I need your secrets...

I was terminated today... so Sara is officially unemployed for the second time in 5 years.

I would love to hear ideas for finding employment... do you utilize networking websites? do you know of any websites that offer great tips for resumes, interviews, etc? Have you discovered any other secrets relating to finding new jobs?

Thank you kindly.

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network and get momentum

Sorry to hear about your sudden unemployment. Was this something you knew was coming?

I've found monster.com and dice.com are pretty good for getting an idea what is available out there, and also check out indeed.com which is a site that searches multiple job sites. Now I've got to point out that I'm a computer programmer. There may be different sites for job hunting for different occupations.

Two things that seem to help out a ton no matter what industry you are in:

1) Network! Let people know you are looking for a job, and let you know if they see anything along the lines of what you do.

2) Momentum is powerful. Make sure it is your friend. I've been unemployed three times in the last three years and the worst thing that can happen is if you do NOTHING. You'll feel down in the dumps and not want to do anything. If you have two (or more) job interviews coming up, you'll be much more likely to feel like firing off a half dozen more resumes. If nothing seems to be happening, hang in there. You'll get nothing for a while and then multiple resumes or maybe even multiple job offers. At least that's what happened to me.


out of the blue

Today was my first day back after a week of vacation... my first vacation since 2004. My friend / coworker was let go the Friday before my vacation but I thought I would have gone then ... why let someone go on vacation for a week and THEN do it...

Thank you for the input :) I will be working on my resume tomorrow. Gotta keep myself going or I might drift back into... the not good.

my artwork | my blog

Would you really rather have known?

I'd think it would have spoiled the vacation. :-(

It might be helpful...

...for you to tell us a little more about what you have been doing or what you'd like to do or what you're trained to do. In my experience, different strategies seem to work in different industries.

I'm a programmer, and I've had no luck with monster.com or the like. I was only contacted by companies seeking knowledge with a particular esoteric software package that was listed on my resume. My more recent and more interesting work was completely ignored.

Applying at The Vast Machine (a university) eventually netted me a crappy job that I could have used to as a starting point to transfer to something I liked better. Applying at the company you like, even if it is for a less desirable job, might be something to consider.

Personal contacts gave me my best-loved jobs. You can't beat knowing the person who will hire you, and being held in high regard by them. I certainly helps if your interviewer is one of your references (as was true when I was hired at my current job :-).

Chin up. Getting fired stinks out loud but you will certainly recover from this temporary setback. I'm sure the other DIYplanner-ers will have tons of useful advice, and we all hope that you find a great job soon.

A pair of shoes

So sorry to hear about losing your job. Been there had that happen to me.

My job-hunting secret is to use Richard Bolles "What Color is your Parachute?", which is probably the job-hunting book par excellence. If you've not encountered it before Parachute before it's an annual book published by Ten Speed Press. There is additional material at Bolles website rightly caled Job Hunters Bible.

I supplement "Pair of Shoes" with Barbara Sher's "Wishcraft". Sher has made the text off her book available online.

Both books rely upon your network of family, friends, and contacts.

Hey Sara! First, hang in

Hey Sara!

First, hang in there. I was laid off for the first time in my life back in May and thought the world was coming to an end. Thankfully I had a little advanced warning and was already working towards finding a new job. You'll find something.

Second, while I used online sites, the newspapers, etc. and sent out more resumes than I care to count, don't forget about staffing or temp agencies. I had applied with Big Financial Company here in town and got rejection after rejection. I got my foot in the door via the temping agency and once my contract period is up (in a week), I'll be a regular team member. I was a rough couple of months at time, but it all worked out.

Third, stay organized and follow up. This was something I didn't do as well as I should, but if you really want a job, chase it! Follow up within a few days to make sure someone has your resume and make sure they know your desire to have the job.

Take care and keep us posted if there is anything we can do to help!

I was terminated about 5

I was terminated about 5 years ago from the last regular office job I held. It was pretty funny, actually. I knew it was coming because my boss and other department heads were discussing what to do with my workload after I was gone, while gathered in an office with the door open not 5 feet from my cube. They waited clear until a Friday afternoon to spring me loose, too. That was pretty annoying...hehe. I *think* that, upon actually hearing the words "we're going to terminate your position," that I managed to not actually leap out of my seat and holler "Woohoo!!!" (This was a DREADFUL job which had gotten completely out of control. In trying to keep up with the ever-increasing workload I was working up to 80 hours per week, and still not able to keep my head above water. Oh, and I was working for people so out of touch with what I was doing that they failed to realize I could HEAR THEM talking about how to handle my work after I was gone. *G* Losing the job was a HUGE relief, and one of the best things to ever happen to me.)

I second the temp agency thing. This was very very helpful to me after losing the full time job. I was fortunate enough to already have some freelance clients. (I am now a full time freelance web developer.) I was on the verge of losing what freelance work I already had because the full time job was taking up all my time and energy. After losing the full time job, I was able to concentrate better on the freelance work. I managed to land a couple of long-ish term contract gigs through the temp/placement agency. This work kept my head above water until I was able to pick up more freelance work. I worked hard to make and keep contacts with agencies around town that began to pay off with freelance work. My last contract gig was supposed to be for a couple of months, and turned into nine months. I could have had a full time job at that company if I'd wanted it, and they've called me in for more work a few times when they needed someone quickly and didn't have time to train someone just to fill in for two weeks. This year, however, the freelance work has picked up enough that I no longer am able to take on-site work through the temp agency. The up side of this is that should my work load slack off, and I start to worry about money, I can always call the temp agency again and see what they've got going. I've done enough work that there are a few companies that ask specifically for me. It's good for the ego, even when I have to turn them down because my freelance work pays better. Definitely if I'd been looking for a full time job I could have had one through one of the companies I've work for through the temp agency.

Chin up. Things in life have a way of turning out okay. Keep your routine like you are still employed. Get up in the morning, shower, get dressed, and don't spend the day lounging about. Your current "job" is finding your next source of employment. Keeping a routine helps keep you from getting too down about the situation, and of course makes it much easier to GET that next job. :-)

While I ended up with the temp agency pretty much right away, hubby has used Monster and a few others pretty successfully. If nothing else, it gets your name out there. But different job sites seem to be more or less successful in different areas of the country in different job sectors. Oddly, Craig's List is sometimes a good site for finding web jobs here in the Dallas area, though you have to weed out the people looking for some great expert work for minimum wage. I've made a couple of semi-useful contacts on Craig's List.

OffLead Blog - Dogs and other of life's joys.

Me too experience

That was pretty annoying...hehe. I *think* that, upon actually hearing the words "we're going to terminate your position," that I managed to not actually leap out of my seat and holler "Woohoo!!!"

I was employed as a consultant by a major international computer manufacturer. For about 18 months I was on long-term sick leave during which time I'd been contacted by some old buddies about doing contract work for them, work which I enjoyed more than the promote-Microsoft-only consultancy stuff. My employers were trying to rehabitate me back into the work force but before that got sorted I was called to see my manager to be informed I was "at risk of being made redundant".

I was so happy. And happier still when called back a month later to be told I would be made redundant. I was the happiest one in the room that day; my manager and the HR rep had about 80 people to lay off. It wasn't fun for them. This company had been very good to me. I wasn't entitled to being on the long-term sick leave list --- not been employed long enough --- and was unable to devise a way of getting out without leaving a bad stink behind me. They did all the bad emotional stuff for me leaving me free of any taint.

I was able to take up my friend's offer for long enough to realise that I wanted a complete career change. Rather like the incident when I dropped my planner and its contents spilled all over the car park forcing me to re-evaluate what I carried around so being made redundant forced me to re-evaluate what I wanted to do with my life. It's these serendipitous moments that neither Allen nor Covey or any of the planning guru can prepare you for. Though in the long run these things prove to be the more valuable events in one's life.

Networking Business Cards

Networking Business Cards

Basically, condense your resume onto a business card.
I included a URL where one could download a full blown Word/ASCII/RTF copy of my resume.

Good luck.
You are a talented person. Someone out there needs your talents.

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Funny you posted this

I'm newly job searching myself. How's that for bad grammar :)

I was thinking yesterday about creating networking business cards. I ran into a guy at a store yesterday and got into a conversation that I think I probably could have taken to the next level of what do you do etc. if I had had a way of summarizing my info. Thanks for the post.

It is reasonably easy ...

Beyond basic contact info, I had a one-liner job/personal descriptor (Mega-Uber-Geek Programmer/Systems Administrator/Software engineer with a gazillion years of experience) and a URL to a web page that had my full resume
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

URL is a nice touch.

My husband is a Mega-Uber-Geek Programmer/Systems Administrator/Software engineer with a gazillion years of experience minus the Systems Administrator part, i'll have to get him to get me a URL to stick my resume on.

Try your ISP

Most offer some amount of personal web space
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

SMILES to my friend Sara!

Sara - I am so sorry to hear about this! I am sure I would be kicking and screaming, but when my tantrum was over, I would follow the advice of your friends here! I have read all of the posts, and I also advise to keep with your normal schedule. I know if it were me and I sat on the couch once, I probably would never get up! LOL! :)

I wish you the best of luck. You are an extremely talented, nice, helpful, and energetic person, so I know this set back will not last long!

smiles from your friend,
nay nay :)

A New Beginning

Sara, so sorry to hear about your job loss. It is never easy...expected or not. This seems kind of wierd, but I kind of envy you. I would love the opportunity to start over...but am too chicken to quit my job to do it (gee...I hope the network spooks are monitoring this...).

Just a side note...I work for the Department of Labor and teach job seeking skills on a daily basis. All the responses to your message are right on the money and are things I would repeat in my classes without hesitation.

That being said...I would like to add a couple of things. 1) Activate your benefits. Submit that application for unemployment insurance benefits. You might find another job before you get anything, but it doesn't hurt to get right on it. 2) Don't forget to use ALL the resources available to assist you in your job search. The local jobservice/unemployment office should have an extensive list of available jobs in your area. 3) Last but not least: With record low unemployment rates, it is a fantastic time to be looking for work. To repeat what was stated above, keep your chin up and get to it. And by the way, the job seeking templates on this site are awesome!!


Springclean time

Hi Sara,

I was sorry to hear that you got terminated from your job. It's never an easy experience, even if occasionally it's a relief as some others here have mentioned.

Can I suggest that you take this as a bit of a opportunity to 'springclean' your wishlist for what you would like to do. You may find that the perfect job for you is waiting, you just have to look for what it is you want. The temporary/contract work idea is sensible, especially if you may not want to stay in a similar type of work to your former job.

With the babyboomer generation heading towards retirement there are more jobs than people in the Western world. Which is promising for getting a new job.

As to the practical side of getting work. If you worked with clients/customers in your former job then they are one of your best options for finding a new job. They may not have work for you in their own companies, but they are a strong network to hook into and they know the quality of support/work you provided for them. (This is where having a paper planner with your contacts becomes very handy!)

I suggest that you put together a 1 page resume or email letter that outlines your skills and the fields of work you believe you are suited to do. Then phone your contacts (or email them if they prefer that kind of contact) and let them know that you're looking for a new position and ask if could they have heard of any companies/contacts that could use your skills. You might be surprised at the amount of assistance you receive.

Good luck!


omgosh :)

Your support has been so touching... I really want to thank everyone for their comments and emails. I think it is so true that our friends and family are what keep us going. <3 Many heart felt hugs to you all.

I really want to do this right... I am trying to keep my outlook on the upcoming days as an opportunity to get some freelance things completed and as a chance to find my dream job. To be honest - anything art related is my dream job. I worked as an sales auditory and then inventory control assoc. at my last job and found I lost myself. I need art to be ME.

Now onto my concern.

I am going to attempt to create a one page resume. Would it foolish of me to hide a subtle watermark in the backgroud of me so it isnt so plain and boring? Is it best to keep it on one page? Is there any guides or 'cheat sheets' around that could help me?

my artwork | my blog

Sara, I hope this becomes a good opportunity for you

I don't have a lot of experience in this area but I have helped my brother with his job hunt.

To answer your question about creative touches to your resume. That really depends upon the field you are in. If you're in Banking or Insurance the answer is probably no. However, it sounds like you're in creative field where something like that might distinguish you from the herd. You would probably need to actually show a mock-up to someone in your field.

Do you have any mentors, respected peers or former professors that you could brainstorm with? If you live near your school you could check out their career development office (or the equivalent).

I totally agree with the importance of networking.

As far as the best way to find find writing samples and examples. Try the "Idiots" and "Dummies" series. Although there might be something better out there. You could browse your local library or bookstore.

Good luck,

How to write a resume

Part of the trick to resume writing, in my experience, is the target audience. You have to get their attention and then present your skills in a way that says, "Hire this person"

A one-page version should have your best and most recent skills and should be tailored toward what kind of job you want.

I work with computers. Last time I was seriously job hunting, I had three versions of my resume, each geared toward a slightly different type of computer job.

Good luck. We are all cheering you on. <3
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Some resumes that may help

Hi Sara,

Here are some online resumes that may help you

an art teacher & performer

a sculptor

a playwright

And some hints on writing a 'killer cv'
I'm not sure if a killer cv is a good thing or a bad thing. ;)


I am going to attempt to create a one page resume. Would it foolish of me to hide a subtle watermark in the backgroud of me so it isnt so plain and boring?

The one page is a good idea. back when I was involved in recruitment the quickest way not to get an interview was to have a CV that went onto a third page. The briefer the better.

As to pictures, colours, watermarks I would say no ... but it would depend upon the job you were going for. Arts job these might be okay. Other jobs (all other jobs) they'd be an absolute no-no.


Would one page duplex (front and back) be okay? or try to keep it to one page just front?

Also... I would only include a watermark in a very very light gray color - probably behind my name & addy ... I just hate plain ol' stuff lol.

Since I am going to be applying for mostly arsty/design related positions - should that be okay? or should I play it safe?

I filed for unemp today... strange how it still hasn't all sunk in yet. I feel like I'm still on vacation.

my artwork | my blog

Duplex, simplex and be sparing

Either duplex or simplex would pass my first test of CV length. But I didn't make time for any more than two printed pages --- there was real work to be done afterall. I threw hundreds of three page CVs in the bin without ever looking at them.

I shouldn't comment upon arts people; my experience was in hiring new computer/technical staff. Watermarks, photos, etc would be the height of pretension with techies. Hey I even cut some guy who turned up for interview wearing white socks with a black suit. And don't ever turn up to an interview wearing a business suit with brown shoes. Just don't do it, we are not in the country. Turning up in demins and t-shirt would get you an interview though. Ask my mate how I was dressed and acted when he came for an interview.

Don't do what one candidate did ... let the agency mess with his CV. The details were all true just not about him. Needless to say he did not get the job. If they want to reformat the CV then insist you okay what they are sending out in your name.

The other thing that would get you consigned to the bin ... inconsistent layout. If some heads have periods then all should have them --- though heads really shouldn't have periods at all. Be very reserved about fonts; two at most --- on for the body text, one for heads. Similarly font sizes and font weights make 'em consistent, use 'em sparingly. And don't use Arial for a body text. Only Gill Sans really works as a sans serif font for body text; also works for heads too.

Give me lots of white space too; I may want to make a note for the interview.

Don't leave any gaps in dates. I may be dyscalculic but I smell a rat when things are missing.

The other thing what wouldn't have got you an interview as a techie was listing what modules you did in your comp. sci. degree course. I am (or was at the time) a computing scientist and I know what one of those degrees includes. Oh yeah and a semester course does not make you an expert --- plus I know a lot more about it than you do so don't try to BS me in the interview either. I will catch you out, you'll know it, and you won't get the job.

Two vital things for any CV crossing my desk. K.I.S.S. and use Occam's razor. Oh and of course I want your entire life history.


What does CV stand for btw?

my artwork | my blog


Here in England we use CV for what in North America is known as a resume. It's an abbreviation of the Latin "curriculum vitae".

CV vs. resume

This reference describes the difference as a level of detail and the intended audience.
Curriculum vitae
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

How long ? As short as possible without loss of importance

Most interviewers spend less than a minute looking at a resume.

The important stuff should be at the top of the page, under your name. I'll PM you a link
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

SARA - please read, I can help, you have helped me so much!

I help people with their resumes all the times (hence the extra email - resumechick@gmail.com - so if you would like to email me your resume, I am happy to suggest/help/etc...I honestly have lists of action verbs and sample resumes that help quite a bit, as well as some tips from resume readers, but they are hard copy. I have many faults, but one thing I am good at is WRITING RESUMES - my offer goes out to anyone as a free service, since I take so much knowledge from all of you. I honestly enjoy doing it, and I have thought about doing it on the side for cash, but it is more fun to pay it forward! So anyone email me at: resumechick@gmail.com

You'll find a better job...

I'm sure. With your creativity and energy, someone is bound to find that you're the right person for their position.

I got laid off years ago from a temporary federal job. It was a low point for me and I was out of work for a month. But, I found a state government job and worked there for a good 22 years, before moving to a different federal job three years ago. It turned out to be the best thing that happened to me, although I didn't realize it for a few years.

Have faith in yourself. You'll find a better job or career opportunity!

Ganbatte kudasai! (essentially, keep on trucking in Japanese) :-)


The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
B. Banzai?


Any advice on how far back into history I should go?

I have had only 4 employers during my working history - I think that would show dedication and loyalty but... I don't want to bore people lol.

Another concern - I was unemployed for nearly a year... should I list "freelance artist" during that span?

my artwork | my blog

Hi Sara - I am new to the

Hi Sara -

I am new to the board but sorry to hear about the termination. I've been "let go" also and it's no fun.

As a fellow Wisconsinite I wanted to say that if you are interested in working in advertising and if you're in/near Madison, I would bet anything that Hiebing is hiring artists. I met with them recently and they said they're having their best year ever...and it's just over half finished. If you don't live nearby and you have an ad portfolio they may have freelance work for you.


an update of sorts...

I thought I might update yall on my current situation... I have had much support and in fact have some leads on potential employment. This weekend is "RESUME TIME" despite my desire to crawl into my bed and hibernate for eternity.

I spent yesterday brain storming... I carried around my notebook and just jotted down what I did at my last job whenever something occurred to me. It was amazing how slowly it all came together. I guess I did a lot more than I first thought which is lovely - it means that I was very 'prolific' at my last job.

I also made a list of all the things I created and worked on - machinery to computer programs to final printed goods...

Tomorrow I plan on typing the whole thing up and starting my push for employment on Monday.

In other news - I have decided to list "Freelance Artist" as a current job ... and list the start year as my graduation from college. I have been doing small jobs consistently for friends and family - increasing my 'freelance' work over the last year or so. I think this will show my determination to have one foot in the art world at all times.

Many thanks to all of you for your insight . take care and be well <3

my artwork | my blog

Great !!

That shows you are ambitious and can work multiple jobs.

The machinery stuff can go in a block of skills and abilities. Not every job description will tell what skills were utilized on the job. I always listed stuff like that. I got more nibbles about tools I used verses what project I used them on.

Another note: If you used a tool that you totally hated (anything Microsoft for me) and you never want to use that tool again, DO NOT LIST IT ANYWHERE ON YOUR RESUME. I found that out the hard way. Recruiters will pick up the most obscure buzz-word to try to jam you into a job opening.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


Hi Sara.
Linkedin.com is a site where professionals can network on a professional level. This site has none of the silliness of MySpace or FaceBook. Effectively you put your resume up and people can contact you when they have work to be done. I've never gotten a job through it, but I know a few folk I've contracted for have relied on it instead of my resume.

Also - your network can recommend you. It's a great way to receive and keep references.


I signed up a short while back to offer references for some friends but I never thought of using for myself. I will definately look into that :D

my artwork | my blog

it's a good reference engine

I find that LinkedIn is a great reference engine. While I have not gotten much job support out of it yet... I've found that it's a great way to share your accomplishments and references.

I tend to put my LinkedIn profile in my cover letter or emails just under my closing statement (you know, sincerely, your name). That way people can see the references and online info at the time they read over my letter.

I've had one headhunter add me because of that tag. :)

Lifehacker link

How to write a killer resume

[Linkified by innowen on 8/29/07]

Sara, If it exceeds 2 pages

Consider a "functional" as opposed to a "chronological" format. Also, consider including an "Achievement" section to include 4 or 5 accomplishments, preferably something measurable or quantifiable to distinguish you from the herd.


Be REALLY careful with that one...

Many hiring managers toss functional resumes, assuming that the applicant is hiding something. A hiring manager spends under a minute on each resume - chronological is crystal clear in that timeframe, where as functional rarely is.

To Summarize

To summarize what I already heard here and tips that have helped me tremendously in the past;

-Craigslist is an excellent resource for job listings.


-Utilize your local newspaper classified online job search.

-Utilize different resumes for different job types. Tailor each resume based on the job requirements. (one page preferably)

-Networking business cards are pretty cool. Especially if you are doing temp work.

Good luck and keep your chin up. And look em straight in the eye when you are interviewing.


I am but a simple caveman.