A Pocketful of Hope
First thing in the door, Margaret's scowling face was at the desk. Oh, goody. Thankfully, there was a case worker behind the desk, too. She (Mollie) looked up, smiled and asked "Can I help you?" Now, that's more like it! I explain that I was there last Thursday for an appointment with Steve, but Margaret there turned me away. Margaret assumed Steve A (there, his name is out there, lol), but my appointment was with Steve C, who reported me as a no show!
Mollie took my information and got the ball rolling, even coming back when she couldn't find my hyphenated name (because it apparently costs too much to add a hyphen, folks). It ends up she hyphenates, too, so we had a good laugh at the smooshed names and how people ask "How do you pronounce THAT?" She took my resume and double checked that all my data was in the system, then found me a seat over in the waiting area.
Interestingly enough, while I was at the front desk and Mollie was looking up my info, there was a lady there who was trying to get Margaret's full name. I said "she was rude to you, huh?" and the woman launched into a tale of visiting this agency for a year due to being laid off and that Margaret is NEVER nice and treats people horribly. She'd heard my comments to Mollie about Margaret being rude and suggested I do what she was, and write a letter of complaint. I might, but she'll probably be there until she dies, being as nasty as ever.
She and I were next to each other when Steve calls my name and she said "Yay, you found him!". I greeted him with "We finally meet!" and we laugh. As soon as we're back at his desk, he immediately starts fixing the form that says I was a no show last week. I'm not too bad off on that front, as long as I appeared within a week of the appointment, I'm fine-but he made sure to note that I was refused at the desk due to secretarial error.
The next hour was full of useful information and ideas. The first thing I was asked is what do I want to DO. Then Steve looked over my resume and agreed that I was more than capable to do just that. He then showed me two websites with jobs I qualify for and a trick to revamp my resume.
I asked if I should switch to a functional resume and he told me no and why not. Nowadays, I hybrid resume is the way to go. (Get this, Donna, the experts suggest a two page resume for mid career job candidates!) The top should have a Skills listing, followed by the chronological. If there are any gaps, in this neck of the woods, you need to put a reason, because HR staffers are thinking 'jail time'. Lovely thing about Florida, don't you think? (I wasn't putting the secretarial and waitressing jobs because they weren't relevant to what I was looking to do.)
Then he gave me a great tip: If you find a job you'd like and you've got most, but not all the qualifications, pull up the job description, highlight the skills you DO have and put them in the Skills section of your resume. This way, even if they're requiring a 4 year degree and you only have a 2 year degree (like me in a couple of months), they'll consider you anyway.
The jobs he was showing me that I qualify for are in Tampa and Orlando, but they're paying substantially more than what I've made in retail. I'll drive for the extra 30% in salary.
I thanked him profusely, explaining that the last two months I have been depressed because I'm usually the person who decides I'm getting a new job and BOOM, two weeks later, I've got a new job. Steve said that retail is extremely tough right now and explained what he sees happening in the job market. There are jobs out there, but you have to know how to look AND how to market yourself. Thanks to Steve, I can tweak what is normally a good resume into a great one.
That hour gave me something I haven't had in two months: Hope. The jobs I'm going for won't pan out too quickly, but Steve is convinced that I'll get one of them before too long.
Now, for my tip in this situation: If you're job seeking and get ANY appointment with a job counselor or employment placement service, bring resumes AND your planner. Take lots of notes! The information he gave me is beneficial for both me AND Ed.
You never know, 2008 sucked, but 2009 might make up for it...