How to get a job?

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Cubethulhu
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How to get a job?

Postby Cubethulhu » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:15 pm UTC

Okay so I am twenty years old and I've basically never had a job. I mean I work for my families catering business but that just barely pays the bills. And to be honest I really hate cooking for a living. So recently I've been trying to get a real job. I've done everything I can think of. Newspaper ad's, job-sites, walk-in applications. Nothing seems to work. At the time my only realistic opportunities for career advancement are college which I don't have the money for and the military which I've heard plenty of horror stories about. So I'm wondering is there some sort of trick I don't know? Like is there some sort of government program that helps people get jobs? I mean I am in the dark about all of this. I just want a job that actually has me going somewhere. Any suggestions to my problem would be most appreciated.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby Xanthir » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:11 pm UTC

There is no trick (besides the standard "know somebody in the company"). You're doing things right. You just happen to be trying to get a job in the middle of an economy hovering somewhere around 8-10% unemployment, so it's very difficult to find a new job for most people without specialized skills.
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby a_fuzzyduck » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:20 pm UTC

Responding to job adverts hasn't worked for me at all since leaving uni, and that covers a lot of jobs. I'm working out a plan of finding employers I want to work for, finding things I want to do for them, and trying to show I can do that as well as possible. Because job adverts + increased unemployment = too much competition; I start thinking of not just how to improve my own chances, but reduce that of the competition, which I don't like :/
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bluebambue
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby bluebambue » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:59 pm UTC

http://www.askamanager.org/ has a lot of good advice. It mostly boils down to having a good resume and writing a good cover letter.

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K-R
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby K-R » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:49 am UTC

bluebambue wrote:http://www.askamanager.org/ has a lot of good advice. It mostly boils down to having a good resume and writing a good cover letter.

It does? Huh. I've found sending unsolicited emails to the CEO of a company telling him how horribly a certain aspect of his company is run to be a far better strategy.

I'm actually not making that up.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby bluebambue » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:02 am UTC

I could see that working on rare occasions. I suspect that that strategy fails dramatically for most company and applicant combinations. However, I do not have any data on that. All I know is that everything I've read by HR people or hiring managers is that ignoring the company's stated wishes for a method of applying is highly annoying.

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K-R
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby K-R » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:14 am UTC

Well yeah, the fact that I wasn't applying for a job - because there was no job to apply for - probably helped.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby drewder » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:15 am UTC

Cubethulhu wrote:Okay so I am twenty years old and I've basically never had a job. I mean I work for my families catering business but that just barely pays the bills. And to be honest I really hate cooking for a living. So recently I've been trying to get a real job. I've done everything I can think of. Newspaper ad's, job-sites, walk-in applications. Nothing seems to work. At the time my only realistic opportunities for career advancement are college which I don't have the money for and the military which I've heard plenty of horror stories about. So I'm wondering is there some sort of trick I don't know? Like is there some sort of government program that helps people get jobs? I mean I am in the dark about all of this. I just want a job that actually has me going somewhere. Any suggestions to my problem would be most appreciated.

I don't know what horror stories you've heard about the military but most are made up. Served 6 years (national guard) got a degree for free and immediately got hired by a large Redmond based software company.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby Jacque » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:41 am UTC

There's always loans and community college to make entry to education a bit less monetarily intensive. Finding employment w/o a college degree is considerably tougher, and the unemployment rate among those with no college degree is like double than the rate among those with a college degree.

There's also trade school, and apprenticeships. There's always demand for skilled workers such as HVAC technicians, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, welders, etc.

I know you're a bit put off by what you've heard about the military, but it can be a way out of the can't-find-a-job rut, and a way to learn some very specialized skills that people will pay a great deal for. And then there's the GI Bill to help you pay for college after the time you'd spend in the military.

Bar none though, higher education is really the key to getting a job. Even then though, it can be tough.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby SurgicalSteel » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:52 am UTC

Remember, not all jobs in the military are front-line combat roles. A lot of the military is support of those in front-line combat roles. A couple things you have to remember though: everyone goes through boot camp, everyone. And it's a commitment. Much more than a commitment to a regular job. You can't just decide you don't like it anymore after 2 years and move on. But if you can stick it out the whole term you can reap some great rewards that have already been illuminated here. I work with people who barely got a high school education, but now have great jobs due to the skills and knowledge they gained in the military. Many defense contractors also like having former military in their employ as consultants or subject matter experts, since they've actually used their products live in the field.

You're going to need a skill to get a job that pays more than unskilled labor wages. Jacque's idea about trade schools or apprenticeships is a good one. Trade schools are generally much cheaper than college, and an apprenticeship usually pays while you're learning, since you're learning on the job.

There's also work that starts as unskilled labor, but has opportunities to advance into skilled labor. For example, I knew someone who started as the lowest level park ranger for the county parks department, and after a year or so got into the electrician apprenticeship program they had and eventually became a journeyman electrician working for the parks department. Depending on where you live, these kind of government service jobs can have fantastic benefits, both during and after you retire. One of my uncles worked for the department of transportation for 20 years, his prescription medications cost him like 8 dollars a month.

ETA: The benefits thing is going to be largely reliant on your government/labor union relationship.
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:04 am UTC

There are also plenty of jobs in hospitality that aren't in the kitchen. Your family runs a catering business? They need people to meet clients and plan menus, to supervise events, to drum up new clients, to do the bookkeeping, etc. See if you can be learning some of those skills, even if you do have to cook for a while longer. And professional cooking is a very transportable skill. You can find a place where stuff you want to do is happening, move there and get a kitchen job whilst figuring out how to get into a field you like more.
It really helps to have some clue about what you might want to be doing, beyond "anything not in a kitchen".
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Loklar
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby Loklar » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:14 am UTC

I'm currently in the middle of a job search and I know how hard it can be. The biggest "trick" I know of is to tell friends and family that you are looking for a job. Don't beat around the bush either - actually tell them in no uncertain terms that you are looking for work. After 6 weeks go by, remind them. Working people tend to hear about jobs that are open, sometimes before they are posted. If they don't know that you are looking for work they will tend to ignore it, that's why you have to be clear about it so that they pass on the tip to you.

This is a good way to keep in touch with people you haven't talked with recently!

School is a good idea too IMO.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby mercutio_stencil » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:05 am UTC

I can give you a lot of advice, but I've been unemployed (or damn near) for about a year, so it might be bad advice.

Apply to jobs you see posted, but don't expect much; as has been pointed out, there's a lot of competition right now. It still doesn't hurt though.

Make sure your resume and cover letter is tailored to the jobs particulars. Carefully read the posting and write yourself as a candidate ideally suited for the position.

Also, as a rule, the jobs you really want aren't posted to general advertising sites, if a company goes to Craigslist, it means they don't already have someone in mind. Better to be the person they have in mind; things like Blue suggested are a good way to get their attention.

Friends, and friends of friends are a great resource.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby You, sir, name? » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:47 am UTC

Have highly sought after, marketable skills. I got the first job I applied for (well paying, white collar).
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby Cups of Gold » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:26 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:Have highly sought after, marketable skills. I got the first job I applied for (well paying, white collar).

What are your highly sought after, marketable skills?

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby You, sir, name? » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:16 pm UTC

Cups of Gold wrote:
You, sir, name? wrote:Have highly sought after, marketable skills. I got the first job I applied for (well paying, white collar).

What are your highly sought after, marketable skills?


Practical experience in the field (computer programming). I had been doing hobby / open source programming for about a decade when I applied for the job. My resume mostly consisted mainly of various projects I'd worked on. Very little in terms formal education in CS. Which is funny, as a lot of CS graduates have trouble getting hired because they lack practical experience.
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby Cups of Gold » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:10 pm UTC

Cool. I am trying to break into programming eventually, and I have often read the advice that a portfolio of stuff you've done is perhaps the single best way to make a good impression on employers.

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Re: How to get a job?

Postby You, sir, name? » Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:24 pm UTC

Cups of Gold wrote:Cool. I am trying to break into programming eventually, and I have often read the advice that a portfolio of stuff you've done is perhaps the single best way to make a good impression on employers.


You should visit the Coding subforum some time. Arguably one of the best places to discuss programming on the internet. Helped me step up my game a lot.
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby darknut » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:36 pm UTC

while further education is best for long term, if you looking at short term, just need a job so can get some pays already, try a temp agency
when companies need extra people but dont want to hire someone, theyll call a temp agency and theyll send out thier people to do the job for however long
could be anywhere between a single day to months potentially. If youve been there a long time and the company likes you they may hire you outright
may not be true for everyone, but i just showed up did a brief interview an was taken on right then, they even had something for me the very next day
as far as i know temp agencies only do blue collar jobs, i've been sent to warehouse, construction, machine shop, and more warehouse
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Re: How to get a job?

Postby WanderingLinguist » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:15 pm UTC

As has been said already, having a marketable skill set is the key. Beyond that, networking is huge; it's much easier to get a job if you have connections (as opposed to being just a random name and resume).

If you can't afford college or vocational school, you can still work to develop your skill set on your own. Self-study takes longer and requires dedication, but it is a viable alternative for many industries. That said, if you don't have some kind of certification or degree, you'll have to work harder to prove your skill. This is where networking and building a portfolio come in.

It also helps to develop unique combinations of skills. Take programming, for example. There are a lot of programmers out there, so it may come down to programming PLUS another skill.

In my case, I was able to get a job at a software company in Korea without having a degree. It was not easy, and it took a lot of time, but it came down to good networking, building a strong skill set, being able to confidently demonstrate those skills, and having a relatively unique combination of skills (experience with linguistics, internationalization, graphics programming, and a moderate degree of Korean language ability).

Building skills beyond your core set (programming, in my case) is important. Not all of my additional areas of study have been useful in the workplace, but having a core skill plus a broad range of minor skills increases your chances of fitting niche jobs.

If you don't have a broad skill set, continuing your current job or settling for a low-end job while continuing to work actively to build your skill set is not a bad thing. The trick is actually pushing yourself to keep developing your skill set, even if you have a moderately satisfactory position.


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