For the next three weeks, we will share stories of job seekers who have applied for a scholarship (see the application form here), so you can see how important it is that we get them the help they want and deserve, but can’t afford. Meet Sally: Q: What’s the hardest part about unemployed long-term? A: The feeling of being worthless and helpless are the hardest aspects of being unemployed for a long time. To provide a little bit of background, at twenty-four-years-old, I was laid off in March of 2012, due to a buyout after only working for the company for four months. This occurred after working eleven months for another company that got bought out, and eleven months at a previous company that had an extremely high turnover rate and a hostile environment that I chose to move on from. Needless to say, three jobs in three years (my only three jobs upon receiving my master’s degree) labels one as a job hopper. It’s been difficult to convince employers that I am truly looking to stay with their firm for years. For the companies I’ve interviewed with, luckily, I’ve been able to clearly convey this message, but haven’t had much success with receiving an offer. I’ve had multiple interviews, and have constantly worked my way to the final round, only to hear that I’m the second choice candidate. I even just recently (today actually) had an offer (!) but then it got rescinded because the company did not want to negotiate salary. To go so far in an interview process, usually six rounds, it’s easy to feel hopeful, and positive about your potential new employer. To constantly receive that hope, only to have it taken away, certainly makes one feel worthless. Not receiving an offer makes me feel as if my education (4.0 GPA in my graduate degree at age 21), work ethic (60+ hour weeks typically), and work accomplishments (my resume contains several numbers displaying results), are useless, which in turn makes me feel hopeless. The longer I’m out of work, the harder it will be to receive on offer. It is also troubling because due to my “job hopping,” I have to make sure the next company I work for is one I can stay with for many years. I cannot just settle, because then I will forever be labeled a job hopper. I second guess all of my decisions, and constantly feel like despite all my research and intelligence, I am doing something wrong. However, I know that I’ve done everything in my power, and ultimately, it is out of my hands. That is one of the hardest facts to come to terms with, which in turn, makes me worry even more. If something is in my control, I know I will perform to the best of my ability to make it happen, but when it’s not in my control, I’m at the mercy of others. In summary, being unemployed long-term can make me feel worthless and helpless, which is one of the hardest feelings to overcome. Q: What have you been doing to look for work so far? A: I have taken the following actions to look for work: 1. I subscribe to multiple e-mail lists and blogs that write about job searching tips. I read these everyday, and implement the advice. 2. I have reached out to my network, including former co-workers, managers, professors, and students. I inform them of the type of role I’m looking for, and provide background. 3. I reach out to companies in my area that aren’t yet hiring. I try to contact 2 people via LinkedIn, to get their opinion of what the company is like, and state my qualifications, and that I’m job searching. I know this is something CAREEREALISM highly recommends. I must say, this is much more difficult in practice, than in theory! I have only received one response, and that person ended up leaving the company two months later! I am very much interested in how I can improve on this aspect of my job search. 4. I attend a few networking events, though this is something I need to work on. Being extremely introverted, it is easy to spend the night in a corner, wishing I was at home, searching a job board and e-mailing instead! 5. I search job boards, every single day. 6. Lastly, I have also taken a part-time job in my field, to ensure that I have experience on my resume, and also so that I may keep up to date on trends. Q: Why do you feel our Job Search Accelerator Program can help you? A: I feel the JSAP program can help me in many ways. Even after viewing the “teaser” videos, I have picked up on key pieces of advice that I could implement, and predict that the program has much more wisdom to offer. Given that my situation is unique as well (though I know everyone’s is!) it would be most helpful to receive personal coaching, where the coach understands my exact situation. Reading a blog with advice can only do so much when there is a slight twist to my predicament. Because I have received multiple interviews, I know that I am capable of being viewed as a skilled and valuable potential employee. However, I am in need of extra practices I can implement that will help me receive an offer. I also know that after going through JSAP, *I* can help JSAP, and return the favor by singings its praises. I do have a robust network that includes several people looking for work. Once I can personally realize its effectiveness, I would be so happy to be able to inform them of a program that can help them receive an offer as well. Sally* is one of the 30+ scholarship applicants we have received since launching Allies to the Out-of-Work. Want to know how you can help job seekers like her? Harnessing the power of the micro-fundraising site, Indiegogo.com, we launched a campaign to raise $10,000 that will give 100 long-term unemployed people a full scholarship to our Job Search Accelerator Program (JSAP). This program is helping hundreds of people find work. However, it’s not something we can give away for free. So, we are hoping to get donations from those of you out there who: A) Have been out of work recently and know how hard the job search really is. B) Know somebody long-term unemployed and want to sponsor them. C) Care about getting Americans back to work and on their feet.
February 20, 2013