Adventures in job hunting.

I was doing some job hunting recently when I entered an office building not far from where I live. I strolled through the spacious lobby that was cooled off by large ceiling fans and walked up to the receptionist desk which sat in front of a elegant wooden wall bearing the company logo. I greeted the receptionist and asked her, “Are there any job openings here?”

She smiled and replied, “Just a moment.”

She just sat there at her desk, doing nothing to indicate that she was working. Her phone remained silent and her computer was idle long enough for the screen saver to run. She had on a look of intense concentration as if listening for something.

I waited for a minute and then spoke up again. “Yes, I was wondering if there were any job openings here.”

“Just a moment, please,” she answered, firmly but politely. Again she just sat there, listening attentively as if expecting something.

Then I made out faint voices echoing in the lobby that grew increasingly louder, and I could soon hear frantic footsteps and voices engaged in what sounded like a heated argument. The yelling became loud enough for me to understand the words and sounded like they were coming from behind the wooden wall.

To add to the confusion, the receptionist leaned over to the side, opened one of the side drawers of her desk and pulled out a pair of ear protection headphones. While smiling at me, she put on the headphones and then lowered herself to the floor to crawl under her desk.

Suddenly the logo on the wall slid out of sight to reveal an opening from which a giant cannon emerged. Inside the cannon was a man, fully dressed in his business suit and his face red with anger. “It wasn’t me!” he yelled. “I had nothing to do with us losing the contract!”

With a deafening roar the cannon fired, and the man flew out of the lobby, airborne over the parking lot and the trees outside the building where he continued flying towards the horizon, never to be seen again.

Smoke completely engulfed the lobby but quickly dissipated when the ceiling fans began spinning in the opposite direction to lift the smoke for disposal through the air conditioning vents. After the smoke cleared, I saw the cannon gone, the logo back in place on the wall and the receptionist back at her desk, sans headphones. It took me a while to digest what had just happened but soon decided to resume my purpose for entering the lobby in the first place.

I greeted the receptionist one more time. “Are there any job openings here?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

Chronicles of the unemployed.

From time to time I’ll post my thoughts and observations on the ongoing recession from an unemployed person’s viewpoint. While the headlines don’t really show anything positive going on in Washington other than the usual bipartisan bickering and finger-pointing, the job market itself is what’s really worth noting. It does seem to be picking up as I am finding more jobs to apply in the information technology category.
Even better, I have been getting more job interviews, which I find encouraging despite the fact I haven’t been getting any job offers. It’s still time well spent as it keeps my interviewing skills sharp. It really does feel like each interview keeps getting better than the last one.
Career Builder, Dice, and even Craigslist have always been excellent sources for finding new job leads, but Monster had never impressed me all that much. Lately, however, Monster too has become an excellent source for red-hot job leads and I check it regularly.
Indeed deserves special mention as well. It searches multiple job sites to serve as a one-stop source for jobs. You can easily keep track of where you’ve applied and add notes to keep your job search organized. You can also upload your resume and display your work experience for all to see without revealing your personal contact information.
I think things are starting to turn around and can only hope the momentum continues towards a full recovery.

Yet another job scam.

Recently I got this e-mail from what appears to be a promising job opportunity:

Employment Opportunity
Admin Assistant - Customer Service - Data Entry
An Equal Opportunity Employer
Hot Jobs
Job Interview
Hello Michael
We are looking for talented clerical and office professionals for administrative assistant, data entry and customer service positions. These opportunities are full and part-time If interested, please respond for immediate consideration.
Relevant experience is required. Office equipment and major software package familiarity is preferred. Qualified candidates must also be able to use MS Word software program.
As a recruiter for Healthcare Employment Inc. (a national healthcare provider), I am seeking full-and part-time, administrative assistants, customer service, data entry and medical transcriptionists. We are committed to providing a work environment where you can grow and be respected for the professional you are.
After reveiwing your resume we are interested. We are extending to you a Job Interview.
If you are not yet qualified, we'll provide tuition FREE training that you'll need to become qualified. Once you meet our criteria, which will be defined for you before you begin, you will be certified and can begin to work for us.
The pay is good. After completing the program, people seem to do quite well and as you get more experience, people seem to earn $1,000 to $2,000 a month working about 20-30 hours a week. Some make $3,000-$4,000 a month, full-time 40-48 hours a week (This does not happen overnight). If you want to work more, you'll earn more. If you want to work less, you'll earn less. The choice is yours.
We will provide to you a great working environment where you can make a difference. Our applicants can start entry level and are eligible for frequent raises. Whether or not you have experience, you can find rewarding work as a customer service, data entry or medical transcriptionist.
If you are interested in a job interview please reply to this email.
We are looking forward to working with you.
Thank you!
Nancy Klune
Human Resources
Our clients have come from the following backgrounds: part-time, receptionist, medical assistant, medical transcription, sales, driver, customer service, administrative assistant, manager, data entry, healthcare, retail, dental assistant, marketing, medical receptionist, part time, customer service representative, medical billing, clerical, executive assistant, call center, entry level, dental, office assistant, full time, administrative, cashier, part-time job, analyst, health care paralegal, medical, store manager, security, office manager, college, payroll.
Opt-Out: If you are sure you do not want additional mailings from us please insert your address to send us an email removing you from our future mailings.
Email Address:
Opt-outs may take up to 7 days to take effect. Please disregard any emails you see from us in the interim.

I fell for this one as I’m so desperate for a job that I’m willing to take anything that comes my way. I actually responded to this e-mail indicating my interest but one day later, I get the exact same e-mail, and whenever that happens, it’s most likely a scam in progress. I didn’t respond with any personal information so I should be OK. I’ll just ignore anything they send back.
From now on I need to start looking up these e-mails to make sure they’re not scams. This is only going to add more time to my daily job hunt routine but it’s better safe than sorry. I have a hunch there are going to be plenty of more scams coming my way soon and that means plenty of material for future blog posts.

Another job scam.

This appears to be another job scam that’s making its rounds on the Internet. A few days ago I got this e-mail:

Hello,

Thanks for responding to the AD and I’m Phillip Castillo, The new director of works at Action Aid International (USA), we have gone through your resume and feel your are competent for the job so we need to know if you are capable of repairing computers in large volumes (6-10 computers for trials), the organization distributed few computers to a missionary home in Lima, Peru, and there objectives was to hold a free computer training section for the kids at the Mission Home, we got information that the computers all malfunctioned and They are shipping the computers back to us, we need to fix them and have it returned in time, are you available for this job? we need your urgent response to this ad.

Very Respectfully,
Phillip Castillo
Action Aid International.
www.actionaid.org

I actually fell for this one. There’s actually a link to the web site this time, making this e-mail appear to be perfectly legitimate. Never mind the typos, I’m desperate for a job so I responded to this e-mail indicating that I was interested in this position. A few minutes later I received a notification that my e-mail could not be delivered as the sender’s account was disabled. Today I got this same e-mail again but this time decided to look it up online and sure enough, it appears to be yet another scam.
These scammers are really getting good. Too bad their spelling isn’t.

UPDATE: This scammer just e-mailed me a third time with the same text as above, this time from an e-mail address on Hotmail. This “opportunity” is getting more annoying than promising.

Thank you letter generator script.

After interviewing for a job, it’s important to send a letter to the prospective employer thanking him or her for taking the time to interview you. It’s also an ideal opportunity to summarize why you are the perfect match for the job as well as bring up anything you might have neglected to mention that would also help you get hired. But the hardest part is actually taking the time to write the letter and even worse, having the letter ready to mail that same day. This isn’t easy if you want the letter to help you stand out from the other candidates.
This is an AutoIt script I wrote that generates a thank you letter for a technical support position. Before running this script, change the words in red to match your identity and location.
When you run the script, you will be asked some questions about your interviewer’s name, company, address and the job you interviewed for. Then the script pauses to allow you to load your word processor and when you click OK, you have 5 seconds to switch to the word processor so you can click in the document window in preparation for the automatic typing about to begin. And of course, you can change the document to match your interview, which is much less time consuming than creating a new document from scratch.
I hope this script serves you well.

#thanky.au3

$tname = InputBox(“Thanky”, “Was your interviewer a Mr. or Mrs?”)
$fname = InputBox(“Thanky”, “First name of interviewer:”)
$lname = InputBox(“Thanky”, “Last name of interviewer:”)
$jname = InputBox(“Thanky”, “Interviewer’s job title:”)
$cname = InputBox(“Thanky”, “Company name:”)
$cadd1 = InputBox(“Thanky”, “Company Address:”)
$cadd2 = InputBox(“Thanky”, “Company City, State and ZIP:”)
$job = InputBox(“Thanky”, “Job you interviewed for:”)
Msgbox (16, “Thanky”,”Load up your word processor and click OK to continue.”)
Msgbox (48, “Typer”,”You have 5 seconds before I start typing.”, 5)
Send (“YourName{ENTER}”)
Send (“YourAddress{ENTER}”)
Send (“YourCity, YourState, YourZIP{ENTER}{ENTER}”)
If @MON=1 then
$mon=”January”
elseif @MON=2 then
$mon=”February”
elseif @MON=3 then
$mon=”March”
elseif @MON=4 then
$mon=”April”
elseif @MON=5 then
$mon=”May”
elseif @MON=6 then
$mon=”June”
elseif @MON=7 then
$mon=”July”
elseif @MON=8 then
$mon=”August”
elseif @MON=9 then
$mon=”September”
elseif @MON=10 then
$mon=”October”
elseif @MON=11 then
$mon=”November”
elseif @MON=12 then
$mon=”December”
EndIf
Send ($mon & Chr(32) & @MDAY & “,” & Chr(32) & @YEAR & chr(13) & chr(13))
Send ($fname & chr(32) & $lname & chr(13))
Send ($jname & chr(13))
Send ($cname & chr(13))
send ($cadd1 & chr(13))
send ($cadd2 & chr(13) & chr(13))
send (“Dear ” & $tname & chr(32) & $lname & “,{ENTER}{ENTER}”)
send (“Thank you for taking the time to discuss the ” & $job & ” position at ” & $cname & ” with me. After meeting with you and observing the company’s operations, I am further convinced that I am an ideal match for this position with my experience working in similar environments in my previous jobs.{ENTER}{ENTER}”)
send (“I really appreciate that you took so much time to acquaint me with the company. I feel I could learn a great deal from you and would certainly enjoy working with you.{ENTER}{ENTER}”)
send (“In addition to my qualifications, I will bring excellent work habits and judgment to this position. With the countless demands on your time, I am sure that you require people who can be trusted to carry out their responsibilities with minimal supervision.{ENTER}{ENTER}”)
send (“I look forward, ” & $tname & chr(32) & $lname & “, to hearing from you concerning your hiring decision. Again, thank you for your time and consideration.{ENTER}{ENTER}”)
send (“Sincerely,{ENTER}{ENTER}{ENTER}{ENTER}”)
send (“YourName“)

Here’s an AutoHotkey version of this same script.

InputBox tname, Thanky, Was your interviewer a Mr. or Mrs?
InputBox fname, Thanky, First name of interviewer:
InputBox lname, Thanky, Last name of interviewer:
InputBox jname, Thanky, Interviewer’s job title:
InputBox cname, Thanky, Company name:
InputBox cadd1, Thanky, Company Address Line #1:
InputBox cadd2, Thanky, Company Address Line #2:
InputBox job, Job you interviewed for:
MsgBox,0, Thanky, Load up your word processor and click OK to continue.
MsgBox, 0, Thanky, You have 5 seconds before I start typing., 5
Send [YourName]{Enter}
Send [YourAddress]{Enter}
Send [YourCity, YourState, YourZIP]{Enter}{Enter}
Send %A_MMMM%{Space}%A_DD%,{Space}%A_YYYY%{Enter}{Enter}
Send %fname%{Space}%lname%, %jname%{Enter}
Send %cname%{Enter}
Send %cadd1%{Enter}
Send %cadd2%{Enter}{Enter}
Send Dear %tname%{Space}%lname%,{Enter}{Enter}
Send Thank you for taking the time to discuss the %job% position at %cname% with me. After meeting with you and observing the company’s operations, I am further convinced that I am an ideal match for this position with my experience working in similar environments in my previous jobs.{Enter}{Enter}
Send I really appreciate that you took so much time to acquaint me with the company. I feel I could learn a great deal from you and would certainly enjoy working with you.{Enter}{Enter}
Send In addition to my qualifications, I will bring excellent work habits and judgment to this position. With the countless demands on your time, I am sure that you require people who can be trusted to carry out their responsibilities with minimal supervision.{Enter}{Enter}
Send I look forward, %tname%{Space}%lname%, to hearing from you concerning your hiring decision. Again, thank you for your time and consideration.{Enter}{Enter}
Send Sincerely,{Enter}{Enter}{Enter}{Enter}
Send [YourName]

Beware of job scams.

One of the web sites I use for my job search is CareerBuilder, which I have found to be an excellent source of new job leads. Occasionally I receive e-mails and phone calls from individuals who come across my resume, many of which originate from legitimate companies. But there are times when I receive e-mails such as this one:

Thank you for your interest. After viewing your resume on careerbuilder.com, we have decided to contact you. We have an excellent opportunity for you.

Requirements:

· Computer intermediate experience, checking emails 2 times/day
· US citizen or permanent residence/green card holder
· Honesty, responsibility and promptness in operations
· Self-motivated and capable of working independently
· Required Travel: NO
· Relocation: NO
· No Sales

We offer:

· Attractive bonuses and commissions with each order
· No contact with our clients
· No Fees
· You can start tomorrow
· Compensation: $85,000 – $95,000 per year
· Fix salary after first month
· Employee Type: Full-Time/Part-Time
· Education reimburse
· Vacation (2 weeks for Exempt employees)
· 4 paid Company Holidays / 2 paid floating holidays
· Large and stable corporation


Please reply if you are interested.


Hiring Department


While I am in fact very desperate for a job, I’m not so sure about responding to this e-mail. There is absolutely no information on which company is offering this job and no contact information. I do know that some companies prefer to withhold the company name from their job postings but to receive an e-mail like this out of the blue just doesn’t seem right, especially one signed just “Hiring Department” and nothing else.
Just out of curiosity I did hit Reply to see what e-mail address came up, and I saw “medtronic4career@aol.com” as the sender. Then I looked up a few lines of this e-mail on Google to see if anyone else has received something like this, and sure enough, this site has this very e-mail labeled as a scam. I found this other site with a horror story posted by someone who responded to one of these job scams.
This e-mail is going straight to the trash bin. I had a feeling a job where all I have to do is check my e-mail twice a day sounded too good to be true.

UPDATE: According to my blog stats, this is the single most viewed post on my entire blog. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your job search.