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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs