Career Circus: Laurie Ruettimann Goes Rogue

Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HR was scheduled to talk about work-life balance at the Circus, but she decided to throw that presentation out the window and answer job search questions from the unemployed media folk in the room (about 90% of you). Coooool.

Pam Dawkins, an unemployed newspaper editor, asked: “I’m sending out resumes when I see jobs but I’m not hearing back. How long should I wait before contacting them?”

Laurie says: “Never contact HR. They don’t make the hiring decisions. That’s bullshit. They will never call you back and you will be known as a pest. They’re old biddies busy doing administrative work. Find out who the hiring manager is and talk to that person and get your resume on their desk at any way possible. Once it goes into an applicant tracking system the resume is lost, unless it’s hitting keywords.”

A corporate ad sales director, unemployed 1 month, asks: “Job boards are pretty much a waste of time. Should we not bother with them at all?”

Laurie answered: “I believe in job boards because I don’t believe in ending a pathway. The job board lets you know there’s a job that’s out there. Positions aren’t always just posted because they have to post it. Often times they really are replacing a vacancy.”

Danielle Smith, a former press secretary unemployed since November, asked: “I’m finding it hard to find a job that matches my qualifications. I’m either overqualified or underqualified. How can I tailor my resume to fit?”

Laurie answers: “Most people hire an 80% fit for the job because they don’t want to pay you a higher salary. They want you to grow into it. But if the marketplace is telling you that you can’t get a job, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. I’ve talked to people who are almost unemployed two years, sent out 600 resumes, always networking. [At that point] maybe you need to look at a different career, a different creative way into a company, or scale down your expectations to get a foot in the door. When I started Punk Rock HR, I had to give up a couple things, like going on vacation with my husband. I spend less money but I’m way happier than I was.”

Also, she added, consider relocation. “NY is low on the list of merit increases. Look in Atlanta, Tampa, DC, Minneapolis. There is a thriving hipster culture in Minneapolis.”

We’ve got more coming up—about the pitfalls of internships and other free work—just stay tuned.