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Discrimination Persists for Unemployed Job Seekers


It's mind-boggling that any employer would exclude the unemployed person from applying for a position.  (Note that I dislike the word "unemployed" and prefer the words "in transition between positions".  Why?  Because looking for new work is a job, a work assignment, requiring effort, skill and persistence.)


Why employers permit this exclusion of candidates based on unemployment status is beyond me.  But I understand some of the reasoning, I think.  Many people looking for work apply for positions which they clearly do not meet the requirements, at least from the application information and/or resume content they submit.  HR professionals have told me repeatedly that 3 of 4 applicants historically do not match the stated requirements to qualify for consideration.  Often candidates haven't done the necessary work of interpreting and/or revising their applications and resumes to focus on sharing what knowledge, skills and abilities they have that do match the position.  People who don't revise clog up the hiring process, making it more difficult to apply for those who do meet requirements and for the employers to find those qualified folks in the pile of resumes and applications received.


So, as you read the following, understand the practice while obnoxious and disheartening is somewhat understandable.  Employers do need qualified candidates for their jobs, but they should select candidates to consider based on the requirements, not the candidates' employment status.  Candidates need to do a better job of showing that they do have what the employer is seeking.

 -Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor


New Federal Legislation Prohibits Excluding the Unemployed from Job Opportunities, as More Disturbing Ads Surface


Washington, DC — Unemployed workers continue to be excluded from consideration for job openings, a new report from the National Employment Law Project shows. The report coincides with the introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives of the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011, a measure sponsored by Representatives Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Henry Johnson, Jr. of Georgia to create a level playing field for unemployed job seekers by prohibiting employers and employment agencies from screening out or excluding job applicants solely because they are unemployed.

“Unemployed job seekers continue to be excluded from work opportunities, and this disturbing and unfair practice appears to be more pervasive than previously thought,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, who testified on the trend before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) earlier this year.


More at this link:

Recently Added New Article Resources for EaRN Members


The EaRN "treasure trove" continues to grow with new articles posted weekly, as well as new blog posts on the 'public' side of the website (see Blog tab on homepage) and the Career/Work Search Watch blog in the articles section of the website.


Here's a list of several of the most recently added new articles and the Articles section in which they can be found:


  • Hardest Part of Marketing Yourself (Work Search)
  • Action Planning for Work Search (Work Search)
  • The Real Purpose of A Thank-You Note (Networking)
  • A Networking "Staying-Connected" Letter (Networking)
  • ABCDE "Optimism Hardiness" Worksheet (Networking)
  • To 'Cover' Letter or Not to 'Cover' Letter (Cover Letters)
  • Demonstrate How You Would Perform the Tasks of the Assignment (Interviewing)
  • Three Essential Questions to Ask in Closing the Interview (Interviewing)
  • Learning is the New Work (Trends & the Future)

Is that degree or training really going to deliver?


It behooves us all, when in a situation where we're considering going to school for a degree or career-enhancement training, to do our homework and be careful what we sign on for.


Case in point is the bonanza of growth in proprietary education services or colleges cropping up everywhere.  Many of these companies are making $$$ merely on "putting posteriors in classroom seats."  The student who signs on for loans to pay for even short-term training costing 1000's of $$$ may be expecting "guaranteed" employment following completion.  The school gets paid through the federal loan process, with taxpayer provided funds, but the time and funds invested don't deliver what the student needs--a job.


This came across my email box recently:

The U.S. Justice Department and four states yesterday filed a whistleblower suit against Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp. (EDMC), accusing the for-profit education company and its network of 101 schools in 31 states of fraud for the way it certified compliance with federal law to generate billions of dollars in student aid.




“Federal tax dollars must be protected from abuse,” said David J. Hickton, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, in a prepared statement. “This action against EDMC seeks to recover a portion of the $11 billion in federal student aid which EDMC allegedly obtained through false statements and which enriched the company, its shareholders and executives at the expense of innocent individuals seeking a quality education.”


Joined by the states of California (which hosts 14 EDMC schools), Illinois (5), Florida (9), and Indiana (6), the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit alleges that EDMC broke federal law by using incentive-based compensation to pay its admissions recruiters based on the number of students they recruited, resulting in “the enrollment of unqualified students, high student loan default rates and the waste of program funds,” according to news release by the Department of Justice.


The lawsuit seeks damages for the more than $11 billion in federal funds EDMC and its students collected in federal funds from the federal Department of Education since July 1, 2003.


So, if you're contemplating (or know someone who is) going back to school, do your homework!  Check out the school offering the training.  Find out what specifically they do to help their graduates find work once the course of study is completed, even what they're doing before you finish to help you land when you finish.  Find out what you can earn in the occupation you will be training for before you borrow your own funds from the federal government to pay the school (see the O*NET Online system for that information:


And for those who have access to the full EaRN website, use the assessment tools and related resources to make a good, informed choice of a career direction that matches who you already are using your God-given talents.


-Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor

iPhone and iPad manufacturer to "hire" 1,000,000+ robots


Predictions of robots becoming the “new workers” have abounded for years, even to the point of films depicting that eerie future—I, Robot; The Iron Giant; Star Trek: Generations; Forbidden Plant; Short Circuit; Robocop; The Terminator; A.I.: Artificial Intelligence; WALL-E; and Star Wars: A New Hope, to name a Top 10 List.  It’s a prospect that will create new jobs in technology while eliminating or at least drastically reducing the number performed by humans.


Now comes some news that automobile assembly Michiganders should recognize—electronic robotic assembly on an immense scale—from a company that makes among the most iconic and popular consumer electronics, the iPhone and the iPad.


Foxconn Planning To Hire 1 Million Robots (posted at, 8-1-2011)

Foxconn is planning on replacing many of its hard-working human manufacturers with about 1 million robots, a number that, if you think about it, is a very telling comment on the current state of electronics manufacturing.  There are apparently 10,000 robots at the factory now and that number will increase by 300,000 next year. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou plans another million robots by 2014. The company currently employs 1.2 million humans.


The most important thing to note here is that most of the repetitive tasks associated with manufacturing – placing components, closing cases, applying decals and paint, and testing – are all done by hand. Although we imagine that the manufacturing industry is run by huge, Transformer-like robots that plop out fully formed iPads in a wicked silicon satire of human reproduction, there are actual people involved in almost every step of the process. We are literally not far off from the Industrial Revolution here.


Where will those hands who once snapped our plastic geegaws together go once the robots arrive? Probably to the unemployment line, which is another matter entirely. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that, but any time serious labor savings have been applied to mass manufacturing it hasn’t ended well. Just ask Detroit.


[Foxconn International Holdings Ltd is a multinational subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, is a Taiwanese company that is the world's largest maker of electronic components including printed circuit boards.  A large, secretive contract manufacturer, they make some of the most renowned products including the iPhone and the iPad. It is the largest exporter in Greater China and the second largest exporter in the Czech Republic.  –bracketed information from Wikipedia]


Given this plan, one can but wonder where else such robotic devices will be placed by manufacturing and service concerns.  It behooves us all to be watching for and paying attention to new developments and learn to plan for a future that is both predictable and uncertain.  The powerful twins of technology and capitalism are a powerful pair one historian suggests are “a relentless revolution.”

Increased use of temps and outsourcing recruitment in the near future


For those of us looking for full-time work, a recent chief human resource officer (CHRO) study has some interesting but somewhat disconcerting insight and identified continuing trend: increased use of temporary/contingent and part-time workers, continued offshoring and outsourcing. 


Worldwide CHRO Plans 2010-2013 (IBM Global Workforce Study)

  • 50% will use more temporary/contingent workers
  • 53% will hire more part-time workers
  • 56% will offshore more work
  • 56% will increase outsourcing

This is happening much more than one might think.  For example, recently I learned that a major West Michigan headquartered office furniture manufacturer (most of their manufacturing is no longer done in the region) moved its payroll function worldwide to a Central American location from Grand Rapids.

The Strategic Outsourcing Report further stated that "...the cornerstones of 21st century corporate staffing are efficiency, effectiveness, marketing and business alignment. Current outsourcing practices focus almost exclusively on one,  efficiency. But even optimal staffing efficiency can have only a minor impact on overall business performance. Strategic outsourcing, on the other hand, impacts all four, making it one of the most powerful weapons in the staffing arsenal."  This translates into organizations likely hiring fewer full-time employees, and for 'strategic situations' (read, where they can gain maximum competitive advantage) they'll outsource more innovation. 

The report went on to say that "there are two sources of business advantage through recruitment outsourcing, either greater efficiency or innovation.  Among staffing leaders, cost control (read, efficiency) is approaching its limits. Over the next ten years those companies will instead use outsourcing to innovate: changing the structure and focus of corporate talent acquisition and management to provide more business impact."  This will likely mean that outside recruiters will be used more to find new employees or contractors to drive innovation and creativity to develop new products and services.  So, finding the really good recruiting firms and their employees will be a new need for those seeking work.


This may imply that more and more we will see many of us becoming self-employed, contract-chasing professionals.


-Ken Soper, MA, MDiv, NCDA-recognized Master Career Counselor