Monday, July 19, 2010

Entry-Level Job Options In A Recessed Economy

While it isn't my primary occupation, I run a small life coaching practice. A client came to me seeking guidance concerning finding a job for her son. He's a young fellow who is fairly capable, but isn't especially confident in his abilities and hasn't bothered pursuing any higher education. He's held a couple of short-term jobs, but by choice he has never been employed for more than a couple of months. As such, at this point he desires a job, but isn't quite sure what sort of opportunities are actually available.

In other times, the answer to this would be fairly simple. He could simply find an entry-level position or a retail job in the area and be employed quickly and easily. Of course, with the present state of the economy, that simply isn't an option. Indeed, I have several friends who have been searching for any sort of entry-level work without fruitful results. One friend of mine recently landed a job that pays on a "commission-only" basis. However, since it's a politically-oriented job rather than an economically oriented one, there really is no way to earn any serious money on commission. In practice, his pay is below minimum wage.

Since I have had personal experience with alternative forms of employment and earning money, here are a few ideas for those who wish to be doing something with their lives in the midst of our presently recessed economy.

1 - Merchandising
While it isn't the simplest and easiest job in the world, there is plenty of money to be made with only a modicum of effort, if only you know how to approach it. Unlike many jobs, buying and selling things requires no job applications, no interviews and no commitment. All you have to do is find a way to make a decent amount of profit by buying things at low prices and reselling them at higher prices. The best way to do this is to choose items where your profit margin is greater than $30. Hot electronic items and popular consumer goods are a good bet. Simply scour the internet (eBay, Amazon, Craigslist...etc) for an item that is selling for far less than it's value and resell it at a higher price. I have two friends who consistently make good money doing this. At $30-$40 profit per sale, you can make nearly $28K per year if only you average three transactions per day. With a bit more effort, you can make even more money. All it takes to succeed at merchandising is basic math and good searching skills.

2 - Utilize Social Connections
This is one of the best means of actually getting a job. While submitting job applications and going to interviews is a fairly hit and miss process for entry-level work, having connections can land you a job with much less effort and hassle. If you are part of a community, especially a mixed-group community, there are often many job opportunities available to you that are acquirable simply through social leverage. Last time I was looking for a job, I landed a great part-time job simply because I was aware of opportunities that weren't available to the public. With that job, the resume submission and interview process were mere formalities. I have a long list of friends who acquired jobs through their social circles. Churches are one of the richest sources of non-application job opportunities.

3 - Personal Skill Marketing
While work of this sort isn't necessarily as steady and consistent as the other options mentioned, there is still quite reasonable demand for personal skills of all sorts. Rather than seeking a job, simply assess your own skills and market them in order to supply a steady stream of work. Can you mow a lawn? Start offering yardwork services. Are you good at house cleaning? Start a cleaning service. Are you skilled in an academic subject? Offering your tutoring services. Are you great at childcare? Look for nanny jobs in rich areas. There is plenty of money to be made if you simply market the skills you already have. Anything that you land is money in your pocket. There is no need to apply for jobs or go through interviews. Just make a post on Craigslist and/or other specialized websites. Go door-to-door and pass out flyers. I have earned more than a few dollars marketing my skills in various ways, and I know quite a few others who have done the same. A couple of friends have even established businesses this way.

4 - Missionary/Organization/Volunteer Work
This last option isn't a lucrative one. But, that doesn't mean it isn't a highly viable choice. Rather than seeking a means of earning money, there are a good number of options that are adventures in themselves. Plenty of different missionaries, organizations and even families are always looking for people to help them in their endeavors. Often, in exchange for your services, they will provide room and board. Doing something like this gives you an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone, develop various skillsets, and interact with people who have a different approach to life. Taking advantage of long-term or short-term opportunities is a great way to avoid the job market altogether, while experiencing sides of life that many people never see. These sort of opportunities (especially international ones) also look very good on resumes, which may provides future employment opportunities.


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