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Old 02-01-2014, 03:30 PM
 
1,544 posts, read 2,068,646 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mialia View Post
I feel like if I add in volunteer work where i was unemployed (in my case, make something up) that it looks like I'm blowing smoke, and trying to cover something up.
I get that feeling to, especially if your previous job was some sort of high skilled field in which gaps probably look even worse to the employer. I.e... as someone mentioned earlier an Engineer being out of work for X months, a nurse being out of work for X months etc... The "I worked at Shop rite for 3 months or volunteered as a X" may not look that impressive but it has to be better than "I sat at home looking for work for 7months". Further you mention on your resume that while working the stop gap job that you also kept your skills up to date, took classes, read the trade magazines, learned new software etc...

I realize that it is a delicate dance between "taking anything to fill the gap vs will my fast food/retail, free intern experience really cover that gap" but the danger is always long term unemployment. You really have to ask yourself how long can I hold out just applying for the ideal job, only willing to work the ideal job before the gap of unemployment becomes a mark of Cain.
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Old 02-01-2014, 04:03 PM
 
4,128 posts, read 4,144,593 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonak View Post
edit: I see that several people have suggested free online classes or self-teaching. While I agree that this is better than nothing, do companies really value these accomplishments?

p.s. - I am employed part time, but I am looking for ways to increase my marketability, so I am genuinely curious.
I'm already employed and have a masters so although I plan on taking a number of these (four on coursera and one other this spring) I do not feel that it replaces a degree.

However since these classes are of a different subject with generally a lower amount of credits than what my degree has (45 vs say...30ish?) I think it would be good to do to understand another perspective.

Online Education Is Trying Very Hard To Make Itself More Respectable – ReadWrite

The specializations are a bit interesting although they do take a year or so. I wouldn't exactly take them in my major until I have some others under my belt. I rather consider them refreshers. I'm probably going a bit over my head but I figure if I can do three or so for spring, summer and fall for a few years it should be pretty significant.
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Old 02-01-2014, 07:51 PM
 
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I always been anxious and nervous about my gaps. During my 20s I did so much travelling, living as a 'hippie' LOL. I spent 5 months or so in Europe ever years for about five years. I was taking classes, did an internship overseas, language courses etcera. Then I come back to my hometown and I have to explain to jobs about my gaps. One idiot hiring manager when I told him I haven't worked for 6 months and I don't have a job now (I was taking classes at a uni in Europe) looked at me and said 'you don't have a job!'.
But I always mostly applied to retail jobs at shops or coffee shops because I didn't feel bad leaving them after a year or so. Or I should say those types of jobs weren't important for my career if you know what I mean! For years I went back home just to work so I can afford to go back to Europe. Crazy! I know!!!
In my experience I have found managers don't like gaps and don't care about my travels and studies in France or Netherlands or wherever. They want stability and reliability. They are scared I won't last at their jobs longer than one year. And yes they are correct. But I think if I was a hiring manager I would try to help out a person with the goals I had and I would appreciate their eagerness and spontaneity for life and studies.

Now I am more stable but I am glad I had those experiences.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:33 PM
 
Location: MN
1,305 posts, read 1,409,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panderson1988 View Post
To be fair they sometimes can't afford training on their own. Do you expect an individual to be able to cough up hundreds of dollars to have access to specific software to your company like SQL, SPSS, Omniture, and etc. What's worse is the same type of work, lets say an analyst, uses different software depending on the industry and the company itself.

Also how do you show that on a resume? It's one thing if you got a certification that is possible like Google Analytics, but saying you practice using Excel is basically just taking someone's word. There needs to be some common sense as it's expected you try to stay up to date in the industry you want to get involved in, but expecting them to be up to date on all the software a company uses or methods a company prefers is ludicrous as people don't have the financial resources to commit to a position that is basically a "maybe I might get hired."
That's why I would stress volunteering. FWIW, after the burst in 2008, a lot of volunteer positions were available demanding degrees to be volunteers. A lot of these places knew what the market would have available and just as an employer who pays, they wanted to capitalize on it.

Also, a lot of places do offer free classes or mini-workshops. I have learned the purpose of those classes isn't to provide you with all the skills you need to know, but a rudimentary understanding and a way to get connections so you can participate in the opportunities that will actually teach you a relevant skill.

A volunteer position isn't blowing smoke, either. It's a reference. For my volunteer positions I have signed an agreement about having them be my reference when the time comes, and they can verify what I did.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:36 PM
 
Location: MN
1,305 posts, read 1,409,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonak View Post
Thank you. I am so sick of hearing how the unemployed should be taking classes to stay relevant. With what money? Even when I was working full time I couldn't really afford to take classes, so how could someone who isn't working afford it?

edit: I see that several people have suggested free online classes or self-teaching. While I agree that this is better than nothing, do companies really value these accomplishments?

p.s. - I am employed part time, but I am looking for ways to increase my marketability, so I am genuinely curious.
They do value it if you can put your skills to work at a real business environment. It's why (and this might be a mistake on my part) I don't see the point in sitting at home writing code to do...what, exactly? I don't know anyone personal who'd benefit and no one sees the value in it, but a business would. I'm with a non-profit right now that is utilizing what I do know and it's applicable in a business setting.
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:50 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,838,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie_hair View Post
I don't understand the HR hate around here. They don't make the decisions.
They often do that initial screening to weed out undesirables like job hoppers, the unemployed, and people without the correct magic buzzwords on the resume.

Quote:
If engineers are hired by HR, our bridges would be collapsing by now. Our infrastructure would be crumbling and people would be dying.
Since they are, it is, and they have.... what's your point?
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:45 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
4,949 posts, read 7,883,246 times
Reputation: 10420
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
I've hired people that were long term unemployed and I've turned away many more. It comes down to what the scenario is:

1. The individual has been productive over the last several years and kept themselves up to date, attended training on their own, and showed initiative to use their time wisely to better themselves (professionally and otherwise).

2. The individual has been actively looking for work in their field but has not kept up to date with the industry and has not gained any additional skills while unemployed. These individuals often need training. Worse, they expect training.

3. They've obviously been lazy and just riding the unemployment train.

Person 1 is an obvious hire. Person 3 is an obvious no-hire. Person 2 is also a no hire in almost all cases. An employer is not going to invest in you if you're not willing to invest in yourself.
I was a hiring manager for awhile, and this is the best and most correct answer I've read yet.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:23 AM
 
4,128 posts, read 4,144,593 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage_girl View Post
They do value it if you can put your skills to work at a real business environment. It's why (and this might be a mistake on my part) I don't see the point in sitting at home writing code to do...what, exactly? I don't know anyone personal who'd benefit and no one sees the value in it, but a business would. I'm with a non-profit right now that is utilizing what I do know and it's applicable in a business setting.
Well you could work by using Elance.com remember programming is not dependent on location. The internet is world wide, 2.5 BILLION people have smart phones.

On the same level I try to keep up with reading as well. It isn't so much at a "real business environment". Consider this for a moment. I work for an organization that requires traveling for training. There's national seminars that come up every few months and some of this has to be in order. There's a wide amount of subjects. Well not everyone knew the organization that does this has a youtube channel and has been uploading videos for the past year Some of these are archived events meaning you can tell more about the industry even without working for them! Granted you won't get the certificate but you would know more of the jargon.

Application is really the key word here. Right now I'm trying to balance work, some volunteer work (I was appointed to represent a town) and online classes. These should blend together towards some other goals down the line.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:50 AM
 
10,604 posts, read 14,211,574 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenhereandthere View Post
Just wondering from your prospective, why you think that it's better to hire people who are currently working (and stealing, in a way, someone else's employee) or out of work for less than 3 months, as opposed to 6 months or more?
Because people who are willing to work are more hard working and deservinthg than people not willing to work.

The only exception I would make is for a person with a provable gap because they gave up employment to take care of a parent or child. OR for another specific life event such as having a spouse that got transferred somewhere so the potential employee made a conscious family CHOICE that may take a bit to iron out.

I closed my business to take care of my mother and would have no problem putting that on my resume.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:54 AM
 
3,072 posts, read 4,279,693 times
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I've been a stay at home mom since 2010, and I'm a bit nervous about this, I have to admit. I have spent the last 3.5 years at home with the kids and abroad. I can now speak a second language, but haven't actively worked or volunteered in the field (it was not possible at the location). I hope my second language will at least show I've done some learning in that time (it is one of the two official languages here, not a completely obscure one).
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