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Thread: Resume Writing

  1. #21
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    BAsed on what you say, it sounds unlikely that your cousin is interested in doing what is needed to get another job (and if her husband is the one who wants her to work, it may be her passive aggressive way to rebel against that...honestly, if they are paying everything for their son all the time, they probably could live quite comfortably - with some adjusting - without her working). BUT, if she's willing to make changes and become more employable, what about doing some temp work with law agencies? It would be a way of adding different employers to her resume (although she's have to be honest about the work being as a temp).

    I don't envy people who've been able to carve out a career they've enjoyed being kicked to the curb after decades. It sounds like the job she had was perfect for her and (I'm assuming) great for her employer, but they really did her a disservice by not requiring her to develop new skills along the way. Aside from not having the skills that would make her more marketable, I'm sure she feels like she shouldn't HAVE to have those skills, because...well, she just never needed to. It's a completely different world now. Add in her age (I'm guessing she's 50+) and the job market is even more challenging, unfortunately.

    ETA: agal got to the point while I was typing, blah blah blah...
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    Several women in their 50s have told me that trying to get work in an office was a miserable experience, even though they had the skills and experience. They did not succeed in getting hired.

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    I'm a bit of an ass when it comes to this, but if she's going to seek a job, she better change her attitude or at least fake that she's willing to learn. I've been in a "general office environment" for just over a year, and I'm on my third role. I'm one of the last ones who've touched just about everything in the overall department, so I always end up training the newbies. I can't say who's worse: the young ones who don't seem to care to learn a damn thing and can't take direction, or the ones who are so set in their ways that they're untrainable. I was about to claw my eyes out when a temp who was famed for her 30 years of data entry just stared at the screen when I asked her to open add a network account in Outlook, ... right there ... just click into Outlook ... have you ever used Outlook? ... have you ever used email? ... have you ever used a mouse?

    ... are you even breathing?

    On a more positive note, maybe she'll surprise herself and learn something new that will change her perspective on life, even if the situation forced her into it!

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    Ooh, I know. Say to your cousin, "Just go to the library and get a resume book, and transcribe one of those! Just insert your name and actual experience ..."

    That'll motivate 'er!

    But yeah, although we're just hearing this word of mouth, it sounds like she's just whining and not actually willing to job search. There's always an excuse. And yes, she might just be paralyzed by the fear of change or thinking just how far behind she is compared to everyone else in the job market. But she's gotta play up those 30 years, list all the legal subjects she knows about.

    Also, has she done anything outside of work? Volunteer work? Any certificates?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan1 View Post
    Really. She found out she was losing her job (in two weeks!) right after they did all the financial aid paperwork for college. Then they had to go and do it all again with the adjusted income. I don't know if they had to do it again when the unemployment started. (Great timing, huh?)

    And, trying not to get too snarky here, but they are major helicopter parents and they are not going to make their only child take out loans or ever pay for anything. He's never even had a part time job. They ordered, paid for and picked up the corsage for every formal dance he went to. You get the picture.......... They go down there (Cincinnati) every other weekend to take him snacks and buy him clothes. (I know - almost 19 freaking years old and he's never picked out his own shirt and paid for it!) Her husband is the one who wants her to get a job so bad. (TMI!!!!! I'll shut up now.)
    Yeah, my friend's parents were definitely anti-helicopter parents, so she had to go to the financial aid office herself. She said it was quite easy - they pulled up her file and did everything right then. But again, it was a small private school with a fat endowment. If you don't have the money, they will simply give it to you.

    But yes, I am very familiar with the helicopter parent thing. My mom tells me about the ones she's related to or are friends with, because she's that she didn't treat us that way. We are apparently QUITE the minority in upper-middle-class Asian parent circles!

    To be fair, my parents paid for my entire college education and I took out a small loan, but at least I got part-time on-campus jobs while in school. And if one of my parents had lost their job, I'd be hauling ass to make sure they weren't going without for me to go to school.

    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Several women in their 50s have told me that trying to get work in an office was a miserable experience, even though they had the skills and experience. They did not succeed in getting hired.
    My dad was having a hard time getting hired when he was getting up there in age, and he's a software engineer. Unfortunately, despite all his experience and knowledge, many companies would prefer the fresh-faced recent college grads who are willing to work 14-hr days. Dinner at home with family? What's that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    YMy dad was having a hard time getting hired when he was getting up there in age, and he's a software engineer. Unfortunately, despite all his experience and knowledge, many companies would prefer the fresh-faced recent college grads who are willing to work 14-hr days. Dinner at home with family? What's that?
    It's not that they work longer, necessarily--it's that they work for less pay and are usually less drain on benefits.

    So sayeth the wife of a middle aged software engineer.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Loyalty definitely counts. At least it sticks out in a world where people often move on after a year. My bf has not held down a single position more than 1.5 years, and he's 30.
    iME, Loyalty is often looked at as unable to make oneself marketable and flexible. Not saying that your field (which I gather is research?) doesn't respect loyalty or consider it an asset.

    with regards to young college age person willing to work 14 hour day in place of older worker not willing to do that, my experience is the opposite. Young people want to spend time doing other activities than work as they saw their parents working 14 hour days with a focus on their job not other things.

    Besides some of the things that other posters have stated: seemingly unwilling to learn new things etc., I suspect that in addition to being lost on how to write a resume, she has never had to learn interviewing skills or other things necessary when seeking a job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    My dad was having a hard time getting hired when he was getting up there in age, and he's a software engineer. Unfortunately, despite all his experience and knowledge, many companies would prefer the fresh-faced recent college grads who are willing to work 14-hr days. Dinner at home with family? What's that?
    In my experience, the ones willing to work 14-hour days are workers over 40, not recent college graduates who must meet up with their friends.

    Susan 1, can I ask why you started this thread? You don't seem to think very highly of your cousin. Every positive, informative response you've received you have shot down with negative comments about her. Did the husband ask for your help in motivating her? Because you portray her as a lost cause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    It's not that they work longer, necessarily--it's that they work for less pay and are usually less drain on benefits.

    So sayeth the wife of a middle aged software engineer.
    The less pay thing definitely comes into play when you're older. When my mom was applying for entry-level jobs to pass the time in retirement, she no longer put her work experience in there, because she knew she'd be overqualified for everything.

    But I'm not sure if that's the case in this tech bubble in Silicon Valley. They are throwing a lot of money and incentives at young, hungry grads who can show they can do the work and not complain.

    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    iME, Loyalty is often looked at as unable to make oneself marketable and flexible. Not saying that your field (which I gather is research?) doesn't respect loyalty or consider it an asset.
    It might work against me if I applied to grad/med school, but I think industry would look favorably on it, because my boss has claimed they don't want ambitious people, just people who can do the work.

    And he appreciates having someone around who can just do the work and not train a new tech in everything I know, every year.

    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    with regards to young college age person willing to work 14 hour day in place of older worker not willing to do that, my experience is the opposite. Young people want to spend time doing other activities than work as they saw their parents working 14 hour days with a focus on their job not other things.
    Could be the field/location. In the Bay Area where my bf is now, they will throw incentives and free food at you, so you'll stay after 10pm every night. You just do "other activities than work"....at work. His company has a beer keg in the communal fridge and a ping pong table and everyone plays Starcraft at 5pm. Catered lunch and dinner every day. There is literally no reason to leave, especially if your gf lives 300 miles away.

    I've also come across several type A personalities who figure, "I might as well work 100-hr weeks now since I'm young and I have no family, and save up the money and relax later."

    Again, could be the circles I'm in. But in my experience, people my age are more of a place to work more hours than people with kids, so that's what they do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    Besides some of the things that other posters have stated: seemingly unwilling to learn new things etc., I suspect that in addition to being lost on how to write a resume, she has never had to learn interviewing skills or other things necessary when seeking a job.
    That made me think of a comment my dad made to me a while back. When he graduated from college in 1960, he had his A.S. in one hand and a job offer from G.E. in the other. He worked at the Knolls Atomic Power Lab in Niskayuna, NY for 45 years, retiring in 2005. He told me that, if he had had to go out and get a job post-retirement, he wouldn't have the slightest clue how to write a resume or do a job application, because he didn't have to do either one to get the job he ended up with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karina1974 View Post
    That made me think of a comment my dad made to me a while back. When he graduated from college in 1960, he had his A.S. in one hand and a job offer from G.E. in the other. He worked at the Knolls Atomic Power Lab in Niskayuna, NY for 45 years, retiring in 2005. He told me that, if he had had to go out and get a job post-retirement, he wouldn't have the slightest clue how to write a resume or do a job application, because he didn't have to do either one to get the job he ended up with.
    Google "resume writing service." There's no excuse not to have a decent resume -- even if you've had one job for decades. No one is expected to know how to write a professional resume if they haven't changed jobs in decades, but there is no excuse for not doing a bit of research on how to get one done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pixie cut View Post
    Google "resume writing service." There's no excuse not to have a decent resume -- even if you've had one job for decades. No one is expected to know how to write a professional resume if they haven't changed jobs in decades, but there is no excuse for not doing a bit of research on how to get one done.
    That's rather rude and you presume a lot.

    I'm sorry, but for those people like karina and susan are talking about - they walked into a business with a job without having to prepare a resume or even do an interview, it is likely that they would not know where to begin period. Especially if the job was obtained by the use of a technical skill school/college. They probably "practiced" those skills at the place that they were employed.

    Unless they had some help, mostly from people who are younger. It is extremely difficult to be over 50 or 55, have worked for a single company for 30 years and find yourself without a job. In your education, you simply were not taught how to write resumes, how to interview, etc. You learned what you needed to do and found a company that needed your skills. They looked at your grades/workplace internship (apprenticeship) and you were hired.

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    Working for one company throughout one's career is going the way of the dinosaur, even in cultures where that once was the "norm".
    I can only imagine how stressful a lack of "job security" would be for those affected by such changes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quintuple View Post
    I'm a bit of an ass when it comes to this, but if she's going to seek a job, she better change her attitude or at least fake that she's willing to learn. I've been in a "general office environment" for just over a year, and I'm on my third role. I'm one of the last ones who've touched just about everything in the overall department, so I always end up training the newbies. I can't say who's worse: the young ones who don't seem to care to learn a damn thing and can't take direction, or the ones who are so set in their ways that they're untrainable. I was about to claw my eyes out when a temp who was famed for her 30 years of data entry just stared at the screen when I asked her to open add a network account in Outlook, ... right there ... just click into Outlook ... have you ever used Outlook? ... have you ever used email? ... have you ever used a mouse?

    ... are you even breathing?

    On a more positive note, maybe she'll surprise herself and learn something new that will change her perspective on life, even if the situation forced her into it!
    I went through that last year when I managed a small call centre. I had a couple of women sent by the agency who told me they could use Office but when it came down to it they had very little clue and I basically had to teach them how to do it. Needless to say it became very frustrating, not just for myself but for them as well because you were always having to correct their work which obviously made them insecure and uncomfortable.

    After that I had younger people who were computer savvy, but very limited in what they could actually do with Word and Excel. One of them was really good and didn't mind being corrected, but one of they had such a sucky attitude when she left I didn't care. She probably went away thinking she was being picked on when she didn't realise she had a golden opportunity to get a foot in the door with a good company.

    I think you have to look on losing a job as an opportunity for a fresh start. A chance to re-educate and maybe follow that dream. I have heard so many great stories about people who have done that. On the other hand, there are people who really can't handle it and are just negative and miserable about the whole situation. But hey life sucks anyway - it is how you deal with it that matters.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    That's rather rude and you presume a lot.

    I'm sorry, but for those people like karina and susan are talking about - they walked into a business with a job without having to prepare a resume or even do an interview, it is likely that they would not know where to begin period. Especially if the job was obtained by the use of a technical skill school/college. They probably "practiced" those skills at the place that they were employed.

    Unless they had some help, mostly from people who are younger. It is extremely difficult to be over 50 or 55, have worked for a single company for 30 years and find yourself without a job. In your education, you simply were not taught how to write resumes, how to interview, etc. You learned what you needed to do and found a company that needed your skills. They looked at your grades/workplace internship (apprenticeship) and you were hired.
    That actually sounds like how I got my job. I was REALLY lucky though - my boss needed a tech right away and I was practically the only one in the vicinity who had the right degree, sufficient grades, had multiple years of lab experience, and wasn't immediately going off to grad or med school.

    But yes, adaptation is definitely the name of the game, and being confident in what makes you better for the job than anyone else.

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    Since everyone is so invested in this mini-drama, I will tell you that she has an interview with one of the attorneys who used to work in their firm years ago on Thursday. His secretary (of course) told her that one of the other secretaries was leaving and she should apply. They talked on the phone several weeks ago and when she told them she only wanted to work part time, they said forget it, we need full time. They were going to interview other candidates. It sounds like they did not find anyone suitable, so she is going in to talk to them. He knows how good and fast she is, or they wouldn't have kept her for 32 years. And she is friends with the other secretary. It figures, she will get the hours she wants and the pay she wants, or she will tell them to stuff it. Without even needing the damn resume.

    I was going to comment on several posts (without doing them separately, and without knowing how to combine different comments into one post), so here goes: (>>previous comment; S - Susan's comment)

    >>Based on what you say, it sounds unlikely that your cousin is interested in doing what is needed to get another job (and if her husband is the one who wants her to work, it may be her passive aggressive way to rebel against that
    S - Passive aggressive? That cracked me up. Can’t elaborate on why!!!

    >>I'm a bit of an ass when it comes to this, but if she's going to seek a job, she better change her attitude or at least fake that she's willing to learn. I've been in a "general office environment" for just over a year, and I'm on my third role.
    S - Try 6 reorgs in 9 years. I only ever had one boss who was there long enough to conduct two yearly performance reviews. One of the things you learn is to be adaptable. And how to train a boss!

    >>I was about to claw my eyes out when a temp who was famed for her 30 years of data entry just stared at the screen when I asked her to open add a network account in Outlook, ... right there ... just click into Outlook ... have you ever used Outlook? ... have you ever used email? ... have you ever used a mouse?
    S - And she’s had temps in the office (experienced legal secretaries) that she thought were “too slow”. I know she is scared to death to go somewhere where someone will think the same about her.

    >>But yeah, although we're just hearing this word of mouth, it sounds like she's just whining and not actually willing to job search. There's always an excuse. And yes, she might just be paralyzed by the fear of change or thinking just how far behind she is compared to everyone else in the job market.
    S - Paralyzed by fear of change is very true. That's why she is willing to work for someone she used to work for (geez, probably 25 years ago? where she knows the secretary).

    >>Also, has she done anything outside of work? Volunteer work? Any certificates?
    S - Nope, nothing. Her whole outside life has been her son. Since she’s been part time (5 hours on Friday), she complained (not to them) if they made her stay past 3:00 to get something done before the weekend because she didn’t want to miss one of his games or whatever. (Or be home in time to help him get dressed for prom, for God's sake!!!!) Oh, and on her Thursdays off, she goes to garage sales (in season). To be fair, both her parents are elderly and in poor health and she goes to doctor’s appointments with them whenever possible. She’s been able to get away with leaving early, etc. to do these things. She wouldn’t be able to do that in a new job, unless it is part time and she can schedule them on her time off.

    >>And if one of my parents had lost their job, I'd be hauling ass to make sure they weren't going without for me to go to school.
    S - Well, that’s part of the reason the husband wants her to get another job fast so they don’t inconvenience their little pride and joy.

    >>Besides some of the things that other posters have stated: seemingly unwilling to learn new things etc., I suspect that in addition to being lost on how to write a resume, she has never had to learn interviewing skills or other things necessary when seeking a job.
    S - Absolutely right.

    >>Susan 1, can I ask why you started this thread?
    S - I told her I would ask around for ideas about writing a resume for only having one job in 32 years. And then I posted here again later that asking that was probably a mistake because there really wasn’t a good answer to the problem. Then we’ve gotten into all this other stuff.

    >>You don't seem to think very highly of your cousin.
    S - She’s been totally spoiled, at work and at home, before she was married and since, her entire life. She wants to work where she wants when she wants and make as much as she has been. And she thinks she is entitled to do that because she has worked for 32 years. I’ve tried to tell her that things don’t work like that anymore. She has no idea what it’s like “out here”. I did suggest the transcribing service idea and contacting the Dayton Bar to see if they could recommend something. I don’t know how the pay would be and she’d have to give up her unemployment, unless someone was paying her “under the table”. Maybe this new job will work out. They usually do for her. (Yeah, jealous.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by pixie cut View Post
    Google "resume writing service." There's no excuse not to have a decent resume -- even if you've had one job for decades. No one is expected to know how to write a professional resume if they haven't changed jobs in decades, but there is no excuse for not doing a bit of research on how to get one done.
    Professional resumes and cover letters are among the services I provide as a writer/editor. Consulting with the client is a key part of the process and helps the client to clarify their goals and qualifications.

    If this person were my client I'd start out by asking her to list all of her skills and experiences. Even volunteer experiences and hobbies count. Very often transferable skills can be gleaned from seemingly mundane tasks. For example, a transcriber has to have a sharp focus and acute attention to detail. And 'willing to make a long-term commitment' can also be a strength.

    The consultation can also lead the client to identify what they don't want to do or aren't qualified to do.

    So, the best place for this person to start would be to consult with an HR professional or someone with experience doing resumes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Several women in their 50s have told me that trying to get work in an office was a miserable experience, even though they had the skills and experience. They did not succeed in getting hired.
    Sad but so true.

    Some fields seem to fare better than others. And I wonder if women tend to fare better or worse than men as they age.

    ETA:
    Quote Originally Posted by Susan1 View Post
    Entire post
    Doesn't sound like you want to help her much.

    She sounds like a one trick pony whose one good trick happens to be very in demand in a niche market. If that market doesn't close down on her, she is set for life.
    Last edited by genegri; 04-18-2012 at 12:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan1 View Post
    >>You don't seem to think very highly of your cousin.

    S - She’s been totally spoiled, at work and at home, before she was married and since, her entire life. She wants to work where she wants when she wants and make as much as she has been. And she thinks she is entitled to do that because she has worked for 32 years. I’ve tried to tell her that things don’t work like that anymore. She has no idea what it’s like “out here”. I did suggest the transcribing service idea and contacting the Dayton Bar to see if they could recommend something. I don’t know how the pay would be and she’d have to give up her unemployment, unless someone was paying her “under the table”. Maybe this new job will work out. They usually do for her. (Yeah, jealous.)
    And so what if it does? People will only change if they feel they need to. The fact that her life has been easy doesn't mean she deserves such vitriol.

    I have a cushy life, frankly. My boss is really great, I don't have set hours, and I'm even taking classes part-time and he's willing to schedule around it. The important thing is that good results keep coming in. If I did a crap job on the things I'm supposed to do, yeah, my boss would have a problem with it.

    Now if she's ignorant of how "real life" works for a lot of people, then yeah, I understand why it can be frustrating having to deal with her. But I know some very coddled people who frankly don't need to work a day in their life, who have every right to be ignorant of how "the real world" works and they are some of the nicest, most understanding people I know. Just because someone is rich and/or seemingly spoiled doesn't mean they deserve to be disliked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    That's rather rude and you presume a lot.
    What am I presuming? Read Japanfan's post below.

    I'm saying it's totally reasonable that Susan1's cousin doesn't know how to do a resume. Someone who's fortunately held a job for decades had no need to know. But if that person is now unemployed and in search of a new job, there's no excuse not to use the plentiful resources that are out there to help her have the best resume possible.

    There's everything from Monster.com (on the pricey side) to volunteer organizations where people will help you write a resume. There is nothing rude in saying there's no excuse for zero effort when there are many ways to get to what you seek -- a viable resume.

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