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Job Seeker Q&A: Finding Comfort in Networking

Roy Lucius is a 58-year-old technical writer in Massachusetts who has been out of work since he was laid off 15 months ago. Since then, he's been looking for work as a technical writer but has also looked at other positions, some similar to technical writing and others outside the field. Over the past year, he has spent a lot of time networking, and taking classes to broaden his technical skills. We asked Roy to tell us how he's been handling unemployment.

PONGO: What has been the hardest part of your job search?

ROY: When applying for a position there is no communication from the company as to the status of your application. It is difficult to find out if my resume has been distributed and reviewed, or what my weaknesses were if I was passed over. Phone calls and email inquiries go unanswered.

PONGO: Have any prospective employers expressed interest in hiring you?

ROY: Yes! One company expressed interest in my resume, which I had sent them "cold." It turned out they were about to advertise for a Technical Writer and called me in for an interview. I met with the hiring manager and toward the end of the interview was told that there was no doubt in his mind I was qualified for the job. Several days later, the manager contacted me to say he was sorry but they had rehired the technical writer they had previously laid off.

PONGO: What do you do to keep your spirits up?

ROY: I network with friends and former colleagues. Some are working, others are laid off, but in either case they are there to help distribute my resume or to commiserate with me on my unemployment. It helps to know I'm not in this alone.

Thanks to the internet, I dedicate time every day to looking for a job, even if the results aren't what I was hoping for. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, that I haven't left a stone unturned or allowed something to pass me by.

PONGO: Have you received any helpful insights from your network contacts?

ROY: I have networked with others who are unemployed but with no real helpful information. I am finding that they are not having any luck in their job searches, either. Whether they network, attend job fairs, or search the internet, the results are the same.

PONGO: Have you thought of doing anything outside of your area of expertise?

ROY: Yes, most of my experience has been in technical writing, but I've considered positions such as computer operator, document specialist/coordinator, proofreader, facilities administrator, office clerk, mail clerk, security guard.

PONGO: Have you learned any new skills or spent time doing things you hadn't done before?

ROY: I have attended HTML and Dreamweaver classes to expand my knowledge of web design. As I contemplate doing something outside of my expertise, I may take additional courses as well.

Although looking for a job is a full-time occupation, I do take time out to do things outside the house and away from the computer. Things like walking, going shopping, or running errands. I do more of that than I ever did before.

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