Tag Archives: career

I’m Getting Worried

It’s rare for me to get stressed out, so the past few weeks have left me feeling strange. With less than two weeks before I move to California, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m making a mistake. Am I doomed to burn through all of the money I’ve saved over the past two years? Will I waste it all while wading through a hopeless job search?

As my twenties come to a close, I am encumbered by the Catch-22 that affects so many job seekers. You need two years of experience to snag an entry-level job. This bit of irony makes it nearly impossible to change careers without taking an unpaid internship.

In an effort to build experience in marketing, I did just that. I went to work for a small tech start-up last year, agreeing to forgo pay in exchange for the experience my resume has been missing. I was initially responsible for basic translations and copy writing, but my position quickly evolved into a marketing role. I’ve learned a lot about how an app is conceptualized, designed, made, and sold. Watching a new company get its feet wet has given me a new understanding of and appreciation for the hard realities of entrepreneurship.

Armed with my new experience, I sent out dozens of job applications over the past month. As the rejection letters begin to stream in (11 as of this morning), it has become clear that I’m no closer to landing an interview than I was before moving to Korea.

This should not be mistaken for a lack of confidence. I believe that past performance is the best predictor of future success, and I have a strong history of exceeding expectations. As a police officer, I earned promotions early and often, ultimately becoming the department’s youngest detective. I was awarded the annual emergency services Hero Award and the annual city Customer Service Award. As a teacher, I won 2nd place in the national teaching competition.

I am intelligent, had working, and dependable; I’ve never missed a day of work in 13 years. All I need is somebody to give me the chance to prove myself. The next few weeks will be spent thinking about ways to differentiate myself from the sea of applicants competing for each open position.

I want to hear your job search stories. What helped you land the perfect job? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Resume Update

Four years ago, I paid a service to create my resume. It looked nice, thanks to some great formatting, but it never felt like a good resume. Much of the writing was awkward because dozens of popular keywords were clumsily forced into sentences.

Yesterday, I decided that it was time for a complete overhaul. The goals were to cut out the keyword-focused content, simplify the format, and pare it down to one page. After several hours of writing, and dozens of revisions, I think I’m finally happy.

So, what do you think? I’d love to hear suggestions. Do you have any great resume writing tips that we can all use? Feel free to add them to the comments section below.

Until next time.

-Taft

P.S. If your company happens to be in the market for a blogging ex-cop international traveler, then you can contact me here.

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Bad Day

Today was not a good day…

Last weekend, I was extended a job offer from a university near Seoul. The job is a good one – an English professor at a reputable school with great hours and lots of vacation time.

This afternoon, I got a call from the professor in charge of hiring. She told me that the administration office, is rescinding my job offer. Some of my teaching experience overlaps with the time during which I was studying for my master’s degree. According to a new law (or maybe school policy), the school cannot count both the experience and the education. “Since you earned your masters while teaching, only one can count, and you need both to meet our requirements.”

This is similar to what happened the last time I was offered a university job, only to have it rescinded at the last minute. They just keep moving the goal line.

I signed a form a couple days ago informing my current office of education that I won’t return next year. So now I have to start the job hunt over again. I’m starting to wonder if Korea’s even the right place for me. I need more university experience to get an entry-level university job.

It’s not the first (or second) time something like this has happened. I’m starting to think that I’m doomed to bad luck with my career.

Until next time.

-Taft

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Why Did You Leave The USA?

People ask me constantly why I left a steady job in my hometown to travel around the world and change careers. It’s a difficult question to answer, especially when talking to a relative stranger. If you are too specific, people get bored. If you aren’t specific enough, people assume you’re hiding something.

Thanks to heavily biased media portrayals of foreigners, strong nationalism and even ethnocentrism among the older generations, many Koreans believe that all (non-military) foreigners living in Korea fit into one of three categories:

1) Running from debt.

2) Running from legal trouble.

3) Here only to find a husband/wife.

I try to answer honestly when people ask why I moved here. I want to do my part to dispel the myth that foreigners in Korea are here for the wrong reasons.

Unfortunately, this is a difficult question to answer honestly. I don’t hate my home town or my country. I loved my old job. I wasn’t broke or in trouble. But I was ready to leave for many reasons – most of them due to lack of opportunities and social life.

Today, I stumbled across an article that may help me explain my reasons. The article, based on a Gallup study called the “Well-Being Index”, ranks the ten most content and most miserable cities in the USA. Here’s what they had to say about my home town:

5. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C.

> Well-being index score: 62.7

> Obesity: 32.1%

> Median household income: $38,923

> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 79.0%

Nowhere else in the nation did people have as negative an evaluation of their lives as in the Hickory metro area. A major reason was that survey respondents living there were less optimistic about their life in five years than respondents in almost all other parts of the country. Hickory residents also were rated poorly for emotional health, with survey respondents telling Gallup they felt sad or depressed more often than in almost all other metro areas. As of January, the Hickory metro area had an 11.5% unemployment rate, among the higher rates in the country. Many residents lacked the formal education necessary to work in higher paying jobs. Just 79% of residents had at least a high school diploma, and 18.2% at least a bachelor’s degree, versus 85.9% and 28.5%, nationwide.

But that isn’t the whole story. Hickory may be lacking opportunity at the moment, but it’s still home. Having spent 26 happy years there, it will always be a place that I love.

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Maybe I’ll return one day when times are better. Until then, I’ll continue to see the world and experience what other countries and cultures have to offer.

Until next time.

-Taft

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