Here’s a wake-up call for those of us hunting for jobs the old way. Live the job you want on the Web. That’s right. Blog about it. Find potential employers on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. Think about how you present information about yourself. For example, calling myself an ex-Register business editor is — uhhh — old school, especially when my job was working on a Web site! (I thought highlighting that title would help me get a job, but it’s a probably a huge turn-off because it’s linked to the newspaper industry.)
If it all sounds spooky because you don’t know how to do it or you’re not Web savvy — get over it and learn. That’s what a lot of us (including yours truly) have gotta do. So READ THIS from a dude known as Scobleizer. That’s blogger Robert Scoble, who is a video blogger for Fast Money.
So maybe you don’t agree with him, but it sure made a lot of sense to moi.
It’s official. The President has signed the stimulus plan into law. So at $787 billion, what’s in it for me — the unemployed?
We weren’t left out:
Unemployment benefits get a tax break: Yes, unemployment benefits are taxable, which is why you have the option to have federal tax withheld. However, the package excludes the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits from taxes in 2009.
Help on health insurance: If you lost your job and elected to take COBRA — which lets laid-off workers continue with their former employer’s coverage for up to 18 months — the government will subsidize 65% of COBRA premiums for up to nine months. The subsidy is limited to workers who were laid off from Sept. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2009.
Now — if only the President could find me a full-time job ….
More on the rescue plan:
Get ready to settle in the for the long haul. Not only is the unemployment rate rising (7.6% in January), but the average time to find a job is increasing, too. The Labor Department said it took an unemployed person 19.8 weeks in January to find a job — full or part time — vs. 17.5 weeks a year ago. That’s almost 5 months. Check out the stats and read the government release by CLICKING HERE.
Read more about jobless report:
Since just about everything else is on Craigslist, I took a look to see if my next job was there. Not only were there writing/editing jobs, but some of them sounded too good to be true.
Check this one out:
And then there is the posting from a deep-pocket grad student ($1,000 to edit/mold/type a 50-page thesis):
There are some jobs that are right up my alley — like this one on providing content for a bankruptcy site ( Content Writer For bankruptcy Website ) — but I have no clue who the employer is and if it’s worth my time to apply. Perhaps in such tough economic times I shouldn’t worry about applying. But privacy and safety do count.
That’s not to say that these aren’t legit jobs, but why give out my info if it’s not. Prospective employers pay little if any fee to post a “help wanted” ad on Craigslist. Makes you wonder about some of the gigs. For tips on navigating their job ads, read Craigslist’s tips on personal safety and avoiding scams by CLICKING HERE.
On the flip side — you can post your resume or business on Craigslist. Here’s one that caught my eye — because I hope this isn’t me at year’s end:
Just what I didn’t want to read — a preview of Friday’s jobless report. Anyone out looking for a job right now knows it’s tough. And it sounds like it’s about to get worse. Here’s what Dow Jones had to say about the upcoming report:
“Added to the underlying anxiety is the slew of economic data due this week, culminating in Friday’s jobs report. Economists on average anticipate a loss of 550,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 7.4%.
“That is one ugly report holding out until Friday,” said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. “
To read the rest of their wrapup — which includes info on the latest layoffs -- CLICK HERE.
OK, I’ll circle back to the “should you ask why you didn’t get the job,” because I think most folks want to know, “should I call after I send in my application — even if it says no calls please.”
This is frustrating. Sometimes you get an electronic response that your application has been received. But other times, nada. I’d applied for a job at an online company and signed up to get their newsletters — only to find that all of their newsletters were landing in my spam file. So — I tracked down the editor and simply asked if my materials were in the hopper with them — and not in their spam files. (They said “yes,” but I’ve heard nothing from them since.)
Here’s what CEO John Challenger at outplacement consultancy firm Challenger Gray & Christmas in Chicago says about dialing up a potential employer when the ad says “no calls”:
You should definitely respect that request. Many companies that accept electronic resumes have an automatic response email to let you know that your resume has been received. You can also follow up via email. That being said, responding to classified ads and online job postings, which is where you will most likely find the “no phone calls” request, should represent just a small portion of your job-search activity. The bulk of your time should be spent expanding your network and meeting with people who can help you with your job search. Many of the people you will meet with are not in a position to offer you a job, but what they can offer is access to more people who can help you. Eventually, one of those people may connect you with someone who is actually hiring. Through networking, you enter the hiring process through the side door as opposed to the front-door classified ad that attracts hundreds of other job seekers.
Coming next: If you don’t get the job, how do you ask why? Should you?
The Golden State doesn’t have enough money in its coffers to pay the folks who have applied for unemployment benefits. The state needs $2.4 billion to keep its program going through the end of the year. All of this comes at a time when California’s jobless rate hit 9.3% in December. That’s the highest since January 1994, according to The Associated Press. (READ THE ENTIRE STORY HERE.)
I spent part of my day trolling the state’s job site and filling out my own online form for unemployment benefits. It took about 10 minutes tops to fill out the form — and I only paused when I was trying to figure out how much I might be eligible to receive.
Reading the state’s unemployment insurance code is kind of fun though. Did you know commercial fishermen are eligible — generally speaking — if there was an “absence of fish in fishable waters”? Yeah, yeah, yeah — we all know you’re probably not going to get any money if you were fired because you kept coming into work drunk, but the code says it so much better:
“He or she otherwise left his or her most recent employment for
reasons caused by an irresistible compulsion to use or consume
intoxicants, including alcoholic beverages.”
But my fave? Who is not eligible — like pro athletes between seasons:
“Unemployment compensation benefits, extended duration
benefits, and federal-state extended benefits shall not be payable to
any individual on the basis of any services, substantially all of
which consist of participating in sports or athletic events or
training or preparing to so participate, for any week which commences
during the period between two successive sport seasons, or similar
periods, if such individual performed such services in the first of
such seasons, or similar periods, and there is a reasonable assurance
that such individual will perform such services in the later of such
seasons, or similar periods.”
Like some of those pro athletes need it anyway, eh?
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As a reporter, I’m used to rejection. I’m used to people telling me “no, no way, no how” am I gonna let you (fill in the blank here — but it’s usually interview or photograph) me.
But I received my first official job rejection letter in the mail the other day — and it caught me a little off-guard. I already knew I didn’t get the job because — as reporters tend to do — I kept dialing for updates and finally got the person on the phone and was told the job had been filled. But there it was — in black and white. And my heart fell. How many more times will this happen? So I emailed CEO John Challenger over at outplacement consultancy firm Challenger Gray & Christmas in Chicago.
I asked him how often should folks expect to be “rejected” from an employer in this climate? Here’s what he said:
Unfortunately, there is no established guideline or benchmark on how much rejection one will have to endure during his or her job search. This, of course, is what makes the job search so emotionally and psychologically draining, because there is no way to determine how far along in the process you might be at any given point.
The number of rejections is also relative to the number of interviews one is able to secure, and that varies widely based on the individual, the type of position being sought, the industry and the region in which one is conducting his or search. Even in this economy, the job search will most likely last three to six months. If at six months you are no closer to winning a new position, it may be necessary to consider taking a more aggressive approach or expanding your search to new cities and/or industries.
And I thought I’d faced rejection as a teen ….
Coming next: If you don’t get the job, how do you ask why? Should you?
Some ways of earning dough don’t change all that much in Sin City. The guys who line the Strip, shoving those little nudie girl cards at you with that annoying flicking noise, are still there even in January — a dead time for tourism. And by the end of my stay I simply said “No timeshare” whenever a suit approached me with discounted show tickets.
But what surprised me? All of the construction workers. I watched a huge shift change at MGM Mirage’s $9.1 billion CityCenter, a mix of casinos, hotels and condos set on 67 acres between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts on the Strip. It’s scheduled to open at the end of the year. One construction worker said there was still a wait list for jobs at the union hall, but all in all, most folks in his industry were busy. Another said work would slow soon because of the economy (profits are down at casinos) and project delays at the site.
But CityCenter is hiring. Its Web site says it is taking applications to fill more than 12,000 jobs and says that makes it “the largest single new employment opportunity currently offered by any corporation in the U.S.” Jobs include: hotel and casino operations, retail, entertainment, finance, human resources, security and food/beverage. Start dates begin in September and go through December.