Wow. Some days really make you wonder about the future, and about the real employment adversity faced by many Americans.
I spent the better part of the day on Monday, March 10th, at the August Civic Center exhibiting at the Augusta Job Expo. The company I work for was there promoting our service to job seekers, and providing tips and advice to job seekers. These bits of wisdom (okay, so humility may not be my strongest personality trait) range from how to use our internet job board effectively to find the type of job they are looking for, to how to write a more effective cover letter, to how to approach an employer when you aren't sure what you're really looking for, to how to format a resume to be more searchable in a database.
During the event, I spoke with around 70 of the 200 or so job seekers that came through, and was a little saddened by some of the stories. I really felt for some people, like the former telephone line repairman who was out of work and looking to get in with Fairpoint Communications (they weren't actively hiring for those jobs, and now-a-days they want a 4 year degree for that position; so, I guess you go to the other telephone companies to find work right?... oh, yeah, how many phone companies are there?), while for others, I had little compassion. I can't tell you how many job seekers came in wearing tee-shirts or sweats, with no resumes, hair not brushed, and no real plan for finding a job.
I guess I've become a little jaded over the past few years. Back when I started working these events, I would have felt bad for those that don't prepare, assuming that they don't have the means to get a tie, or print out a resume, or look presentable. Now, after working at so many under utilized career centers and with so many social service and non-profit organizations that provide free assistance, I see just a lack of effort or desire. Am I the only one that feels this way? I'd love your thoughts on this matter, please add a comment if you'd be willing.
At any rate, there were also a goodly number of people who were well prepared, eager, and focused on finding a good job, and I tried to offer the support that I have available. For these folks, the obstacles may be technology shifts that render their skills useless, a geographical dilemma, confusion about how to DO a job search after dozens of year with a job, and fear or anxiety about starting over. Some of the tips I provide to these more experienced folks include approaching employers by stating the highlights of their experience first, and then mentioning that they are looking for a change or a new way to apply their skills, instead of walking up and saying "I don't know what I'm looking for, what kind of jobs do you have?". I also provided hands on training on how to find jobs using the internet, and how to use keywords. One of the most important pieces, though, is reviewing their resume and helping them to see the positives that they may have overlooked, and showing them how they often have more transferable skills than they realize. I do have to say, many of these conversations are VERY rewarding, and people feel that our company has provided them with assistance that they can use. I like those conversations.
Well, on the recruiting front lines of Maine, I can tell you that the present is uneasy for many out of work Mainers, and the future is foggy. I believe in economic development and good business growth, but in truth, it's my opinion that growth MUST be slow and natural to be good. One of the reasons that Maine is such a desirable place to retire or raise a family is that we aren't too business friendly and Maine residents are well taken care of. Yes, the median income is low, but amount of real true poverty is also very low. I've seen over the last few years on the road that the areas with very high wealth are always neighbored by areas of extreme poverty.
ONE JOB SEEKER STORY THAT STOOD OUT TODAY: I met a gentleman who had been working for a print shop doing pre press and bindery room work for years. With the new technology his skills are no longer of any value and he had been laid off. Now he is faced with having years of experience in an extremely specialized capacity in an extinct field, and he lives in a sparcely populated region with little business opportunities. I don't know what he'll do, but I believe he was motivated to work, and hope that he is adaptable so that he can seize the opportunity in this change.
ONE RECRUITER STORY THAT STOOD OUT TODAY: I had a great conversation with a member of the Diversity Hiring Coalition for the ME state HR council. She was discussing all of the great businesses that work to help promote and exemplify good diversity hiring practices, and she was clearly enthusiastic about this work. She is also a recruiter or Northern New England for a cell phone company, and exhibits at many career fairs. I'm always happy to see younger professionals so engaged in their work, and looking to take on additional activities to help do good. Nice work!
Ideas, thoughts, or questions? Click on the Comments tab below and share!
We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at jasonblais.com. I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason