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With 18 million Americans out of work, it's more important than ever to job search like a Dothraki Khalasar riding down a regiment of Lannister foot soldiers.

Our Best Secrets for a Successful, Strategic, and SHORT Job Search

“I love looking for jobs!” Said no one ever in the history of the world.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I enjoy the job hunt about as much as I enjoy a hornet sandwich on rye. Or an acid enema. Or a candlelit dinner with Hannibal Lecter. (You guys are imaginative—pick your unpleasant analogy of choice.)

And I’m just guessing here, but I don’t think I’m alone.

At time of publication, 17.8 million Americans are out of work. That’s… a lot of people unemployed, most of whom are probably looking for jobs. Like, a lot. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s all thanks to our friendly neighborhood coronavirus. Which means that a) a lot of us are unemployed because businesses have shut down, b) jobs at those businesses are no longer available, c) there’s incredibly stiff competition for the few jobs that are available, and d) we’re all a teensy bit fucked.

All of which is to say: it’s more important than ever to approach your job search like a Dothraki khalasar riding down a regiment of Lannister foot soldiers.

With terrifying ruthlessness and precision.

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The process of getting my unemployment check sucked. I'm here to walk you through it too.

Dafuq Is Unemployment and How Do I Apply for It?

As we’re living through The Plague Times, a number of topics have really jumped the writing queue for your humble Bitches. And thanks to the massive wave of job losses, one of the more urgent subjects is, by necessity, unemployment insurance.

As it happens, I’m currently a bit of an expert on unemployment insurance. I’m not just a spokesperson… I’m a member! After losing my job this spring, I applied for and received unemployment insurance from my state.

The process was tedious, long, stressful, counterintuitive, repetitive, and obnoxious. But it worked. And now I’m here to walk you through it too. Because misery fucking loves company.

But before we begin, a note: The UI I’m receiving isn’t completely replacing my lost income. Like everyone on UI, I’m applying for jobs like it’s literally my job. Yet available jobs are pretty thin on the ground until the country opens up for business again.

My bills are still getting paid, due mostly to the generosity of BGR readers. If you’re so inclined, consider donating to our Patreon. It comes with spiffy rewards and our eternal gratitude, which by itself is worth at least $2.65!

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You've sent your application and all you've heard back is crickets. So now what?

I Just Applied for a Job. How (And When) Should I Follow Up?

In all our copious posts about getting a job and advancing your career, we’ve left out one crucial part of the job application process.

What the hell happens after you’ve submitted your application?

Ideally, you’ll receive a prompt response confirming the receipt of your application. Following that, you’ll be cordially invited to an interview in a timely fashion. And after the interview, within very little time, you’ll receive a job offer. Just a really prompt, dignified process that respects and values everyone’s time and effort!

GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS, YOU NAIF. LIFE IS PAIN, MOTHERFUCKERS.

Of course that adorable fantasy scenario only happens on Wish Fulfillment Island, where the hiring process is swift and painless and dogs never die!

In reality, job applicants are plagued with long, drawn-out hiring processes, unclear communication, repetitive applications, and flaming hoops of bullshit in front of an obstacle course of crocodiles who only scanned your resume for keywords.

In other words, it blows! But you still need to get through it if you have any hope of employment. So here’s what happens after you submit a job application.

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Your table needs bread, and modesty is the least filling carbohydrate.

How to Frame Volunteering on Your Resume When You’ve Never Had a Job

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: the hardest job to get is your first one. Or at least, the first one that’s in your chosen field and not, you know, corn detasseling for Moon Pie money. Everybody who grew up in a flyover state say heyyyyy!

See, when you’ve never had a job before…

  • Your resume is as short as a sneeze.
  • You don’t have professional connections to turn to for help or advice, like mentors and old coworkers.
  • True entry level jobs are rarer than they used to be.
  • You don’t have much practice at the basic skills you need to get any job, like nailing an interview and writing great cover letters.
  • You have even less experience with next-level skills you need to get a great job, like learning how to understand your company or industry’s most pressing needs and position yourself with strategic accordance.

(Mmm, you know it’s going to be a good day when you’re an ENTJ and you get to use the phrase “position yourself with strategic accordance” before noon.)

Unfortunately, when unemployment is high, it all gets even harder. Because now you’re competing with a lot more people—and they likely have some of the advantages you lack.

We feel for anyone with a thin job history who’s stuck competing in a tough job market with wicked high unemployment. Y’all are skipping the Hunger Games and going straight to the Quarter Quell: head-to-head, not against other frightened children, but bloodthirsty professional-ass adults. So in the near future, we’ll be discussing lots of strategies that can help mitigate the shittiness.

Today, we’ll discuss how to use past volunteering to make your resume shine! Let’s get into it!

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How NOT to Determine Your Salary

Last week I was chatting with a rad young lady who is about to start her final semester of college. When the subject of careers and negotiation came up, I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm. (“Teaching young people how to negotiate their salaries” is what I write down on the religion line on surveys.)

I asked what salary range she was asking for, and she quickly answered: “$37,000.”

It struck me as an unusual number for two reasons:

  • First, it seemed mighty low. Many people live happy, stable lives on as much or less—but she was a high-achieving college student entering a STEM field in one of the ten most expensive American cities. I expected double or triple that amount.
  • Second, what’s with the non-round number? Usually when people talk about hypothetical large numbers, they do so in intervals of fives and tens. It’s why the JonBenét ransom note haunts us all to this day! (And by “us” I mean rubberneckers who were alive in the 90s and/or true crime nerds. Surely everyone belongs in one of those demographics.)

So I dug deeper. “Why that number?”

She explained that she sat down with a notebook and wrote down all the expenses she might have in a given month. “Rent, internet, groceries, student loans, car insurance… I added it all up, multiplied by twelve, and added 10% for savings. It came out to $36,200, so I rounded up just to be safe.”

My nurturing altruism joined forces with my baser capitalist instincts to manifest a camera to do a dolly zoom on my horrified face.

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Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them with the Confidence of a Mediocre White Dude

Ah, the ubiquitous job interview. A necessary if painful step toward acquiring a job—any job! Just as nobody actually loves Rod Stewart as a musician or liver and onions as an entrée, nobody actually loves interviewing for jobs. Literally nobody.

And yet being good at job interviews is an invaluable skill. Especially if you’d like to become employed at some point in your life. And barring any hyper-intelligent dolphins or useless heirs to a corporate empire reading this article, that’s all of you.

We’ve already talked about what to do when you get asked about your salary during a job interview (a question that is as unethical as it is manipulative). But how about some of those other common, annoying interview questions? The ones you can count on getting, and that you dread like a combination root canal and pap smear?

I scoured the Internet for literally dozens of minutes to find brilliant answers to some of those awful job interview questions. And what I found filled me with hope!

I’m going to break down some of the most annoying and tricky job interview questions and how to answer them with at least the confidence and poise of the mediocre white man more likely to be hired than you.

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Put that in your Luddite pipe and smoke it!

How to Find Remote Work: On Getting the Elusive Work-From-Home Job

Previously, on Bitches Get Riches…

Working from home can be a pretty sweet gig if you can get it, but it comes with unique challenges. Setting up a routine, taking strategically scheduled breaks, and removing distractions will help keep you on task and motivated.

Which is all well and good if you already have a job that lets you work remotely. But how does one lock down that coveted, elusive work-from-home job?

The legions of telecommuters are growing, according to the New York Times. And half of the United States workforce will soon work remotely, if Forbes is correct. Yet with all of these people gloriously working from wherever the hell they want, we still get questions from readers all the time that boil down to: “I can’t work on-site, but I also can’t seem to find any jobs that will allow me to work remotely. Where are they all hiding?”

The hunt is over, job-searchers! Here are a number of tactics for how you too can join the telecommuting army.

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