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I suspect most of us who were born in the 1980s and even into the 1990s grew up with the assumption that getting a degree would make our lives easier. And, on a whole, I think it’s true. For many careers, you need at least a bachelor’s degree just to get an interview.

But our parents and grandparents grew up in a world where a degree was somewhat a rare commodity and college graduates seemed almost untouchable in the job market. Now, with more people earning degrees and the recession giving everyone a kick in the pants, no one’s immune to tough times. I’ve seen it happening to friends and the friends of colleagues. And I’m sure you’ve witnessed it, if not experienced it firsthand.

I ran across this article in the Gaston Gazette that talked about the hardships Teaching Fellows are facing. Several Fellows are finding themselves without the jobs they had envisioned by the time graduation rolled around.

Manning said that teaching fellows were conditioned their freshmen year that a job would be ready and waiting when they graduated.

“It’s not looking good,” Manning said. “I don’t think it’s just teaching fellows.”

Manning said she’s debating applying to teach in South Carolina, though she knows she’ll have to repay her scholarship with interest if she doesn’t fulfill her required years of teaching.

“I’d rather have a job than not have one at all,” Manning said. “It’s a scary thought. I’m trying to be positive.”

I’m not posting this to scare you, because the point of this blog isn’t about gloom and doom.  Instead, it’s to remind everyone that regardless of the economy and your situation, you should always be thinking about alternatives. Nothing’s set in stone. These schools had the best intentions when they brought on this Fellows, and most employers in today’s economy had the same positive outlooks. The economy’s tanking messed up everyone’s plans, and there was little they could do about it.

Here are some things to think about:

  • If your current plan doesn’t work out, where else could you get a similar job?
  • What else would you like to do?
  • Do you want to stay in this city or would you be willing or prefer to move somewhere else?
  • What are the financial repercussions of changing your career objectives?
  • Are you contractually obligated to fulfill any duties as part of your current job?

Simple questions, but something to keep in mind when you’re mapping your future.

Source: Gaston Gazette

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I’m guessing many of you are looking for work these days. Post-graduation and summer job searches are a little tougher this year than they have been in the past. Applicants outnumber jobs, and everyone’s trying their hardest to get noticed.

According to 18 percent of hiring managers, more job seekers are using unusual tactics to land jobs this year than last, finds a recent CareerBuilder survey. That’s increase over recent years and a sign of the time.

Now, just because these people made an impression on hiring managers doesn’t mean they got the job. When it comes down to it, your skills and qualifications will land you a job. But, hey, sometimes you just want to know someone’s paying attention. And these job seekers definitely got employers’ attention.

Here are some of the most unusual job search tactics hiring managers have seen:

  • Candidate sent a shoe with a resume to “get my foot in the door.”
  • Candidate staged a sit-in in the lobby to get a meeting with a director.
  • Candidate washed cars in the parking lot.
  • Candidate sent a resume wrapped as a present and said his skills were a “gift to the company.”
  • Candidate handed out resumes at stoplights.
  • Candidate sent a cake designed as a business card with the candidate’s picture.
  • Candidate went to the same barber as the Chairman of the Board and had the barber speak on his behalf.
  • Candidate handed out personalized coffee cups.
  • Candidate came dressed in a bunny suit because it was near Easter.
  • Candidate told the receptionist he had an interview with the manager. When he met the manager, he confessed that he was driving by and decided to stop in on a chance.

I don’t know how many of you pay attention to the job loss numbers that come out every month. For the last several months, the numbers have been grim. Sometimes downright shocking. Lately we’ve seen some big losses, but they were expected because we knew the economy was–and is–still struggling.

Well, the numbers for May came out this morning, and they were shocking.

In a good way!

Last month, only 345,000 jobs were lost. While that sounds like a lot (and it is, especially if you were one of those 345,000 people). But this is significantly lower than it was the previous few months, and hopefully a sign that things are beginning to turn around. It doesn’t meant he numbers won’t rise again and that the recession is over so we should all go buy a new house. But it is a sign that maybe we’re nearing the bottom.

I encourage you to check out this article in The New York Times because it gives a nice round-table view of the numbers. It tells you what’s good news, what’s expected news, and what’s worth fearing. Everyone, from new graduates to retirees, should know what’s happening in our economy. It makes news less scary.

Being laid off is, to put it mildly, a big bummer. Nobody like sto get let go. So anyone who has a job is grateful to have a steady paycheck. Especially those workers who watched their friends and colleagues get pink slips in recent months.

So what’s the problem?

Well, when companies lose body count, they don’t necessarily lose an equal amount of work. So you’re left with fewer employees doing a disproportionate amount of work. As a result, you’re seeing a lot of burned out workers.

Forty-seven percent of workers reported they have taken on more responsibility because of a layoff within their organization. Thirty-seven percent said they are handling the work of two people.

So are you surprised that 30 percent feel burned out?

To accommodate growing to-do lists, 34 percent of workers who kept their jobs after a layoff reported they are spending more time at the office. Seventeen percent are putting in at least 10 hours per day. Twenty-two percent are working more weekends.

“Companies today are having to do more with less as they contend with shrinking budgets and staff levels,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Employees are feeling added pressure as they shoulder heavier workloads and strive to maintain productivity levels. It’s critical that managers and employees work together to prioritize and set realistic expectations, so work demands feel attainable and less overwhelming.”

Haefner recommends the following tips to keep stress levels in check:

1) Don’t over-promise. If two or more projects come up at the same time, work with your supervisor to identify which takes precedence and establish reasonable timelines.

2) Take time to recharge. Go for a walk on your lunch break. Take a personal day. Get eight hours of sleep. Ultimately, recharging your battery will serve you and the company better.

3) Cut the e-leash. Unless needed, turn off electronic devices at a certain time of the day to designate the end of that workday and avoid getting caught up in discussions that can wait until the morning.

4) Explore flexible work arrangements. Cutting your commute one or two days a week can help shorten your workday. More employers today are open to offering telecommuting and other options that may help to provide a better work/life balance.

5) Don’t get caught up in the rumor mill. Forty-two percent of workers reported they are fearful of layoffs within their organization. Ignore speculation and focus on the task at hand.

Although you  might think this is a problem for workers who have been with the company for a while, it’s worth keeping in mind. Especially if you’re the young, new member on the team, you might find a lot of work piling up on your desk. Breathe in. Breathe out. Work hard. Rest.

hiremytvadCareerBuilder is looking to you to make its next Super Bowl ad … and will give you $100,000 to do it!

That’s right. CareerBuilder is looking to job seekers to create its next TV spot because, after all, who knows job search better than the job seekers themselves?

If you win, CareerBuilder will produce your ad, send you on a trip for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the commercial and air it during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. Oh, and did we mention the $100,000 “paycheck”? Or the $50,000 runner-up prize?

All you have to do is go to http://www.hiremytvad.com/ and submit a 25-second video of your idea. Applications will be judged on: creativity, originality, entertainment value, performance level, humor and alignment with the CareerBuilder brand.

Want to know more? Check out the story in today’s Wall Street Journal and go to http://www.hiremytvad.com/ for full details and to enter.

hiremytvadCareerBuilder is looking to you to make its next Super Bowl ad … and will give you $100,000 to do it!

That’s right. CareerBuilder is looking to job seekers to create its next TV spot because, after all, who knows job search better than the job seekers themselves?

If you win, CareerBuilder will produce your ad, send you on a trip for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the commercial and air it during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. Oh, and did we mention the $100,000 “paycheck”? Or the $50,000 runner-up prize?

All you have to do is go to http://www.hiremytvad.com/ and submit a 25-second video of your idea. Applications will be judged on: creativity, originality, entertainment value, performance level, humor and alignment with the CareerBuilder brand.

Want to know more? Check out the story in today’s Wall Street Journal and go to http://www.hiremytvad.com/ for full details and to enter.

Commencement processionToday, we have a guest blog about salaries for the Class of 2009 from our friends at Parade magazine. Parade has been contributing weekly content to CareerBuilder and TheWorkBuzz related to its “What People Earn” issue, which reports on salary trends and the earnings of real Americans.

What People Earn: College Graduates Finding Bright Spots in Dreary Economy

By Brad Dunn, PARADE

The Class of 2009 has been watching the job market disintegrate since senior year began.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) released another round of discouraging data in early May. Fewer than one in five graduates who are looking for jobs have found one, and employers are planning to hire 22 percent fewer graduates this year than they did last year.

On top of that, the worst job market in 25 years has brought of a sense of déjà vu to households across the country. Many of the estimated 1.6 million students graduating college in May and June have parents who went searching for their first jobs in the equally dismal early-1980s. It’s an economic rerun for the whole family.

“You are graduating into a world of anxiety and uncertainty,” Vice President Joe Biden told graduates of Syracuse University. “But these are the moments you can embrace … only a handful of us ever get a chance to actually shape the course of history.”

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