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Old 07-18-2010, 08:32 PM
 
7 posts, read 14,617 times
Reputation: 18

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I'm a college freshman looking for work in the Miami area to help with college expenses. I never worked before and I am not bilingual, so that puts me at a disadvantage in my city. So far this summer I have been making applications, hitting the streets, talking to managers of local restaurants, using my parents network but no dice. I have been applying to many fast food places, grocery stores, restaurants, and some retail stores in my area, but have only received five in-person interviews and ten phone calls out of a bit more than 100 applications for many low level positions. On the interviews I feel that I did quiet well, and emphasized my ability to learn quickly, my good grades in high school, as well as the fact that I'm starting community college in the fall. I followed up a few applications in the beginning of the process but I quickly learned that like it said on the job application, I'm not supposed to call or email about my application and thus I didn't get any answers (which is disappointing). I also followed up on my interviews but only to learn they were going to hire someone else. On my last interview for a bagging job for a grocery store I asked why they didn't hire me and their answer was that I wasn't bilingual in Spanish (as most managers I talked to prefer that I was) and that they were looking for someone that can work at anytime.

From what I gathered, in my area, speaking Spanish helps plenty so I will be taking Spanish classes this fall.

How do I cover my other shortcoming though (experience)
Do I volunteer? Where should I volunteer if most applications are asking for experience in their industry (especially the sales positions in retail stores and any actual restaurant position in the food industry)?

Furthermore how do I better use my community college career center/network through professors once class starts? I tried using it but the counselor told me that because I haven't taken any classes they can't exactly place me at an intern position. Another thing is that the career centers non-intern jobs have over 50 applications for the few positions they have available...

Any other tips you can give me will be appreciated...
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:13 PM
 
299 posts, read 809,810 times
Reputation: 266
Quote:
Originally Posted by AP From FL View Post
I'm a college freshman looking for work in the Miami area to help with college expenses. I never worked before and I am not bilingual, so that puts me at a disadvantage in my city. So far this summer I have been making applications, hitting the streets, talking to managers of local restaurants, using my parents network but no dice. I have been applying to many fast food places, grocery stores, restaurants, and some retail stores in my area, but have only received five in-person interviews and ten phone calls out of a bit more than 100 applications for many low level positions. On the interviews I feel that I did quiet well, and emphasized my ability to learn quickly, my good grades in high school, as well as the fact that I'm starting community college in the fall. I followed up a few applications in the beginning of the process but I quickly learned that like it said on the job application, I'm not supposed to call or email about my application and thus I didn't get any answers (which is disappointing). I also followed up on my interviews but only to learn they were going to hire someone else. On my last interview for a bagging job for a grocery store I asked why they didn't hire me and their answer was that I wasn't bilingual in Spanish (as most managers I talked to prefer that I was) and that they were looking for someone that can work at anytime.
My younger sister is in a situation similar to yours. She's 18, going to be a senior in high school and always has had good grades, but like you, she has zero work experience. She's applied for similar jobs as you, but only landed one interview. She has done some volunteer work, but employers don't seem to be recognizing that.

Quote:
How do I cover my other shortcoming though (experience)
Do I volunteer? Where should I volunteer if most applications are asking for experience in their industry (especially the sales positions in retail stores and any actual restaurant position in the food industry)?
I hate to say it, but the only way that you (and my sister) are going to land a first job is by knowing someone. I got my first job busing tables in a restaurant because my dad knew the manager, and a few of my friends were able to land jobs at the same restaurant because I referred them. You also have to keep in mind that there is A LOT of competition out there, so employers are more likely to hire someone who has work experience over someone who has no work experience.


Quote:
Furthermore how do I better use my community college career center/network through professors once class starts? I tried using it but the counselor told me that because I haven't taken any classes they can't exactly place me at an intern position. Another thing is that the career centers non-intern jobs have over 50 applications for the few positions they have available...
From my own experience, I'll say that college career centers are next to worthless when it comes to helping students find non-intern jobs. I've also tried to use my college career center to help me find part-time employment, but they only seem to be concerned with helping juniors and seniors find internships.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:17 PM
 
1,946 posts, read 4,766,685 times
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Just to be a bit more specific to your situation...I also live in Miami and didn't have a problem not being bilingual when I did retail during summers from college a few years ago. Though it may also depend on what part of town you live in (east of US1 shouldn't be a problem, but even West Kendall might be an issue). Only other thing I can think of is that hiring is lower in the summer and the economy is causing employment problems for people in low level jobs. Might just have to stick it out and keep firing off applications as frustrating as it may be.
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:25 PM
 
7 posts, read 14,617 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyers29 View Post
Just to be a bit more specific to your situation...I also live in Miami and didn't have a problem not being bilingual when I did retail during summers from college a few years ago. Though it may also depend on what part of town you live in (east of US1 shouldn't be a problem, but even West Kendall might be an issue). Only other thing I can think of is that hiring is lower in the summer and the economy is causing employment problems for people in low level jobs. Might just have to stick it out and keep firing off applications as frustrating as it may be.
Yes, thats the problem, Im not east of US1 but more like the city of Sweetwater, where anywhere you go customers speak Spanish as a first language.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:55 AM
 
1,946 posts, read 4,766,685 times
Reputation: 859
Quote:
Originally Posted by AP From FL View Post
Yes, thats the problem, Im not east of US1 but more like the city of Sweetwater, where anywhere you go customers speak Spanish as a first language.
Yeah, Sweetwater's definitely an issue. Only thing I can think of would be to try and find a job in an area that isn't as heavily Spanish-speaking even if you don't live there. Shouldn't be more than a 20 minute drive to eastern Coral Gables/South Miami, no?
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Old 07-19-2010, 02:30 PM
 
12,353 posts, read 18,454,883 times
Reputation: 19298
It's sad that you have to learn a foreign language to work in your own country. I hate to say this, but it's going to be true - you will have a better chance being hired by a non-hispanic employer. How you determine this is up to you, but if everyone you see working in a place is hispanic well, what does that tell you? You don't need spanish to work in Miami unless you are like in a convenience store and working solo. I don't care where you work in Miami. So that tells me something else is going on.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:38 PM
 
4,072 posts, read 9,080,758 times
Reputation: 3290
I would try to find an on campus job. Gonna be tough if you have no work experience. Make sure you have good references even if they are not an employer.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:40 AM
 
5 posts, read 7,460 times
Reputation: 16
Red face Look for odd jobs!

Quote:
I have been applying to many fast food places, grocery stores, restaurants, and some retail stores in my area, but have only received five in-person interviews and ten phone calls out of a bit more than 100 applications for many low level positions.
I hope you had good luck finding a job. If not, it sounds like you might need to vary your applications a bit. Don't look for jobs that require tons of experience, but maybe just your time and organization skills. Here's a cool graphic I had bookmarked which shows where most freshmen are working part-time and some of the cash earning opportunities that are often overlooked: [url=http://www.studentloannetwork.com/resources/freshman-jobs.php]Freshman Jobs - Ways to Earn and Save < Student Resources[/url] there are some interesting ideas some you may have thought about, like babysitting, and some you may have not: baby-proofing, bike couriers, personal shoppers!

Last edited by patrickah; 09-12-2012 at 09:11 AM..
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:43 AM
 
640 posts, read 1,088,728 times
Reputation: 517
Employers are the problem, always will be. Not you.
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