Take No Holiday From Your Search
Jobseekers all too often are tempted to put their job search on hold through the holidays. Companies, they figure, aren’t going to be hiring since many managers take time off as well. Think again. Now could be the perfect time to gear up your job search, because your persistence during this time of year will give you a distinct advantage. After all, there will be fewer competitors for the openings that do exist, since, statistically, most jobseekers will kick back no matter what we say. Your ability to stick to business during the holidays will speak volumes to a prospective employer about your fortitude and determination. Another point: You may actually have an easier time reaching decision makers. Since this is a slower time of year in many industries, you may find prospective managers more willing to spend time discussing your career potential with their firm. Holiday job hunting does require more initiative on your part. Companies advertise less in December, holding their employment ads until January when they feel they will have a larger audience. So that means you will have to call companies directly. A less threatening approach may be to set up informational interviews – 15 to 20-minute chats with managers who work in a field or industry that appeals to you. Ask about career opportunities in general in the field, possible openings with similar companies, and how they feel about your qualifications. Be sure to ask for feedback on your resume – changes that might help get a better response. Remember, an informational interview is just that – do not turn it into a job interview. Unless, of course, the manager decides to do so herself.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – Workers on Wall Street are the best paid in America, averaging $8323 a week – more than five times the average of all other industries. That represents a 6.7 percent increase in 2005. Wages for workers in food services and accommodations average $594 a week, lowest of all industries . . . Delta Air Lines is looking more pilot-friendly after calling back 200 pilots to active service while agreeing to give its retired pilots an extra $719 million in pension funding. The fund is tied up in Delta’s bankruptcy proceedings.
STATEWIDE – While last month’s jobless rate dipped to a record low statewide at 4.5 percent, unemployment in several California counties hit even lower marks. Noteworthy locations included Napa (3 percent), Marin (3.1 percent) San Mateo (3.3 percent), Nevada and Placer counties (3.4 percent), El Dorado County (3.7 percent), and San Francisco and Contra Costa counties (3.8 percent). Sacramento was close behind at 4.1 percent . . . California is in danger of losing the manufacturing plant that will build a new generation of electric cars. The makers of the Tesla car, now based in San Carlos, say that officials in Arizona and North Carolina are offering more to lure the operation away. The governor’s office has not indicated it will match offers.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Save Mart Supermarkets has offered to buy 132 Albertson’s stores in California and Nevada. The Modesto chain plans to double its size with the acquisition.
FOLSOM – Marvell Technology of Santa Clara has opened a 13,000-square-foot office here. Many of the employees who lost jobs when Intel downsized have been hired by Marvell. The company makes products used in a variety of machines including Apple iPods and Sony Playstations.
LOS ALTOS – Elephant Pharmacy, now called Elephant Pharm, has opened a local store that will employ 50 people for now, and up to 100 over time. The fast-growing chain has two other stores and plans to open an outlet in Walnut Creek next year.
PALO ALTO – Intradigm Corp, a biotech that develops RNA interference therapies, has relocated from Maryland in the hopes of capitalizing on the Bay Area’s large pool of skilled biotech research and development talent.
SACRAMENTO – The Sheraton Grand Sacramento has reached agreement with union representatives to raise salaries (an undisclosed amount), increase management benefit contributions, and reduce workloads. Negotiations are expected to get underway at other capital city hotels.
STOCKTON – Raley’s food markets will open a second location here Dec 6. The store will feature a Java City, a Wells Fargo branch, and eventually a gas station/car wash.
’Tis Season for Layoffs
The only Christmas gift some Americans will be getting from their employers this year is a severance check. Holiday-season job cuts are mounting, with thousands of layoffs announced just since Thanksgiving, including 2400 by Pfizer and 7000 from the closure of 20 hospitals in New York. Thirty-eight thousand Ford employees who accepted buyouts will begin leaving the company in January, accelerating a six-year plan to eliminate 25,000 to 30,000 jobs. "Some might think that jobs are more secure this time of year, assuming that employers with the holiday spirit will postpone job cuts," notes John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Unfortunately, these numbers indicate that job security is by no means assured this year." What is most worrisome about the recent cuts is that the slowdown, which had been concentrated in automotive and housing-related industries, appears to be expanding to other areas of the economy. Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies have resisted downsizing until now, cutting 22,000 and 11,100 respectively. Technology may also be starting to feel the effects of an economic slowdown. That sector recorded a 74-percent jump in layoffs in the third quarter. "The economy may slow more in the coming year," Challenger forecasts, "with the Federal Reserve Bank chairman Ben Bernanke hinting that additional interest rate hikes may be made to stave off inflation."