Entries in Job Search (5)


Husband Surprises Wife with Billboard to Help Her Job Search

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SYLVAN, Ohio) -- There’s love and then there’s this kind of love.

It involves buying space on two giant billboards in two of the busiest intersections in town and putting your wife’s picture on them, listing all the reasons why an employer should hire her.

Such true love, deep-down devotion and, more than anything, shock-and-awe strategy led Holly Stuard of Sylvan, Ohio, to discover, to her surprise, a billboard with her picture reading “Please Hire My Wife,” in giant, bold, black letters.

“I was definitely shocked,” Stuard, 36, told ABC News of the moment Monday night when her husband, Brandon, 38, pointed out his handiwork to her.

“He made plans that we’d go out to dinner at one of our Mexican restaurants on the other side of town so that we’d pass the billboard on our way,” she said.  “Our older son saw it before I did and said, ‘Momma that picture looks like you.’”

Brandon Stuard, a deputy sheriff in a Toledo suburb where the couple lives with his 15-year-old daughter and their two sons, ages four and two, decided to purchase the billboard space after he saw his wife deal with the ups and downs of an unfruitful job search for the past year.

“I was just trying to help and put her face and a small portion of her resume around the city in hopes that something would come along,” Brandon told ABC News Thursday from his cellphone as he passed one of the billboards in the car on his way home from work.  "I’m almost probably as shocked about all this attention we’re getting about it as she was to see it.”

Holly’s position as a program manager for the MBA program at the University of Toledo, from which she graduated with both an MBA and a degree in psychology, was eliminated in July 2011 due to budget cuts. Since then she has gone on countless interviews, seeking a corporate job in training and development.

“It’s been such a long timeframe and there’s so many ups and downs with a job search, and I think he’s felt a little helpless,” she said of her husband of eight years. “He felt this was a way he could actually do something because it’s been a difficult process.”

Brandon, whom Holly said is known for surprises, also knows his wife well enough to not tell her in advance.  He worked with two different billboard companies to purchase space on the two electronic billboards, one near a mall and one in downtown Toledo.

The billboards feature a giant photo of Holly, which Brandon said was a “last-minute decision” to include, along with her credentials, which include business experience, academic experience and her MBA.

“My husband knew that I would say, ‘There’s no way you’re putting my picture up on a billboard,’” she said.  “It’s definitely outside of my comfort zone but I hope that it will lead to a good opportunity.”

Most importantly the billboards, which cost Brandon around $700, feature an easy to remember email address: HIREMYWIFE@YAHOO.COM.

So far the billboard has brought more attention for the couple than concrete job offers.  Emails from well wishers who have suffered through similarly frustrating job searches have poured in.  Friends have shared the story on Facebook and the couple was featured in a story on the local evening news.

Still, Holly is hopeful and appreciative of the boost from her husband.

“It’s definitely given my job search new energ … ,” she said.  “It’s been really exciting.  I’ve heard from a lot of people who are trying to connect me with companies that are hiring and there’s just a really good vibe out there.”

The two billboard ads will stay up a few days past the one week’s time that Brandon purchased, thanks to the generosity of vendors similarly impressed by his efforts.

“Obviously with me not working it was a big investment and a big consideration financially to do it,” Holly said.  “He [Brandon] said both of the companies were really great working with him and giving him a price break and keeping it up for a few extra days.”

One thing the vendors can’t help Brandon with is planning ahead for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or the couple’s anniversary, now that the bar has been set so high.

“This will be tough to top as far as surprises go,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Americans Removing Tattoos in Hopes of Employment

Robert Ginn/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Got a tattoo?  Thinking about getting rid of it?  You're not alone.

According to a survey conducted by The Patient’s Guide, an online skincare reference center, laser tattoo removal procedures have soared by 32 percent this year compared to 2011.

One of the major factors behind this sudden flurry of Americans seeking to remove their ink is the search for work.

Dr. Eric Bernstein, a renowned laser expert from the University of Pennsylvania, says that patients have been telling him “their tattoos are affecting their professional lives.  Many feel that their body could be holding them back and this has resulted in more folks seeking tattoo removal.”

Collecting information from 700 participants in the survey, The Patient’s Guide reveals that employment reasons accounted for 40 percent of those who had tattoos zapped -- up 25 percent from last year.

Other categories included "Name of Ex-Partner/Spouse" (18 percent), "Change of Beliefs" (16 percent) and "Unhappy/Don't Like it' (11 percent).

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Employee Screening Resumes as Hiring Goes Up

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Finally, some good news on the jobs front.  According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 40 percent of companies added jobs in the first quarter of 2012, up from 36 percent during the same period last year.  What’s more, 35 percent predicted that in the second quarter of 2012 they will begin hiring, compared with 33 percent from the second quarter of 2011.

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it’s not going to alleviate job competition any time soon.  That means job seekers are going to have to be that much more careful about how they position themselves and recruiters are going to be even more discerning in their hiring.

More than 500 companies -- including Citigroup, eBay, McDonald’s and QVC -- use SkillSurvey Inc., a provider of online reference checking solutions, to get feedback on potential candidates.  In a nutshell, the technology verifies if the applicant has lied about his or her job experience.

Here’s how it works: Early in the interview process, candidates are asked to contact a minimum of five references for recommendations.  References then receive emails directly from the candidate with a short survey and a signed waiver releasing them and their employers from any liability stemming from their disclosures.

The survey, which includes some 25 behavior-based questions, takes only about 10-15 minutes to complete online.  References rate the candidate’s professionalism, problem solving and adaptability, interpersonal skills and personal values.  Confidential comments can also be added.

“The idea is to collect feedback from a number of people with different perspectives who’ve observed the candidate on the job over time,” said CEO Ray Bixler.  Because of the legal-liability waiver and the fact that the results are aggregated, guaranteeing anonymity, he said, references usually provide very honest insights and candid assessments about an applicant.

Some people tend to fib about their education, their salary and job title, along with the dates of past employment.  To ensure that the applicant isn’t entering five imaginary people as references, SkillSurvey also captures the IP address from which the applicant has sent his emails.

Bixler says it’s important to remember that the areas applicants exaggerate on their resumes might be rated negatively by their references.

“Sales applicants are always great examples of this,” he said.  “You’ll never see on a sales applicant’s resume, ‘I occasionally missed my quota.’  You will almost always see something like, ‘I always hit my targets and frequently won sales awards.’  In our surveys, we ask former managers and colleagues if in fact the applicant consistently met their sales targets.  If the rating is low, this means ‘no, not consistently,’ and thus the embellishment on the resume is seen.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The Unemployed Predict Length of 2012 Job Search

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Out-of-work Americans differ in opinions when it comes to how long it will take them to find a job in 2012, according to a new survey released Thursday by a famed global outplacement and executive coaching firm.

Out of 600 people who called a job-search advice helpline, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. found that 30 percent of them believe they'll get work within three months.  That's an 18-percent boost from last year at this time.

But there's also added gloominess from many frustrated job-seekers.  Ten percent think that finding a new employer will take them over a year -- up from 4 percent in 2010.

In fact, most of the callers to the hotline say it will be tougher to get a job next year.  The percentage of those claiming the search will last seven to nine months is up 14 percent from last year's survey, while slightly more this year than last say the hunt will stretch from 10 to 12 months.

John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, concluded, "There was a lot more uncertainty a year ago.  Almost half of last year’s callers had no idea how long the job search would take.  This year, callers were either certain of the job market’s improvement or certain of its continued weakness."

Challenger said that when times are tough, as they are now, even high-quality candidates can expect a search of four to six months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Average Jobless Now Out of Work 40 Weeks

Creatas Images(WASHINGTON) -- Friday’s Labor Department report announced 103,000 jobs were added in September, leaving the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent. Here’s a closer look:

-- The average duration of unemployment is now 40.5 weeks, on average, which has more than doubled from three years ago. That means the average person needs to be able to fund the family budget for a 10-month job search.
-- The headline number is better than expected (expectations were at 60,000 new jobs). Private sector added some 137,000 jobs during the month. However, the number also counts 45,000 Verizon workers returning from a strike.
-- Since January, the U.S. economy has added one million jobs, but is still down 6.6 million since the start of the Great Recession.
-- The unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.1 percent for the past three months -- 14 million of our neighbors wanted to work last month, but couldn’t find any work.
-- Broader unemployment rate -- the U-6 -- which includes folks who are discouraged and those who took part-time work when they wanted full-time, ticked up during September to 16.5 percent (25 million people).
-- Hiring ramped up early in the year, but has slowed considerably since then. Economists believe the Japan quake/tsunami disrupted global supply chains, forcing layoffs and the downturn (thought to be temporary) continued as Congress lit up the world with its debt ceiling debacle and the ensuing S&P downgrade. The question, will the trend start heading back the other direction with holiday hiring.

Sector results:

-- Construction (+26K) mostly in non-residential civil and heavy construction.
-- Health Care (+44K) continued its trend of adding jobs -- thanks to aging baby boomers.
-- IT (+34K) had a healthy boost as striking telecom workers came back from the picket lines.
-- Manufacturing (-13K) was little changed in September relative to the large size of the sector.
-- Retail (+13.6K) also mostly unchanged.
-- Temp Help (+19.4K) was positive last month -- possible hints of continued growth.
-- Government (-34K) mostly coming from local government education (-24.4K).

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio