• I Won’t Be Coming Back

    December 24, 2005 by

    The words were uttered between clenched teeth under a cool, regulated, muted voice. “I won’t be coming back.” The words were stern and unequivocating.

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  • Patience is a nice virtue…


    Friday, December 23! ‘THE DAY’ the mission of Belgium was going to make their decision: hire me or not? While I was unctuously waiting for the call all morning, my cell phone rings at precisely 11:30 am. I ran to the phone: ‘Hello?? Hm… OK… I understand! OK, Bye’. (4 minutes)
    The woman told me that they received some more applications during the week and they need to give those people a change too! So, the interviewing process will take a bit longer! She said I’m a good and strong candidate, but for everybody’s sake they need to see all candidates! She told me in an informal way not to worry! However, I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that there are more strong candidates! I prefer to stay realistic than getting my hopes up and getting disappointed at the end!
    Because of the fact that the ambassador and some other people are going back to Belgium for the holidays, the process will be over by mid January. So, waiting again!! 🙁
    Nothing bad happened, at all! But, being hired by the UN the day before Christmas eve??? That would have been the best present ever!!
    Anyway… I’m staying positive!! I might even go back to Belgium for new years! Waiting for an answer –> I can do that everywhere! And, if they hire me I have to go back anyway to pick up my new visa! Plus, making some money in Belgium before I move to Manhattan can’t be bad at all :-).
    Let’s keep our fingers crossed!!! I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year!! May all your wishes come true, and so much more!! May you all find a job you like, and pays more than what is fair 🙂

  • Temping? Research the agency.

    December 23, 2005 by

    The seasonal job that I took is over with now. Overall, it was not too bad. The work was easy enough, just putting small boxes into a large rack. We had to work quickly, but things never hit the frantic pace retail outlets go through the same time of year. The long hours and the cold (did I mention this all took place inside of an industrial-size freezer?) will not be missed. However, I am glad that I stuck around until the end.
    Not everyone who initially signed on for the position stayed, and a dozen or more people from temp agencies had to be brought in. They, along with a recent posting in this blog, reminded me of my own brief time as a temp. It was there that I learned the most valuable lesson about working for temp agencies-never work for temp agencies.
    Maybe that is going a bit far. Certainly, some have found work, even good work in this manner. But to get the whole picture, all kinds of stories are needed, good and bad. It could have just been the agency I worked for, but my temping experience was anything but fulfilling.
    What got me interested in this agency in the first place was the selection of jobs they had, or at least claimed to have. Around fifty different postings were listed on their website alongside claims of “flexibility” and “we’ll match you up with the perfect job for you!” Plus, they run a multitude of ads in the Sunday papers. But when I started, they just called me up and told me where to go without giving me any choice in the matter. The one time that I asked for a different assignment , they told me that they did not have any other jobs, and sent me anyway. That job required experience/knowledge I did not possess, which makes me wonder if they even READ the lengthy sheet they made me fill out detailing what I could and could not do. So I spent half of that shift just learning the basics of what to do and the other half fumbling around like an idiot trying (and failing) to keep up just halfway decently with the others. I was not asked to return the next day. So much for matching me up with my “dream job” there. Not knowing what I would be doing the next day made me uneasy to begin with. After that incident, the feeling increased drastically. Driving all over the city for next to nothing is no fun either, but it could have been worth it were there not one major flaw that every single assignment I got had in common. The same story was true for all the other temps I met at all the companies I worked for. There was no chance at all that any of us would be permanent. Most of my assignments lasted one day, and that was all that the clients intended. Just like those guys in the freezer, brought in when needed and then booted out the door. My last assignment took me to a place ONE HOUR from where I live, only to find out the client had CANCELLED the temp help. I returned home in a…let us just leave it at “unhappy” mood to find my then current employers name on my caller ID. They had been kind enough to call and inform me of the cancellation after all…FIFTEEN MINUTES before the job was supposed to start! To be fair, I do not know who’s fault that was, the agency or the client. Either way, it was good in the long run, for the incident provided the necessary motivation to finally get my old job back and, with surprising calmness, quit the agency. Sorry if that turned into a bit of a rant, but temping was the worst job experience of my life-yes, worse than fast food. That rant did not even cover half of it. Do not make my mistake. If you want to try this line of work, do what you should do on any potential employer-research. What kinds of jobs do they have? What percentage of employees find permanent work? Do they give you options on where to go? Most of all, talk to people. Although I am not trying this again through anybody, I have heard great things about other agencies. I have since spoken to others who worked for the same agency I did, and the responses have always been negative. Hey, maybe if I had talked to all those people beforehand, I would be writing glowing praises for the occupation. Doubt it, but it is possible. After hearing so many praises for temping, including a front page article in the job section of my local paper, I just needed to tell my story.

  • CollegeRecruiter.com Wins Best Blog Awards


    Recruiting.com just announced the category winners for the 2005 Best Blog awards. CollegeRecruiter.com was nominated in three categories and we won two of them.

    Best Recruiting Advice Blog Award graphic

    The first award was for the Best Recruiting Advice Blog. Of 571 respondents, 119 (20.8 percent) voted for the CollegeRecruiter.com Blog. Runners up were David Perry, Recruiting Career, Steve Levy’s Blogging Outside the Box, Recruiters Dumping Ground, Talentism, and Let’s Dream Big.
    Best Recruiting Advice Blog Award graphic

    The second award was for the Best Human Resources Blog. Of 488 respondents, 149 (30.5 percent) voted for the CollegeRecruiter.com Blog. Runners up were Michael Specht’s Blog, Jason Corecello’s blog, Online Hiring In China, Systematic Viewpoints, Dub Dubs – systematichr, and El Foro De Los Recuros Humanos.
    The CollegeRecruiter.com Insights by Candidates Blog, which we launched just a few days before the start of voting, also did quite well given its age. In voting for the Best Job Seeker Blog, there were 818 respondents. Gretchen’s JobsBlog landed in first place with 186 votes (22.7 percent) and the CollegeRecruiter.com Insights by Candidates Blog was a runner up 54 votes (6.6 percent).
    This contest wasn’t about winners and losers. It was an effort to recognize the effort being made by some very good people and organizations to share their knowledge. The writers of these blogs understand that they’re building a community and learning as they go. The better blogs tend to have a focus, but even the best sometimes stray into areas that are outside of those areas of focus. And that’s okay, because readers of blogs tend to read for content, but the value that they place upon the content depends largely upon the credibility of the author. So when the authors stray a bit, they’re also making themselves better understood by their readers and that can only be healthy.
    To all of the nominees, congratulations!

  • Be prepared for these questions!


    After 15 months of the interview process, these 10 questions appeared in almost every job interview I attended. If anyone could post their creative answers to these questions, it would be most helpful and much appreciated.
    What are your weaknesses?
    Why should we hire you?
    Why do you want to work here?
    What are your goals?
    Why did you leave (Are you leaving) your job?
    When were you most satisfied in your job?
    What can you do for us that other candidates can’t? What makes you unique?
    What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
    What salary are you seeking?
    If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?
    I would also like any comments on questions that have stumped you in the past.

  • New York City Transit Strike and Being Sick

    December 22, 2005 by

    Millions of New Yorkers have been harmed by the city’s latest transit strike. Most are finding a way of getting to work, getting errands done, and generally staying mobile. But the loss of mass transit has made the already stressful process of getting to and from work almost intolerable. And with the holidays right around the corner, little gets done at work at this time of the year even without a strike, so many workers have decided to avoid the mess and instead work from home.
    Coincidentally, I wasn’t able to get much work done today either, although my situation wasn’t due to the transit strike. Instead, I was knocked sideways (not as bad as being knocked backwards) by some kind of virus. Almost like the flu. Almost like the common cold. But not quite either. Yet due to the incredible advances in modern communication, I was able to be almost as productive from my living room as from my office. I checked and returned emails. I instant messaged with key vendors. I talked on the phone with a client. And I participated in a conference call during which we won a significant new client.

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  • All I Want For Christmas Is An Interview!!


    Watching TV one night last week, I saw one of those Capitol One commercials with the Viking invaders ; you know, the ones where they are always looking for new jobs because everyone is switching to Capitol One? Anyway, the heavyset, bald Viking who is supposed to be the leader declares that, after several scenes depicting embarrassing, holiday-themed follies on the part of his men, “All we want for Christmas is our dignity!”
    Like most people, the images in the advertisement were meant to cause a bit of a chuckle on the part of the audience, and I was no exception. More so, actually, since the punch line rang with a bit of truth in my case. Looking for employment is not easy, and its hard to keep one’s chin up at times. After a meager holiday season, I’m slowly depleting my savings as I look for work. Although I’ve landed some freelance projects, all have been unpaid. Which is fine; it builds the resume. But, sooner or later, we all need money.

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  • The Interviewing Experience


    Many employers like to see not only a solid grade point average, but also a good amount of extra curricular activity. It has been my experience that most of the questions on interviews relate to character traits, leadership positions outside of school, past jobs, and/or other voluntary activities.
    During my most recent interview, I was asked about leadership positions before college, and ideas that I gave to a former boss. The interviewer didn’t ask one question about my college experience; however I was required to bring them a copy of my transcript.
    Also, I found it interesting that three different people interviewed me: first the recruiter, then the IT director, and then a project leader. After the three-hour process, I was exhausted; however, I did have a good insight into the company.

  • Taxes are going to kill me

    December 21, 2005 by

    I was told that, because I would work for the Belgian government, I’d get hired local (NYC) but I would pay taxes in my home country! And I can tell you that’s A LOT
    People around here told me I wouldn’t make it, they’ve lived in the city for a while and know the costs much better than I do.
    I looked at some apt’s though, I’ve found a couple of good ones for a ‘reasonable’ price (in comparison to what is out there), and I did some numbers… I think I might make it, but there are always additional costs that you don’t know of in advance!
    Anyway, let’s see if I get the job first! It’s already Wednesday, and they told me they would decide by the end of the week: SO, let’s keep our fingers crossed!

  • If I Had a Second Chance

    December 19, 2005 by

    2005 is coming to an end as 2006 is eerily lurking around the corner. This coming May it will have been one full year since I have graduated. I still have no full-time job and am making small strides in attaining my career goal as a writer. Now that I have entered the rat race of job hunting, I continually kick myself for not taking up an internship in college.
    I cannot stress enough about the importance of doing an internship. Besides the experience, the networking that can be established is mind-blowing. Every person that I have talked to in regards to attaining an entry-level position always asks about my internship history. Though I was heavily involved on campus during my college days, I still could have found the time between my part-time job and college organizations to do some sort of writing internship. Of course, everyone has heard the success stories of those who did and did not do internships. However, if one decides not to, he/she is taking a big chance. Employers want to see that desire. They want to know that one is strongly motivated and interested in his/her field. They need to be assured that an individual is willing to invest in their company or organization and in return they will invest in that person’s future. Interning manifests that passion. It shows that the candidate wants to be successful and is determined to reach his/her goals. I guess I had to learn that the hard way.
    What bothers me most about job hunting is that I know that
    I am capable. I simply want the chance to prove my abilities. I can send out a thousand resumes along with winning cover letters but they seem to get lost in an electronic abyss where resumes are sent to pasture. Do not get me wrong, I still believe in resumes. Yet, what are important are the hands that these resumes touch, which leads me back to the power of networking and gaining experience. So the lesson of the day for aspiring employees: Intern!