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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs