Finding a job in todays market

Dear Casey,

                A friend introduced me to your website and I have been following your blog for a while.  You provide a lot of great information for people and I was hoping to get your thoughts on my situation.

Like a lot of people in today’s economy, I am having a difficult time finding a great job that pays well.  After spending 4 years in college and accruing a large amount of debt from student loans, I find it hard to find a professional job in my field of study.  Despite spending countless hours filling out applications online, writing cover letters, making call-backs to human resource offices, and even applying for lower paying service industry jobs; I still am having a difficult time even obtaining an interview.  It seems like the only places hiring are the ones that have high turnover rates because nobody wants to keep that job. 

                Could you please give me some advice on how to position myself for an interview?  Also, if you could provide tips on what employers are looking for and how to conduct myself after an interview it would be appreciated. 

Thanks for all your help,

Tom Barley – Lafayette, IN

Dear Tom Barley,

                Thanks for the kind words about my blog.  I feel an obligation to make the world around me a better place so that’s why I write so many articles about my business to show people that success can be achieved if you’re willing to put in the work for it. 

                I’m sorry to hear about your struggles finding what you termed as a ‘professional’ job.  Today’s current economy has made virtually every job competitive now.  Just the other day I read a story about a hot dog stand in New York City placing an ad for an operator in the paper.  The next day 350 were waiting in line to interview for this position!  So put that into perspective the next time you’re applying for a job.  With so many people applying for a scarce number of jobs, you really need to find something that makes you stand out to the employer. 

                In my own business, I recently needed to hire a new manager for one of my facilities.  I interviewed 7 people on the first day.  At the end of the day I had trouble remembering who was who.  However, the next morning one of the applicants came to my office with a marketing plan and looked me in the eye and told me “I am going to help you grow your business”.  I didn’t ask him to do this.  I didn’t ask any of my applicants to do anything for me.  By taking the extra time to come up with this marketing plan for me, this applicant showed me that he was willing to put in the extra work to help my business and he definitely set himself apart from everyone else.  So it was an obvious choice for me to hire this person. 

                While writing this, I’m replaying events from the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith.  In that movie his character makes many sacrifices to try to further his career.  He doesn’t drink water during the day because that means he would go to the water cooler and talk to the other workers about sports, or movies, or other things; and this was time that he could be spending working.  He also doesn’t drink water so that he won’t need to go to the bathroom because that would take away from his time to work.  This was his way to make himself standout.  If he maximized his time to work, he could produce more than others. 

                The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  My advice to you Tom is to try a different approach to your process.  Analyze your whole process and come up with ways to make yourself stand out at each part of the process.  If this means sending edible arrangements to human resource offices, sending thank you cards, whipping out a laptop during an interview to show a power point presentation; then so be it.  With so many people applying for jobs, you have to make the employer remember you. 

                I hope these suggestions help you get started on your quest for a better job.  Keep in mind that one setback doesn’t define you as a person. 

Good luck,

Casey S. Cavell

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