Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Weekly Job Hunt

I did not apply for any new jobs this week, as listings were very sparse, but I did hear back from two employers. I have an interview scheduled with the hospital where I have been volunteering, and also one with a doctor.
I also am starting a one month scoring assignment with Pearson Testing, my third year with them. I first learned of this job from I have enjoyed the scoring work, but it is only for 1-2 months out of the year, typically in the spring.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Twenty- First Century Skills Needed!

Computer skills are needed for many jobs, especially in office work and education. Many workplaces use their own type of computer software, such as medical or accounting software, but nearly all jobs expect their workers to be able to use email, Windows, Word, and often Excel.An exception might be retail,but you would need to use a computerized cash register. There are many practical uses for all of these skills, especially in your job search. Microsoft Word is vital for cover letters and resumes. With Excel, you can make a spreadsheet of all of your job applications, with outcomes. Email is needed to send in most resumes.
I took my first computer classes in 1998, starting with Windows, then keyboarding and Word. Recently, I took an Excel class online(from ed2go), which I found to be an excellent learning method for me. I also encountered and used Microsoft Access in a medical billing class. If you are not up to date in your computer skills, now is the time to get busy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Weekly Job Hunt

Another slow week for help wanted ads! I answered one local ad for "general office work" in my area, and also answered an ad on Craigslist for a "receptionist in a holistic medical practice".
I also made some more changes to my cover letter. A brand new book, 10 Strategies for Reentering the Workforce, by Mary Ghilani, has this to say about gaps in employment history. "Generally, employers like to see a pattern of job stability and progression within your career. The best advice is to address an employer's potential concerns right up front in the cover letter. Indicate that you interrupted your career to raise your children, but that now you are in a position to resume your career." Good advice, and I have adapted my cover letter template accordingly.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Weekly Job Hunt Report

This past week was a slow one for me, as there were NO new ads appearing that I could answer. I did put in two more applications at the hospital where I have been volunteering. I also heard back from the doctor with whom I had two interviews, and he had selected someone else with more experience.
Each day, during the work week, I check the following places for jobs :Craigslist(I search in many categories), I search for all jobs in my area),, and I also check the weekly ads in our local newspaper, and the job web site at 4 local hospitals.

Here is my interesting ad for the week:
"PA/Administrative needed to administrate and organize my art studio. Some art related oil painting studio duties, varied and interesting computer work. Cooking a plus."
I did not apply for this job, as I have no art related experience. Nor am I willing to cook for an employer. I guess I am just not suited for a personal assistant position. More later on knowing your strengths and weaknesses when applying for jobs....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interviewing Tips and Tales

I have had three interviews so far in my search; two of them were at the same place. I also had the opportunity to go to a seminar run by Oscar Adler, who is a former salesperson, and has written a book called Sell Yourself in Any Interview. His approach focuses on finding the needs of each interviewer(potential employer) and selling them on your individual "features", and how you can benefit their organization.
It is very true that most of us go into interviews determined to showcase our own talents, but Adler feels that the focus should be on the employer, and what we can do for them.

Both of my interviews were with doctors, in very different settings, one in a more urban area with a small office, and the other in a very suburban area, with a larger office. Looking back on the interviews, it is hard to pin down what the two doctors were looking for, except for what they both mentioned when they followed up with me: Experience. I tried to point out my talents and past experience, but now realize that some of what I related might not have been useful to the two employers. Mr. Adler's seminar came after my interviews, but I intend to try his methods, starting with my next interview!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Got References?

References can be a big stumbling block for the mother who wishes to return to the workforce. Most employers wish for you to have several recent professional references. One way to deal with this is through volunteer work. If you hold a leadership position in a volunteer group, that is ideal. I have volunteered for the last year at a local hospital, and I see the Volunteer Manager when I go in each week. I have enjoyed the volunteer experience,and now also have a professional reference.
On the other hand, I also volunteered for many years with the PTA, and with our local swim club. I held no leadership positions,and I was one person in a very large pool of volunteers. I did stick with those jobs for several years, so they do deserve to be included in my resume, as was pointed out to me by a blog reader.

Working At Home

It is possible to find some jobs that you can do from your home, including running your own business. There are several good websites, but the one I like the best is WAHM ( work at home moms). A good guide on working from your home is Will Work From Home, by Tory Johnson and Robyn Freedman Spizman. I got a copy from the public library first, which I always do prior to buying a book.

No Time for Panic

If you are new to job hunting, or just realized that you must find a job now, there is no time for panic. First of all, assess your skills. Do you have up to date computer skills? If not, you can take courses at your local community college, or for even lower cost classes, try your local high school (night classes for adults). Do you have recent volunteer experience which might point you in a work direction?For example,volunteering at a school might lead you to applying to work at a school.

There are also quick and easy ways to raise money. Have a garage sale, either alone, or with a neighbor. In this poor economy, sales at thrift shops and garage sales are way up, as more people are looking for bargains. If you have lots of furniture to get rid of, you might consider a consignment shop, which typically splits its proceeds with you. A good one in my area is The Village Treasure House

How I got here.....

I have been a stay at home mother since 1986, when I had my first child. During my years at home, I never watched any daytime television, nor did I ever have the chance to join a book club, or a tennis group. I did all of our yard work, supervised the remodeling of our home, handled all the bills, and I had my own business,in antiques and collectibles.

After both of my children evidenced learning difficulties, I made the decision to home school, and did that from 1993-2000. The antique business went on the back burner. At that time, I was divorced, and began upgrading my skills, and trying various strategies to re-enter the workforce. I first learned how to use a computer,keyboarding, Word, and have continued on from there. Next, I got a real estate appraiser's license, but found no work in that field. I finally took several years of classes in Medical Billing....and now am out there, job hunting, with millions of others who are looking for work! I hope to share some of what I have encountered in the hope that other mothers (and others) can learn from my experiences and tips.