News / USA

Unemployed Grapple With New Job-Hunting Techniques

Vanessa Bridges - job hunter
Vanessa Bridges - job hunter

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

President Obama signed a bill last week extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks.  The extension will affect 1.4 million unemployed Americans and help ease the longest bout of joblessness since the great Depression.  Our reporter visited a career counseling center outside Washington D.C. to get a feel for what job seekers are going through.

Vanessa Bridges is one of 14.6 million unemployed Americans:

When the economy hit its recent downturn, she was laid off from her job as the Director of Business development for an architectural firm in Washington D.C.

Now, she is trying to reinvent herself as an events planner.  But the recession has touched every segment of the economy.

"It's just has had an enormous impact on everybody on all levels," said Vanessa Bridges. "So it is not just one person losing their job out there, it is entire companies that don't exist any more."

Vanessa told us searching for a job in today's market is tricky.  She sought help from the Maryland State Professional Outplacement Assistance Center, or POAC, which is funded by the state Department of Labor.

POAC offers seminars in everything from resume writing and online job searches, to how to market yourself.

Vanessa says one of the most important things is learning how to apply for jobs on the internet.

"If you haven't looked for a job in the last two or three years, it is radically different than anything you could imagine," she said. "It is not just going and writing your little resume and mailing it, even looking in the newspaper.  Everything is online."

Nancy Fink is the Assistant Director of POAC.  She says today's job searches must be conducted on multiple fronts.  Things that might have been optional in the past for job seekers are now mandatory.

"Obviously they need to do the resume piece, but they have to be well versed in social media," said Nancy Fink. "They should be on Linkedin, they should be on Facebook.  They need to be doing face to face networking.  They need to be active with their alumni associations."

The odds are not in the job seeker's favor.  According to the U.S. Department of labor, there are five unemployed people for every job opening in the country.

We sat down with six unemployed people.  All are highly-educated management-level professionals who previously earned six-figure salaries.  We asked them to talk about the obstacles they are facing.  Milly Probst, a former call center manager, told us her experience and salary history are scaring off potential employers.

"It actually happened to me yesterday, I was at a job fair, that was the first thing out of the recruiter's mouth: 'oh, you have such an impressive resume,'" said Milly Probst. "And I don't want to dummy myself down [make myself seem less intelligent] so I put exactly what I have done and what I have achieved and what my titles were.  But I am starting to think I need to change that."

All the participants felt that job security is a thing of the past because companies and corporations are cutting expenses by shedding high-salary employees.  They told us the future is in entrepreneurship and private consulting.  Pamela Robb was a management professional in the non-profit field.

"I think that where we are going is to the 'gig' kind of thing," said Pamela Robb. "What am I doing today?  With whom am I doing it with today?  And half way through, who am I going to be doing it with in six months when this contract is up."

Nancy Fink says most of the people who go through her organization's programs will eventually find a job.  But they may have to lower their expectations, take on multiple duties, and work for less pay until the economy fully recovers.  

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid