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Struggling with job search and next steps

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 1GreytWriter, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    I would put this in "Getting out of the business," but since I got axed two months ago, I don't think it quite belongs there. (Mods, if you disagree, feel free to move it.)

    I have had a good amount of interviews since I got let go, and I had been searching for several months prior to that. Since then, I have had one offer...for a part-time job as a pharmacy technician paying less than $9 an hour with no health insurance. In my interviews for more professional positions/stuff in my field, I've been told I write "compelling" cover letters, ask good questions and seem to have a great background. I have a relative in a better job market and have sent some applications there. One hiring manager was impressed that I spent money to travel at the last minute and kept saying I had an interesting background. On the surface, it seems like things are going great and I should be getting job offers. But then I either never hear from the employer again or get told "Sorry, we want someone with more experience." I interviewed at one place where the hiring manager (who gave me the compelling cover letter compliment) said he was still getting resumes and had already set up a fair amount of interviews.

    I had to scale off traveling for my job search for a couple of weeks since I have family obligations at home and also am burned out on the travel and employers who see me, only to complain I don't have the experience they desire. (I never understand why they won't do phone screens or call in the first place if it's such an issue.)

    I was talking to a friend not in this field yesterday, and she told me, "You just have to work hard!" Seeing as I was at my last job for five years, wrote for two websites and have done freelance social media work for the last year, I was hardly impressed with her advice. That said, I understand she was just trying to help. But it seems like people would rather just discredit the work I did put in, the compliments I've gotten and so forth and say "You need to work hard" or "Why don't you volunteer to get experience?"

    I am starting to think I need to pack it in and work in a restaurant or do retail. These seem to be the only places that offer me opportunities to come in and work hard. It's not that so much that I won't work or I don't care about doing a good job. I just get insecure when I realize my career hasn't turned into what I wanted it to be. Pretty much all of my friends have "professional" jobs with salaries, health insurance, paid vacations, etc. and all I can get is retail work. I have a younger friend who just graduated college, and within two weeks, she accepted an offer at her first choice employer and relocated. I know someone else who has never been with an employer two years and just keeps getting great offers. I definitely do not feel successful at all.

    Does it get better? I'm starting to think at this point, it might be best to see where the pharmacy tech job or restaurant work can take me and give up on finding anything in this field. However, part of me wants to keep looking and hope something is out there. I know things could be worse, but all I want is to make a decent living and have something of a comfortable personal life. I don't think that's wrong either.
  2. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    The first thing I would tell you is to stop comparing yourself to your friends. When I was in a position similar to yours, I did the same thing and all it did was bring me down. I have some very successful friends, and seeing how their lives were progressing and mine wasn't was frustrating. But then I would talk to them and they would be miserable and wish they had the "freedom" that I had. There is always someone in a better situation, and conversely, there will always be someone in a worse situation. None of that matters.

    Secondly, it sounds like you are doing all the right things to land a job, but the right opportunity hasn't come up. Don't take this as a knock on your abilities or your experience. I'm in a position now where I am helping interview people for jobs. I can tell you, having been on the other side of the table, that a lot goes into making that decision. Sometimes, a person can have all the right experience and answer all the questions right, but for one reason or another it isn't a good fit. It is hard to explain, but now that I see it from this side, it explains my similar frustrations in landing a job after I left the business.

    Finally, if I were you, I would take what I could get now and keep searching. One thing that is hard to explain is employment gaps on a resume. Employers like to see that you kept working, even at a job that you didn't really want, so you could keep going and find the one you did. Also, I'm assuming you are on unemployment. The sooner you can get off of that, the better. It is good to rely on in the short term, but you don't want to count on it too long as your primary source of income.

    Hope any of this helps. Keep at it. Sounds like you are on the right track.
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Also, depending on the state, some will take away, or reduce your unemployment if you are volunteering to do work. They see that as if you have the time to volunteer, then you have time to work.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member


    Are you getting interviews and not getting jobs? You are doing pretty well then, because it's hard to get a face-to-face interview.

    Maybe you aren't presenting yourself in the best light.

    You cannot be modest. I am sure that I have skuttled opportunities by saying that our newspaper system didn't have the rigorous documentation process that this employer required. That is just handing the employer the reason not to pick you.

    So find ways to answer everything to show you have expertise, experience or an avid interest and are willing to learn in everything they ask. Don't give them a reason to turn you down.

    Also, you have to be prepared with the behavioral questions to give specific examples of how you made a customer happy or followed the boss's direction even though you didn't agree, etc.

    Good luck. Hang in there.
  5. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    Yep, I am getting interviews and not jobs. I live in an area where a lot of jobs are retail/restaurant options, and anywhere other than that which is considered a decent place to work gets flooded with apps.

    I have a free job interview guide that has you write out answers to hypothetical questions, so I have been trying that and then saying them out loud back to myself as if I'm already in the interview. I notice already that I'm stumbling over words less, but I'm still not getting the offer.

    Believe me, I don't want to be on unemployment forever. I am trying to get off it as fast as possible. I only got the call for the restaurant job b/c my area is so short on good jobs that I had to apply there just to meet my quota while I take a break from traveling for interviews. It's nice to be called, but I just wish the better places were more interested.
  6. SP7988

    SP7988 Member

    How old are you if you don't mind me asking? Also, what other fields have you tried applying for jobs in?
  7. 1GreytWriter

    1GreytWriter Member

    I will be 30 in five days, so I think that's part why my insecurity is so through the roof right now.

    I have had interviews for jobs in social media, PR, two nonprofits (one doing box office with an arts organization, the other membership sales with a Y branch), a credit union, a social club for an assistant event coordinator role, and have had two restaurants call me, but I haven't yet interviewed at them. I also went to a staffing agency specializing in nonprofit jobs. Told the recruiter I would be interested in a communications job he was trying to fill...never heard another word from them. Before I got let go from my job, I had a phone screen for an Internet marketing job and was told I had transferable skills for it, but the hiring manager wanted someone with more experience. I also applied for a staff writing job at a college and never even got an interview.

    Since I have the "luxury" of collecting unemployment, I basically have to apply wherever I can get suitable work. That's why this looks so scattered.
  8. TyWebb

    TyWebb Well-Known Member

    You are definitely getting more opportunities than I was, and I was about the same age when I left the business. I simply got lucky, happened upon a job opening in marketing and applied. Been in that field ever since. I know this isn't that most "actionable" advice, but keep doing what you are doing. It is working to some extent. Doors are opening.

    Oh, and one more thing that has helped me tremendously in job interviews - I know it sounds obvious, but be yourself. Relax and talk like you would if you were having a beer with friends (expletives aside, obviously). I noticed a drastic change in results from when I was trying to be a professional question-answering machine to when I just relaxed, cracked jokes and acted like myself.

    The people interviewing you want to work with another human they can spend 8-10 hours a day with, not some robot who knows all the answers to the standard job interview questions.
    Waldo9939 likes this.
  9. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    This is a good thread, and I'll add a couple cents to it.

    I'm 47 years old and I want to move on from my current situation... not because I don't like it there, but because I'm stuck in a job with less hours than I'd like and no room to move up. The company may say that it values experience, but a lot of times it hires interns or younger/cheaper work for key reporting positions. Never mind I have the two-decade background.

    So I've been sending out clips and marketing myself. I've written to sports editors and introduced myself for job opportunities. Yeah, some don't respond and that can be a bummer. I've learned not to take it personal. If an editor acknowledges me that's great.

    I'm a finalist for one position (which is in limbo at the moment... long story) and I've interviewed by phone with a few others. I'm putting those places on my cover letter. If people see that I've gotten interviews or responses, it creates an image that I'm "in demand", so to speak.

    Above all, don't give up. And like Ty said, if you're lucky to get an interview don't sound like a robot. Be yourself. And keep applying for all the opportunities you can. The worst they can do is not respond or say no. :)
    Waldo9939 likes this.
  10. Craig Sagers Tailor

    Craig Sagers Tailor Active Member

    Over a year ago at my last newspaper job, I was increasingly discouraged at the company that bought our paper and gutted it. So I basically creeped on some of my college classmates on social media and looked at what they were doing to get some related ideas for leaving the business. It worked. I saw a guy I interned with and asked him about his job (content marketing) and fortunately they were hiring.
  11. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    What you (and steveu) are going through, and how things have proceeded so far, actually seem to be about par for the course these days.

    Generally, (and unfortunately) it takes quite a long time to get another what you might permanent or a real "go-to" job, especially if you're being particular at all with regard to the career type, the level/pay at which you're willing to come in, or if you are looking at certain specific yet broad types of work in which there is a wide range and an abundance of candidates from which to choose. (And, unfortunately, I think most media-related jobs fall into this category).

    You also need to keep in mind that the whole process just...takes time. Oddly enough, it by this attrition that many people do end up in the retail and restaurant businesses. Quite simply, they just get tired of job-hunting -- the applying, writing, re-educating, interviewing, selling (yourself), etc. -- and everything related to it, and doing it all every time, for every opening. Or else, their financial situation personal/emotional state becomes such that they no longer care as much, anymore, about what they do. They just want, and frankly, need, to work, the better for survival, and their own well-being. That's what happened to me.

    Take heart from the fact that you've gotten many interviews and some positive feedback. That's a good sign that you're going in the right direction. It might just take a while for you and that just-right next boss/employer to connect.

    Or, go ahead and try the retail :). There's no shame in it, and, more and more, I can see that having previous retail/restaurant experience is something that, you never know when, but it could stand you in good stead someday. I actually like retail much more than I ever thought I would, and am looking forward to another promotion, hopefully to happen in the fall.

    I'd also like to suggest that it might help you to change your perspective a little bit. Look at this period and whatever is to come next in your life as just that -- what's next?. In other words, see this as an exciting time, the time for change if you've ever thought about it, and a chance to make it happen if you want to, instead of necessarily trying to make it a straight, obvious continuation of your past life. You know what I mean? Life really is a journey, and this period is part of it for you. Start thinking of it like that, and I think you'll start feeling more excited and happy rather than frustrated or insecure.

    And 30 is a good age for this type of thing to be going on. You have nothing to be insecure about on that score, unless you happen to look, act and come off as much older than that.
  12. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    This is spot on advice. Do not compare your life/success to anyone else's. It's an exercise in frustration. Sounds like you're doing fine. There are just a lot of candidates out there and it takes time to find the right fit. And my guess would be, given your frustration worrying, that you are not coming across as confident in your interviews. I know it's not easy, but you have to show complete confidence in yourself ... even if you're faking it, I suppose.
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