Friday, July 4, 2014

It Pays to Know Someone

I was at work one day, when I was handed what was supposed to be a resume. I say supposed to be, because it was far removed from any other resume I had seen in the past ten years. I was truly taken aback by what had just been placed in my hand. As career development professionals, we are always telling our clients that a resume should have at least one-inch margins, have a format that is eye-catching and eye pleasing; use bullets sparingly, limit your timeline, include only relevant info, etc.,etc. This resume threw all that out the window. Additionally, this candidate arrived for the interview in a print dress. When did the rules change and how did she get past the gatekeepers?

I’ll tell you how. She knew somebody. It’s as simple as that. Although this candidate had qualifications, the qualifications were for some other type of position-not the one for which we were hiring. Regardless of this fact, she was still called in for an interview. As a matter of fact, not only was she called in, but by the end of the day it became apparent that this person was being hired regardless what kind of negative feedback was provided from the team. The company was desperate for someone-anyone.

Is this fair? Of course not, but it is one way this game is played. I can’t stress enough how important it is to put yourself out there and make it be known that you are open to employment. Networking is the key. If it doesn’t get you a job, it will almost always get you in the door. After that, it is up to you to impress them. This goes for those of you who are currently employed and those who are unemployed. Make contacts several times a week. Give an old friend a call. Join a group. Take a class. Do whatever you can to make connections. Don’t make the mistake of discounting how valuable an inside contact can be.

By the way, please ensure your resume is solid and you dress to impress. You cannot always count on the employer being desperate for a warm body.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Substitutions

Many who work as substitute teachers, full-time or part-time, are always at a loss with regard to where to work during the summer months. Most, it seems, want to be gainfully employed, out of necessity for life or just simply to avoid being bored out of their minds. Regardless the reason, finding some type of temporary employment is usually at the forefront of their minds this time of year.

Well, summer is upon us and if you still have not found that lucrative sweet spot of a job there are still a few options available to you that perhaps you have not considered. To aid you in your last minute job search, I have developed a list of possible “Substitutions” for your employment.

Note: Before you decide to belittle any of the below suggestions, know that this was made from actual jobs that people hold. They are legal and the pay can be sufficient to offset summertime cash lows. The more effort you put into them; the more money you get out of them.
  1. Merchandising: Places like Hallmark and Crossmark are always hiring part-time merchandisers. If you are able to move around boxes of cards or magazines, and can read a plan-o-gram, this may be the job for you.
  2. Ice Cream Truck: It’s a seasonal business that allows you to still interact with children and be home before dark.
  3. Baked Goods Sales: Many of you are excellent bakers. If you price your items appropriately, you should be able to cover the income from substituting, without trying too hard. Look for church craft fairs, bazaars, flea markets, etc. as potential sites to make sales. Post your treats to Facebook or on Instagram to give even more people an opportunity to purchase your luscious delights.
  4. Babysitting: Parents are still working, even though the children are not. Rent yourself out as a babysitter. This not only allows you to practice your teaching skills, but also gives you a nice comfortable place to work.
  5. Children’s Party Service. Since most substitutes have an affinity for children, we are in tune with what makes them smile. Use that knowledge and your access to Pinterest to become a party provider for children. Connect with another substitute who bakes and you could even provide the cake.
  6. Concierge Service: Are there any new big businesses in your area. If so, they could be sources of significant income. Men and women who work daily and long hours seldom have time to take care of the everyday things like taking clothes to the dry cleaner, scheduling appointments or even buying birthday gifts.
  7. Tutoring: This is always an option year-round. The connections you make throughout the year can be profitable in the summer. Make the most of them. A teacher is not just a teacher during the school year. You could even combine tutoring with babysitting to make a unique offering.
  8. Staffing Agencies: Sometimes we forget about the obvious. Staffing agencies are not just for full-time employment. Many staffing agencies have employment available for 3 months or is a good source for finding short-term job possibilities.
  9. Offer a Course: Do you have a particular skill that is marketable? Perhaps you do woodworking or are exceptionally good at line dancing. If so, your neighborhood recreation center wants you. The rec center offers numerous courses that cover a variety of topics. Contact them to see if you can get on the summer schedule.
  10. Landscaper:Everyone cannot afford to pay the expensive landscaping companies for their small jobs. Offer to prune bushes, mow lawns, plant flowers, etc. You would be surprised how much work you can find just by being at your local home improvement store.
  11. Deckwasher:This is a pretty messy job, but anyone who owns a deck must also maintain it. Referring back to the concierge service, most people do not have the time for this. An inexpensive power washer can be purchased for $100-150. If you'd rather do it the old fashioned way, pick up some scrub brushes, a hose, and deck wash solution.
I will leave the rest to my cohorts to add more suggestions. Finding employment during the summer months takes a bit of thinking outside the box. I am certain you are up to the task. The sky really is the limit.