October 3, 2004 4:40 PM   Subscribe

I realize this may have been addressed before, but I would greatly appreciate some job-seeking advice, since I seem to have no clue how to do it [yes, more inside].

I quit a decent job back in April to take a month-long trip to Spain. I quit because I couldn't get an entire month off, even unpaid - don't ask. Upon return, I have been unable to find a job. I don't need "fulfillment" or "a career" at this point. I need a job that pays decently (10/hr+) and can work around my school schedule. I'd rather not work in the service sector, but at this point even that's probably ok.

I don't know where to look for work besides the local paper and craigslist. I think my resume is decent - and I can post it if people want to comment on it. I don't know what kind of followup etiquette is expected with HR people. I've fallen into the desperation trap, so any help getting back out would be great at this point.

I've even considered trying restaurant work (like prep), despite not having "professional" experience. Is that realistic?

Oh, and this is in Seattle.
posted by O9scar to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried any temp agencies? Many large temp agencies offer temp-to-perm or long term temp positions that pay well (I've earned $13-16/hour for administrative type stuff), and if you have any experience with MS Office, they should be able to hook you up. If you don't have lots of experience, but you are able to do basic computer stuff, that shouldn't be a problem because they test your actual skills to find good job matches for you.

I have found that it's a good way to get an office-type job and that it often can lead to some pretty good opportunities - my first "real" job out of college was from a temp assignment that decided to hire me on full time after 2 weeks of showing them that I was competent.

It's also a good way to beef up your resume by working in offices for major companies - even though you're "just a temp" you're still getting some good experience & can meet people who may after time be willing to be references for permanent positions.

I personally used Kelly Services, which is all over the place, but other companies might have more of a presence in the Seattle Area. I'd try signing up with a few to see who can get you a position faster.

Good luck!
posted by catfood at 5:12 PM on October 3, 2004 [1 favorite]

Often your friends will know of openings at their companies and can give you actual names of contacts in HR as opposed to generic resumes@ addresses. I've gotten my last three jobs via reccomends from friends.
posted by SpecialK at 5:54 PM on October 3, 2004

1. Go to a temp agency.
2. Don't quit a decent job when the economy is bottoming out.
posted by jjg at 9:17 PM on October 3, 2004

1. Go to a temp agency.

Good advice. Call them up, ask who you can email your resume to, email it. Call the next day, speak to that person, ask if they received it and ask if they have any projects you could help them with. Be super-polite and cheerful, and be willing to do anything to help them out. This advice courtesy of a friend of mine with a lot of HR experience.

2. Don't quit a decent job when the economy is bottoming out.

Good advice, except that how often do you get a chance to take a month-long trip to Spain? And in the grand scheme of things, which will seem more important ten years from now: a month long trip to Spain or being out of work for a few months? If your job is your life, or if your responsibilities and obligations are such that you can't do that, that's fine and all, but that isn't the case for everyone, nor should it be.
posted by biscotti at 9:44 PM on October 3, 2004

I join in the temp work recommendations. I've done A LOT of temp work over the years, and it's a good way to get money coming in fast. Some advice based on my temping experiences:

1) Call all the agencies in the yellow pages and make appointments to go in and "apply." The more agencies you are registered with, the more likely you'll get an assignment. The application process can take a few hours. I'd set up no more than 2 a day.

2) When you go in to apply, dress as if you were going to a regular job interview and be as polite/professional as you would be at a regular interview. You'll have to fill out an application, but bring copies of your resume and references anyway.

3) Take all they tests they offer, even if you don't think you are strong in that ability/software. You can guess your way through a lot of the computer-based tests. Also, many of the agencies use the exact same tests. By the 4th time through, you'll look like a genius.

4) Call all the agencies you are registered with every day to "check in" and let them know you are available. They like this.

5) Don't be too picky about taking assignments. It's money right? If you turn down too many in a row, they'll probably stop offering them to you.

6) You want the companies you work for to give a positive evaluation back to the agency. Show up at assignments early. Look busy. Work at a steady pace (but not too fast, you don't want to work yourself out of a job). If you finish a task or assignment, ask if they have anything else for you to do.

Some interesting temp jobs I've had:
Admin for an "adult" magazine publishing company
Quality Assurance at an oil-packaging factory
Scanning children's book covers
Coding letters and documents for a big savings and loan scandal court case
Receptionist at a big city newspaper
posted by Otis at 7:20 AM on October 4, 2004

The best book I've ever read on how to get a job is called Jobs that don't suck by Charlie Drozdyk. It's meant for people who are right out of college, but the advice is extremely solid no matter how old you are. I've gotten 3 jobs with this book and it completely changed how my brother (who was essentially unemployed for more than a year) was job hunting. I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by ssmith at 8:06 AM on October 4, 2004

My best jobs in college were working for my university on some level-- in the computer lab, in the library, working for a professor, and even telephone fundraising from alumni. None of the jobs were glamorous, but they all paid well and were in synch with the school's vacation schedule, finals, etc.

Now I'm job-hunting again, post-college. Thanks ssmith, I just ordered that book on for $1.50. Looks good.
posted by bonheur at 9:47 AM on October 4, 2004

this is in Seattle.

The University of Washington has a temp pool of folks they use to do temp work. These are okay paying jobs, not usually terribly demanding, and get you on campus where there are many other places to keep your eyes peeled for work. In fact, doing tours of all the schools' employment pages on their web sites as well as just looking at bulletin boards at the student union should become part of your daily routine.
posted by jessamyn at 11:29 AM on October 4, 2004

« Older Ceiling Collapse   |   Complicated math made easy for you? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.