Keep Your Friendship and Get a Job

There are really only two options in employment (employed or unemployed). With the unemployment rate around a steady 8.3% chances are most of your friends if not yourself are unemployed, especially if you’re millennials. A group of friends gets rapidly more boring as everyone’s money dwindles and people move back into their childhood bedrooms and basements.

It’s natural to want everyone to get some kind of work before you all become potato chips (about one stage and a half after a couch potato). If you’re working, you will want to push your unemployed friends further to get jobs so you that everyone can return to enjoying happy hour at your local watering hole. If you’re not employed and looking with your friends, your frustrations might eventually be taken out on your friends. Additionally, your friends might be as motivated, more motivated or completely careless—all of which can be real deal breakers when you’re on the other side of the spectrum. Here’s some advice about how to handle it.

  1. A Man with a Full Belly Doesn’t Understand the Plight of the Starving

If you’re employed, it is likely your mentality will be “I got a job, so why can’t you?” After which you will begin to go on Criaglist in your free time and spam your friend’s email with all kinds of postings where he may/may not be remotely employable. This does not help your friend. If he/she is not right for the job, they will just receive another distressing rejection letter. It might be better to suggest opportunities. “Hey there’s a position at this company where I have connections, it’s not what you want, but it might be a good idea while you keep looking around,” sounds a lot better than mass emails that will make them feel like you do not trust that they’re making an effort. In addition, there’s a good chance other people are already wailing on them so you can easily sit back and take the supportive role.

  1. You Can Lead a Horse To Water…

So let’s say your friend is unemployed and he tells you “sure, I will look into that” about a position that’s open in your company. You promptly do not receive a resume from him, no phone call, zero effort. You send him a Criaglist listing for a position where you know the hiring manager and he thinks your friend would be perfect. Still, no response. You point out a new job board he can use that is specific to his experience (mediabistro.com for creatives for example) and he says tone of the classics:”I don’t know if that’s something I want,” or “I’m considering just waiting this economy out, no one is hiring in my field right now,” and finally, “I just don’t want to deal with that.” Finally, they can lie and tell you they applied when you know they didn’t. This is the perfect situation where it’s ok to tell yourself you’ve done enough and it’s time to step back. What it all comes down to is that your friend does not want to be employed and doesn’t want your help either. Take the hint, fire one last suggestion of staffing companies he can ask for help and let him do whatever he needs to do. Eventually, when you go to the bar without him or he sees the nice apartment you can now afford, he will come around.

  1. Eyes on The Prize

Here you are, going crazy, applying every day to at least 3 different positions. Taking the saying “searching for work is a full time job,” to a whole new level with your obsessiveness and determination. And your friend has the audacity to send you another position?! ….wait, this actually looks good, I am going to put a resume together for them.

Anyway, there’s your friend doing absolutely nothing and keeps complaining about it. Jobs are not just jumping into his arms by themselves. Well, here the same advice applies as above. Let them run their course and natural competitive instincts take their course. Once you put on a suit and get out there and they see it, they will catch up. Maybe he or she  will even let you proof read his resume.

Of course, the economy is horrid and finding a job includes so many various factors that might not even be within our control. Whether the whole group of your friends is unemployed or just you, there’s always something to do that’s cheaper than going to a bar. For one, utilize your parent’s basement and buy a six pack instead of going out. Better yet, take a hike or go the beach. Even better, go to a local bookstore and look through their job reference books to help you along the search. Attend networking events together, even if you’re employed. After all, friends should still be there for support so just have fun with the fact that unemployed or not, you have company. Stay in your own business but let a good opportunity pass you or your friend while you’re looking in the wrong direction either. Try not to make mom have to clean the basement too often, it wouldn’t kill you to do your own laundry during your stay either.

Which Company is Right for You?

If your potential employer sees that you do not fit in with an office’s culture, you are likely not going to be the most desirable candidate. Everyone wants to avoid rejection, but in some cases it might be good for you. After you come home from an interview and and before yo udespair, consider the kind of company you interviewed with and weigh their strengths against your needs. Of course, it’s never good to turn something down before trying it, but if you were turned away from a position, it might have been good for you. If a company is not listed below, chances are, it’s already part of the other categories.

  1. Small, Growing and Willing to train 

Think a start up IT company

This company will value one thing over anything else–loyalty. They are small and want to build up their business brick by brick, employing people they think will be the perfect fit so they can train them with specific skills. They are willing to put in the time to train you because they know the payoff is a great worker who knows exactly what’s expected of them while the company continues to expand. Here the right person should have enough job experience to know what they want from a company. Since they are putting in the time to train you, they expect you to appreciate and seek opportunities to grow internally to reciprocate. If you decide to jump ship from this company without getting at least five years of work in or reaching your career ceiling, you will not get positive references to help you move on. Once it becomes pretty obvious that you are not interested in the long haul, you will likely fall out of the office culture here.

2. Large, Growing but Does not Train

Think Google when they launched Google Instant

This company has bigger fish to fry than worry about helping you grow your skill set. They certainly will give you some basic idea of what they want and how it needs to be done. But they will not put in the time to explain the business or a new strategy to you. They want you to complement their current efforts so they could just focus on getting their expansion working. This company is great to have on your resume if you are a seasoned professional because it will illustrate your strengths with a new, unique experience. In addition, if it’s large enough you can probably recommend your friends and help more people get in. This is the perfect company to have as you step up from your first two year job. Your loyalty is important and will certainly be rewarded here if the growth is successful, but it’s just as good to get a fancy name on your resume.

3. Large Company, Downsizing

Think publishing companies

It sounds bizarre but when large companies downsize, they like to hire interns, temps, and part time people to do the work that the person they just fired used to do. A downsizing first gets rid of certain roles that do no require full time presence.  They need people to come in for a little bit to do the work that would otherwise be thrown at the already overworked current employees. The issue here is not that you would be doing a lot of work, it’s that you may or not be hired once your assignment or internship is over. However, like any other large company, it will more than likely be a great addition to your resume. Make sure you stay for long enough for the next person who sees your resume to know that you actually gained experience ( the duration of the assignment), otherwise, it will be pretty obvious that you just wanted to take advantage of a company name, and no one wants their business viewed that way.

4. Medium Company, Not Expanding

Think your local business with no more than three offices

Again, more likely to be a good fit for seasoned employees, but in medium sized, seasoned company, a newbie can find his or her place as well. This company values loyalty but also understand what a career is about. You are most likely replacing someone who moved on or retired. Since this company chose to keep a certain size instead of maxing out for profit, they know what they want from each employee and only need to hire new people when an old position becomes open. In some situations they will train, but more than likely, they want someone to pick up what the previous person put down. This is a good company to keep yourself steady and working, with potential for a raise and mobility because they will definitely hire from within first. The downside is that you might be in the same position for quite a while, waiting for something to open up or profits to rise in the company.

Medium Sized Companies Want a Team Player

 

The most important lesson here is: You won’t get a feel for any of this until you physically come in. A recruiter, or a friend, no one short of a future co-worker can give you an accurate expectation for the company when you apply. All you can do is come in with an open mind and a positive outlook.

Thanks to Oatmeal’s Prompt, Susan the Nun now has a better job.

Much like the rest of the internet and social media sites, Winston follows the usual slogans: Don’t Fix it if it Ain’t Broke, A little Goes A Long Way and finally one we made up: Take someone’s idea, use it as a prompt to do something awesome and then give credit where it’s due and don’t forget to consult the internet. A while ago, internet guru The Oatmeal offered a prompt, although we doubt he considered it as such.

Here are my answers: the Moon and the Sun appear to be the same size in the sky because the great spaghetti monster designed them this way. I am not capable of drawing a bald Eagle teaming up with George Washington defeating Skynet because Skynet isn’t real yet and I have no frame of reference. On a related note, I cannot sing about loading a dishwasher because everyone knows you just throw out dishes when you’re done. Now that I am finished with everything that I cannot do, how about I get to the Love Story involving Cage-Fighting Nuns and Tanks The Oatmeal proposed. Not only is this relevant to my field, because Cage -Fighting Nuns don’t have very promising careers but it also puts me into a creative box I have always wanted to be in. Before someone asks: “Hey Guru, how come you waited so long to write this story since The Oatmeal sent the challenge forevers ago?” The answer is: “Don’t you want to read an amazing story I am about to get on with writing? So Stop complaining!” Long story short, challenge accepted. Aahem

Sister Susan lived in Montgomery Nunnery where she got along with all of the other nuns fairly well. Of course she always wanted to experience more thrill than a nunnery could present to her. You see, she didn’t go to the nunnery by choice. About eighteen years ago her father went to war to fight against another country (we’re not trying to be political here so it doesn’t matter which country). Susan didn’t have a mother or siblings, so when her father was deployed, he had to take his suitcase backpack in one hand and the baby into another. He was promptly notified by Major Bigguyerson that it was not safe to bring a baby to war. So, Susan’s dad changed the direction of the tank towards the local monastery and never picked her back up. You see little Susan’s dad met a lady during the war and decided to move to Russia to live with her.

Needless to say, Susan grew up a rather distressed child. No seriously, she got into accounting and did all of the finances for the nunnery and that’s incredibly stressful. A year after taking over that role, she decided to distress by sneaking out of her room to cage fight. And she could fight. People bet on her because she had 4/5 odds in her favor. One night she came out of the cage-fighting building, all sweaty, her black robe sticking to her body, her white handkerchief and black head-dress soaked clutching a towel in her left hand, wiping her right check when a man approached her. Susan was taken aback by how handsome this man was. She certainly hadn’t seen many males, but seeing one in a suit was an even unlikelier occurrence. The silky black Dolce&Gabbana glistened under the evening lamps and made Susan want to trust the man. She was also confident she could knock his block off if need be. He handed her a card and said, “You look like a leader, like you know your way around an Excel spreadsheet.” To which she answered: “Wow, way to try to sell me over you sleaze ball, I would rather talk to the guy behind you.” She walked past Dolce and Hair gel. The next guy was also wearing slacks and a button up shirt with a sports jacket, but he wasn’t all showey-offy. He walked toward Susan and extended his arm.  “Hey, my name is Jason. I saw you were wearing a nun’s outfit but you can obviously do a great job in the ring, can we sit down tomorrow and discuss your current career goals?” Susan was flattered, she loved her nunnery but this laid back guy, a full time paycheck and a means to move out sounded like a swell idea, so she agreed to the lunch date.

That night she wrote up a resume and brought it over with a copy of her HS Diploma equivalent. The next day she sat in a café waiting for Jason to show up and he did. IN A TANK! She was in love and after taking one look at her resume Jason was smitten as well. And so they lived, Susan got an awesome job at “Money Bags and Sons” and Jason continued to recruit because getting people out of jobs they don’t like into ideal ones was his passion.

THE END

 

 

 

 

 

If you were remotely entertained by this, it would be awesome to get more challenges like these. Please send me prompts so that I can create a story you would like to read.

Eagerly waiting,

Guru

TIPS AND IDEAS TO ACE YOUR NEXT INTERVIEW

Tips from WinstonTIPS AND IDEAS TO ACE YOUR NEXT INTERVIEW

Just So You Know:

When hiring managers were asked to name the most common and damaging interview mistakes a candidate can make, 51% listed dressing inappropriately. 49% cited badmouthing a former boss as the worst offense, while 48% said appearing disinterested. Arrogance (44%), insufficient answers (30%) and not asking good questions (29%) were also top answers.

You Should:

  •  Dress appropriately for the industry. It doesn’t hurt to be extra conservative.
  •  Arrive at least 10 minutes early (or earlier if the employer instructs for you to do so).
  •  Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. You never know who is asked for an opinion when the hiring decision is made.
  •  Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
  •  Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question. Don’t lie: If the conversation drifts to a topic you’re not knowledgeable about. Admit you don’t know the answer and then explain how you would go about finding a solution. Displaying your problem-solving skills is better than babbling about something you don’t understand.
  •  Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
  •  After the interview, make notes right away so you don’t forget important details.
  •  Collect business cards, so that you can connect with the interviewer on professional social networking sites.
  •  Draft a Thank-You letter promptly and email a copy of it to your recruiter for an extra set of proof-reading eyes.
  •  Don’t make negative comments about previous employers (or others).
  •  Don’t chew gum, smell like smoke or wear too much perfume.
  •  Turn your phone off before the interview. Checking a text or silencing your phone during the interview looks unprofessional.
  •  Do some research: knowing small details about the company you want to work for shows your commitment and preparedness.
  •  Keep it professional: although interviewers often try to create a comfortable setting to ease the job seeker’s nerves, you shouldn’t forget you’re trying to get the job not make friends.
  •  Expect to hear questions such as “What’s your biggest weakness?” “Why do you want to work here?” “Tell me about yourself.” “Why did you leave your last job?” These open-ended questions are harder to answer than they sound, so think about your responses before the interview.
  • Don’t take your parents or your pet (an assistance animal is not a pet in this circumstance), to an interview.

Make Sure to Ask Questions. Such As:

  •  What do you consider to be your firm’s most important assets?
  •   What can you tell me about your new product or plans for growth?
  •  What were the major strengths and weaknesses of the last person who held this job?
  •  What types of skills do you not already have onboard that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
  •  What is the overall structure of the company?
  •  What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this job?
  •  What are the skills and attributes you value most for someone being hired for this position?
  •  Could you describe a typical day or week in this position?
  •  What are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed in the first three months?
  •  How will I be evaluated and how often?
  •  What are the next steps in the interview process?

Good Luck and find us on facebook! facebook.com/winstonstaffnj for more tips, ideas, funny stories and more importantly, job postings.

Who Cares About Your Life Experience?

Well you should, because who knows who else will. Truth is, the world, specifically, the corporate world, is a cold, lonely place. When I decided to take on the debt of college I thought it would certainly be worth it, considering the payoff is a BA degree. While that can now be easily debated because of the economy, I am still pretty sure that I was right. That being said, I did get a job. But it certainly didn’t land in my lap like I felt my new BA would guarantee.

I started my search in December, around the time that I finished my senior thesis. Along with the BA degree entitlement, I expected that my two internships, student-faculty research, etc. etc. would speak for me and that any company I applied to would want  someone with such an extensive background. Based on the 100 emails I sent each week–wrong. I used every resource I could: LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, my college counselors, Simplyhired, Mediabistro you name the site, I was on it. Not to mention that I was still in school and all of those profiles needed to be kept updated to avoid disappearing from feeds into the resume oblivion the internet powers. Between the obsessive compulsive habits that soon accompanied every evening I had just a bit less homework to do, I soon turned my entitlement into anger/anxiety, which was just up the road from fear and more anger. Finally, my emotions settled down into exhaustion and exasperation. Why not me? I will go for any job you have, I have experience in a corporate and small business environment, I am peppy and I paid 60K for my college degree?

The truth was the following, there are bazillions more like me, who would also take any job they possibly could and who might have had a pretty great background. The deeper truth was no matter how great I thought I was, I still made mistakes. From the moment I applied for my first retail job at 16 to the last resume I sent. I write here to explain these mistakes and just spread knowledge. Knowing where the nail is sticking out in the floor might help you not stub your toe on it. Are there still going to be times, when you know that the nail is there, but for the split second you are distracted and stub your toe anyway? Absolutely. I am going to start from the beginning of my working career and move up. Feel free to distract me and ask about something else, because I don’t mind stubbing my toe. I would appreciate feedback, condolences, questions for advice and comments for that reason.