job hunting

Finally got a job offer!

One week after the interview, I was offered the job!

So happy!
I feel bad. I have neglected posting in here for a while, but in all fairness, I have been dealing with stress and depression trying to find jobs, job leads, and just continued to send job applications like crazy. But it finally happened – I was offered a job!

My application was done late February or early March (i can’t even remember because it was that long ago for me), and after a month of applying to it, I figured I didn’t have a shot. When I finally got an email invitation for an interview, I was certainly surprised that I heard back from them two months after I applied. (And then I realized with all the interviews I previously got, the average waiting time for me from application to interview invitation was 2 months.)

I believe all the failed interviews I’ve had, preparation, and really pushing my confidence out of its teeny tiny shell helped me in presenting myself during that interview. Upwardly Global has been a huge help, and their training videos definitely assisted me in preparing for the job interview. Additionally, they will assign you an adviser who will call you from time to time, review your resume and basically help out an immigrant who’s having a hard time presenting themselves as a job seeker in the US job market. (I’ll review my experience with Upwardly Global probably in my next blog post.) Besides that, my husband and I also attended a career resume-building workshop and, again continued to find job leads.

The interview went for an hour, where they asked their typical questions, I showed my genuine interest of working with them (as I have worked in an educational institution back in the Philippines too and enjoyed it), showed them a previous video work sample, made them laugh, and asked them questions as well. It was an interview I really did enjoy. What made me think that I wouldn’t get the job was that my previous job experience and what they are looking for aren’t exactly a match, but the basics are both the same. It was a week of waiting and li’l ol’ me was getting pessimistic about the whole thing again and my husband was very understanding and loving and we never stopped praying.

I cried when I heard the words when they called Monday morning. As much as I didn’t want to make myself feel like my work gives me a status or provides me a safety net, being unemployed really felt like I was lower than low. And with something positive to look forward to now, I can’t wait to start saving up, move out, find an apartment (my in-laws have been so understanding and patient with us for letting us live with them since I immigrated) and help my husband with his project and get his novel published, and of course, visit my family in the Philippines in a couple of years or so. We also plan to move out closer to my work place, because it just won’t work with my husband (I still am trying to learn how to drive, or at least be confident enough on the road) driving me to and fro from his parent’s house to work for 40 minutes. I’m looking forward to apartment hunting now!

I’m excited, and scared; scared of starting a job in less than two weeks and I feel like I won’t be able to function properly because of my nervousness. I’m excited as well, because finally, my husband and I can finally start a new path.

 

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Getting job searching assistance in the US through Upwardly Global

Restarting job huting by going back to basics with Upwardly Global

I have probably applied to fifty jobs (I want to say I’m exaggerating, but right now it does feel like I’ve sent my resume that many times) but so far I’ve only gotten two interviews (both of which didn’t get me the job), and most of them are denied job applications, which makes me believe I’m doing something wrong. And so a few days ago, I have decided to reach out to Upwardly Global and sent them my application on March 16.

Upwardly Global is an organization aiming to help immigrants in the US to rebuild the careers they had before immigrating to the US. Their website was easy enough to navigate, and the help and assistance they provide is free. According to their website, Upwardly Global provides service to the immigrant job seeker, saying:

“Our Job Seeker Services Program prepares educated and skilled immigrants, refugees, and asylees to overcome the numerous barriers to professional employment.”

They don’t just accept any immigrant for their program. They do have requirements for the job seeker who wish to get assistance from their organization. Upwardly Global has three offices locations: Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Of course, with them being located so far away from where I live (Missouri), I had to figure out if they provide online services as well. Turns out, they do.

I figured there was no harm in trying, and after reading that it’s free, I’ll be gaining more information on insight as an immigrant trying to not just find a job but find a career I will enjoy. And so earlier today, I received a phone call from Upwardly Global and they just asked me a few questions about what my career and job expertise was back home, as well as providing information about their organization. Additionally, you would have an adviser to help you out with their workshops, and provide assistance as well with providing you a bridge between you, future employers, and networking with them. This organization is not an agency; they will not offer nor offer you a job. As they have said in their website:

“We do not guarantee job placement. What we can guarantee is that after you complete the training, you will have a professional portfolio consisting of a resume and cover letter, a growing connection with professionals in your field, and improved interview and networking skills. Your success in finding a job will depend on your motivation and determination.”

After providing and exchanging details and questions and answers, I was emailed with a link for a Professional Assessment, followed by a online presentation of Resume Writing here in the US and after listening to it intently and absorbing all the information. At the end of the lesson, I revised the resume using the information I learned (as well as the resume template they provided – which I don’t want to put online) and realized just how different my previous resume looked compared to my newly revised one.

I intentionally blurred it to protect my information, and to make sure anyone with a bad intention of using my personal information won't be able to use it

I intentionally blurred it to protect my information, and to make sure anyone with a bad intention of using my personal information won’t be able to use it

What I learned from the Resume Writing Lesson they provided is that with my non-US job experiences, the employers won’t be able to relate to it and so I needed to provided additional information. However, I did remove my internship details and college activities. I decided to do that because my internship didn’t really relate to any of my previous experiences, and with me being no longer a recent graduate, my college activities don’t really matter that much anymore.

I will be giving updates regarding my lessons with Upwardly Global and review the lessons, services they provide, and if the program helps me out in the future when it comes to finding my career. I do know it’s not just Upwardly Global who bring me to my goal. I, myself, would have to be serious and keep my end of the bargain by doing what is required of me and participating and doing their suggestions and tips, in the hopes that at the end of this all ,I’ll find my place in the industry I love in the US.

Jobless, and dealing with feeling down

Not landing the job, unemployed for so many months, and dealing with mild depression

After being so hyped up with my last job interview, I was really just saddened and dismayed that I didn’t get the job. I haven’t been officially diagnosed with depression, but for anyone who has been unemployed for a long period of time (seven months since I immigrated, but been officially job hunting for four months since I got my green card) it feels like there’s nothing really anything else that will save you from that deep, dark feeling of feeling worthless.

Unemployed? Fight the idleness.

With so much time in my hands, it would make sense that you I should just keep being busy and fight the sad depressing feeling of unworthiness. That’s the most logical thing to do, right? The saying “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” rings so true, with the devil tinkering with you with depression and hopelessness. I’ve been through it, and I’m just tired of crying. And so for two days now, I’ve been trying to be productive: cooking, promoting my husband’s project, job hunting, chatting with my best friend from half a world away. I will admit, there are still the idle moments where I want to just stop whatever I’m doing and just think why I didn’t get the job I fell in love with. But I need to keep telling myself that I can’t keep wallowing in such things. If you’re stuck in the same rut as I am, no matter what it is, make your mind work, be productive, and do something you can be proud of which won’t make you think you’re worthless. Especially if you are an immigrant like me as well and finding it hard to find jobs, and finding it difficult to network. Find a hobby and develop some skills. It’s always best to tell your future interviewer that despite your unemployed months, you were able to learn something new and be pro-active with a hobby or project.

Right now, I’m considering getting the help of UpwardlyGlobal, which will offer free training to help you get your start in the world of ‘Murica… I mean, America. I am alos giving myself a goal of trying to promote my husband’s project and it helps me think of ways on how I could market it for free and attract people in liking or supporting it. I won’t stop job hunting (and my husband’s looking for a job as well since he resigned from his seasonal job due to bronchitis), but like you, I am waiting for that break as well.

Skills Test after a Job Interview

Additional phases after the first interview, before getting a chance for a second interview

Practice Exam Phase of a Job Interview

I know not a lot of job interviews have a practice exam phase – or at least in my case, a video practice exam phase. As I have stated before, I have applied for a video editor position three/four weeks ago and right now, I’m in that practice phase where they want to test my skills. For a while I thought I did pretty well. I was trying not to do this but, I was already falling in love with the company and the job itself, which I know I shouldn’t since that just keeps my hopes up. I still have a 50-50 chance of getting (or not getting) the job and out of the four job interviews I have had since I got my Employment Authorization Card and Conditional Residency Card, this has been the closest I’ve been when it comes to landing a job.

Nerves are setting in and I already feel that dreaded sense of I-wished-I-had-done-an-effin-better-job. Like, I could have deleted that first sequence where all the videos were a mess. I should have deleted the grouped videos on my second sequence where it also looks like a mess.

It’s too late now, and here’s hoping I did well enough to pass their qualifications.

Second job interview was interesting

Had my second interview today,and I had a more optimistic attitude

Do the dance

Getting more comfortable with interviews after failed job interviews

Let me do a happy dance!

After an interview for a video editing job position today, I felt much better. I finally felt that feeling that I didn’t feel when I did my previous interview where I had so much regret that I didn’t do well with my answers. With this recent interview, I felt at ease and comfortable enough to express all my answers in all honesty, in a professional way of course.

It wasn’t just mental preparation. I wanted to feel good in my clothes and make up. Again, with my previous interview, my make-up was running and it made me so uncomfortable that I do think it added to my nerves and my physical presentation. And so I asked my husband to just let me buy some stuff (make up and hair products) so that I would at least look professional enough. I had a blazer on, a cute white top to match with it, black slacks and nude heels, with simple make up and flat-ironed hair. I did keep my dragonfly earrings on instead of putting the pearls because I didn’t want to be too corporate because I did have a feeling that it was going to be a casual work office.

The company I had my interview with is a small company which mainly deals with post-production. The fact that they were casual and laid-back made me comfortable conversing with them, instead of sounding like a robot with every answer I say. The interview process was short, direct, casual. Before it started, I was talking to one of them and it kind of broke the ice because we talked about something in common: immigration process. After that chat, I had three people interviewing me (which was a first for me because I’ve had a one-on-one interviews or a panel interview with one interviewer asking at least three applicants questions related to the job.) It was scary at first because I have to say an answer which will satisfy all three interviewers.

I would have to say, prepping for an interview and making sure your clothes and make up, does help in making you feel at ease and less nervous. The only time I got nervous was when I stepped into the office and everyone was looking, and when my hair tie got loose and so my hair was just annoyingly hanging on the left side of my face, with which I had to remove my hair tie and continue answering their questions with my hair down (which I hope did not get me any bad point), and I didn’t realize I was fiddling with the hair tie that it fell on the floor which cut off my speech and I had to pick it up form the floor (which I am hoping I don’t get any bad point for that too.)

I didn’t forget to send a thank you note, and I heard back from them a few hours afterwards saying they’ll let me know by next week, that is if I get to do the next part of the hiring process or if everything I said during the interview wasn’t enough.

Fingers crossed, I really do hope I hear back from them again.

I survived my first job interview in the US!

Surviving my first US job interview – and I feel like I really didn’t do my best

Eh

You know that feeling of how calm your state and being is after an interview? It never lasts long, because you suddenly think of how bad you did at the interview? I still feel it. Three hours after the interview I still feel it. I feel like I didn’t do my best. I had two interviews today (one was from my application which I created a web-based cover letter for, and the other one was through my father-in-law)

The first interview was nerve-wracking for me. She was very nice though. The interview started off well. We broke the ice by talking about the weather. And then the questions started coming in. I can’t list them all because there were a lot, but I knew she wanted to get to know how I was as a professional, how I deal with work and be creative, about social media management, etc. All of which I answered but it just feels like all the things I said were not the complete answers I wanted to say. Nerves would overcome me and I would choke on  my word, or stutter, or my mind will just go blank. I did try my best, but I really wished that I did better.

The second was went well too. It was more casual, laid back. The only down side was, it was a job I don’t have any experience in, and she did say there’s no career advancement since it is a small company. If it doesn’t work well with the first interview I went to, this is an option for me as well. If it doesn’t work for either, I would just have to keep trying and finding.

I would say I am more nervous and excited in a way with the first one. However, the second one as this work aura that I am comfortable in (definitely reminded me of my previous workplace which was good since I liked the laid back days we would have after our busy months.)

Sending thank you notes after the interview

I  must admit, this is a practice that I never did back in the Philippines. A few might have done it, but it’s never a popular practice. And after reading articles online, it seems like it’s something you shouldn’t forget to do. And I did send my thank you notes. I am looking forward to their messages telling me whether or not I get to do the next step of the hiring process or if I didn’t make the cut.

I’ll know if I do or don’t by tomorrow or by the end of next week.

I got a job interview!

I got a job interview – now what?

Remember when I told you guys I did another creative cover letter and hoping I would hear back from the two companies I have applied to? Earlier today, I’ve heard from one of them and yes – they wanted me to go there for an interview. I was just about to hop into the shower when I got the message and I got so ecstatic that I was jumping up and down and rushed to my husband to tell him of the good news. As the excitement wore off throughout the day, the nervousness kicks in.

How do I prepare for an interview?

I have worked for different companies since taking a break from college, undergoing internships and summer jobs, but it always comes down to the same question  – how am I going to prepare for an interview? It stresses me out and it gives the butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling and it is never a good feeling.

And so, I’m treating this like an upcoming oral examination. I’m reviewing the company’s history and profile, looking at their social media’s content, using Google to my advantage and reading on tips and whatnot. But, at the end of it all, all my reviewing will be for nothing if I get to my worst nerve-wracked state ever – the “ah-uhm-stutter” syndrome.

I have always been told that as you answer interview questions, you look at them in the eye and say your answer in a straight manner; it shows how confident you are with how you present yourself. And there are times where it is hard for me to do so because I feel like I don’t have that much confidence. I don’t want to be stuck in that moment where all I say is “Uh, uhm, ah” and just stutter all over the place.

One thing that helped me (back when I applied for a call center back in the Philippines) was I took a list of common interview questions and I prepared my answers and practiced it in front of the mirror (I know, it’s weird, but it worked because I got the job). I might have to do it again for this job interview, just to get all my bases covered.

The other thing that I think is also crucial when it comes to job interviews is what you wear. I’m no fashionista and I would just go with the usual slacks. But working in a university setting where smart casual clothes are welcomed made me too comfy with wearing jeans and flat shoes. Putting on slacks and heeled shoes will make me feel like it’s the first time I’m wearing them again – and when it’s that “first time feeling”, I get too self-absorbed with how I’m presenting myself that I actually feel like I’m making a fool of myself, and it makes my confidence slowly go down the drain. I would have to find comfy interview clothes that makes me comfy enough to be myself and not be a nervous wreck during the interview.

I still have a day to prepare myself and go into a zen-state before meeting the interviewer. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and wish me luck!