November 17, 2008 8:07 AM   Subscribe

My son has had difficulty getting a job because he has quit previous jobs, and had some personal issues.. Apparently this information has been passed around by previous employers. No one has called him back for any job interviews in three months. My suggestion to him is just hang in there and in the interim donate time as a volunteer for the red cross etc. Maybe this will help him get his feet in the door. What are some things he could volunteer doing?
posted by Upon Further Review to Work & Money (7 answers total)
How about volunteering at local business conferences? My gf did this and she loved it. Got her out of the house, made some contacts, got a free meal. Might help your son polish his business manners. She also go to attend some of the lectures she was interested in.

Maybe volunteer at Chamber of Commerce functions/meetings. Maybe they can help him figure out the business in the area that are growing and looking for people.
posted by wrnealis at 8:24 AM on November 17, 2008

Where are you? It would help to know for volunteer opportunities. Your son's school guidance program and the city town hall are generally good places to start inquiring about community service opportunities. However, I am skeptical that he is going to commit to a volunteer position if he has quit numerous jobs in the past. I would focus on sorting out the personal issues first.

Also, unless you live in a small town I think it is unlikely that your son's information has been passed around by previous employers. What may have happened is that your son referenced a job he quit and the prospect called up his old boss. In the future, I would probably just leave jobs or people that you are not comfortable being contacted off the resume.
posted by sophist at 8:26 AM on November 17, 2008

Volunteer Match is a good place to start.
posted by netbros at 8:27 AM on November 17, 2008

Seconding sophist about the references.

I'd also like to point out that "times are tough." That's not to say that it's impossible getting a job, but rising unemployment can't be helping the issue here. Also, I've had unemployed friends whose luck have changed simply because of a better written cover letter.

As for volunteer jobs, if he might have issue committing to a "serious boring job," maybe he can volunteer somewhere a little more laid back. I found volunteering at my local humane society (pet shelter) to be therapeutic in its own way.
posted by mittenedsex at 10:43 AM on November 17, 2008

I seriously doubt someone is giving bad references. Unless your son stole or hit someone, legally employers generally shy away from saying more than "joe smith worked here from 12/01-12/05 and his title was flibberjibbit reviewer". And most potential employers aren't going to say "hey, we're not hiring you because bob at bob's flibberjibbit's said you come in late every day."

You are a parent, so he may not be telling you the entire truth. Not that he's lying, but, well, I don't tell my parents the entire truth about my job searches either.

That said, there may be many other reasons your son hasn't been called back. You don't say how many resumes he is sending out or how many jobs he is applying for, but it's a numbers game. You can't send out 10 and say "I'm done". I tell the story of the last time I got laid off. I got home at 11am and by 7pm that night I had sent out 57 resumes. Some were for posted jobs, some were just pitch letters to companies I had in my list of "places I would be interested in working for".

You need to treat looking like a job as though it is a job. Get up early every morning. Dress as though you are going to work. And get online or get the paper or get on the phone. Every day.

And then you can volunteer your time. But I don't think that's entirely helpful here, unless he's actively and seriously looking jobs aren't just going to fall at his feet.
posted by micawber at 2:36 PM on November 17, 2008

I found my first job through volunteering at my local community theater while I was in high school. I was never interested in acting or singing but there was plenty of work to be done there that was appealing to me in high school. There was set building and painting were fun before each production. I like electronics and gadgets, so I worked the lighting and sound boards for a few productions. Most of the work was varied projects with looming deadlines (much more fun than stuffing envelopes or answering a phone all day- the typical volunteer grunt work). Most importantly there were girls, outgoing and attractive girls kept me going back to volunteer for every production that fit my schedule.

How did it help me find a job? There are no professional actors in community theater, most everyone has a day job. Additionally, there's a pretty strong social scene with theater people, so many are willing to ask around their workplaces if you're looking for work. It's pretty good networking for someone on the job hunt.

So maybe a community theater or working as a docent at a museum or concert hall might be something you son would enjoy while it helps him make some connections with people who are out there in the working world. Make sure he's looking to volunteer somewhere that he'll enjoy instead of just seeing it as punishment for a rough patch in the job search.
posted by peeedro at 3:04 PM on November 17, 2008

How old is he? People here are assuming high-school aged, it sounds like.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:00 PM on November 17, 2008

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