- Many (maybe most?) jobs these days require an online application. Now this woman is borderline elderly but she really needs a job; unfortunately she has zero clue about technology of any kind. Lesson 1: know your way around a computer and websites and applying for a job online.
- Since most hiring is done online you will need an email address. Fortunately this woman has an email address, unfortunately she forgot the password and has no idea how to access her email on her new phone. Yikes. Lesson 2: get a free, generic email address from Gmail or the like (and make it professional, not firstname.lastname@example.org). Also be sure to write down both the email address AND the password somewhere where you won't lose it.
- Hiring agents will probably call you at some point in the interview/hiring process. After applying online for several jobs this nice old lady suddenly changes her phone number. Again, yikes. Lesson 3: if you are not sure if/how long you will keep your cell service, by all means buy a cheap number from Skype or Google Voice or a similar service so that you can always be contacted.
- This lady also has a very specific type of job she would like to do yet she hasn't worked in more than a decade. Lesson 4, 5, and 6: get a job--any job--if you are currently unemployed. For some reason employers like to hire people who are currently working so it may be a long wait for a specific job if you aren't currently working; start by working ANYWHERE then moving on to something better. Also keep up your skill set as technology is changing things at a rapid pace and being out of the loop for any period of time can be a big obstacle to overcome. And by all means try to keep up some sort of professional network of people who can help you/direct you towards companies that are hiring.
- Then there is the part about applying for a job where most online applications want you to list your work experience/education/etc and upload a resume. It's been so long that she can't really remember when, where, or for whom she had previously worked. Ayayay. Lesson 7: always keep an up-to-date resume on hand with accurate dates/locations/contact info for the places you have worked, your education and skills, etc.
- The lady asked if I could go online and reapply at some of the places another friend had helped her apply for a few months ago. No problem, I thought, until I realized that most online applications are tied to an email or user name and password you've set up and heaven help you if you forget these things and want to re-access your applications. Lesson 8: always, always, always keep a list of companies/user names/passwords that you have used and DON'T LOSE THEM.
- And then there is the issue of the "new" sources to help you get a job. She said she tried the unemployment office and the job connect office and no one will help her as they told her what--again--online resources she should use to find a job. Lesson 9: become familiar with Linked In, Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, etc.
- Finally, she would like a job that pays well (I asked her name an amount and nearly fell off my chair). Lesson 10: be aware of what your industry/job skills mean when it comes to pay. Of course pay varies by location and the demand in your area but the days of walking into a great paying middle management job with a degree in basket weaving are long gone. By most accounts pay has not kept up with inflation and demand vs how many people are all seeking the same job has pushed wages down even more in most places.
This situation has been very eye-opening. Back in the old days you walked in, had an actual conversation with someone who could hire you and you would end up with a job. Eventually as you built up a name in your industry, employers would come looking for you instead of the other way around. The last couple of weeks have been a not-so-pleasant way to see what the job situation has actually become, especially for those who are the most desperate for work and least skilled.