Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some days I'm just dumb

I've had no luck with the job search. Not so much as an interview. I think this is related to my cover letter. Honestly. I just don't think it was specific enough and didn't relate my skills to the job ad enough. I'm trying recent Ph.D's template to see if it has any effect. Check comments to my last post if you'd like to see it.

I'm also applying for a new set of jobs. Most of the jobs I was applying for had odd job titles that related to either project management or data analysis. Though grad school does give you experience in these tasks, most of these jobs want experience in this in industry, preferably with the job title of "Project Manager" or "Analyst." It can be tricky getting past HR without that. I've managed twice, though neither ended up with an interview. On a lark, I decided to look for just any job in New City. There were a few administrative assistant jobs that popped up.

Yes, it's kind of pathetic that I hadn't considered administrative jobs yet. I read recent Ph.D.'s blog. One would think this job path would've occurred to me sooner. As the title says, some days I'm just dumb. I looked up the requirements for these jobs and I have them all. I have mad computer skills, experience with database software, organizational skills, stunning multitasking abilities, comfort with working in high stress environments, and massive experience dealing with people who have a variety of backgrounds. Like many if not most academics. Seriously, think of all the administrative tasks you need to run a classroom and conduct research. You could blow most beginning admins out of the water.

So, now I'm applying to admin jobs at various companies. We'll see if I have any better luck here. I do still have some applications in for advising jobs but I have very little faith that I'll get an interview there. I applied for those before I changed how I wrote my cover letters.

I am also still working on my writing. There's a lot of fear here. I'm utterly terrified that I can't write a good sentence, let alone a good story. I'm going to try some short stories first and build up. They'll probably be really bad at first but you gotta start somewhere. New City has a fairly active writers group that I'm hoping to check out this weekend.

Also, got new music. I may be poor-arse broke but I still have change and Coinstar. They're currently running a special with Amazon where you get $5 for mp3's if you put in $20 in change and get an Amazon gift certificate. I downloaded some alternative rock, Scandinavian metal, and some tunes from soundtracks. Yes, I can cause Amazon's recommendation software to explode. Music is helping me to deal with things and get in a writing mood. See, I'm making progress as a post-aca. I may yet turn into an only marginally-bizarre human being with things like career and hobbies. Stay tuned.

src: Inevitable Life's facebook page


recent Ph.D. said...

If you're looking at the admin jobs, try for the executive assistant ones rather than just admuin assistant. Some of them can be just as crappy, but some can pay quite well, come with a fair amount of autonomy, and require a savvy, polished, smarter than average type of person. Usually, figuring this out is a matter of reading between the lines of a job ad and cleverly explaining in the letter how you can give them what they want, despite not having the 5-10 yeras of basic admin experience they usually request. Recruiting services actively look for people for these types of jobs. You might try working through one of them.

Pi said...

Thanks for the tip. Most of the ones I applied to were either executive assistant or senior admin assistant. I'll definitely look into recruiting firms though. Thanks for the tip!

I've had some success with getting my unique qualifications past HR by writing them a letter in the application email or in the comments section of the online application. Usually it's just a few sentences saying that no, I have not held the title of administrative assistant before but that I have nearly 7 years of unique administrative experience working with professors. One position asked for someone who could make powerpoint presentations from scratch based on either written or verbal ideas. I'm hoping the instructor experience will give me a leg up here.

anthea said...

Yes, recent PhD is right. I second this suggestion.

I'd also be tempted to say based the fact that you've said that you've got quite a lot of 'unique administrative experience' (your words hence I've quoted them)..personal administrative assistant to Professor X, Y and W.. or something alone those lines since it sounds as if you worked for them individually rather than an administrative assistant to a group of professors.

Pi said...

I think I actually said "nontraditional administrative experience" in the message. "Unique" isn't really accurate - I imagine I did a lot of things most admins do, just in a different setting.

I'm not sure if I should say that I was "personal administrative assistant to Professor X, Y and Q" because there are people with that listed specifically as part of their job descriptions. One of those people was my supervisor, who potential employers would be calling for a reference. Maybe "personal assistant to Professor X, Y and Q" would be more accurate. Which reminds me, I think I need to fine tune my resume and job duty descriptions a little more.

Thanks for the suggestion to include "personal assistant" somewhere when describing that job!