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Jobs Wanted

Aired August 5, 2003 - 12:44   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Are you out of work, tired of sending out your resume, getting no response at all? You're not alone. Millions of Americans are unemployed, they're looking for work right now. Today in our week-long series "Jobs Wanted," we're talking to two experts on how to go about finding work, what can make or break your chances in landing a job.
From New York, we're joined by Nick Corcodilos. He's the host of, and the author of "Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job." And from San Diego, Pam Dixon. She's the author of "Job Searching Online for Dummies," and a research fellow at the Privacy Foundation. Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Nick, let me begin with you, a lot of nervous people out there. They seem to be losing interest, some just giving up. At what point do you give up if you've spent a lot of time working for a job and you're just not getting anything?

NICK CORCODILOS, HOST, ASKTHEHEADHUNTER.COM: I just think people get tired of the job hunt, Wolf, because people have basically been brain washed. There's an entire employment industry out there that's really turned into a huge racket. When you consider the companies last year spent about $800 million on sites like, Career Builder and the like, and the fact that companies haven't hired more than about one percent of the new hires from those sources, people get frustrated, because what they're told to do and what they followed through on and try to do just doesn't work.

Let's get to some specific e-mail questions from our viewers. We're getting flooded with questions.

Let me give this one to you, Pam. This is from George in North Carolina: "I'm 55 years old with 35 years experience in the furniture industry, the last 21 of those years in management. When I go for interviews, which over the last several months have been few and far between, I'm usually the oldest person applying for the job, and the person doing the interviewing is half my age. 'You're not quite what we're looking for' has become a resounding echo. How can I make myself more marketable during an interview?"

PAM DIXON, AUTHOR, "JOB SEARCHING ONLINE FOR DUMMIES": Well, the first thing you need to do is when you create your resume, even though in person you may look your age, at least on your resume, lop off everything except for the last 10 years, and really beef out the last 10 years of your experience, and focus on your most recent experience. Don't say I've been in an industry 35 years, just talk about the last 10 years.

And when you're in the interview, really have read up on the company, be really very, very committed to understanding their product, their Web site, their messaging, and everything you possibly can about them, and de-emphasize your age. The simple fact is that the older you get, you are going to interview with people younger than you, and it doesn't have to be a disadvantage.

BLITZER: And a lot of these corporations, these businesses, think the younger the person, the less they'll have to pay out, even though they may be sacrificing some valuable experience.

Let's get to another e-mailer for you, Nick. A Pfeffer writes: "U.S. corporations are sending more and more jobs overseas to lower cost labor. In the past, we have unloaded our blue collar and manufacturing jobs. Now we are unloading our white collar and middle management jobs. This makes no sense. With no income, Americans won't be able to consume all those good produced overseas."

How much of a problem is this?

CORCODILOS: It's a problem. And I think it's also a business reality that companies are recognizing they have to deal with. When profits are off, you need to reduce your costs. And on the job hunter's side, I think job hunters need to realize the kinds of jobs that are being shipped out are not necessarily unimportant jobs, but they're jobs that are not going to provide the kind of value that a smart job hunter can actually deliver to an employer.

So my advice to that person who sent in the e-mail is, rather than focusing on the positions being lost, you need to find ways that you can use to demonstrate to a specific employer how you're going to contribute profit to that company's bottom line.

BLITZER: I was going to stay Stephanie in North Carolina, Nick, has a question.

Stephanie, go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, this is Stephanie in North Carolina.

My question is, I have over 10 years of experience in broadcasting, and two degrees, and it is very hard for me to find a job.

What about that, Pam? What should she be doing?

DIXON: Well, the first thing she needs to do is make sure she's looking in the right place. More than 70 percent of the people who land jobs land them through personal contacts, and I think this is something Nick will tell you as well. If she's sending her resume out in paper or electronic form on a job site, on an Internet site, or just to corporations or broadcast companies, and then lays back, she's not going to get a job, her chances are slim.

So what she needs to do is make sure she's a member of her professional trade association, she should work through her alumni association. I don't care when she graduated from school, she's got some degrees behind her, so reach back to that educational background, pick up that alumni association and network. You're going to network your way into a job in this economy. That's how it's going to work for people.

BLITZER: Good advice. We're going to give to Nick, this question from Jon, who e-mails us this: "In the last three years, I have not been hired by some really great companies due to my drivers license record. While in high and college, I had a bit of a drinking problem and drank and drove. The DUIs will never go off my driver's record. Am I doomed to never be able to get a career going again because of these mistakes?" Good question.

CORCODILOS: You're doomed if you try to find a job using a resume in a situation like that, because most people do find jobs through personal contacts. This is the kind of think that a person with a problem needs to exploit. When someone knows you and knows that you're a credible person, you're a hard worker, you do good work in general, the problems that you have in your background you are more likely to be overlooked, not necessarily overlooked, but taken into context.

But again, as Pam points out, it really is the personal contacts. You can't go running around trying to expect a resume to land you a position. You need to establish credible relationships with people in the companies you want to work for, and use those to emphasize what a good guy you are, as opposed to letting a resume help you bomb, because you have got some problems in your background.

BLITZER: Pam, if he's got some drunk driving incidents on his drivers license record, How do you turn that around? Presumably, an employer is going to find that out and get turned off. How can you make that, let's say, a positive?

DIXON: Wolf, it's actually an unfolding tragedy that United States right now. There is a 9,600 percent increase in background check for pre-employment screenings, and that's an extraordinary increase, and they're checking credit, too. So if you have a banged- up credit record, and there's three people and they don't you, and you've got the worst credit, you won't get the job.

So what you need to do, is you need to pull those reports, and for example, this fellow knows he has this. He should really look into hiring an attorney and getting this expunged if at all possible.

If not, again he needs to snow someone who will really knows all of him, and not just that black mark on his record.

And I do think he has a good chance if he continues to network and put himself out there and get to know people, he has a good chance of having a career. But he should really look into trying to get that expunged, and everyone should take a look at their credit report and fix the errors, because eight out of the 10 credit reports have mistakes on them. And you don't want to find out about those in a job interview process. BLITZER: All right, stand by, guys, because we're getting flooded with e-mails, with calls. We have a lot more to go through, specific questions.


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