Monday, May 16, 2011

More Conversations Of The Unemployed

****Recently, I began a series of articles about my ongoing adventure to find the perfect job (or any job for that matter). If you missed the first article you can check it out here. The following story is about what happened when I attended a Women's Job Fair in Atlanta a few weeks ago.****

Black suits, black notebooks and black shoes, in an early morning seminar of nearly 100 people only ten brave souls dared to wear something other than business black, and I was one of them. I had not planned for that to happen. I had my all business black suit laid out the night before. Come morning, somewhat to my surprise, it was a bit too snug; on to Plan B: black pants and a red sweater.

I had braved the Atlanta early morning rush hour (made me feel like I was working again: nerves were shot to hell by the time I got there) to attend the Women For Hire early morning seminar and career expo. The guest speaker at the early bird event was none other than Tory Johnson--famous for her guest appearances on ABC's Good Morning America where she dispenses no-nonsense career advice. Never one to miss an opportunity to mingle with a famous person, I paid the $10 fee to attend the seminar (the expo was free) and hoped some of her knowledge might help me in my career search.

After a short introduction, Johnson launched into a hour long conversation that was scattered with personal stories, helpful job search tips and an overall feeling of do not give up, all delivered with a smooth and humorous style. I liked her immediately. I am like a kid in most instances when I have to sit through speeches: I fidget, I look around, I look at the other people (that is how I knew what everyone was wearing) I get bored really easily. Tory captured my attention with a joke; I cannot remember what it was, I just know it cracked me up.

The highlights of the seminar according to the notes I took: (Yes, I took notes.)

  • Do not get used to rejection- Treat each 'no' as a separate event. After each one, start over and do not become resigned to the fact.

  • Get rid of things you cannot control-If your dream job is asking for 20 years of experience, and you only have two years; get over it and move on.

  • Be specific in your search-If you are a IT Manager, do not apply to be the cake decorator at the local bakery unless you want to change careers. ( I think that is part of my problem; I do not know what I want to be when I grow up.)

  • Do not be afraid to ask for help- Contact five people you know and let them know that you are looking for a new position.

  • Volunteer where you want to get paid- I have been thinking about this for sometime.

  • Thinking versus Doing- You have to let the right people know you exist. Inaction is almost as bad as doing the wrong thing.

  • Apply and Engage- Join in the Social Media revolution. Get on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Join in on conversations, friend companies that you are interested in and follow HR departments; many list job openings on these sites.

  • Lastly, guard your time- Unemployed people are some of the busiest people around. Friends and family think just because you do not have a job that you are free to run all the errands and become the neighborhood chauffeur.

I have incorporated some of the above tips in my daily routine and I have already gotten more interest in my resume.

After the seminar, it was time to head into the career expo. Over 20 companies were there and most of them were handing out freebies. (Which is a good thing.)

Not only did I receive all those goodies above, I also got to speak to several HR folks from the companies that I was interested in, plus, even hand out a few resumes. I also got my resume tweaked by a professional resume writer which was extremely helpful. (I know I like to talk about myself on the blog, but I have the hardest time describing what I did in my previous jobs. Go figure!)

After I had made the rounds at the expo, I found myself standing in front of the Atlanta Police Department's booth. I do not know if I was feeling sorry for the nice lady sitting there, but I had noticed that not many job-seekers had stopped to chat. Well, you know me, I will talk to anybody, and so I struck up a conversation:

Me: Had many folks stop by?

Policewoman: Not too many. Are you interested in a career with the APD?

Me: Well, I'm not sure. Is it for street patrol?

Policewoman: Yes, it is.

Me: Oh, heavens no. I'd get beat up for sure.

The lady cop looked at me, puzzled I am sure, as to whether I was serious or not, before she broke out into a large smile. She handed me a card that listed other positions within the police department, which were not street patrol.

Policewoman: You never know what you can do if you set your mind to it. Thanks for stopping by. You made my day!

I thought that the Women for Hire career expo was definitely worth my time. I got to meet a famous person, Tory Johnson, (that remembers me and my red sweater) I networked and handed out a few of my business cards promoting my blog, I got useful information for my job search and made a police officer laugh.

If you are searching for a new position and the Women for Hire event comes to your town, be sure to check them out!


ladyguinevere28 said...

That would be nice to join such seminar, we gain confident and more knowledge on how to be successful. I like that..

Monica said...

Sounds like a fun and interesting weekend...hopefully somebody contacts you soon...wouldn't that be awesome! Good luck and keep on searchin'

meleah rebeccah said...

Wow. Good for you. I bet you really did make the police woman's day and it really sounded like the Women for Hire career expo was an overall success.

Sharkbytes said...

Those are really good tips. I managed to get a part time job this past winter, but I applied to 15 posts before finally getting one.



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