An African-American loses his job at a lumber yard and explains what he did to find work as a Satellite TV installer, a job he considers is the best one he's ever had. He gives details about his job search, provides tips on writing a resume and offers advice about how to prepare for an interview.
I am an African-American and work as an installer for a sub-contractor for a major provider of satellite television programming. My job includes traveling to customers' homes, installing a satellite dish and aligning it with the satellite, running cable to connect the dish to the receiver, and calling the service provider to activate the customer's account. I also perform service calls to repair damaged equipment or otherwise determine why service has been interrupted. I found my job through my state's Job Bank 6 weeks after losing my previous job in a lumber yard.
I learned that you have to explore every available option when you need to find a job. I had just lost my job and had a wife and two babies to take care of. I needed to get back to work to provide for them. I tried want ads and employment agencies but I couldn't find any work. I tried cold calling but got nowhere. Then I went to the Job Bank, which is a state agency that helps resident workers. My current employer set up an informational seminar one day and I applied for a job. They hired me on the spot! Since I love working with my hands and the fact that each installation is unique, this has proven to be the best job I've ever had.
While I was looking for work after my lumber yard job, my wife would go through the want ads for me. She would circle many different positions for me that I knew I couldn't work in, but I would apply for them anyway. The rejection letters would come, but she would keep trying to help me. She would try to be encouraging while continually pointing out all these different jobs that she was sure I could do but for which I had absolutely no qualifications. It was very frustrating because I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
In the quest to find a job, you have to put feelings aside for a while. As far as falsifying resume information, I listed some positions on mine from which I was fired and said that I left voluntarily. Not the smartest thing to do, I know, but desperate times lead to desperate measures. I'm sure that a couple of phone calls revealed the truth of the matter and excluded me from those jobs. I've since read that it's not necessary to actually list jobs from which you were fired as long as you can explain the gap in employment. Wish I'd known that then.
I once had an interview scheduled at the restaurant in a Holiday Inn and I forgot all about it. I only remembered when my contact called me at home to ask where I was. I rushed over and apologized for being 30 minutes late and went through with the interview, but I didn't get that job either. That wasn't the first time my bad memory has gotten me into trouble and I'm sure it won't be the last time, either. I'll never forget that incident and I won't ever repeat it.
To conduct a successful job search, you should:
A) Apply to jobs that you are qualified for. I've seen many people apply for positions for which they had no training or experience, stretching their resume to appear capable, then wonder why they aren't getting called for interviews. Take a good, honest look at your capabilities. If you aren't satisfied with what you see, change yourself. Go to school or take a similar position to get some experience. Don't lie on your application because it will come back to bite you.
B) Be honest on your resume. It doesn't pay to put things on your resume that aren't true just to get a job. They will check it out and find out the truth. They will check that college you said you went to and they will call your previous employers and references. If you are dishonest, you won't get the job. Worse yet, if they find out after they hired you, they will quickly fire you, which would be very humiliating to say the least. There were a few stories about people listing untrue academic information on resumes in the news not too long ago. Their lies became national news items!
C) Be prompt when arriving for an interview. It's okay to be a little early for a job interview, but don't ever be late. Lateness is a sign of laziness or inattentiveness, or some other perceived negative attribute that will cost you the opportunity that you were looking for. Be sure you know exactly when and where your interview will take place, make sure your alarm clock is on and the volume is up, have your clothes ready, and have a way to get there. Be sure your car is in working order and leave in plenty of time, allowing for traffic delays along the way.
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