notice to kick off your job hunt again. There was so many times that I would go into work and a coworker that I knew had just lost their job. Some of them I really felt were good friends. More than once I was only one left from an entire work team at that call center. This kind of experience does scar you a bit I'll admit when you have lived it. It can't help but affect you in some ways.

With my experience at the call centers I pull out my resume and dust it off about once every three months. Then I look it over to see what I might want to edit and rewrite to improve it. When you are hunting for job an effectively written resume will always shorten your job hunt more than anything else. While I've been very successful finding jobs the last few years it still isn't something that I like doing. Still, I always make sure I'm prepared at all times, there's been more than once I'm glad that I was ready.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

New job in a new year!!!

No matter what the job market is there is always openings, you just have to find them. Sometimes these openings are hidden jobs, that is openings that aren't posted on the job boards and on company sites. Occasionally, these are openings a local manager will know about only. This is where door to door networking comes in, your personality and your professionalism. If you only hunt for a job on job search sites you won't find these positions. Be prepared to make the extra effort and you can be successful for the new year.