End of Unemployment
September 14, 2004 8:39 AM   Subscribe

What do you do when your unemployment runs out?

I've been on unemployment for almost 6 months. At the end of the 6 months it is scheduled to run out and I have yet to secure a new job. I have an extremely solid work history (in advertising and sales) and great references. Plus I interview well. I have been looking for jobs and applying. It just seems like I'm either extremely overqualified for all the jobs out there or extremely underqualified, so people interview me and I don't get the job. I would hate to take a job that I am overqualified for but I guess I will if I have to. I'm sure some of you have been in a similar situation. What did you do when your unemployment ran out?
posted by alicila to Work & Money (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When my unemployment ran out, I got a job at a cafe. Actually, I got that job before the unemployment ran out, but it all helped. Eventually, I got a contract in my career field and went full time a month later.

I suggest hitting up temp agencies. If you can type and answer phones, you can pay your rent (most likely). There are a few national companies like AppleOne that you can start at, but the phone book is the best first stop.
posted by annathea at 8:47 AM on September 14, 2004

I don't believe I know anybody right now who isn't at least somewhat overqualified for the job they currently occupy.

It might take you a "bridge" job (6-8 months at something less "right for you") to get back into the workforce at the level you'd prefer, especially if cash flow is going to be a problem.
posted by chicobangs at 8:56 AM on September 14, 2004

Please don't take this as a snark, but if your resume is getting you interviews, your qualifications are probably about right.

Are you sure that your interview skills couldn't use some polish?
posted by Kwantsar at 9:53 AM on September 14, 2004

annathea is right, take a temp job. Many temp agencies even provide health insurance. This will give you the luxury of an income while still searching for a perm position.

Best of luck to you!
posted by Juicylicious at 10:19 AM on September 14, 2004

I would call any employers who have decided not to hire you and ask them if they would mind telling you why. It's really the only way to find out if the interview went as well as you think. Don't be snarky about the call ("Why didn't you hire me?!"), but sincere in your request to find out what the issue was so that you can improve for next time.
posted by dobbs at 10:25 AM on September 14, 2004

Oh yeah, do informational interviewing. You can get a lot of feedback and make a lot of contacts that way. I usually start out with contacting my law school's alumni, they never say no to an info interview.
posted by Juicylicious at 10:36 AM on September 14, 2004

dobbs makes a good suggestion (i don't think kwantsar is nec. snarky, but i think he's probably wrong. it's an extremely difficult job market right now--i know a handful of talented professionals in chicago who have been looking for 2,3,4 years and only one of them makes a bad impression in person). follow up when you don't get a job--you can not only learn important things about how you're coming off in the job search, but you also make an extremely favorable impression which can lead to the person who didn't hire you recommending you to someone else.

the aforementioned out-of-work professionals are: 1) temping; 2) underemployed (he started out temping and got offered a job well below his level, but took it); and 3) volunteering/networking while being supported by spouses/family. in chicago, i know people who did well with accountemps, but i don't know if that's useful to you. there is a temporary marketing, event planning, professional services agency, locally, but i don't know anyone with personal experience with them. steer clear of spherion--every i know who has worked with them has had unpleasant experiences.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:43 AM on September 14, 2004

I'm also intrigued by dobbs suggestion, but I fear that the employers would be too paranoid about some kind of discrimination lawsuit to offer any real feedback. If anyone ever gets any real constructive criticism from someone in that situation, rather than a long stream of "Oh no, you were great, we had so many good applicants, it was tough to choose, we'll keep your resume on file..." I'd be surprised.
posted by scarabic at 11:46 AM on September 14, 2004

Temping can be really fun. You meet new people and steal their office supplies. I know nothing of your field, but I have found some great places to work, thanks to temping. Till something else comes along, ther is always this.
posted by Goofyy at 12:37 PM on September 14, 2004

Try the T-format resume. Helps cut down on the "overqualified" stigma.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:50 PM on September 14, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, some good suggestions.

kwanstar: I don't think it's my interview skills, but it is a possiblility. Maybe I will practice interview with a few friends and get suggestions.

I think it is the economy more than anything. Chicago's unemployment rate is higher than the national average. I have tons of experience, great references, and every job I had in the past I stayed at for about 4 years.

crush-onastick: thanks for the tip on spherion. I've actually talked to a rep from there on the phone, they contacted me after seeing my resume on Monster. Something seemed shady so I refused an interview.

I may end up temping or getting a job in retail for a little while. I just hate to be doing something that makes me tired and takes away energy from my job searching time.

five fresh: What is the t-format resume?

I agree with scarabic about employers being too paranoid to give honest feedback about an interview. Either way, I might call a few and at least see what they say. It can't hurt. A few people have told me straight away that I was overqualified after interviewing me.
posted by alicila at 1:21 PM on September 14, 2004

I would recommend "Don't Send a RĂ©sume" by Jeffrey J. Fox on how best to get back into work. Attending endless interviews is not the way to do it (unless you're trying to get a fast food job).
posted by wackybrit at 1:26 PM on September 14, 2004

I don't know what the rules are in Illinois (I'm in California), but aftet 6 months my unemployment was cancelled. At the advice of a friend I called up and asked if I could get it renewed, and they gave me 6 more months, no questions asked. I never really figured out what the deal is. It seems they just never tell anyone that it can be done, even though it can. It's worth a shot.

Also: network. Join an organization that represents your profession. Go to industry events, mixers, seminars, and mingle. Network network network. All of my jobs post-high school have come from personal contacts. NETWORK.
posted by samh23 at 2:51 PM on September 14, 2004

I would call any employers who have decided not to hire you and ask them if they would mind telling you why.

I recently emailed pomegranite, (one of?) MeFi's HR goddesses, and she let me know that this approach will very likely not work if you're contacting HR or people familiar with the legal angle of hiring -- they don't want to open themselves to any kind of lawsuit.

I have, however, done something very like this when I've gotten interviews, and sometimes I've received a response. It has been most effective for me to ask not why I didn't get the job, but rather, to ask why the person who did get it got it. I think that's because that way they're giving a positive answer rather than a negative, something most people feel comfortable with and less liable for.
posted by weston at 3:55 PM on September 14, 2004

Hey it's Pom here, email me privately. Lots of times people think they're good at interviewing simply because they don't get nervous, or because make it out the door without saying anything terrible. I've practice interviewed with about a dozen mefi-ers and they've all said it really helped, because I give realistic feedback. I really don't have the time I used to have to help out, but I might have a few minutes this weekend.

Weston that's actually a really good approach. They might be lying but at least you're getting a hint of what the issue might be.
posted by pomegranate at 6:53 PM on September 14, 2004

If you decide to take a temp job with Ultimate Staffing, I'll give you half of my referral fee.

I mean, if you want it.
posted by LimePi at 7:48 PM on September 14, 2004

I have 6 more weeks on my Unemployment Insurance, and frankly I am scared stiff. I have had a few interviews, but my heart wasn't in it, I feel, and I think therefore that I interviewed poorly. In some way. U.I. was in the back of my mind, but frankly the $405 I make a week in NY is what I used to earn in two days. (plus , I did recieve an ok, but not great termination package). Mostly, I have been interviewing for jobs that I am way overqualified for. I had worked for 14 years with advancements for a reputable company, and I have gotten nowhere for interviews. Bupkis. In fact, I am about to toss it all and try prof. grad school, to make myself a little more attractive, but that will take time and $$. I am will trying something for smaller money in a different, but challenging field but got little response so far. Any suggestions on where to look?
Oh, and I am told , in NY that the they will not renew my UI benefits without an act of congress.
posted by Duck_Lips at 8:34 PM on September 14, 2004

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