Looking for a job is hard, but in a recession it can be really rough. Jessee Hatcher found out the hard way when she spent more than six months trying to find a new job. She’s employed now, but there was a time when Hatcher thought that maybe she’d be looking forever.
The Recession Job Hunt
“I was lucky in that I had an inkling that I would be laid off before it happened. I started looking for a job before I absolutely had to. Even though I spent six months looking, there were only about two months when I was out of work,” Hatcher says.
But that doesn’t mean everything was easy. Hatcher says that she applied for more than 40 jobs, and out of those 40, only eight called her back in for an interview. In some cases, she had more than one interview—only to learn ultimately that she didn’t get the job.
Looking for a job during a recession also has more challenges than just being one of dozens of candidates for the same job. “I realized that I had to be willing to entertain things I might not have before,” Hatcher admits. “I had to apply for jobs with a cut in pay, and apply for jobs that were not exactly within my scope of previous experience. I had to give myself permission to downgrade if necessary.”
Hatcher even just showed up at companies that were hiring. In an effort to make a personal impression, she put on her suit and went to these offices and tried to meet people face to face. “The way people screen applicants has changed. At some places, I couldn’t even get in the door to leave a copy of my résumé. I was told to apply online.”
Job hunters have hoops to jump through as well. Hatcher was called at 4 p.m. one day and asked to put together a presentation for 10 a.m. the next morning. After spending a great deal of time and effort creating a presentation, she was told that there wasn’t time for it and shuffled off after her basic interview.
And, in one case, the multiple job applications caught up with her. “You’re supposed to tweak every résumé to fit the specific job title,” Hatcher says. “But when you’re applying for several jobs at once, you just use the same template. For one job, I adjusted my résumé, but forgot to change the name of the company on the document template before sending it off. Needless to say, I wasn’t called in for an interview.”