Rita the registered nurse thought it was a pretty productive way to spend a morning. Ditto that.
When we emerged from the second floor elevator at the Sheraton Hotel at 6:10 this morning,
there were already 800 people in line. Sharply dressed. Leather portfolios in hand. Brian, a GMA producer passed out lifesaver mints. I thought this was a brilliant gesture to start the day. It’s early, my breath might be kind of stale. It would have been better if it had been coffee and donuts, but hey, it was a free event.
Name tags, tchotchke bags and a job-finding tips sheet from Tory Johnson, GMA’s career expert. It was a brilliantly run production. For a room filled with people out-of-work it was an amazingly upbeat, energizing and friendly place to be. We all had one thing in common. It was easy to bond. We made friends. Hopefully, some of us found work.
Some advice, a handful of observations and a few secrets revealed:
1. One page or two? Tory Johnson says one page resumes only. Millie, from the Masschusetts Department of Workforce Development, said two page was better for someone with lots of experience. My one page version said nothing, she said. My two page resume was brilliant. She really liked the font. I really liked Millie. She told me to call her anytime.
2. There are a lot of people eager to find a job and will show up at the crack ass of dawn to get one. I admire that.
3. Robin Roberts was not there so I did not get to meet her.
4. The demographic was broad. Some twenty-somethings, some sixty-somethings. Mostly 30, 40 and 50-somethings.
5. The producers were extremely nice. Except one curly-haired blond guy. We called him Evil Producer.
6. Tory Johnson was lovely, if not particularly insightful.
7. Gail Huff is gorgeous in person and close up. But I thought she could have worn nicer-looking shoes.
8. There were 73 companies represented, including PartnersHealth, Home Depot, Macaroni’s Restaurant, the FBI and Secret Service. EMC was also there, which I thought was interesting given it just announced it would lay off 24,000 employees this year.
9. Companies were looking for primarily administrative types, technicians, assistant store managers, as I suspected.
10. There was a really nice guy handing out high-quality stock paper for resumes. He also had thank-you cards that he did not give out but imparted on us the importance of writing thank-you notes. I told him he was preaching to the choir.
11. Diane, a charming and energetic professional, is looking for a job in marketing, but is staying away from the real estate business.
12. Some people still rely on the newspaper for job listings.
13. The oatmeal at Starbucks is delicious if you get it with nuts and brown sugar.
14. Camera lights get really, really hot.
15. Don’t carry a big shoulder bag in a room crowded with people.
16. There were a lot of people laid off in December.
17. Experts advise following up on online applications, but we challenge you to find someone to talk to.
18. Tory’s mantra of the morning: Quality over quantity. Better jobs, fewer resumes.
19. The soap dispensers in the hotel lobby woman’s room need to be refilled.
20. Experiencing a morning like this with good friends and new friends made getting up at 4 a.m. definitely worth it.