Tag: Employment

Electronic Job Search

Times have changed. The new paradigm of job hunting aptly reveals this truth.

Not that I was a fan of “beating the streets” but it seems so impersonal to search for a job from behind my computer.  There’s no such thing as an application anymore, but there is an electronic application process.

I’ve discovered that searching online for jobs could be never-ending. The ability to refine searches only eliminates all possibilities from view. Thus, a wider range must be left in place offering hundreds of hits on every job search site. And these sites rival the number of open positions they advertise.

LinkedIn

I have a profile on LinkedIn. It isn’t very exciting, but I plan to spend some time sprucing it up now that I’m officially finished with college.

Many of the jobs I apply for use my LinkedIn profile to fill in their online application. In fact, I applied for a technical writing job with Kelly Services and they did just that, even though I found the job opportunity on another job search website.

It seems to me that learning the appropriate key words to use in your profile is essential. I don’t claim to know what these are or that I’ve gotten them in place. I do know that using job descriptions that are posted online can help you identify these words.

Online Application Process

The ease of applying for positions online, when compared with the old-fashioned completion of a double-sided job application, amazes me.

Most of the sites I’ve applied to use either my resume (after I upload it) or my LinkedIn profile to auto complete most of the form. The worst thing about this process is that some things aren’t converted or are put in the wrong place.

For example, a job I recently applied for didn’t have the correct dates and my job titles got matched to the incorrect employers. It was simple to fix these errors, but if I hadn’t reviewed the form carefully, I might have missed them.

There’s always a review page and then the opportunity to return to the earlier pages and correct information. However, the process generally requires clicking through every page, so it isn’t a quick fix.

Drawbacks

  1. Information overload: As I mentioned, sometimes there are just too many positions to wade through. A better system for narrowing results needs to be invented. When I applied on the Kaiser Permanente site, they had a streamlined process for narrowing the prospective jobs. Employment advertisers should mimic this system.
  2. Lack of specificity: Based on certain keywords, a plethora of jobs will be displayed. For example, if I have “management” in a search field, the variety of the postings is vast. Again, some websites do a better job of narrowing the search, but not all of them. Employment advertisers should have two or three levels for even a basic search. For example: I could choose “management” and then “publishing” and then “editorial” and be assured that only editorial jobs would be displayed.
  3. Sterility: What is the office environment like? What sort of commute will it entail? There’s no way to be informed about these sort of questions with the online job search. What a waste to head to an interview only to discover the commute would be brutal or the staff seems unhappy and unfriendly.

Impersonal approach

I think the biggest shortfall of this new, expedited, technologically advanced method of applying for jobs is the lack of personal interaction.

Appearances aren’t everything. Appearances can be deceiving. Unfortunately, many times the external qualities of an employee are quite important. For example, in a customer service industry where this person will interact with stakeholders face-to-face, employers want that “face” to represent their company accurately and positively.

Any experiences with this new method of job hunting you’d like to add? I’d love for you to share your wisdom with me (since I’m a newbie).

After Graduation

This time of year, people all over America are asking the question, “What happens after graduation?”

Does this middle-aged coed have an original question?

Well, no, but my answer comes more quickly to my lips than what a high school graduate might flippantly toss into conversation. I might even have a more definitive plan than many college graduates.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those who have a job waiting for me on the other side of graduation. Of course, I don’t really want one, either.

I’ve halfheartedly sent out a few resumes and responded to a few jobs that interested me on LinkedIn. My heart screams, “No! I’m going to write.”

My mind cajoles, “It’s a trap! How will you live without a regular paycheck?”

It’s nice that my son’s roommates have jobs waiting for them. They had been interning at this company over the past summer (or two). My son hoped he might be able to find employment there and just continue his comfortable living arrangements after graduation.

No regular jobs are available, but they’re looking for interns.

I wonder if he’s been submitting resumes and cover letters with more enthusiasm than I’m displaying. After all, he really is just starting out. He needs to get a job so he can become completely independent of his parents and be ready to pay back those thousands of dollars he borrowed in student loans.

I have a husband. My husband is an engineer. He makes good money. I have a small amount of debt from my degree, half of which was accrued so I could contribute cash to our youngest son’s education.

What happens after graduation?

I’m getting on a plane and flying to Boston, MA. After a few days there, I board a transatlantic flight to Amsterdam and then Munich. While my husband works, I will soak in the German culture. I plan to see a few museums, gardens and castles.

When I get back to the United States, I’m going to go to a friend’s wedding. The day after that, my friends and family will celebrate the multi-graduation occasions at a barbecue.

Two weeks after that, I will co-host a large garage sale with my sister. Hopefully, my house will be garnering much attention from interested buyers. If that’s the case, it may not be many weeks after the sale that I’ll be packing up my house and moving.

Amidst all of this, I will finish my WIP. I will edit the manuscript and get a copy ready for the classroom of beta readers I’ve been promised at the middle school where I will no longer work.

What are your plans for after graduation? Or perhaps you just have summer plans you’d like to share. I love hearing from my readers.

Job versus Career

I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. – George Burns

Image from afterspm.com

I spent five years after my youngest son was born at home, my career was raising the two precious souls I had borne into this world. Before that, I had several jobs, but none of them were as essential to the well-being of another person as motherhood.

Now as I stand at the crossroads of another season in my life, I’m wondering if I will quit my job in order to get another one. Or is it time in my life for a new career, since my sons are adults?

What’s the difference between a job and a career? Is there one?

Merriam-Webster defines a job as “a piece of work; especially: a small miscellaneous piece of work undertaken on order at a stated rate.”

According to this definition, if I wrote an article for a website and they paid me $20, that would be a job. Is what I’m doing at the school a job? I am working for a specified rate of pay, doing the tasks outlined in a job description.

The dictionary says a career is “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling.” If I felt my work as an instructional assistant was my “calling” then it would be a career.

In my mind, something temporary is a job and something permanent is a career. The dictionary seems to endorse this perspective.

In that case, I’m quitting my job at the school to pursue a career in writing.

That sounds so grand and glorious.

I might undertake some freelance writing jobs to further my overall career, but I’ll be seeking a career as a novelist. If I never publish, does that mean I never had a writing career?

Do you see why I’m often confused by this topic? I’m finding it difficult to explain to my coworkers what I’ll be doing once I quit my “regular employment.” If I’m not reaping a steady income, most people don’t see writing as a career move.

The dictionary says a career is a “profession” but it says nothing about monetary compensation; on the other hand, money is specifically mentioned in the description of a job. What do my readers think of this topic? Can I have a writing career if no one is paying me?