Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Gentle readers, your MatchGirl spent a lot of time thinking about resumes when she was unemployed.

Not only did I spend a lot of time thinking about resumes. I spent a lot of time researching resumes. I spent a lot of time reworking my resume. I spent a lot of time editing fellow unemployeds resumes. I spent a lot of time thinking that the format or content of my resume did not really matter, since the job market was so exceedingly bad that the likelihood of someone seeing my resume - actually reading it - was so very unlikely.

But your resume is important. The content, of course, is key.

But what about layout? What about design?

Your MatchGirl was recently in a position where she was on the other side of the resume. In searching for some interns for my office, I was the person who first read the resumes. The person who weeded through them and organized them for the people who would actually be working with the interns. I was the person who sifted through, hopefully with an eye that only one who spent so much time working on resumes and sending them out to no avail could have. And it started me thinking, again, about resume design.

Here's what I think:
  • Don't go to crazy. If you'd like to use a signature color or font, keep it to the heading. Make sure the body of the resume is in black and the font is a standard one that everyone will have on their computer. Make sure - most of all - that it is easy to read.
  • Some of the design students had a list of skills down the side of the resume, in a narrow, margin-sized column. As someone reading the resume, I liked this aesthetic, and found it easy to see if they had the skills that we were looking for.
  • Keep it to one page. And not a super-crowded page. One easy-to-read page. There is a lot of talk about how this is not necessary any longer as resumes are emailed as opposed to mailed, but, in my opinion, it's still important. Over one page is too much.
  • In keeping with the point above. Not too much information. Please. Every single accomplishment you have ever had is not pertinent to every job. Think hard about the jobs you are applying to. Think hard about the information you are supplying. If you worked at your college library and you're applying to jobs in library sciences or a book store or the like, cool, keep it. If you are only a couple of years out of school, cool, keep it. If your in your thirties and have been working in advertising, and applying for advertising jobs, there's really no need to let your future (fingers crossed) employer know you were good at shelving books in the 90s.
  • Outside interests. Get rid of them. They take up valuable space where you can list accomplishments. Instead of listing that you like baking, you can list how you organized a pie contest for a fundraiser. Instead of writing that you like scuba diving, write that you are certified in XYZ type of diving. Do not write interests: reading, knitting, skydiving, travel. It's not pertinent and doesn't show what you can do
  • I've got my resume, though not recently updated, posted on this blog. While the layout of my virtual resume is not perfect, I think the format is great for the kinds of jobs I was looking for.  For the kind of job I found. My work experience may be in a mish-mash of fields, but there is a relevant thread. By dividing it into "Media", "Management" and "Related" a future employer can easily skim what I've done and what I'm capable of doing. It's chronological, but by area.

Your MatchGirl, dear readers, is most certainly not saying she is an expert on all things resume or that she has all the answers. But I think that these tips, learned from my own experience and piqued by sifting through a huge stack of intern resumes a couple of months ago, should be a bit useful

And don't forget, the most important thing - have someone else, a couple of people, read it. Some outside eyes on your accomplishments and open editing help from a friend or two will only make your resume stronger.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Unemployed Brooklyn Discussion Group

Just a quick FYI, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has created a new Facebook group for Unemployed Brooklyn. It's a forum where everyone can freely share there questions and concerns about unemployment, the job hunting process and anything else they like.

It's only a handful of people strong, but please join and start talking to each other.

I hope that everyone finds it really useful.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's Grown Up?

There were two school of thought, when your MatchGirl was young, gentle readers, on growing up.

The first: How freakin' amazing will it be when we're grown-ups? When no one can tell us what to do? When there are no rules?  Ooh. Or, better yet, when we make all the rules?

The second, immortalized by Peter Pan:
I won't grow up,
I don't want to wear a tie.
And a serious expression
In the middle of July.
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me
There has been loads and loads of chatter lately about how twenty-somethings are not growing up.  Your MatchGirl has written about it herself.  And I'm going to write about it again.

I read recently, over on PSFK, an article entitled "The Slow Path To Adulthood" - it cites, among other things, the high unemployment rate and the recession as reasons that adulthood is being delayed in the US right now.  The path our parents took - high school, moving out of their folks' house, (maybe) college, getting a job, getting married, having kids, retiring around 65 and watching the kids and grand kids do the same - just isn't the same path a lot of us are on.

I heard the authors of the book on the Leonard Lopate show that same day and, interestingly enough, they don't see this as a bad thing.  They see the longer, slower journey as something that's useful in the long run.  Healthy, even.

I don't disagree.  I would much rather have taken my time in finding Mr Right than be a 35 year old divorcee.  And, looking back at my past serious relationships, that could have happened.  I would rather have tried my hand at a few jobs, a few careers, in order to find the one that is the right fit, instead of getting into something at 20 and looking back with sadness on what might have been.  There are enough regrets in life without your job or your partner being among them.

I'm 35 years old.
When I was 25, I thought that I would be married by now.
I thought that I would have at least one kid by now.
I thought that my money worries would be less.
I thought that I would be living this very magical, very adult life.

Reality check, gentle readers.  While I am 35, and I am an adult, I am most certainly not living the life I had imagined.
I'm not married - though I am dating a really great man.
I don't have any kids - though I hope they're still in my future.
I still worry about money - though not in the paycheck to paycheck way I did at 25.
And, though my life is not the type of adult life I thought I would have - I think it's still pretty magical.

Monday, January 10, 2011


–noun, plural -ties.
1.austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
2.Usually, austerities. ascetic practices: austerities of monastery life.
3.strict economy.

With countries all over the world taking austerity measures in order to get back on the right path, your MatchGirl has been thinking of doing much the same.

Of course, I don't have the debt levels of Ireland (or the United States, for that matter). As I've written here before, it's been a decade since I've even had a credit card. But being a (basically) cash only gal doesn't necessarily mean that I've been as tight with the purse strings as I should have been since I have become gainfully employed.

When one is working, gentle readers, there are a few things that one must spend money on. Transportation - only getting more and more expensive in New York, even as they cut service and leave passengers stranded on the A train for 7 hours without even making any attempts to get them food and water (anyone else hear a class action suit against the MTA coming down the track?) - is a big one.  Lunch is another. If you're at the office, you've got to eat don't you? And clothing is another. Pretty much every work place has a dress code of one kind or another (OK, maybe not mine) and if you're amongst the long term unemployed, chances are the clothing from your last job is not going to be quite right (or in date) for your new place of employment.

And, of course, with a few dollars in your pocket, you'll want to go out and play and do all the things you couldn't do/oughtn't have done while you were scraping by on $405 a week. You'll want to go shopping and go out to a nice dinner and have a drink with friends and maybe even buy a round for all those people who took care of your alcohol needs while you were unemployed.

And, of course, there are things you want. A nicer apartment. A few bucks in a savings account.  Putting money in a kid's college fund.  You want to plan for a future that you can see but you can't quite figure out how to reach - not just yet.

So.  Where, dear readers, does austerity come into play?
How do I plan on making this happen in the new year?

The biggest one is a no-brainer. Start with lunch. Pack it up. Leftovers from last night in Tupperware. A bag of lettuce and some chopped up veggies and protein from home instead of the $8 salad from the overpriced chain down the block from your office. Heck, even heading to Trader Joe's or the salad bar at your nearby deli will shave a few bucks off your weekly spending. The pre-packaged stuff may not be the healthiest of options, but I guarantee you eat for a week for less than a week at a fast food chain. Imagine if you could go from $10 a day on lunch to only, say, $15 a week. That's a savings of over $1800 for the year. Oh. And while you're at it. Bring your coffee from home.  Save the café for a special treat or reward for working out before hitting the office or going in with everything already crossed of your to-do list.

It's all about budgeting, gentle ones.  Your MatchGirl is 35 years old and there are a lot of things she wants out of her life.  So.  She can do without that cute new sweater or that pair of boots.  She can drink her coffee and home and cook loads of meals and go to the bar a little less.  Because there are a lot of things that are more important than some new clothes or a $4 cup of coffee. 

Monday, January 3, 2011


I started this blog, gentle readers, on February 2, 2009 for this purpose:
[To write] about my search for a job, about what I do with my lazy days, about what I do to save a few pennies while living on the dole ...
That was a long time ago, dear ones, and your MatchGirl's life has certainly changed a lot since then.  It's been a long time since my days were lazy - even in unemployment, laziness was not the key to my day.  It's been several months, even, since I was unemployed.  I'm not so single.  I am still trying to save a few pennies, but not for the sole purpose of surviving from day to day - more for the purpose of having savings and looking towards the future.

Over the past couple of years, I have kissed a lot of frogs.  I have applied for a lot of jobs.  I have gotten some fun press and some cool recognition and I have made friends with an extraordinary group of people.

This little blog has evolved with all of these things.  And, in the new year, like me, it can do nothing but evolve further.

So, even though I have a lot less time on my hands - time for writing my own thing - that I would like to, here is my blog.  It will change as I change and as the things in my life change.  I'll no longer (or not for now anyway) write about online dating (done that) or first dates (hopefully done with those, too!).  I don't have the need for sending out a jillion resumes (thank goodness).  I won't be heading out on job interviews where no one replies to me (I have a job and -fingers crossed - I'm gonna hold on to it).  but I will, gentle readers, continue to write.  As unemployment persists, I'll write about that the best I can.  As my relationship progresses, perhaps Boyfriend will make an appearance.  As I grow in my job, I'll write about that, too.

This blog will evolve.  It's like life.  It's got to keep growing.