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#1 of 32 Jonathon Tillman

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Posted February 19 2007 - 03:24 PM

How exactly do companies decide on which candidates they wish to call in for an interview and others they leave it at just a phone interview or not even a response at all?

For someone like myself thats in my early twenty's just starting out I find it very difficult to get a entry level job and build my career in a field based off my education and expertise.

From stories I have heard from friends that try to start a career only to fail and not get hired and then try something else and still not get hired what gives others the leg up at giving the best shot at getting a position in a company they would love to work for?

It's not only young people that find it difficult to start a career but its just as frustrating for an experienced person that is middle aged with plenty of education behind them.

Right now I am currently working for a movie theater as a projectionist making $6.85 an hour with no benefits. I am just help as you might call it rather than a true employee. I was lucky to just get that job at the last minute to start training before the theater opened.

This is my first job in Pennsylvania after moving from Long Island, NY. Before the movie theater I was called for training for a Verizon Service Tech position making 14.75 an hour. I could not make it through training as pole climbing was involved and I only made it through almost two weeks of it. I am kicking my self because that would have been an incredible career with benefits and to work for a company that would care about me.

I am 3 credits away from my Associates degree in Radio TV and film and I was kind of turned off with the television industry due to being exposed to what it really was like and my professor's ego.

Right now I am pounding the pavement as they say and sending my resume to companies that I am interested in working for with not much luck.

My parents were very disappointed (and so was I) that I could not get through Verizon's pole climbing training. Heights isn't for everyone and from what I heard it was a part of the job that was used very little if not at all depending on the person.

I don't know of which companies to go after that would welcome my skills. I am computer literate and very technical when it comes to equipment and wiring.

I have been trying to get an interview with Tweeter to no such luck. They want carpentry experience in addition to basic home theater knowledge. They have just changed there policy to commissioned installations. The only other option would be to check out other mom and pop home theater shops in the area.

I would be happy to get involved in a home installation position with running all types of wiring and connecting equipment together.

I was suggested to take a civil service test to see what I'd be qualified for.

I live close to the Allentown area and I am still new to what is around as far as opportunities.

Jon

#2 of 32 Carl Miller

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Posted February 19 2007 - 04:01 PM

This is the age old catch 22 of the working world...how does a new worker get the experience every employer seems to want. The answer is pretty much to keep trying until you meet an employer who is willing to give you your first break. You'll meet that employer, provided you keep trying.

I'd recommend not letting your college experiences or any professors you encountered to turn you off completely from the course of study you chose. Not a big enough real world sample to make that decision IMO.

You could continue sending resumes out to companies you want to work for, but I would hope you're also sending resumes to every company that has openings whether or not they're on your wanted list.

Don't beat yourself up on the pole climbing experience. It may not be for you, or perhaps you could even take another run at it in the future? Don't kid yourself about Verizon caring about their employees either by the way...I have several friends at various levels who work for Verizon (here on Long Island where I live and in NYC), and they're no picnic to work for. Not by a long shot.

Civil service isn't a bad route to go. You sacrafice salary vs. the private sector in return for (usually but not always) stability and decent long term benefits. In civil service, you'd have federal, state and local gov't opportunities.

I graduated in 1986 with a degree in Accounting. It took me 5 months to land my first accounting job and worked at Macys (in Roosevelt Field) until I did. Every firm advertised for a minimum of 2-3 years experience, but I applied anyway and got calls for interviews anyway. I just kept trying until I guess I managed to show potential and landed a job. I was fired 4 months later and took a job at the IRS 2 months after that and never left. It was suppossed to be temporary, but turned out to be my forever job. You just never know.

Honestly, if I were in your shoes now, I'd recommend you decide on several different career paths you'd be interested in taking, and apply for them all. Answer all the ads you can find, as you're new to the area and meet new people be aware of opportunities to network if they come your way and just keep your chin up and keep trying. You'll get there.
Carl

#3 of 32 Scott L

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Posted February 19 2007 - 04:41 PM

All employers look for experience, even at entry-level jobs. The way young people can get that experience is through internships, usually unpaid. That's how I was able to land my first professional job. Maybe there's a PT apprenticeship program available at one of those HT installation places.

Also, have you considered moving? Job markets vary in different areas, HT installer is no exception. Check cities you're interested in on Craigslist or even Monster for the job you're after. You can also browse rooms for rent while there. Posted Image

#4 of 32 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 19 2007 - 04:57 PM

My grandfather, father, and uncle all worked for the old AT&T (Mama Bell). My grandfather was taken care of his whole life and left my grandmother a pension that kept her independent until the day she died. My father worked in the field (he was trained for the work, including the pole work, when he was drafted at the tail end of Vietnam) for a few years before ultimately getting into the state as a draftsman for DOT. My uncle, who spent more time on his education, climbed the ladder until ultimately getting a forced retirement and having to start a late-life second career.
The lesson? Even before the big split, the phone company just wasn't the lifetime garantee that it used to be.

Great topic though; I'm looking ahead to many of the same issues you are facing now. I'm a junior print journalism major. The good news is that the newspaper business has a high turnover rate, so the jobs are out there if I wanted to do the legwork now and get clips. The bad news is that the average graduate with a BS in journalism made $26,000 in 2000 and the numbers have dropped every year since. Even assuming we're using the 2000 figure, that's averages out to less than hourly wage you quoted for a Verizon service tech - and without the satisfaction of leaving your work at the office at the end of the day. And then there's the fact that I'm sick and tired of bugging people at their work and homes to get the key quote I need to simplify their situation into 800 - 1200 words. So I don't bother with the internships and school newspaper and await my turn to have every door in town slammed in my face.

My dad, btw, still works for the state and has climbed the ladder considerably. He suffered layoffs and the like early on but now has a good dependable paycheck and benefits that keep me covered until I graduate. I also have several friends who chose not pursue college at all and instead went into government. Most, if not all, are more satisfied with their situations right now than I am with mine.

Please keep us updated with your progress!

#5 of 32 Hunter P

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Posted February 19 2007 - 09:12 PM

It's very difficult to land a job just "off the street." Most jobs are filled by networking. "It's not what you know but who you know" as they say.

Most job descriptions I have read are kind of unrealistic. If a person met all the job requirements in the description then they would probably be overqualified for the job. Don't let a minimum requirement stop you from applying for a job. The reason they ask for so much is that they don't know you from Joe Blow so you have to really stand out to get to the interview and eventually hired.

It is a lot easier to find a job through other means. Do you know anyone who does the kind of work you want to do? They could be helpful for advice on getting a job in the field and how to succeed in the interview. Maybe they know of a job opening in their company or know someone who is looking to hire. Maybe you can target the company you want to work for and get a foot in the door through another position. Then you can work on networking from inside the company to find a position you really want to do. Companies are more inclined to fill positions from current employees rather than taking some unknown off the street.

Check with friends and family if they have an inside track to a job you might want. As you progress through your career, it's a good idea to keep in touch with some of your peers. Most jobs I have gotten were from friends, former coworkers, and old college classmates who knew I was seeking. They put a word in for me with the hiring manager and then asked me to apply for the job. By the time I went in for the interview, I was halfway hired already.

Finally keep your mind open to all job opportunities. You might find a job you love but never heard of before. There are probably dozens and dozens of jobs that are related to your home theater installation desires.
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#6 of 32 Paul D G

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Posted February 19 2007 - 11:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter P
Most job descriptions I have read are kind of unrealistic. If a person met all the job requirements in the description then they would probably be overqualified for the job. Don't let a minimum requirement stop you from applying for a job. The reason they ask for so much is that they don't know you from Joe Blow so you have to really stand out to get to the interview and eventually hired.
[...]
Check with friends and family if they have an inside track to a job you might want. As you progress through your career, it's a good idea to keep in touch with some of your peers. Most jobs I have gotten were from friends, former coworkers, and old college classmates who knew I was seeking. They put a word in for me with the hiring manager and then asked me to apply for the job. By the time I went in for the interview, I was halfway hired already.

This is all so true. I was laid off recently and am discovering finding a new job incredibly difficult. Every job seems to require a veritable alphabet of certifications that no one could possibly have, and if they do they'd be overqualified, as Hunter P points out.

I'm mostly self taught (computers) and am going for some certifications so I have something demonstrating what I can do, but even looking at jobs with those certs I'm not finding anything that fits me because I'd need a dozen more certs to fit.

What's worse, every time I try to meet with a career counselor, recruiter, etc they don't bother to return my calls. I don't know if I'm going in the right direction, and can't find anyone to talk to for assistance.

Worst thing is, like Hunter P says above, every job I've gotten has been because I knew someone on the inside already and the interview was really just a formality. This is the first time I've had to go out completely on my own and it's very frustrating.

Anyway, sorry to go off like that. It was a rough day!

-paul

#7 of 32 drobbins

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Posted February 20 2007 - 12:27 AM

Just some ideas.
  • Go to night trade school to pick up some skills needed. You could pick up some basic carpentry skills in a 6 week course and it shows that you are being pro-active.
  • Many electric/computer companies need laborers to run all wiring - both computer and 110. This is mainly physical so, they will hire someone if they think they will just show up for work every day. This will give you installation experience.
  • Depending on how much you know, you could start your own company part time. Even if it is just simple installations and you only find work for a year. Most churches these days are installing projectors and sound equipment. Bid low to get the jobs. Just try not to loose too much money in the worst case. Then you have the experience and it looks great on the resume. It shows your a go getter. Or you just might be successful Posted Image
We have a guy who started out as a laborer installing wire for a contractor. We saw how he worked and hired him. He worked 1 year in our IT department. Then the other guy quit. This guy is now running and maintaining the whole IT department by himself in a 100 man company. Having a job and being in the right place at the right time helps.

#8 of 32 Dave_Brown

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Posted February 20 2007 - 02:08 AM

Join the military. Plenty of OJT can take place there.

#9 of 32 Malcolm R

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Posted February 20 2007 - 10:10 AM

Make sure your resume is descriptive (don't just list past employers, tell what you did there) and aesthetic (visual appeal is always a good thing...use attractive fonts, organized layout, bullets/icons, nice stationery). And make sure it DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE TYPO!

I was hired for my first "real" job right out of college based only on my resume. No interview. They read my resume, called me with an offer, and I started a couple days later. I was with that firm for 8 years.

Obviously, this was the exception to the rule and there's generally always an interview process beyond the resume, but the resume is your first introduction/impression to a potential employer. Don't present a sloppy, smeared, unreadable resume full of mistakes. It will just make your potential boss laugh and shake his/her head in disbelief as you go back into "the file" instead of staying on his/her desk.
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#10 of 32 Bryan X

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Posted February 20 2007 - 10:55 AM

Quote:
And make sure it DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE TYPO!

That reminds me of a funny anecdote. We were hiring a position in our accounting department and were going through resumes. One individual had a list of a few references attached to his resume. One of the references was crossed out by the applicant and he had written 'deceased' next to the name! Posted Image Now if that doesn't scream lazy....

#11 of 32 drobbins

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Posted February 20 2007 - 03:07 PM

I was unemployed for 6 months with out a single phone call. I took a chance and spent a few hundred $$ to have it professionally written. I was skeptical, but I didn't know what else to do. When I got the resume, I was shocked at how good it was Posted Image. I would have hired me in a second. It was all the info that I gave them, but worded in a up-beat positive feel. I sent it out and got calls. The second one hired me & I have been there 5 years now.
Quote:
And make sure it DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE TYPO!
Make sure you write attention "Human Resources" not "Human Recourses"! Spell check won't catch that one

#12 of 32 Chris Souders

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Posted February 20 2007 - 03:51 PM

I spent last month hiring an entry level semi-advanced secretarial position or 'assistant' for myself in a city fire department. Basic requirements were just the ability to use microsoft word/excel/powerpoint. Was quite an interesting experience. Out of ~30 applications, I interviewed 6 with no phone interviews. There was a mix of ages, from about 23 to 50. Here's what I did...

Looked at all the applications...consists of a free form cover page and a fill-in-the-blank city application.
Immediately threw out those that did not report ability to use the MS products and threw out those with multiple spelling mistakes or bad grammar in their coverpage (this person will be writing for me (as me) and I expect a certain proficiency).

When that didn't limit me enough, I looked at:
1- what they actually said in the coverpage. Those that were incredibly vague (I'd expect you to tailor your coverpage to express an interest in my job) got cut and those that 'struck me wrong' got cut as well. These were ones that expressed sentiments regarding their desires that were either pie-in-the-sky loopy sounding or were so specific that I wondered why they were applying for my job, and if they got it, I'd think they were not planning on staying around for much time at all.
2-I looked at their previous job history.. and not so much what their title/duties were, but length of employment. People who had no 'longer term' consistent employment and bounced around every 6 months got cut. Younger folks had fewer employees of course, but I would have been fine with one previous employer for 1.5-2 years or so. Nobody had no previous employment.

Believe it or not, that got me down to 6 applicants who I called to invite for interviews. Honestly, based on the phone call to arrange their times, I axed 2 of them based upon bizarreness over the phone (though I still interviewed them... maybe it was nerves?)

In the interview, I pretty much spent the majority of the time explaining the job. That was like 20 minutes and I gave them 10 minutes to talk to me about why they were interested, what they could offer, or whatever. Frequently they would say something which I would then ask questions about. I was slightly turned off by those that appeared too too eager to have a job.

Then I gave them a skills assessment consisting of some data and told them to make an excel graph of that data, and then incorporate it into a powerpoint slide with a title slide, and some text that I hand wrote.. telling them to fix anything because I 'wrote it fast'.

As it turns out, only 1 person turned it in as expected, and 3 of them couldn't even make a powerpoint slide or excel graph even though they claimed familiarity with the programs. So, I hired the one that did the best.

So, given all that,
You would, on paper, concern me because I'd want to know why you didn't finish school. It's too easy an excuse to say "Oh, this person can't follow through". Otherwise, it doesn't matter the job, just stick with something for a while, while looking for the 'dream job'.

Wish you good luck,
Chris

#13 of 32 Stacey

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Posted February 20 2007 - 04:06 PM

These are all great ideas and I cannot stress enough how important the Resume is for getting a job.

Even having something as simple as low grade paper vs. high grade paper can make a huge difference in how good it can look.

Find a local "Job Hunter" type business. Find one that will help you to write your resume, build your network, practice your interview & possibly give you job leads.

As well, if you aren't always home and dont have any way of being contacted, do get a voicemail service (if you dont already have one).

Treat your job search as a job. Work 9am to 5pm by checking out job leads, print out and deliver resumes in person to prospective employers, keep an electronic journal of who've you talked to & who you need to call back, plan a routine that you can follow every day in hunting for a job.

And finally, be proactive. Find out who will be looking at your resume and try to speak to them in person when you drop off your resume and do call back the company if you don't hear from them in a week.

Good luck! Posted Image
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#14 of 32 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 20 2007 - 05:28 PM

This is great! You guys all bring perspectives I'd never really encountered before and great ideas I never would have thought of. Dave's suggestions are really great too, because I always feel more comfortable taking the initiative than sitting around waiting to get bites.

#15 of 32 KevinGress

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Posted February 21 2007 - 09:09 AM

Stacey's post is pretty good advice, along with Chris Sounder's. Remember - with entry-level jobs, an employer is searching for ways to narrow their search. Think of it this way - the less experience, the sharper the resume and the interview needs to be.

My experience was that I received an offer a couple of weeks after I graduated. What I think got it for me was that I had an internship where I did things very similar to what the job entailed. So, be looking for ways to relate your current experience to the job you are applying for.

If you're not attending school, seriously consider a resume writing service (schools usually have something that help with this as it benefits them if their graduates actually get hired). They can help to structure your resume in ways that perhaps you haven't thought of, but make complete sense once you think about it.

And one thing I've heard that I believe is true is the theory - "It takes about a month of searching for every 10k of salary you're going after". It mostly applies to those laid off and with experience, but I can see it being generally true for 1st time applicants, as well. Just do as Stacey says, and approach it as your job - reach out to everyone you know and they know. Polish the resume and the shoes, practice your interview skills - especially working on the questions you know they'll ask - "Why do you want to work for us", "How do you see yourself benefitting our company", "What are your strengths and weaknesses", etc.

Oh, and how to answer the weaknesses - try to either structure it as not a bad thing - "I try to serve my customers so well that sometimes I take on too many projects" or that you're being proactive about fixing it - "I'm not as organized as I'd like to be, so I'm setting aside a half-hour every evening to make sure I've got everything in hand for the next day", etc.

#16 of 32 Brian D H

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Posted February 21 2007 - 09:33 AM

These are all good suggestions, but I have one that's not listed that worked for me.

First I decided where I wanted to work, then I found out what company they use for their temps. I signed up for the temp company and let them know that I wanted to work at that company as soon as they had an opening.

I wound up temping for my desired company in two separate jobs over the course of 7months. I was able to learn the business and make contacts. My direct experience working at the company practically guaranteed the interview. Even so, I had to apply twice before they hired me. After they turned me down the first time I just kept right on temping for them. A few months later I applied again. At the second interview I told them that this was where I wanted to work and that if they didn't hire me I would treat this interview as a learning experience and apply again later. I got the job.

The nice thing about this tactic is that you're employeed while you're gaining experience and making all the necessary contacts.
Lurking at HTF Since 2001

#17 of 32 Malcolm R

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Posted February 21 2007 - 09:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinGress
practice your interview skills - especially working on the questions you know they'll ask - "Why do you want to work for us", "How do you see yourself benefitting our company", "What are your strengths and weaknesses", etc.
"Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?"

Hate that question. Beyond all your other skills, they want you to be psychic too. Posted Image
The purpose of an education is to replace an empty mind with an open mind.

#18 of 32 KurtEP

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Posted February 21 2007 - 12:25 PM

Lots of good advice here. I'll add, never give up. Even if you get a job that's below you, work hard, make an impression and keep trying to move up.

Networking can overcome a lot. I used to review resumes for accountants in a firm where I was a Manager. We actually hired a few people because we knew them who had resumes that were beyond poor. Honestly, had they been written in crayon, I would have been just as impressed.

Lastly, if you are looking for a job in public relations, don't spell it "pubic" relations like a friend of my sister did. She didn't figure it out until she had sent out over 100 resumes. Amazingly, she got no calls.Posted Image
Lay down your law books now, they're no damned good -- The Eagles

#19 of 32 Carl Miller

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Posted February 21 2007 - 01:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm R
"Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?"

Hate that question. Beyond all your other skills, they want you to be psychic too. Posted Image

That has to be one of, if not the worst interview questions to have to answer...Where do I see myself in 5 years? Sitting in your chair, asking that same ridiculous question to someone else.
Carl

#20 of 32 KurtEP

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Posted February 21 2007 - 02:05 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Miller
That has to be one of, if not the worst interview questions to have to answer...Where do I see myself in 5 years? Sitting in your chair, asking that same ridiculous question to someone else.

Did you ever think that it might be a way to see how you do under pressure? My last interview involved me in a room with seven professionals, all grilling me at will. I didn't answer all their questions perfectly, but I still got the job. Posted Image
Lay down your law books now, they're no damned good -- The Eagles


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