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Entry-Level Jobs in this Economic Climate

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Benpercent
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Still no luck. A few weeks ago I managed to get but a single callback and an interview, but no dice. After rethinking my goals I have made a shift in my daily activities towards either applying for jobs, doing relevant career research, or studying/practicing. I have identified recently that the culinary field is a huge value to me, so I have been trying to make an entry into the restaurant industry, but am having an extremely hard time since I have no professional kitchen experience.

In regards to hunting methodology, I have started constructing cover letters for nearly every job; diligently keeping track in my records of when I applied to certain companies, when I need to reapply, and when to do cold calls; and I have been actively honing my cooking skills and knowledge. I am also thinking about documenting my journey in my cooking practice.

Just in the last few days, however, I got yet another idea: When applying to restaurants I've noticed that the most consistent question I get asked is whether or not I have prior kitchen experience. I think this may be the single most hindering weakness I have, and may need to overcome it all else. So I ask: What are some good ways to get unpaid kitchen experience, like volunteering in a soup kitchen? I don't know how to find such opportunities.

Overall, I find that my motivation to keep at it in the job hunt has improved since I've established a higher priority on getting a job. Before I think my lack of motivation was due to my treating job hunting as a side-activity, which lead me to believe that I was wasting my time. Dedicating more time, effort, and focus, however, has made clear to me how personally important this particular issue is, and so has motivated me.

Thank you once again for your input.

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If you're applying to a line cook position as your first job in the restaurant industry, you're not going to get it unless you've gone to culinary school. From my experience, every newbie starts in the dish pit (or hosting, then moving to the dish pit or serving). From dishes, you go to prep; from prep, to cold line cook (salads, appetizers, pizzas, maybe desserts and other small dishes); from cold line to hot line (main dishes and calling orders). If you're really into culinary stuff, it's better to get in and learn there, even if it's at the bottom. And it's usually really easy to get in as a dishwasher because there's lot of turnover in restaurants.

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Healthcare and environment are growing industries. Check hospital web sites maybe. Craigslist or your local paper or HotJobs or Monster are OK but you have to organize your work (job hunting work).

Rather than volunteering I would recommend an apprenticeship type of trade. You get some pay right off the bat and get on-the-job training.

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Thanks.

Say, what are your guys' thoughts on interviewing? That's another weakness I've just now noticed I have. (It took a bit to notice since, well, I'm not getting interviews. :-P) I just got off the phone from a screening, and not only did I show my nervousness, I also had trouble finding things to say. Perhaps I should do more preparation in this regards. Thanks to this thread my resume and cover letters have improved vastly in quality, but I need to do more to advertise myself when in person.

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Thanks.

Say, what are your guys' thoughts on interviewing? That's another weakness I've just now noticed I have. (It took a bit to notice since, well, I'm not getting interviews. :-P) I just got off the phone from a screening, and not only did I show my nervousness, I also had trouble finding things to say. Perhaps I should do more preparation in this regards. Thanks to this thread my resume and cover letters have improved vastly in quality, but I need to do more to advertise myself when in person.

Don't prepare. You are nervous because you spend hours thinking about it. It's just like asking a smoking hot woman out: do it without thinking and spur of the moment for best results. That way you will be candid and friendly. I still think you should move to texas or some state like it. Jobs aren't coming back to MI. Period.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey hey! I got a job. I went to a good buffet one town over and submitted my information, noting I was willing to work for free and all, and when I came home from dinner there was a message for me about a job offer. My first shift is tonight and I'm looking forward to it definitely and obviously.

Great thanks to the contributors in this thread, as I might not have been able to do it without your intellectual guidance. I'm entertaining the possibility of blogging on the subject of what I've learned in my job hunt and offering suggestions based on my experience.

This, I think, will be a good start to my career. After I develop experience it should be quite easy for me to move around, and I'm honestly not all that concerned about money so long as I can live. Now I can stop focusing so much on producing cover letters and resumes, and start focusing on actually doing a good job.

I'm going to keep walking forwards, and I have a plan for my next big project of personal importance, though I won't speak about it right now. I'll tell you guys later in a different thread, in a day or so.

Again, great thanks to all.

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Hey hey! I got a job. I went to a good buffet one town over and submitted my information, noting I was willing to work for free and all, and when I came home from dinner there was a message for me about a job offer. My first shift is tonight and I'm looking forward to it definitely and obviously.
Congratulations on your persistence and on your success. (BTW: I assume you're not working for free; but, if you are, you should know that it might be illegal.)
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Oh, I'm not working for free. They're paying me minimum wage, but I believe making explicit my (honest) willingness to work for free is a good indication how seriously I take my work, as opposed to those teenagers who simply fill out applications looking for a source of summer income.

And about the illegality: Shush! If I were working for free, I won't tell if you don't.

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