Today, many of us returned to the office after enjoying a day off for the Fourth of July. Some Americans, however, don’t have the luxury of a job to return to after weekends and holidays. Instead, they return to the job search.
As an employed person, I find myself wondering how in the world someone couldn’t find a job. At least, that is what I thought until I learned more about the struggles of trying to find a job during this time of economic uncertainty.
Young adults, for example, don’t find first jobs or summer work as easily as they once did. It isn’t just the inexperienced, however. Experienced professionals are searching, too, and the saturation of the applicant pool makes it harder for everyone. The unemployment rates remain uncomfortably high.
It has become harder, especially for those who haven’t worked for an extended period of time, to stand out among the increased amount of applicants.
Although it is harder, job seekers shouldn’t let a lack of interview skills or an undersold resume be roadblocks to employment.
One of my favorite things about being a college student is the amount of valuable resources at hand. Universities do a great job of helping students. Similarly, there are resources available to help unemployed people (those without jobs but seeking employment) polish their interview skills, write a better resume and prepare to enter the professional world. Anyone struggling to find work should take advantage of these resources.
For example, Furst Staffing is an employment organization in northern Illinois devoted to helping job seekers. The organization’s services include helping secure interviews and searching for ways to increase an applicant’s desirability.
Most colleges, including Northern Illinois University, offer employment assistance for alumni. Career Services at NIU hosts hiring events, helps edit resumes and assists students with interview skills.
There are organizations designed to help people find jobs because other people realize how hard the task can be.
The Internet also has become a great resource for anyone nervous about the job search. There are hundreds of websites that list common interview questions, describe appropriate dress for different environments, and list reviews of workplaces so potential employees know where they might like – or not like – to work.
Finally, the value of informal assistance from friends and family members shouldn’t be underestimated. Most adults have gone through at least one job search in their lives, and everyone has a different experience. Performing practice interviews with someone can ensure preparedness when the time comes.
And, as discouraging as rejection can be, each interview or interaction with a potential employer can serve as a practice round for the future.
By taking advantage of local resources, job seekers have a better chance of finding employment. Then, by the time the next work holiday rolls around, there will be more people taking time off to celebrate than standing in the unemployment line.
• Lauren Stott is a Maple Park native and a graduate student at Northern Illinois University in the master of public administration program. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.