Don’t forget handwritten notes!

I finally got my application finished for a grant for school. I got confirmations back from everyone who was writing me recommendation letters so I sat down and starting writing out thank you notes. Not emails, but hand written notes. I think the art of letter writing has been lost in a sea of electronic communication. Companies are now cautioning their hiring managers to be on the look out for text messaged thank you’s after interviews with younger applicants. Really? Is this what we’ve come to?

In 15 years of job applications, I’ve been offered every job I’ve ever interviewed for. I think the main reason: the handwritten thank you note that arrives the day after the interview. When employers are trying to decide which highly qualified candidate to hire out of the sea of unemployed applicants, that thank you note maybe what helps give you the edge over the competition. I know when I’ve received them after interviewing someone, I think about the time that someone put in to write me a note, put a stamp on it and put it in the box. I’d rather have that employee who was willing to go the extra mile.

So if you are in the process of looking for a new job or maybe your teenager is looking for his or her first job, don’t forget the all powerful handwritten thank you note. This is especially important for teenagers since most other teenagers won’t do this. It’s a surefire way to show a potential employer how much you care about getting this job.

Recession over? Really?

So I wanted to try to spark some discussion on the blog today. I do a lot of lighthearted stuff here but I wanted to see if there was any interest in something with a bit more bite every once and a while. The recession is something that is effecting us all in some way. I get what the media is saying about it, but I want to know what you think. I’ve created a new category for “Your thoughts”. If this is successful, I’ll try to work in a post like this a couple times a month. Feel free to vent, but be respectful of others. No personal attacks.

I read a lot of news sources. Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more articles about the recession being over. The stock market is trending up. Consumer spending is up. Economists and Government officials are telling us that it’s over or should be by the end of the quarter. It’s time to have a party, right?

I’m not buying it. I’m not an economic expert, but I think the real measure that we are moving out of the recession is job growth or at least we stop losing jobs. We still lost 550,000 jobs last month. The official unemployment rate is about 9.5%. This doesn’t include the number of people who’s unemployment benefits have expired or those who have just stopped looking for work or those who are underemployed (those working part-time who would like full-time employment). Include those people and the unemployment rate jumps over 16%.

I’ve heard it said many times that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose yours. I know a lot of people who have lost their jobs and I live in one of the states where our unemployment rate is lower than the national average. We have been very fortunate to both be employed to the level we wish to be.

The Questions

How is the economy where you are? How is your “personal economy”?

Do you think the recession is over?

What factors must improve before you will start to believe that the recession is over? Is the the stock market? Seeing companies make money again? Jobs growth? Consumer spending? Credit flowing again?