After the layoff: Job searching is a full-time job

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Second in a series.

“You are here,” I say to myself, as I mentally place my finger on a signpost at the crossroad pictured in my mind.

No matter which direction I choose, the road ahead is a long one, and it’s likely I’ll be traveling quite a distance before I encounter any kind of job opportunity, let alone a job that leads me to a prosperous, new career.

“What will my journey be like?” I wonder.

“How long will it take?”

“My career has been parked in the same lot for 20 years. Which direction do I go?”

First, I need to see what jobs are available, so I flip open my laptop computer. A quick Google search turns up some great, job-related web sites:,,, and

I feel my inner engine rev hard, fueled with a full tank of optimism. With my skill set in tow, my journey begins.

Along the way, I’m pleased to find plenty of jobs I’m interested in. However, each new opportunity presents the same roadblocks: the need for a customized cover letter and a resume tailored to fit each job description.

The process of writing and rewriting is very time consuming, but it’s great practice. My cover letters are becoming more focused and my resume is getting a much-needed makeover. Both are valuable tools for unlocking the door to a job interview.

The hours pass like minutes and before long, I’m spending an average of eight to 10 hours per day cruising the Information Superhighway, searching for jobs.

I’d never thought much about working in a field other than broadcasting, so I spend the next four weeks applying for several jobs whose requirements match my skills.

I put my name in for everything and anything – sales representative, administrative assistant, copywriter and customer service representative, to name a few.

Despite my best efforts, my phone remains silent. Meanwhile, stress, worry and fatigue start slowing my pace.

I know a new opportunity could surface at any time, but I’ve grown tired of the same four walls. And my eyes are bloodshot from countless hours staring at my computer screen.

Eventually, the mental and physical exhaustion takes its toll and my efforts grind to a halt.

No matter how hard I push, I’m getting nowhere and need to try something else.

I suddenly realize one way to get myself moving again is to network with people I know. Fortunately, the start of the spring job fair season is less than a week away. I know I won’t be the only person seeking help, so I spend hours researching ways I can make myself stand out from the crowd.

The big day arrives and I’m dressed to the nines, armed with a handful of resumes and ready to make my pitch.

As I enter the room, I see long lines, but tell myself it’s worth the wait.

Some of the corporate spokespeople I speak with are quite helpful. But much to my surprise and disappointment, many of them offer nothing more than a list of job openings and encourage me to apply online.

I have a similar experience at a second job fair, and leave both events feeling frustrated and depressed.

I’m already working overtime to find a full-time job, and despite endless hours of online job searches, scouring classified ads, writing cover letters, reworking my resume and attending local job fairs, I’m at my wit’s end.

What more can I possibly do?

Next: Thinking outside the box.



Sidebar Elements

Sean-Baker-op.jpgSean Baker of South Portland has a personal perspective on unemployment: his more than two-decade career in broadcasting came to a sudden halt in February when he was laid off by a Portland radio station. He’s writing about the experience in this series for The Forecaster, and can be reached at