Recruiters Push Relocation on Him

finger_pointing_at_map_-_Google_SearchDavid writes:
My home and family are here in Oklahoma City…

Why is it that nearly every recruiter or job-search agent’s first words after “hello” are either “relocate” or the name of some other city?

This happens even though I have indicated in my resume objective I am looking for work in Oklahoma City…

Am I just a piece of meat who gets the recruiter a better commission for forcing me to relocate, regardless of job openings in the city where I already live?

The Career Doctor responds:

David, recruiters are paid by employers for placement, not by the job-seeker. So, while you may be looking for employment in Oklahoma City, the recruiters you’ve talked with may have clients elsewhere with needs that match your qualifications. Since I don’t know the type of job you’re looking for, your background, or current employment conditions in Oklahoma City for you’re a person of your talents and skills, it’s hard for me to offer any better answer.

But here are a few broad suggestions. First, how many recruiters have you spoken with? Are you talking to generalists or specialists to your industry/profession? I’ve worked with some great recruiters and then others who seemed more suited for selling cars, so you may be on a stretch of bad luck … or there are simply better opportunities for someone such as yourself outside your area.

Check out Oya’s Recruiter Directory for some new leads on recruiters. Second, I would suggest going the networking route – either through a professional organization or civic organization – or your existing network of friends and associates; surely, these networks are a great place to get some help in finding a better job.

Finally, check out some of the general job sites, such as the one on Quintessential Careers, or any of the many others – both general and industry-specific – listed for you at Quint Careers.

Helping Her Sister Out of Career Limbo

Karen writes:
limboMy sister has a bachelor’s degree in sociology (or is it social science?) with a specialization in archeology. (She wanted to become an archeologist, but the college she went to didn’t offer it as its own major, but instead as part of another major.) After she graduated, she worked a few years of archeology “construction detail,” and then gave it up.

She’s not interested in that career field or type of work anymore and has been in career limbo for about two years. She’s currently working at a store in a local mall and is very unhappy. She told me that she since she earned a college degree she’d like to be using it. However, she has no idea what kind of jobs she might be able to get! What sort of jobs are available for someone with her qualifications?

The Career Doctor responds:
I think it’s great when family members help each other out, so kudos to you, Karen. At this point in your sister’s life, the degree is of more importance than her major to employers… thus, her career options are almost limitless. She’s also not alone – I’ve met too many store clerks with a bachelor’s degree who dislike their jobs and wonder about the value of their education.

I suggest that your sister first take some time to think about the things she likes to do – what activities, skills, etc., does she enjoy? If she needs help with this exercise, she may want to try out some of the resources available at Quintessential Careers: Career Exploration Tools. Then she needs to find the types of jobs that use those skills. She may need additional training or education, but it totally depends on what she discovers.

Finally, she is going to need to work on her resume – perhaps changing the format to a chrono-functional rather than chronological – to stress the value of her transferable skills.

Seeking Accounting Job with Minimal Experience

Lisa writes:
entrylevelI will graduate in a year with my BA in accounting. Although I have very light experience in the field, and I ensure employers that I am willing to work in an entry-level position to prove my eagerness to gain hands-on experience I have not gotten a response.

I have tried to search for any type of position in accounting, but once I tell them that I am a college student attending evening classes, they dismiss me as though they have no longer have a need for filling the position. I am becoming very frustrated and need to know how to go about find a job that can really give me some accounting experience.

Please help!

The Career Doctor responds:
Lisa, I congratulate you on trying to gain some useful experience before you graduate – that’s the No. 1 thing employers are looking for these days – someone who can make an immediate impact to their business.

But as odd as it may sound, I truly believe your eagerness may be your problem – employers can often read eagerness for desperation, and most employers have no interest in hiring people who appear desperate for a job. I am also concerned that your focus is too much on what these employers can do for you – give you hands-on experience – rather than the benefits you can offer potential employers. (By the way, this is one of the most common job-seeker errors, so don’t feel too badly.)

Doesn’t you college or business school have a placement center? I would suggest you go to this office first and solicit help with finding potential employers and with working on your basic skills – cover letter, resume, and interviewing. Next – what about your
accounting professors? Most professors have contacts with local firms, and thus using your professors to build your network is a logical step. Finally, you can go back out on your own looking for a job, but only do so after you’ve completed these first two steps.

Should She Take a Survival Job?

Kristy writes:
What is your advice/opinion on taking a “survival” job? – one that will help pay bills, but doesn’t further your career or personal goals.

The Career Doctor responds:
consider_staying_active_in_your_-_CanvaObviously, if you are on the brink of losing your car, house, or apartment, or not being able to pay your bills, then the decision is really already made for you – take the survival job while still searching for one in your career field. Just remember to carve out enough time in your day to continue your job search in earnest. How will employers view your survival job? In one of two ways, with the majority seeing it as a positive.

Employers don’t like to see employment gaps on resumes. By taking a survival job, you maintain employment. And don’t immediately assume that a survival job can’t add to your base of skills needed for your career. For example, if you are a marketer by trade but you are forced to take a cashier shift at the 7-11 to pay the bills, there are many invaluable customer relations, vendor management, and sales skills you can cultivate.

Other employers, however, will question your choice. Taking a survival job raises the questions of whether you are suffering from career burnout and other issues to why you were not able to find employment in your field. To alleviate some of these concerns, consider staying active in your professional organization while employed in your survival job and consider doing some volunteer work (in your area of expertise) for a local non-profit organization. You might also consider accepting some freelancing opportunities and investigating some career-enhancement courses at a local college (or via distance learning).

In the end, as with much of job-hunting, it really comes down to how well you can sell the job in your cover letter, on your resume, and in the job interview. If you master positioning this experience as one that enhances (or at least does not take away from) your career, you should be able to find another job in your field. See my article, The Pros and Cons of Taking a Survival Job. What Should You Do?

Why Isn’t Career Counseling Working for Me?

A Guest Post by Nisa ChitakasemNita

You’ve been working with a career counselor for a while, but you aren’t seeing any results. With each passing session you feel like you’re wasting a lot of time and money. You’re not moving forward in your career and you’re wondering why this relationship isn’t everything you thought it would be.

Too often we turn up to see a life/career coach and we expect everything to be automatically wonderful. Did we even stop to think about what we wanted out of the sessions or why we were going in the first place? You must be clear on what you want for counseling to work.

To be clear you must know yourself. Before your next appointment with your counselor, reflect on your life and experiences and write down your strengths, skills, and passions. Looking at these lists, where can they take you next in your career? Where is it you want to go?
A career coach can only guide you if you have a vague idea of which direction you want to be guided in. A good career professional will guide you in the right direction, not make your decisions for you, which is why we can’t go to a counseling or guidance session and expect to be completely passive throughout the process. Get involved and take control of your own career.

Your relationship with a career counselor can consist of conversations going all over the place- bouncing between the past and future and different aspects of your life and career. This is why you must have clarity on what you want. The conversation should always come back to you and want you want, right here, and right now.

Editor’s note: For more about career coaches and counselors, see Quintessential Careers Directory of Life and Career Coaches, which includes links to articles about career coaches and counselors. Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition – a careers company dedicated to taking you to the next step in your career. Nisa is passionate about helping individuals find the right career path for them whether it involves finding a more rewarding career, making a career change, figuring out the right career plan or being creative about career directions. For free advice, guidance and information on careers visit the Position Ignition Career Blog or find her on Twitter: @PosIgnition or Facebook.

Career Change from Factory Worker to Real Estate

Johannah writes:
CareerChangeI am 46 and thinking of changing my job from factory worker to real estate. I am currently taking a class for real estate. and have been offered jobs by two people. I am presently working where I have insurance and medical benefits. Do you think I should take benefits into consideration for the amount of money I should ask for?

I won’t be able to get commission until I get my licenses. Do they usually offer benefits to people who plan to be a licensed salesperson in real estate? I am not sure just what to expect and what I should beware of. I had asked for part-time, and they said they need full-time.

The other one said fine for part-time and did not say much about how I would get paid. What do you think I should do?

The Career Doctor responds:
Making a career change is a big step, and it sounds as though you have taken some good first steps in terms of taking classes and networking your way to two potential job offers. I’m a little concerned because I don’t see many details about the two offers other than one has to be full-time and the other could be either full- or part-time.

Here’s what you need to decide: How much income do you need over the next year or so? How much do you have in savings or other liquid accounts for emergencies? Do you need the insurance and medical benefits – or can you afford to pay those on your own?

Without knowing all the details, I would suggest staying on in your current job, continue taking classes and working toward your license, and work for the company that offered the part-time position so you can get your feet wet and decide if this is really the career change you want to make. By following this plan, you keep your current salary and benefits while trying out the new career and moving forward in the direction to make a transition.

In terms of salary and other types of job comparisons, you might check out

Portraying Military Job as Applicable in Civilian World

TransitionZachery writes:
I have just retired as a jet-engine mechanic from the US Air Force.

I am experienced in all phases of repair troubleshooting, trimming, buildup, and management of aircraft and jet-engine repair.

My question is: how does this experience translate into a career in the civilian sector?

The Career Doctor responds:
The first thing I want you to do is consider all your transferable skills – not just your mechanical skills, but also all those other skills related to being in the military.

The second step is to go and visit some of the sites listed at Quintessential Careers: Job Resources for Veterans and Former Military. One of our favorite sites on the list is Transition Assistance Online, which provides free services to separating military service members to assist you in finding their next job or career with employers seeking to hire individuals with the unique training, education, skills and leadership that only the military provides.

See also our section inspired by our 2013 Job Action Day, with numerous articles and resources generated by that event, and our Career, Job, and Entrepreneurial Tools for Transitioning Veterans & Former Military.

Finally, once you done a full self-analysis and determined all your skills and accomplishments, I would suggest looking for jobs in all the traditional methods: networking, other offline job searching, job-hunting on the Net, etc. We outline all these steps in our tutorial, Quintessential
Careers: Job Search 101

Lack of Response to Online Applications

RSVPAnonymous writes:
I have been searching online for a job in a particular geographical region for the past few months and have been surprised by the number of submissions to which I get no response at all. I would expect at least an acknowledgment of receipt. Is this a new trend in online recruiting due to the number of responses companies receive, or should I be concerned that I am not projecting myself correctly? Or, even that the companies are not receiving my email?

The Career Doctor responds:
Not having quite enough information, let me see if I can still help you and give you some useful advice. A first – and most important – lesson of job-hunting, regardless of whether online or offline, is that employers do not respond to all job-seekers. Employers are constantly getting letters and emails about job openings – even more so when they have a published job opening – and most that I have ever known simply do not have the resources to respond to every single applicant. So, the simple truth is that you simply cannot expect to hear back from many of the employers you contact.

The second lesson – and just about as important – is that you need to be proactive with your job search. Employers won’t hunt you down just because you emailed them a job application. The old adage, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, is true – up to a point – in job-hunting. Once you’ve submitted an application or mailed a cover letter and resume, you MUST plan to contact each employer and ask for the job interview. But one caveat: Do NOT contact the employer so often that you become a nuisance – you’re will not get the interview by being annoying.

So, get back on your computer and follow up all your job leads. You can try and do it via email, but you may also want to track down some phone numbers and make personal contact. Very few people have gotten a job by sitting back and waiting to hear from the employers, so go for it!

Researching Computer-Science Field

KeyboardBrian writes:
I am looking for any information on computer-science-related careers. I need to find out a job description, training required, duties or responsibilities, salary, and job outlook. Could you help me with any of this information?

The Career Doctor responds:
Computer and high-tech careers remain high up on all the lists I’ve seen for the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. Some of the top job classifications include:

  • Computer Scientists, Computer Engineers, and Systems Analysts
  • Computer Support Specialists
  • Database Administrators

You might want to take a spin at some of the computer-related job sites and see the specific requirements and salaries of their current openings. You can find a list of the best of them at Quintessential Careers: Technical, IT, and Computer Jobs.

Advice on Creating a Winning Resume When You’re Convinced Your Jobs Were Ho-Hum

HoHumMichelle writes:
I have found my dream job, but I am having a hard time writing the “winning” resume. I had average grades in school, wasn’t in any sports, and I’m not a member of anything other than a women’s club (basically I’m on a list and get a newsletter, no involvement).

I have a fairly steady work history, but all my jobs are ho-hum when it comes to accomplishments. Resume advice always says to quantify your successes. Well, I have been a pharmacy technician for 8 years … filling prescriptions and typing data into a computer – not too much to say about that. I was a data-entry person for about 1.5 years, and I don’t have a very good review from my boss in that area. I am currently an eligibility analyst (I look in a computer to see if a client’s files are loaded into our database) … Not too challenging.

The Career Doctor responds:

There are all sorts of ways to “quantify” your successes and skills, but first you need to step back and do a better job of identifying what they are. You remind me of a young woman who came to us for advice after several years as of doing clerical and secretarial work. She thought her experience and skills would not help her get the job of her dreams, but she was wrong.

What you need to do is change the way you look at your experiences. I suggest you read the section on transferable skills at Quintessential Careers, starting with Strategic Portrayal of Transferable Skills is a Vital Job-search Technique, by Katharine Hansen. I am quite confident that once you’ve read this section, you’ll be able to go back and write a strong resume based on your new understanding of your skills and accomplishments.