update from reader despairing over job market

Do you remember this reader from December? She was a recent grad who wrote in despairing over the job market. She’d done everything right and still wasn’t finding a job. Here’s an update from her: 

I know you always post updates about people who have written in. I wrote to your blog in December 2009 and would like to let you know how I am doing. I have only been on one interview since December 09, and unfortunately I was not chosen for the position. The interview went great, but I think they were looking for someone who has a bit more sales/B2B experience. On the bright side, I am currently a volunteer in the IT branch of a government agency. Although the position is unpaid, I am using it as an opportunity to network with other professionals and gain new experience in web development/Dreamweaver. Most importantly this is an opportunity for me to get out of the house, and the doldrums. 

I would recommend to any of your readers who are unemployed to volunteer. It will lift your spirits, help you connect with others and add some much needed currency to your positive karma fund. There are always government agencies to choose from, plus others like So Others May Eat, Dress for Success and even museum docents. This road has not been easy and I’m light years away from where I would like to be. However, I would like to encourage others in my situation. I know what it feels like to weighed down by unemployment. One of the best things you can do is get up and get out! Thank you so much for your advice and I wish all my fellow job seekers out there the best of luck!

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. Jamie*

    Sigh. I heartily agree, though it isn't necessarily making things easier. Thanks for the update, volunteer updater! I'm also a longtime volunteer (in the library/archives realm), and I can say it does help give you contacts… people DO genuinely want to help you out.

    For me, I've been volunteering at a small campus library I did work study at while in graduate school. Same work, just unpaid… since September. My coworkers there have been super helpful, forwarding jobs to me and asking their friends at other libraries/archives/museums, but unfortunately nothing's panned out. I'm also volunteering at a small historical society one day a week and was doing a bit of shelf reading for the local public library. They're all pulling for me, and I follow up on everything they've alerted me to, but still nothing.

    After searching since last June, I finally got two interviews in one week at the end of March, but wasn't picked for either. There's just too much competition!

    Anyway. Sorry this turned into a whine, but I want to heartily heartily agree with the updater! It does help you feel a lot better to go out and see people and help make a difference somewhere.

    Also, try to go to local events for professional societies in your field if you can! Usually the more local ones cost less or have lower rates for unemployed members/visitors. It's worth a shot, at least.

  2. Anonymous*

    Sad to see the OP hasn't gotten her break yet, but not entirely unexpected in this employment climate. Glad to know she's keeping busy at least.

    I agree: volunteering can do wonders if you have the time. You never know where your next opportunity is going to come from. At the very least it can help you maintain your sanity rather than being continually home bound. I'd like to do more myself. If only those pesky bills didn't come first.

  3. brianna.swartz*

    I highly recommend volunteering with your local chapter of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Net Impact, or other such organization. They offer professional development opportunities that look great on your resume as well as productive networking opportunities. For YNPN, visit http://www.ynpn.org.

  4. Anonymous*

    Thanks for the follow-up. I graduated in 2008 and, like the OP, have been struggling with the job market since then. I've been lucky that two volunteer positions I found have both been expanded into part-time, but that doesn't mean I've been able to quit my waitressing job yet either!

  5. Anonymous*

    I'm the OP! Thanks to everyone for sharing your comments, similar stories and advice!

    @Alana – I live in the DC Metropolitan area. I moved back home in Nov 09 to live with my parents after not finding adequate work in the Philadelphia area.

    1. Anonymous*

      Hello OP!
      I know it is now over a year since your last post and I am wondering if you found work yet in the DC area and if you did follow the advice to join the groups suggested.

      I am considering a move to the DC Metro area from NY. I’ve been advised by a headhunter (in another field, recommended by a friend) that the DC market is better than NY at this time.

      Thanks! and hope you found a position.

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