Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jobs in America

No matter what they say, the Great Recession is still upon us. You can go ahead and listen to the news all you want, But who out there in America is not struggling these days? The job market is hanging by a thin thread, and if you are lucky enough to be working in this day and age, do yourself a favor and work that job with all your might.

If you listen to Obama, we are supposedly in the clear and have nothing to worry about. Not to say that he’s not doing his job, but the United States of America is very far from being in the age of prosperity.

As an advocate for Jobnab and other related sites, one learns a thing or two about the job trade. First of all, you learn that spitting out resume after cover letter after resume after cover letter is completely pointless and an utter waste of time. You will just end up being another sheet of paper in the endless stack.

Another lesson learned in spending time researching the job market is that times are tough out there. It’s not 1995, and employers are no longer waving fatty paychecks at every new prospect walking down the street. You actually have to work for your money these days.

Before you can start making money, you quite obviously have to get the job first. When you apply for a job, keep in mind that there are probably one hundred other equally-qualified or better candidates applying for the same position. You are not special.

You have to differentiate yourself from the crowd. In order to get a job these days, you have to stand out. Not to say that you should wear bright clothing or sport a Mohawk, but you need to make yourself noticed. Otherwise, you are just another poor sap looking for a job – kind of like searching for water in the desert.

The most important thing you can do when you go in and apply for a job somewhere is to highlight your skills. Hype yourself up. One can take freedom with words on a resume and exaggerate a little bit. You don’t need to lie, but go ahead and turn that summer job waiting tables into a customer service position – same thing, different words.

In the meantime, before you hit it big playing the lottery or gambling on the horse races, check out Jobnab for some awesome opportunities out there. A job is a job, and any kind of work is better than no work at all. So instead of sitting around waiting for Obama to hand you your dream job, go out there and make it happen.

Social Media Background Checks

Before you go venting on the Internet, speaking out your radical views, or posting pictures of yourself getting drunk or naked, first pause, take a deep breath and think about who might have access to this online evidence of yourself.

It’s nothing new that employers have taken into account potential employees’ online presence, including their comments and photos on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, in their hiring process. But according to a recent article in the New York Times, one company from Santa Barbara, CA has taken the social media background check to the next level.

Social Intelligence, which started a year ago, provides employers with complete files of prospective employees. The company researches many different sites on the Internet looking for both positive and negative information on applicants.

The positive information might include such things as accolades or evidence of community involvement. Say you participated in the last 5K run across town. That might show up. Or maybe you are deeply involved in the local community service scene. This would probably also appear in your profile.

The positive information will only help your cause as a job candidate. It’s the negative stuff that employers are most interested in, and what you really have to watch out for. Certain criteria that are taken into effect and reported to employers include racist remarks, reference to drug use, partying, nudity, violent characteristics or any other type of questionable behavior. Just when you thought you nailed that job interview, that week-long party in Vegas with pictures and videos to prove it might sneak up on you and shatter all your dreams.

Some may argue that the service provided by Social Intelligence is unethical and not relevant to job performance. In response to such accusations, Social Intelligence will point out that the information they look up is widely available to the entire public online.

In addition, all of the comments, photos and other potentially harmful content they report exclude those pertaining to the topics that are deemed off limits for employers during interviews. As determined by federal employment laws, these prohibited subjects of discussion include religion, race, marital status and sexual orientation.

Even so, how does all of this information determine what kind of employee the candidate will be? Maybe they like to party on the weekends, and maybe they do harbor some questionable world views. But as long as they show up for work on time and do a good job, what’s the difference, right?

Employers can argue here that a prospective employee’s off-the-clock behavior is a good indicator of their personality and therefore what kind of worker they will be. But in the case of the job applicant, this seems entirely unfair. Not every employed person out there is a public figure, so they should not all be treated as such. As if criminal background checks and credit reports weren’t enough, if you are looking for a job these days, apparently it pays to keep your nose clean all of the time.

California Leads Nation in Clean Economy Jobs

A recent study by the Brookings Institute shed a little light on clean economy or “green” jobs. Until now, little has been known about this sector of the workforce because of no standard definition as to what constitutes a green job, and hard facts concerning the issue have also been hard to come by.

The research found that of all the 50 states in our nation, California was in the lead for the highest number of clean economy jobs, with 320,000. Of these jobs, 90,000 exist within the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area. These jobs may include positions in manufacturing, renewable energy and agriculture.

Clean economy jobs have been a hot topic this past decade and with good reason. The Brookings Institute surveyed 100 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, since these are the areas where most green jobs are located. Of all the clean economy jobs out there, 64% exist within our nation’s top 100 metro areas, including 75% of the newer positions created between 2003 and 2010.

Within these metropolitan areas, their clean economies can be broken down into four different categories:

  • Service-Oriented
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Sector
  • Balanced

A service-oriented clean economy would be a city that revolves around and relies on a mass transit system, such as New York City and its subway system. Manufacturing clean economies would be those that house a large number of industrial jobs aimed at creating greener products, such as the electric vehicle industry in Detroit. Public sector clean economies include state capitals, with many city and government employees working for the greener good. Finally, a balanced green economy would be a metropolitan area that incorporates many of these categories at the same time, such as a city like Los Angeles.

Although California does have the highest number of green jobs in the country, Alaska and Oregon actually have the largest amount per worker. Regionally, the South has the highest number of clean economy jobs in general, and the West has the highest per worker.

Nationwide, the US employs 2.7 million workers in clean economy jobs. Although the definition of what this really means still remains somewhat ambiguous, a green job can include any position involved in the production of goods or provision of services with environmental benefits. These can be jobs that have been around for a long time, including those in public service such as wastewater treatment or mass transit. And these can also jobs in the new frontiers of the green economy, such as renewable energy jobs like solar, wind, hydro and biofuel.

Besides the fact that the clean economy continues to grow and will provide more and more jobs for the future, you might be wondering what this really means for you as a worker. The good news here is that the study by the Brookings Institute also found that the median wages in the clean economy are 13% higher than the overall median US wages. So upon gaining employment in the green sector, not only will you bettering our environment, you might also be making a little more money.

Auto Industry Making a Comeback?

If you read most news publications, they will tell you that the Great Recession ended two years ago. Perhaps the writers at these newspapers and magazines are not in touch with the American public or maybe they are just taking President Obama’s word for it, but it seems that we are far from being out of the dark. Little by little the economy is turning around, but this is taking a lot longer than originally expected.

On a more positive note, and in the trend of economic progress, one sector of the workforce is currently experiencing a hiring spree; the auto industry. A recent article by the Associated Press reported that since 2009, there has been a 12% increase in the number of workers employed by the auto industry, from 623,000 to 700,000. This is not too shabby for two of the Big Three (Chrysler and General Motors) receiving government bailouts to save them from untimely deaths just two years ago.

The Midwest has seen the biggest gains in employment in auto manufacturing jobs, and maybe they deserve it more than anyone else. Have you been to Detroit lately? Probably not… I don’t think anyone has. For a city that is near ruins, they need a little boost to get back on their feet.

The AP reported that General Motors will be hiring 2,500 employees in the Detroit Area to manufacture the much-anticipated new Chevrolet Volt. In Tennessee last month, Volkswagen opened up a new plant and hired 2,000. Honda is also getting in on the action, hiring 1,000 in Indiana to meet demands for production of the Civic.

The auto industry is hiring much faster than other sectors of the workforce, including health-care providers and the federal government. And just two years ago, auto sales sunk down to a thirty-year low.

One thing’s for sure; it’s definitely nice to see good news concerning the auto industry. Along with housing, the auto biz has suffered horribly from the recession and they could use a break. In fact, it’s nice to see good news concerning the job market in the US at all. It seems like every time you open up a newspaper, all you see are headlines of cutbacks and lay-offs. Where is the love?

Perhaps this boom within the auto industry is a sign of good times to come. America has been through a lot this past decade, and it’s time we came back out on top. We may never again achieve the prosperity and financial security once held by many citizens across the country, back in the good old days. But from here, there is only one way to go, and that is up.

I may never work within the auto industry. My hands are much too delicate to manufacture vehicles and deal with parts. But I do salute the honorable citizens that build the cars which helped make our country stand out among the rest. Maybe the recent Fourth of July holiday has got me feeling patriotic, but I believe that America can once again prosper, and maybe this is our turning point.