The Vicious Cycle of Employment and Experience

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Scilicet
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The Vicious Cycle of Employment and Experience

Post by Scilicet »

I have a BS and recently graduated from college. I was assured that the department's reputation would pave my way to a good job. Cue derisive snort. It seems that all the jobs I see require a minimum of a year of experience in industry. Guess what I didn't get in college? Yup, that. I'm with three recruiting agencies, and I don't get much from them.

I had a job offer rescinded because I failed a spirometry test twice for respirator usage. I had the test redone by a nurse who heads a monthly asthma clinic, and she coached me to a result that showed I had no blockages in my bronchials.

It doesn't help that I am disinclined to talk at length about myself. I feel like I have to lie about my abilities just to get an interview. When I get to the interview, I'm very nervous and feel like I only talk myself out of a position. I had one person tell me that I was too hard to get information from because I was so nervous. This was for a LAB JOB, not HR. I am perfectly capable of talking about the task at hand. There's no patience from companies for people who need longer periods of time to warm up to others. Maybe there needs to be an initiative to get not only more women and minorities in certain positions but also introverts. I've been reprimanded for talking only once or twice when I was part of a group. I think workplaces would be better if people spoke to communicate rather than fill dead air.

I admit that I share a bit in the science majors' disdain for the humanities. However, I think it's easier for humanity majors to get post graduate experience, especially in English and Communications. Not everyone has a spare HPLC, SEM, or GC/MS lying in the basement gathering dust.

I think I am not an obnoxious person. I try to be nice, but I feel like it's holding me back. I think I'm going to have to assume an obnoxious or borderline obnoxious personality to get anywhere.

If anyone has an idea on networking or selling myself so I can get the coveted year of experience, please tell. I have the feeling that many of you have a similar personality to mine, so you might be able to better understand and advise.

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Scarlet
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Post by Scarlet »

We're the screwed generation. The libertarian ideals of deregulation sent so many jobs off seas to china and elsewhere... basically dug our grave for us.

I am sorry that I can't say much more. Have you thought about going to grad school? You can potentially get funding there, so if you do then that's a job I suppose. :/
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Post by Bernie »

I think I'm going to have to assume an obnoxious or borderline obnoxious personality to get anywhere.
thats how villians start. dont go down the same path. i mean, look at scarlet. :p
(jokes)

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Scarlet
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Post by Scarlet »

Bernie wrote:
I think I'm going to have to assume an obnoxious or borderline obnoxious personality to get anywhere.
thats how villians start. dont go down the same path. i mean, look at scarlet. :p
(jokes)
Please knock it off with your obnoxious unconstructive off topic spam.
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Post by Bernie »

how is it off topic? im saying dont go down the path of feeling the need to be a jerkface in order to get around in the world. imo its a sign of defeat and weakness.

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Post by Levellass »

On the other hand many villains started on their path with extreme pride and arrogance, focusing on strength above all else. (Look at Steve Jobs!)

It's a hell of a situation indeed.
What you really need, not what you think you ought to want.

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Post by Flaose »

The personal attack was inappropriate, Bernie.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time to break into the field it's about who you know, not what you know. Do you have any friends or family members in research positions? Someone that can put in a good word for you?
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Post by Levellass »

Indeed, it's not what you know but WHO you know in this biz.
What you really need, not what you think you ought to want.

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Cobalt
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Post by Cobalt »

Have you tried volunteerism, online contracting, or internships? These are great ways to get that experience under your belt so you can talk about it in the interview. If you love what you do, do it, and you'll have something to impress employers even if you weren't getting paid for it.
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Post by MoffD »

@Cobalt
Can't everyone drop this? please? Never mind, at least you removed that

Scilicet wrote:I think I am not an obnoxious person. I try to be nice, but I feel like it's holding me back. I think I'm going to have to assume an obnoxious or borderline obnoxious personality to get anywhere.
Most companies tend to prefer non-obnoxious people, I agree with Cobalt about the internship.

Also local companies tend to hire local people vs larger corporations, if your looking for options.
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_mr_m_
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Post by _mr_m_ »

Flaose wrote: Unfortunately, a lot of the time to break into the field it's about who you know, not what you know. Do you have any friends or family members in research positions? Someone that can put in a good word for you?
This. Try to get references from people who work in the field you're trying to get in to. Preferably ones who are much older than you, and quite possibly (recently) retired.

Professors also work well, and most (at least where I went to university), are usually happy to give a good word for you should anyone check your references.

I started following this and took off all my former bosses/supervisors off my references list...It pretty much tripled the callbacks I got. I can't say I've found employment yet, but the increase in call backs is a good start.


I'm not sure which recruiting agencies you're going through, but the one I've been in contact with has been a huge help for me. Try to find one that specializes in placing people in your field.

My recruiter has called me about 5-6 times in the last week or so giving me updates/advice for one job that interviewed for last week. This includes interview tips, what to wear to an interview in the middle of August in the midwest US, and what to put in a follow-up thank you note...You are sending post-interview thank you notes, aren't you? They don't need to be long, just 3-5 sentences thanking them for the interview and restating your interest in working with them. Ask them again to hire you for the job. Be sure your follow up is grammatically correct and you use good punctuation (based on how you've written in this thread so far, I don't think this is an issue).

Keep trying other recruiting agencies. One tip about recruiters, though (and I was told this from my recruiter): If the company tries to make you pay the fee, don't take the job. It defeats the purpose.


As for being nervous in an interview, one thing you have to remember is that it can be just as intimidating for the interviewer to have someone they don't know in the room with them. Interviews aren't the time to be modest about yourself (but don't brag). Go in there and show that not only your skills, but you as a person, is a perfect fit for the job. Take a deep breath, relax, and try to connect with your interviewers. Make some small talk with your interviewer(s); it shows that you can connect in a non-formal setting and can put them, and yourself, at ease. For example: I know the city where I've been interviewing in, talking about their baseball team is a good place to start (it helps when they're my favourite team). And for the love of all that is holy, ASK FOR THE BLOODY JOB at the end of the interview. You'd be surprised how many people forget to do that.

In regards to being an introvert, I'm not sure what I can say that would help you out. For me, joining my fraternity and working the job I had (helpdesk/tech support for my university) really morphed me in to being an extrovert. I also changed a bunch of habits; I was exercising/lifting regularly, eating better, things like that. To be honest, I'm not sure what happened to me during my college years. It's one of those things I don't know how to explain.

One other thing that I've been told from people who work for government agencies: do not respond to racial/gender profiles on job applications. It's not mandatory, and they can't pre-profile/pre-disqualify you because you didn't respond to it. It's another tip that has, at the very least, increased the number of interviews I've gotten.

I know this is a lot to take in. I know what you're going through. I've been looking for work since before I graduated last December. But this is just TL;DR version of my observations and experiences from my job hunt. If you want more advice, talk further, etc., PM me.
"I just drew this stupid little fish." -- Tom Hall

Bernie
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Post by Bernie »

_mr_m_ wrote:As for being nervous in an interview, one thing you have to remember is...
Everyone seems to have this idea about job interviews like its some performance you have to pull off. I really don't know if this'll hinder you or not, but I'd suggest just be yourself with them :s its the most honest way and it'll show.
then again im unemployed lol. (though i've mostly been quite good at job interviews).

Scilicet
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Post by Scilicet »

I appreciate your commiserating and ideas. I never thought about removing and replacing work-related references because wouldn't working at the same place through high school and college be considered a show of loyalty?

As for the people I know, I have an uncle who works at a pharmaceutical company. He is, however, a technical writer, so I doubt he has much clout with QA and RD. I made contact with a few of my school's alumni, but not much has come of it. I'll be sending another email to one soon who seems to be the most promising one.

As for grad school? No. It's just pushing the problem farther back, and I have had enough of schools. Some graduate funding hinges on teaching undergrad classes, and I'm the didactic sort.

I'm going to send emails to my recruiting companies every week. I think it's obnoxious, but maybe my standards are more stringent than other people's.

I have not been getting to the interview stage at all. I turned on my cell phone yesterday for the first time in many days, and found voicemails from two people regarding positions for which I applied. One position had been filled, while the other one had not. I'm still waiting for the person to call me back. My cell number is no longer on my resume.

Mr. M, I appreciate the interviewing tips, especially the reminder that the interviewer is likely to be nervous as well. I'm a doer rather than speaker. I don't excel at small talk, but it's a skill worth working on. Is it acceptable to bring up topics from your personal life if you feel they illustrate a skill? I have a sister getting married, and I volunteered to keep track of the guests in Access. I've learned a lot about forms and such, but I wonder how potential employers would react. Also, I've taken charge at home, but I don't know if that would give a realistic picture of my leadership abilities in the workplace, since I haven't had the opportunity to lead there.

I'm thinking about learning some more computer techniques, but I would like to know what would be useful. I've done a smattering of Visual Basic and SQL, and I've heard that C# also is a good language to know. When employers are asking about Word and Excel, are there some common standards for judging whether or not someone is proficient. For example, I've used so many Excel formulas, especially the linear regression (index(linest(known y...))) with the error values. Would that make me an intermediate user in the eyes of many?

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Post by KeenEmpire »

Scilicet wrote: I've done a smattering of Visual Basic and SQL, and I've heard that C# also is a good language to know.
Python - though who knows how often that reasoning actually holds irl. (It may even be a little outdated because python is becoming mainstream; maybe the new niche language is clojure or something.)
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