FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn

NOTE: The following is a guest post from Kerry Quinn, author of FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn.


I don’t believe in economists or the unemployment rate or media stories of all the miserable unemployed. Well, I believe them. I just don’t believe in them.

My dogma is to find the silver lining in a bleak situation. So, I’m that (annoying?) person who always focuses on the positive. The economists, unemployment rate and media stories are all pointing out the negative, the dour, the depressing. If you’re reading this, you’re likely unemployed. Me too. Actually, I call myself FUNemployed.

I was laid off in October 2009 when my ad agency closed its Venice, CA office. I was ashamed, dejected and demoralized. I expected financial ruin and a black mark to appear on my forehead. And then I realized that I was given the gift of opportunity and I needed to stop wasting it.

Over the course of my journey, I’ve applied to approximately 506 jobs. I’ve also volunteered with children in hospitals, lost 20 lbs, learned to cook healthfully, set up payment arrangements for all of my credit card debt (and paid 40% of what I was paying before), hustled to get freelance projects, became an eBay seller, learned to surf, took up photography, started a blog called LovingFUNemployment.blogspot.com, and wrote a book to tell you how to be like me and others who’ve done the same. It’s called “FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn.”

Make no mistake…I don’t make light of unemployment. But I am light-hearted about it. I could be a) sad, sitting on the couch carbo-loading thinking about how much life sucks or b) I can be positive and smiling while trying to make my hair-brained schemes work. Either way, I’m unemployed. Given the choice, which would you rather be? And, given the power to hire someone, who would you choose?

 

Kerry Quinn is a Connecticut native, ex-New Yorker and current Angeleno. Upon graduation from the University of Michigan, she began her career in advertising and has since worked on behalf of Fortune 500 companies at world-renowned advertising agencies in New York and Los Angeles. She began her blog, FUNemployed and Loving It, in 2010. FUNemployed: Finding the Upside in the Downturn was published in May 2011 by Smashwords. It sells for $7.99 at Sony, BN.com, Kobo, iBookstore, BookieJar, Diesel, Smashwords and Amazon.

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Skills for America’s Future – An Unemployment Extension Alternative?

Jobs are the critical focus in America’s economy right now. With the official unemployment rate at 9%, and the unofficial rate nearing 20%, getting Americans back to work is finally receiving some attention in Congress.

While unemployment extensions are important survival mechanism for millions of Americans, ultimately jobs will be the solution to the unemployment situation in this country.

 

Skills for America’s Future

Last year, President Obama announced the Skills for America’s Future Program. This program partners community college students with leading companies to to develop industry knowledge, training programs, and job placements.

The President announced an expansion of the program in a speech earlier this month, emphasizing the need for jobs.

Skills for America’s Future states that its goal is to “help provide 500,000 community college students with industry-recognized credentials that will help them get secure jobs in the manufacturing sector”.

 

Manufacturing Jobs?

Once a thriving part of our economy, the manufacturing job sector has shrunk as a result of outsourcing and a shift to a service based economy. Politicians have increasingly been talking about ways to revitalize the manufacturing sector, which currently employs over 11 million Americans.

The news often reports that there are jobs available, but not enough people with the right skills to fill these job openings. Skills for America’s Future aims to help close that gap — with a focus on training people for the “high-skills” jobs that are in demand.

 

How Does This Program Help You?

For students who are in the process of completing their degrees, Skills for America’s Future will help with appropriate training in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as with job placement.

Note: Americans of any age can take advantage of these educational and training programs, and many times classes are available online. If you are currently receiving unemployment insurance (whether regular benefits or unemployment extensions), now may be the time to find an opportunity to enhance your skills.

 


 

Other Recent Updates

How Many Weeks of Benefits?

Extension Update – May 2011

 

The New Job Search

Note: The following post is courtesy of our friends at WorkReply.com.


TIPS FOR JOB SEARCHING

Dead man. Not walking. Still talking. He’s dead and wise; while we are alive and looking for a clue. Thomas Edison said it best when he stated, “There is a way to do it better…find it”.

FORGET THE SLOW START!

FORGET BEING STUCK!

FIND… A… CLUE.

Unemployment is not for you. It is not of your nature. I don’t know you, but I already know. You are definitely NOT the unemployed, or under-employed, type. The fact that you are reading this, tells me so. Bob, Billy, Catherine, Justine… I don’t know what your name is. I don’t know if you have 3 kids, a dog, 3 fish, a ford focus, search aimlessly for a job daily on CareerBuilder or yahoo hotjobs. I don’t care. But I DO know that you don’t have a job. Or you do have a job, but it’s just not enough. THAT, I do care about… VERY much! Face it, what you have been doing, IS NOT WORKING! Find a clue.

Blunt. Bold. Beautiful.

I did not just describe myself… although… I must say…

Blunt, bold and beautiful is the description of the tips you are about to receive on job searching, the new way.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Everyday that you are blessed to wake up, ask yourself “Self, do you get it?” If you are honest with yourself, some days, Self will say ‘yes’, some days ‘no’ and other days, you’ll find that Self has checked out all together- there’s nobody home. It is especially important to ask this question each and everyday that you are searching for gainful employment. When searching for employment, the context of this question relates to your ability to understand your personal and professional skills. How can your skills benefit your future employer?

What did Self say?

While it is important to do your homework on companies you wish to become an employee of, it is equally as important to make sure you do homework on yourself as well. Searching for employment requires many things, one of which is the ability to sell yourself. You cannot efficiently and effectively sell yourself, if you are unaware as to who you are, personally and professionally. Once you’ve identified how you will be an asset to a company, make sure you convey that message in your cover letter.

GET ASSISTANCE

YOU ARE NOT SUPERMAN OR SUPERWOMAN!

You can not secure gainful employment alone. Whether you decide to receive assistance from a college career office, a library or your local unemployment office, you need assistance. Even in the event that you sit in a dark room, in front of a now blurred blue screen- as you have since you received your layoff notice, searching for employment on careerbuilder.com, with TENS OF THOUSANDS of other people daily; you still need assistance.

THAT type of employment search is why you remain unemployed.

At the rate you are going, you’ll have a job in… 25 years. By then, you will be how old? We all know about the age discrimination that is taking place with employers… Good luck, Chuck. Now days, in order to maximize your potential of securing employment, you MUST, I repeat, MUST, have assistance.

It is imperative to realize that there are a plethora of free and very inexpensive, quality services that will make securing you employment their main priority. One thing you must evaluate when selecting a service to assist you in your job search, is the myriad of services they offer, and how it will affect your job search. Ideally, the service should:

  1. Be free or very inexpensive.
  2. Provide a job search agent.
  3. Assist in the editing of your resume and/or cover letter.
  4. Decrease the amount of time you spend job searching.
  5. Have the ability to access many job opportunities.
  6. Take a proactive approach to your job search.
  7. Provide professional development resources and information.
  8. Provide you with personal job searching assistance and advice.
  9. Provide you with easy access to real, human assistance.
  10. Have a reciprocity agreement with other companies.

If a service does not minimally provide you with 8 of the 10 things listed above, forget using the service. It will be a waste of your time.

FOLLOW UP

In the event that you have secured an interview with an employer, this is a tip you cannot afford to ignore. Ignoring this tip is sure to backfire on you!

After an interview, within 24 business hours, you should send a thank you note to your interviewer. In the event that a group interviewed you, weigh your options to see if you should send a group thank you verses an individual thank you to each individual interviewer. Whatever route you decide to take, make sure you keep and speak to the personality of the organization, which you should have been able to determine based upon the interview and interviewer. If time is an issue, send your thank you via email. If you want to stand out from the slew of people that are all competing for the same position and time is not an issue, consider sending a hand written thank you card. This is sure to impress the interviewer! Mind you, only roughly 4% of job applicants send thank you notices to employers. Think of the impact this would have on your odds of securing employment!

If you were wise, and had assistance with your job search, make sure to thank the other people who assisted you in your efforts. Your thank you to them needs not be as grand as to your potential employer, but still should be expressed. By expressing gratitude to other people that assisted you in your job search efforts, you will put yourself in a position so that in the event that you do not get the job, they will not mind assisting you again. Put yourself in their shoes. If you gave someone information about a job, they got an interview and regardless of whether or not they got the job, they never said thank you to you, would you be inclined to assist them again? If you would, would you do it to the best of you abilities, wasting your time and resources on someone who is ungrateful? Any logical person would not.

GET A CLUE.

There is a way to do it better… WorkReply.com.

*What good is finding the clue if you do nothing with it? Sign up for the FREE services of WorkReply.com and INSTANTLY become eligible to receive a $50 gas card!!!