Toiling Tuesdays: An Observation on Getting New Jobs

I have heard both ends of the stick on being able to get a new job, one being that it is easy and you only have to try and the other being there are none and you can’t seem to get an offer (or even an interview!)

Being able to get a job is like being able to follow a new recipe, at least the way I do it. The first time following the recipe I sub ingredients, I only partially follow directions and it never turns out how I want it to (I don’t get the interview or the job because I don’t properly prepare or style my resume to highlight my relevant experience and expertise). The second time I only sub ingredients I know can be subbed and I follow all the directions I’ve newly found to be important after flubbing up the first time. The produced effort is rewarded with a decent reward (or a half dozen interviews). The third and subsequent times you throw a spin on the recipe to make it your own so it caters to your own tastes (this is when you are so confident in yourself that you get the job!).

Author Thursdays: How many people have you done away with over the course of your career?

I came across this unusual question whilst looking up interesting interview questions for authors. Does it make more sense now? 

Here are some other interesting and traditional questions that I found, as well as my answers:

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

As far back as I can remember I have thought of myself as a writer, even before I really knew how to write decently. As my father always says, I’m continually writing my autobiography and even at ten years old I thought I had a lot to say.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Not using unnecessary words like moment, as well, finally, and so, now, as well as others. These are fluff-padding words and are not normally integral to the intention of the sentence. However, I still find myself using them in the flow of my inspired writing.

If there was an article about you on the front page of the newspaper, what would be the headline?

Local Author Finds Gold on a Geocaching Adventure

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is usually a message in my novels that may or may not be completely clear or stated directly. In my latest work, I put a lot of stress on the randomness of bad luck and that how you respond to it really shows who you are. You are more than just a product of your environment, because your decisions influence your future.

What book are you reading now?

I’m usually ‘reading’ two books at once because I like to have an audio book for my lengthy traffic-riddled Seattle drives and a physical book for pleasure reading. Currently, I’m in the middle of my book club’s book, “Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl” by Tracy Quan. I am listening to “The Merry Wives of Maggody” by Joan Hess.

If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?

Princess Cimorene from the “Enchanted Forest Chronicles” by Patricia Wrede. I always loved the tomboy-younger-sister-turned-heroine character in fantasy novels. Lately I’ve gotten into the girl-must-triumph-in-the-face-of-adversity-usually-resulting-from-a-dystopian-future characters as well.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Sometimes in my dreams or from conversational ramblings with friends, family, or coworkers. For example, “Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams” developed out of my dreams one night, which were likely influenced by the great “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

The names are highly important, at least to me. They are one of the most fun elements to play with and mold in a clever manner. For example, in Ataxia my main character was named “main character” for a long time in my mind just because I wanted to name her something that would live up to her personality but could never quite decide on a name I thought was good enough for her. After writing for months I grew fond of “MC” and decided that forever in my mind she would be the main character but I would give her a name based on those initials. You might notice a pattern with the love interest.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Keeping your notes in a safe and organized place so you can readily add or edit them.

Toiling Tuesdays: The Follow-up

Toiling Tuesdays: The Follow-up
Everyone tells me how important it is to follow up after an interview or after you have sent in an application. I  have tried this method. So far it has not gotten me anywhere. Frankly, nothing I have done has gotten me anywhere but here is my trick. I have been applying to restaurants recently because I feel out of all the jobs (hopefully) out there I am perfectly qualified to get one of these jobs. My trick is to spend an hour or so in the actual restaurant and buddy buddy up to someone who works there and then follow up with direct communication with the hiring person(s). For example, I had an interview for a restaurant I had never been to and after my interview I hiked my butt all the way down to one of the restaurant locations to check it out and show my commitment  Not only did I show how dedicated I was about getting this particular job, but I also got to see if it was the type of environment and restaurant I wanted to be working in. 
For other jobs where they only want me to send in a resume or fill in the lengthy online application I try to find a number of the hiring person or simply the business’s number and give them a ring. This ensures that they received the application/resume and can direct me to someone in charge of the decision process. Perhaps I will be given an email of the person I need and then can send my resume directly to their inbox. I have done this on several occasions (to no avail of course). Sometimes I can find out if the position has already been filled or if I’m not what they are looking for so that my hopes can be dashed right away, instead of hanging on to the hope that I will win this lottery we call job hunting. 
Other times I have even sent handwritten letters thanking the person who gave me an interview and explaining why I’m perfect for the job and what I thought of their particular establishment. 
Sometimes I think it is all a waste of time but I’m sure I will send a card to that one person who says, “You know, out of all the candidates this one took the time to send this card. She must be really dedicated. I want someone motivated like her to be working for us.” 
Soon there will be a phrase, ‘You’re more likely to be bitten by a shark/struck by lightning/win the lottery than get a job.’

Toiling Tuesdays: My Resume Binder

Toiling Tuesdays: My Resume Binder

I walk around with a binder full of resumes. The binder also contains what I call my “cheat sheet” for job applications. This cheat sheet is full of any and all information a job application might call for. This way I can fill out all those empty spaces without checking for a phone number or an address in my phone. I can look prepared and professional, plus I can fill out one of those babies in a flash!

My resumes are organized into folders (the ones you get for filing), labeled by type. I’ve got my general resume in long (like CV) and short (for quickies), as an engineer (technician, PCB layout, assembler and general), Restaurant server, and as a writer. That way, if I’m talking to anyone that matters for job hiring, I’m prepared to give them something tangible they can use to look me up later.

My binder also comes with my business cards (general and for details regarding my book).

I also carry recommendations and my certification certificates (for food service).

In my mind I always carry interview responses, general knowledge about myself and my job history, and a sales spiel for my book (my product).

Nestled in my backpack in which I carry my binder full of resumes (which incidentally houses my laptop) I have one of my books for what I deem “an instant sell.”

I carry at least two pens in my binder and two pens in my backpack.

When that job comes calling, wherever I may be, I will be prepared.