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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default Job searching, and a lot of discouragement :(

    I live in the UK, where the job market is still not great since last year, but it's picking up.

    I've been working in publishing for close to three years, and the whole time for the same company (a major publishing house), but have not had a permanent job in that time. It's always been contracts and temp work, though I have applied for permanent jobs.

    My last major job for the publisher I'm with was Managing Editor for the children's division, but it was maternity cover so lasted for 14 months and ended in October. It was amazing experience and I was really quite fortunate to get the job (a combination of skills, timing, passion for children's books, being recommended by previous supervisors) as I only had a year's experience in publishing at that point.

    Since that contract ended I've been temping for different departments of the same publisher and am quite in demand as a temp. However, a permanent job with this or any other company eludes me. I think since October I've had about seven interviews.

    Responses have been as follows: someone else did better than you on the admin tests (which didn't surprise me, I realised I hadn't done so well there); no response; you seemed over-qualified and a bit over-confident; you were a strong candidate but we went for someone with more experience in the area; ditto (though I found out with this one that the job went to someone who'd been doing maternity cover for it); haven't heard back yet, but not expecting to get it as I wasn't really quite well qualified enough; and once again, you were a very strong contender but we're going with someone else. (I just got this last response and have asked for more feedback.)

    I feel like I don't know what to do. I'm positive, give specific examples of achievements and experience relating to what they want, I cite my willingness and ability to learn in areas where I may lack for that particular job, I'm friendly (and NOT over-confident...a few people told me this was pretty crap feedback), I'm positive about the company I've been working for and the people, I write thank-you notes afterwards, and I have some great experience.

    It just seems like if I were meant to get a permanent job in this area, I would have by now. It's been four months (since I finished that contract - of course it's been a lot longer that I've been hoping to get a permanent job!), and I know sometimes it can take a lot longer than that, but at least I'm getting some interviews! Getting turned down for seven interviews is quite a lot. Certainly for several of those I was very well qualified, though not generally over-qualified. I know this is an industry with a lot of competition, and I know it is especially tough at the moment, but...I just feel so discouraged. It's good that I'm still working, and still working in the same industry, but why can't I just get a permanent job?
    Last edited by SilkRoad; 03-08-2010 at 11:36 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member ChildoftheProphets's Avatar
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    Default Alas, Depressed Global Economy, How Canst We Make Amends So That Ends Might Meet?

    "In the opening and shutting of heaven's gate, are you able to play the feminine part?" -- Lao Tzu

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    He marks - not that you won or lost -
    But how you played the Game."
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  3. #3
    Ghost Monkey Soul Vizconde's Avatar
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    Treat your job search as a job then you always have a job.

    Also consider agencies that you pay when they get you work...since there job (paid by commission) is finding you work and the more you work the more they get paid.
    I redact everything I have written or will write on this forum prior to, subsequent with and or after the fact of its writing. For entertainment purposes only and not to be taken seriously nor literally.

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  4. #4
    Happy Dancer uumlau's Avatar
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    If you're still new to the job market, it will be difficult for you to sell your skills. Use all of the "temp" jobs you get to build up your resume, to demonstrate your variety/depth of skills.

    In an odd way, it's good that you don't have a "permanent" job yet. Permanent jobs are anything but permanent. It's simply a contract with more obligations for both parties, of an indefinite term. People often get stuck in their "permanent" positions, loathe to give up their "security", when really they're only holding themselves back.

    As for the reasons why you weren't hired, ignore them. Completely. There is too much incentive to lie, so you can't filter out the true reasons from the false. The basic truth is they found a better candidate than you. If you are still new to the job market, of course there are better candidates than you. The way to get hired is to be a better candidate than everyone else.

  5. #5
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks all.

    Just to clarify, I'm not really out of work at the moment, as I am still temping at the same publishing house where I've been working all along, and have plenty of work at the moment, so financially I'm not having problems - though with temp work, you never quite know how long it will last.

    And the thing is, I'm not new to the job market. I've been working for ten years and I've been in this industry for almost three. I'm at the stage where I have to pick and choose what skills/experience to highlight on my CV. In the Managing Editor job, I attended about eight meetings a week, chaired a few a month, represented the department, kept the publishing schedule on track, managed the print on demand program...etc.etc etc. I have lots of experience with the bibliographic system, I have some editing and proofreading experience, I have computer skills and languages...the list goes on.

    I'm not saying I'm so fantastic that I should automatically get a job on a silver platter. Publishing involves a lot of enthusiastic and often very well qualified people competing for a small number of jobs. But the frustrating thing is I'm starting to feel like I was in a better position when I had less experience. Maybe that's just because when I got the Managing Editor job, the economy was in much better shape. But it seems like now I'm in a position where I don't have much chance with jobs at a slightly lower level, because I'm considered over-qualified (I have been told this); and with jobs more at my level, there are going to be people who have even more experience/that much more qualifications/friends in the company, or whatever.

    This probably sounds like sour grapes but the fact that I'm not English probably doesn't help either. I'm a Canadian in the UK and this is an industry where the majority of people are English, particularly in the editorial area... It's a bit of a tradition thing. (I'm not looking only for editorial jobs, though that would be my preference.)

    I just feel like I'm in a catch-22 and don't know what to do. I know that the temp work is at least bringing in money and some of it is bringing in better skills (though some of it is also same old, same old for what I've done before), but I just don't know where this will end...

    I know "permanent jobs" aren't necessarily permanent and not necessarily all they're cracked up to be. But if I could get a job which wasn't supposed to end, or at least would last for six months to a year, I would feel like I could be a bit more settled/make a few more plans (that's the INFJ in me!)
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  6. #6
    Striving for balance Little Linguist's Avatar
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    Never underestimate the value of being a freelancer. Sure, some aspects blow, but I would NEVER give up the freedom I have for being someone else's slave, even if it is not 100% secure. Like what's her/his name above said, just because you have a formal contract DOES NOT mean the job is secure.

    In fact, I can pretty much be sure that as a freelancer I (ironically) have more job security than anyone. They can pay me as much or as less as they wish; I can accept or reject contracts at will; I don't cost them extra for social benefits, but I can write MY social expenses OFF my taxes. Woo hoo!!!

    And guess what??? Unlike all the other idiots who are worried because they make barely enough to make ends meet whereas the company has twice as much costs - I am cheap labor for them, but I make enough for us, and I have my freedom, and if they let me go - FUCK IT! I'll get another job somewhere else because I work for five other companies at the same time.

    In addition, I have a great position in comparison to self-employed people because the self-employed have to have their own premises (assuming they don't work from home, which is hard for me) get their own clients, do marketing and market research, and I'm spared all that crap while still not being under the ball and chain of an employer.

    Shit, it doesn't get any better than that! And I can quit AT ANY TIME for any or no reason. Sure, they can also fire me at any time for any or no reason. But the fact is, you don't break off a symbiotic business relationship like that so quickly, so it's still relative security for both sides, give or take 1 or 2 weeks.

  7. #7
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Well, the fact is, nothing is 100% secure, even a "permanent job" (I know enough people who've been made redundant later.)

    I am not feeling that rational/sensible at the moment because I am simply very stressed out and tired and having a hard time thinking of other ways to approach my situation. The thing that worries me about freelancing (one of the things) is I just don't handle uncertainty that well. Even if it's a bit of an illusion, I do prefer the "security" of getting paid at the end of every month and doing more or less 9-5.
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  8. #8
    Member Illict91's Avatar
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    Default Job-Hunting

    There is no "new" approach to your situation.
    In job-hunting it's all about phone screenings, face-to-face interviews, CV presentations etc. that repetitive, painstaking process.

    This publishing company is certainly keen on keeping you as a temp - just from what you typed, based on the amount of time you have been with them and in the various departments.
    There is no such thing as being "over-qualified" for the job, they either want the best person on the job in terms of accumulated work experience or they want a graduate/junior who is keen and enthusiastic to maintain a long-term relationship with the company i.e ongoing training.

    Focus the job-hunting energy on other publishers in the industry, whilst 7 interviews can be a deterrence, the knowledge job-hunting provides is priceless.
    Should you be listing specific qualifications on a CV, depending on the department?
    Tailoring your overall work experience to suit the job description?
    Having training/education programs to further career advancement?

    I have no doubt, you are probably in the stage or already have thought these things through.
    Sometimes escaping a current employer can bring opportunities from another business, as you are insofar aware of the publisher you're with, not knowing what other firms in the industry have to offer.
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