I like the work, but I'm getting lousy pay

By Joan Cirillo (Source: globe newspaper)
I am a bright recent Ivy League graduate in my real first job. It is a small but growing firm and I am given a great deal of responsibility, which I like. The problem is that I appear to be extremely underpaid, at $36,000 per year, and am not sure how to rectify that as I approach my one-year anniversary. As evidence of the underpayment, my roommate is making $50,000 in her starting job and a college classmate is making $65,000 at hers, both in jobs closely related to my position in marketing. The difference may be that they are both working at Fortune 500 companies, and I am working at a closely held family business.
My dad says that it is impossible to bridge that initial pay gap in year two, and that it may get worse, without changing jobs. Since I am located in Manhattan, the good news is that it would not involve relocating, but I am reluctant to leave this position after just one year, particularly when I find it rewarding on many levels.
Listen to your gut. You are enjoying this job. You are learning a lot and being given lots of responsibility. You are learning your craft. That is worth a lot. I know living in Manhattan is very costly and it would be nice to make more money, but you can't put a value on enjoying your job and learning a lot. It is priceless. In other parts of the country, earning a starting salary of $36,000 would be considered an excellent salary. I say, stay put, soak up all this first-hand experience like a sponge and when the time is right, you'll know it. Until then, enjoy the work and be grateful that you landed at a company that has provided you with so many learning opportunities.
Daughter wants to catch on at magazine

Last November, my daughter moved to New York City. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2003 with a degree in journalism. She worked as an editorial assistant at a small-town newspaper and was quickly promoted to community editor but had bigger challenges in mind. Her plan is to work at a magazine as an editorial assistant but she is having a hard time getting a job. Her interviews so far have emphasized experience but she can't get the experience because she can't get her foot in the door. She is working for a magazine as an unpaid intern, using that as a point on her resume, and also waitressing to pay the bills. She has applied to jobs online many, many times but is beginning to think it's a waste of time. Is there a step she is missing? Do you really need to ``know someone" to get your foot in the door? Would an employment agency help? I am sorry for your daughter's frustration in not being able to find an editorial assistant's position in New York. As I am sure you can imagine, the competition in New York for these types of positions must be considerable.
First, I would advise her to waitress in the evenings so that she has her days to look for work. She can supplement her income by waitressing on the weekends as well. Another possibility is to sign up with several catering firms so she can make additional income on the weekends. Tell her to network with everyone she meets. She needs to be prepared to discuss the kind of work she is seeking with other wait staff, restaurant, and catering personnel and even customers when appropriate.

Second, I would get in touch with the University of New Hampshire's career placement office and request names of graduates who live in New York City. Your daughter needs a network and this will provide her with the start of one. Work that list. Have her call alums and introduce herself as a fellow alum who is looking for work as an editorial assistant. Ask if they could give her 20 minutes to meet with her to brainstorm possible leads. Follow up on all contacts. You never know where the ``hit" will come from.

Third, I like that she is working as an unpaid intern at a magazine. After three to six months, I would speak to her supervisor and let that person know that she is actively looking for work and whether there are any job opportunities at the magazine. If the supervisor is not encouraging, look for another internship .

Fourth, have your daughter register with the career center closest to her home in New York City. I am sure she could benefit from a career counselor as well as tap into the available job listings.

Fifth, your daughter might have to think about some "bridge jobs" that will help her get to her ultimate goal of an editorial assistant's job. This might mean a job as an administrative assistant at a mid- to large-size company where she might have an opportunity to demonstrate her editorial skills to an appreciative boss or work the internal job posting system. Another possibility is to get a job as a marketing assistant who puts marketing materials together for the sales team.

Finally, I can't miss the opportunity to put in a plug for working for a nonprofit organization. Written communications are critical for them . This is how the organization educates the public on what it does. There may be some rich opportunities to find work at a nonprofit organization that will help your daughter hone her skills and, at the same time, provide some real job satisfaction.
In looking for a job, the answers aren't pat
Two general job seeking questions: 1) Is it better to e-mail a letter and/or resume or mail a hard copy when inquiring for unadvertised positions? 2) After submitting an inquiry for an unadvertised position and not hearing back, what is the recommended follow-up (i.e. e-mail, call, or do nothing?) Also, what is the appropriate amount of time to follow up ?

These appear to be very simple job search questions, but they are tricky to answer. In response to your first question, I would say it depends on the industry. For example, if you are looking for work in the information technology industry, by all means, send your resume electronically. It is probably the only mode that has any possibility of being seen by the employer. If you are looking for a teaching job, the education department in your school district might be quite amenable to viewing a hard copy of your resume.

One thing that you could do is try to look up the job postings on the companies' websites that you have targeted. Very often, the company will tell you how they prefer to receive resumes. Do your homework. It could mean the difference between your resume being seen or being thrown away.

Make sure that you include an objective on your resume so the reader is clear about the kind of work you want. No human resources professional has the time to guess what kind of work you are looking for. Include a cover letter when sending a hard copy of your resume and state in the e-mail message the kind of work you are looking for at the company.

I urge you not to use this as your only search technique . The chances of landing a job for an unadvertised position are slim at best. Be sure that you are doing many other things to find work including: applying for advertised jobs, networking with everyone you know, conducting informational interviews, attending a job club/success team regularly, going to a career center in your community, and attending job fairs.

Once you have submitted your resume, I would call the employer five to seven days later . However, it is very difficult to get a person to take your call. The best scenario would be that a human resources professional is mining resumes looking for job matches for a particular job and your resume pops up and they give you a call. Be sure to use the buzz words used in your industry or line of work so if the recruiter does a search looking for some key words, your resume will surface.

I find it so impressive when a company at least sends an electronic message or postcard acknowledging the resume . At least then the job seeker knows it is not floating out in cyberspace somewhere.
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