Welcome to my blog!
I’m new at blogging, so please forgive me while I’m in process….I’m learning as I go along, but I hope to have everything up to par within a few days. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stephanie, and I’m a single mom of two teens. I have two college degrees (an A.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in English), and I’m 19 days away from receiving my M.A. in English. While I’m proud of my educational achievements, there’s one major problem: I cannot find a job to save my life.
Until last summer, I had a full-time, grant-funded job at a community college that I absolutely loved. I was paid well, the benefits were great, and working as an advisor to college-bound high school seniors was a truly rewarding experience. Unfortunately, the grant for the department I worked in was not renewed, and I was laid off at the end of June 2011. I was notified three months earlier that my job would be ending, and upon receiving this news, I immediately began searching for a new job. I knew the economy was in bad shape and that finding another job would be challenging, but I had no idea that the search for another job would be so daunting and demoralizing.
Since March of last year, I have sent out in excess of 1,500 (that’s right – over one thousand, five hundred) resumes. Some resumes I sent via U.S. Mail; some I distributed at various career fairs; but the overwhelming majority of my resume submissions have been via online applications. In the past 13 months of my apparently futile career search, out of all of the resumes I have submitted, I’ve had exactly 4 job interviews, and 0 job offers.
I have worked and re-worked my resume to highlight my education, experience, and strengths. I attended a career search “boot camp” at my undergraduate alma mater where I learned interviewing skills and had my resume reviewed and critiqued by career experts. When I attend job fairs and job interviews, I wear business professional attire; I conduct research on the companies I’m interviewing with so I can ask intelligent questions during the interviews, yet I can’t seem to secure a job offer.
The majority of jobs I apply for online are met with an automated response in my inbox stating “thank you for applying, but we’ve decided to go with another candidate” or something to that effect, usually within a few days or a few weeks. In some cases, I don’t receive any response (i.e. a rejection), for a few months; in other cases, I don’t receive any response whatsoever. I keep wracking my brain trying to figure out what it takes to receive a job offer, but I’m at a total loss. I know I’m not the only one struggling to find work, but it’s little consolation when you can’t pay your bills.
For the past month, Philly.com has an ongoing series describing the plight of Generation Y college graduates who are either unable to find work or are woefully underemployed. I completely relate to their sense of frustration: You go to college, work hard to earn a degree, because having a college degree is the most direct route to achieving the American Dream of a having well-paying career, owning a home, having a family, having a LIFE. I went to college and graduate school for the same reasons. Once upon a time, a person could graduate from high school and find a decent paying job without a college degree. Today, a college degree is necessary for a decent paying occupation, unless you want to work for minimum wage in a fast-food restaurant or retail store. As much as I feel for the unemployed, college educated members of Gen Y, they should know that long-term unemployed Gen X’ers have it even worse. It’s one thing to be an unemployed 23 year old, living in your own bedroom, rent free, at mom and dad’s house. Try being unemployed, over 40, and a single parent. That’s my life right now. I spend hours a day updating cover letters and sending out resumes just to be rejected time and time again. I’ve applied for jobs in all different fields that I have experience in (writing, editing, education, human resources, health insurance, management), yet all I receive are rejection e-mails. Searching for a job has become such a demoralizing process it’s hard to stay optimistic, but I’ll keep trying.
The purpose of this blog is to hopefully bring awareness to the plight of the long-term unemployed. I also hope that somewhere, someone who works in Human Resources at any organization that’s hiring will also understand that the people who submit resumes and applications for employment are not just pieces of paper or characters on a screen. They – we – are real people, who really want to work. We want to have the opportunity to provide for our families and pay our bills. Why won’t you hire us?