Posted by: Lauren Talley | August 13, 2009

How to get a job without having experience

Wait, what? How can I do that? Larry Stybel at the Harvard Business Review tells us it’s possible. You could be fresh out of college or newly unemployed, but Stybel tells us we can beat that old Catch-22: “You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job.” He says it takes a little “creativity and humility” and he even tells readers what he did (clinical psychology) to get to where he is now (business consulting).

I couldn’t get business experience without getting hired. I couldn’t get hired without business experience. What to do?

Stybel decided to help out an organizational psychologist who wanted to market a new product. The man had a solid idea but no money so Stybel offered his resources in return for a job title, a good reference and contacts. Although the business proved unsuccessful, Stybel’s experience landed him a job at a talent management-consulting firm.

Here’s what he says you can do:

1.      Look for a company with a great idea and no money to do it.

2.      Be specific about what you will provide. Stybel said he’d make calls and set up appointments. He didn’t say he’d generate sales because he didn’t think he could.

3.      Be specific about what you will receive. Stybel wanted a job title, references and introductions to potential employers.

4.      Be specific about time frame. Be sure your commitment doesn’t hinder your job search or present job performance.

In Stybel’s case, he willingly went from one financially unrewarding job to a new, better paid job. We at Hard Working know that won’t always work these days.  However, his tips can help you out, especially when you add social networking to the mix. The important part is that you put your best foot forward and be flexible and open to other markets.

Take a look at these people who changed fields. All three left their jobs to try something different and Alexandra Levit of the Wall Street Journal answered their career questions.

Did the recession take your career on a different path? Tell us. We want to know what you did and how you did it.

Posted by: Lauren Talley | August 13, 2009

Job Fair Friday, Aug. 14

This is a reminder Ricoh Americas Corporation is hosting an open house 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at 2250 W. Pinehurst Boulevard in Addison, Ill. The open house features positions for accounting executives and outside sales representatives.

Posted by: Lauren Talley | August 12, 2009

Free haircuts for the unemployed? Yes please!

With no job and no income, it can be hard to maintain that “clean cut” look while navigating the maze of unemployment. That’s why Charles Martin at Salon 64, 1064 W. Bryn Mawr, is now offering free hair services for the unemployed.

“I thought it’d be a goodwill thing to do because so many people are hurting for money, especially now. It’s a really rough time right now,” Charles told me.

The first 20 people to schedule an appointment will receive a complimentary haircut, shampoo and blow dry. To be eligible you must provide unemployment documents and proof of a job interview. Call (773) 728-1128 to make reservations. Salon 64 is open seven days a week and the free services are available through August 20.

But that’s not all. Chicagoans can find free haircuts all over town, especially if you’re willing to take on a dramatic new look. lists salons seeking hair models and the site is also a good source for free haircuts and styling.

Did you snag a complimentary new ‘do? Tell us where and we’ll pass it along.

Posted by: Lauren Talley | August 11, 2009

Laid-off, now what? Illinois can help

Recently laid-off Chicagoans, this is for you: Julie Sullivan at the Chicago Work-Life Balance Examiner writes about what to do as soon as lose your job. The article is hyper local so you can find all the resources right here in Chicago.

First things first: file for unemployment. Sullivan suggests filing for unemployment benefits the first business day after you’re laid off.

    For those who might see shame in filing for unemployment – are you aware that this is NOT a handout, and that this is a benefit that you have earned by your hard work?

With updated technology, it’s easy to apply for unemployment online at the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

2. Take a look at Illinois Skills Match. You can make a profile and see what jobs match your skills.

3. Update your resume. This can be done any time, but if yours has been collecting dust for a while, update it immediately. Tips for perfecting your resume can be found in our previous posts.

4. Reevaluate your health care options. If your employer provided medical insurance, check out continuing coverage choices with COBRA. Also find more information at the Illinois Department of Insurance.

5. Sullivan suggests taking it easy. Now we don’t mean lounging by the pool all day, but take a deep breath and just breathe.

    This probably had nothing to do with you and was a business decision that you are not supposed to take personally (though you probably did). Hopefully, you did not cry in the office – but feel free to do it now. A lot of our identity, good or bad, tends to get caught up in what we do on a daily basis or where we are in our careers. There are potentially a lot of emotions going on inside you, and they may change rapidly. It’s OK. Don’t get upset with yourself too badly if you aren’t in the greatest of moods or feel like retreating. It’s awful and not at all fun to go through this stuff. Luckily, time moves on and this too shall pass. If you can try and adopt the “door shuts another great one opens” philosophy, it may make that time even shorter.

The Wall Street Journal today reports the U.S. job market may bounce back quicker than in past recessions. That’s because, unlike the 1990-91 and 2001 downturns, a big chunk of job losses have come from the service-related industries that now lead U.S. employment.

Firms were unusually aggressive in cutting costs and cutting employment. The flip side of that remains to be seen, but it could mean that companies will be quicker to bring back people because they were more aggressive about getting rid of them. – James O’Sullivan, an economist with UBS

Comerica Bank economist Dana Johnson told the WSJ jobs could rebound quicker because it looks like the economy will also bounce back as it recovers, but an article from Forbes isn’t as optimistic.

Forbes says high unemployment could hinder recovery for consumption, credit and housing. Forbes considers the jobless recovery after the 2001 economic slump a good indicator that there could be another one following this recession. The article says this could be more likely because of companies’ tendency to cut back employees’ hours and rely more on part-time workers.

The U.S. unemployment rate has already risen to a level that is reminiscent of that in the 1981-’82 economic recession, and is likely to move higher and remain in double digits throughout 2010. This will prevent a rapid economic rebound, and is likely to heighten calls for a second fiscal stimulus package. – Forbes

Reuters reports similar jobless recovery findings, but also points out some good news for Midwesterners. The article says nine Midwest and South-Central states showed economic growth for the first time in almost a year.

Readings over the past several months indicate that the regional economy is on the mend. I expect the nine-state region to record positive growth, but with little or no job additions for the rest of 2009. – Creighton University Economics Professor Ernie Goss

Posted by: Lauren Talley | August 6, 2009

Get Your Career at a Chicagoland Job Fair

We’ve put together a list of upcoming Chicago area job fairs.  If you know of others, drop us a line or post a comment.

And we want to hear from you! Do you think job fairs can help a job seeker find a job?  Do they work?  Or have you given up on them?

Monday, Aug. 10

LaSalle Network Job Fair

9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Holiday Inn Express, 2600 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, IL

Wednesday, Aug. 12

AJ Wright Retail Management Open House

8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.

Holiday Inn – Chicago Midway, 6624 S Cicero Ave.

Positions: Retail Management

Friday, Aug. 14

Ricoh Americas Corporation Open House

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ricoh Americas Corporation, 2250 W Pinehurst Boulevard, Suite 250, Addison, IL

Positions: Account Executives, Outside Sales Representatives

Tuesday, Aug. 18

Career & Job Expo

12-4 p.m.

Living Hope Community Church, 15712 Church Drive, South Holland, IL

Bring plenty of resumes. Dress professionally.

Vendors scheduled to attend: Securitas, Staffsource PACE, Cook County, Chase Financial, Kaplan University, State of Illinois, H&R Block, Olivet University, Kaplan College, Chicago Police Dept., VC Enterprises, Avon, PCCTI IT & Healthcare, TCM, UPS, Fed Ex and others.

Free Admission

Call Empower to Succeed Network, 708-362-3125 for more information.

Wednesday, Aug. 19

Chicago Northwest Career Fair

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Holiday Inn Rolling Meadows, 3405 Algonquin Road, Chicago Northwest, IL

Industries: Accounting/Auditing, Administrative and Support Services, Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations, Banking, Consumer Products, Customer Service and Call Center, Finance/Economics, Financial Services, Hospitality/Tourism, Insurance, Real Estate/Mortgage, Restaurant and Food Service, Retail/Wholesale, Sales

Register here

Monday, Aug. 24

Chicago NW Sales & Management Career Fair

Arrive no later than 5 p.m.

Hyatt Regency, 1750 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, IL

Bring at least 15 resume copies

Dress professionally

Positions available: Sales Representative, Outside Sales, Inside Sales, Account Manager, Sales Manager, Retail Sales, Retail Management, Customer Service, Account Executive, Telesales, Financial Advisers, Sales Consultant, Branch Manager, District Manager, Area Manager, Management Trainee

To register, e-mail your resume to

Posted by: Lauren Talley | July 31, 2009

Tweet This

Here’s something to tweet about: small-business owners are looking at Twitter to increase sales and reach out to customers. The New York Times writes some small businesses use the digital word-of-mouth site as their sole marketing tool. That’s not surprising; the Web site’s free access and flexibility makes it easy for small-business owners to maintain.

Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends compiled a list of Twitter users who tweet small business issues. Once you set up an account, you can start following these people and organizations who regularly post information by, about and for small businesses.

The New York Times also posted a guide to developing an online reputation:

-Set up automatic alerts to notify you when your business is mentioned in a review or blog.

-Local search sites are the new Yellow Pages – make sure your business is listed. The more complete your listing, the more likely you are to get good search results.

-Respond to reviews to show readers that you are listening and that you care about customer service.

-Online reviews are a gold mine of business intelligence. Analyze metrics to get a better sense of your customer demographics.

-Don’t write false reviews to puff your business or trash a competitor. You can severely damage your reputation…and look really silly.

Suggested reading:

Tips from Yelp on responding to positive or negative reviews.

A guide to Web tools to track your online reputation.

Not sure what to do next? Start by setting up a Twitter account. Create a name that reflects your business. Keep it casual: write your updates like you’d say them to give your customers a feel for the business. Start following other small-business owners and regular customers and watch your popularity grow.

Posted by: Lauren Talley | July 30, 2009

Stimulus funds now available to train health care professionals

Hey students! Funding for health care industry training may have gotten a little bit easier. The Department of Health & Human Services announced Tuesday the availability of $200 million in stimulus funds to increase training for health care professionals.

David Bowman is a spokesman for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). He says the program plans to help about 8,000 students and credentialed health care professionals by the end of fiscal year 2010 in the form of grants, loans, loan repayment and scholarships.

Bowman says funds in the nationwide program will be awarded primarily to academic institutions.

What does this mean for you – the aspiring health care professional? Let’s break it down:

-$80.2 million will go to scholarships, loans, loan repayment for students, health professionals and faculty:

$39 million of that will go to nurses and nurse faculty

$40 million to disadvantaged students

$1.2 million to faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds

-$50 million for health professions training programs like purchasing equipment to improve the quality of training programs

-$47.6 million for residents, medical students, physician assistants, dentists and people who practice in underserved areas

-$10.5 million to support public health traineeships and increase preventative medicine training and dental public health residencies

-$10.2 million to increase diversity in the health care workforce

-$1.5 million to support state professional licensing boards in reducing barriers to telemedicine

ARRA awarded HRSA with $500 million in stimulus funds. The other $300 million is allotted for HRSA’s National Health Service Corps. That program offers scholarships and loan repayment to primary care providers in professional shortage areas.

Check back on the blog and HRSA’s Web site for updates to see if your institution is included.

Posted by: Lauren Talley | July 29, 2009

Unemployment Haiku

via Unemployment Haiku Weekly

via Unemployment Haiku Weekly

Posted by: Lauren Talley | July 24, 2009

Buying your first home? Look here for a $6,000 loan

If you’re out on the hunt for your first home, you might want to add checking out the Illinois Housing Development Authority to your list of to-dos. The Chicago Tribune reports the IHDA will offer interest-free loans up to $6,000 for down payments on homes.

If you’re a first-time buyer and go through the state’s Home Start Loan Program, the IHDA will help you out with a zero-interest loan for up to 3.5 percent, or $6,000, of the purchase price as a down payment. That’s if you set up a 30-year, fixed rate Federal Housing Administration-insured loan through one of the state’s participating lenders.

You have to pay $300 for the application fee and the loan must be repaid before June 30, 2010. After that, interest will start accruing.

There are some restrictions. If you’re looking to buy a home in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties, families of three or more can’t make more than $86,135 and a single-family home must cost less than $349,020. If you’re a veteran or active-duty military personnel, you don’t have to be a first-time buyer to quality.

Get more info and a list of lenders at

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