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Areas of Business Needing People Now; Tips on Finding a Job

Aired November 29, 2008 - 13:00   ET


ALI VELSHI, CNN C0-HOST: Welcome to a special edition of "Your Money: Jobs 2009, Help Wanted."
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST, YOUR MONEY: This hour is not how bad the job market is. It's about solutions, understanding the current environment and how to take steps to make sure you are employed for years to come.

ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST, YOUR MONEY: We will identify specific areas that need to hire people right now and how you can get those jobs.

Plus, careers that will be hot for the next one, five and ten years.

ROMANS: So grab a pen and paper, we're about to empower you. This next hour will contain some critical information either you or someone you know may be able to use.

VELSHI: But before we get to the job opportunities that are out there, we want to understand the current climate.

ROMANS: Louis Barajas is a personal wealth advisor, Sonia Alleyne is a careers editor for "Black Enterprise" and Lakshman Achuthan is managing editor of the Economic Cycle Research Group. Welcome everybody.

Lakshman let me start with you. Where are we right now in the job situation? Give us the big picture here.

LAKSHMAN ACHUTHAN, MANAGING EDITOR, ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH GROUP: We're in the second or third chapter of a recession. It's been going on all year and it is intensifying as we speak and you're seeing that in terms of pervasive job losses across the country and across different industries. It's not affecting just one industry anymore it is pretty much affecting all of them.

ROMANS: You brought along some great charts to kind of show where we were in January 2008 in job losses, the blue is job gains and when you look back later in the year you can see that that blue is starting to evaporate.

ACHUTHAN: It turns to red. You go from a sea of blue to a sea of red. Red is bad, that means you've been losing jobs for the last six months and that red is probably going to persist for a while. You're seeing the weakness squeeze in from the coasts and the center of the country is kind of hanging in. We know why. It was because oil and farm prices were up and so they hung in there, but we also know that those weakened so that might turn more red as we go forward. VELSHI: For those of you who have not lost a job, many of us live in fear that that kind of thing could happen and we really discuss how it is that you've maintained your value to your company, but Sonia is important to do that to figure out your value to the company and to realize if your job is eliminated it may not be about you.

SONIA ALLEYNE, CAREERS EDITOR, "BLACK ENTERPRISE:" That's exactly right. You can't take it personally. What most employees need to know is the function of their job, of course, and how to do that well, but you also have to understand what value that brings to the company, because the second part to that is the job that is valuable to the company, but then you have to look at how valuable you are to the company. If there's someone else who could do your job well. So that talks to how well you manage your profile in an organization.

ROMANS: If you think you're doing a really good job or you think that your image of yourself in the office is different then other people's image of you and that is something important to think especially at a time like this.

ALLEYNE: That is very important. That's why you need to get support or advice from people outside your immediate circle and so perception is reality. Whatever other people are thinking about you is actually true and so you need to talk to your mentors and your supporters and your advocates in the organization. Or even have conversations with your managers to find out exactly how they really think about you and the job you perform.

VELSHI: Louis Barajas is a personal wealth adviser. Louis you know if you're in a position where you've lost your job, or you think you might be one those who have lost their job obviously your personal finances become a major, major issue.

LOUIS BARAJAS, PERSONAL WEALTH ADVISER: Absolutely. What happens if you've lost your job, we've gone from crises? The first thing you really want to do is figure out what's the minimum amount of money you need to spend per month and create some kind of plan to pay that off. If you've been laid off or let go, you will have to take a look at what unemployment you are going to be able to have, what resources you have. Maybe using some of the cash from your cash value policies. There's a lot of stuff that you can get done to prepare for something like this.

VELSHI: Let me ask you this, Louis. In many people's cases when they lose their jobs many people live very close to what they earn and they spend very close what they earn. In a layoff situation even if you're getting unemployment benefits bottom line is you're bringing in less money than you were and some of your expenses are not going to be met. What is a person to do? Do you have a conversation with your creditors and tell them that you lost your job and you may be having trouble paying. Do you go you're your retirement savings if they're in a 401(k) or an IRA?

BARAJAS: Absolutely. What you do is you have to talk to the creditors first and you have to talk to the landlord, but what you want to do is you want to use your equity line of credit and your credit cards first because if you also use, for example, retirement plan it can be rather expensive. We're nearing the end of the year what we also want to do is start preparing. Get ready, start preparing your stuff for a tax return, if you are going to get a refund, get that in as soon as possible.

You'll start to attract cash flow into your life, because that is what you are worried about when you've lost your job, it's all about cash flow.

ROMANS: We'll talk a little bit about the emotional side of this in a minute, but Lakshman I want to ask you about where it begins and how long it happens. Job losses, once we start seeing the job losses, it's almost worse than that because people are cutting back hours, right? They're cutting back on temp workers and they've been not filling positions that were opened. By the time you start seeing the big heads rolling it's already a pervasive situation.

ACHUTHAN: Absolutely. The same way that you would cut back at home if you had some cash flow problems, businesses cut back and they look at people in many ways as a cost, and they see the sales are down so they're cutting back on people. This is a real problem for the next couple of quarters, at least. At least until the first half, really, of '09 because job growth will lag whatever recovery there is. And we have all of this effort to stimulate the economy, but all of the business managers are saying, I am not going to hire more people. I'm going try to do more with less, just as any household is trying to do.

VELSHI: Which means when things start coming back not everybody is going to jump to hiring new people. Sonia one of the things you have to deal with if you've been laid off and as you mentioned even while you're employed is get aggressive with your networking at this point, whether its people inside your company or outside, you need to be prepared for the inevitable.

ALLEYNE: If you are laid off this is a great time to self-assess in terms of what your skills are, what your talents are and what you can bring to the next organization that you join.

VELSHI: We're going to talk a little later in the show as we do almost every week about things that you can retrain into if you find yourself in that position because that's an important one. We've said many times, Christine and I have said that for those manufacturing jobs that have been lost across the country, there's really not much chance that those jobs are coming back any time soon.

ACHUTHAN: Not in the form they were before. However, there's this idea that recession is a create of destruction. Whatever didn't work before will probably go away permanently. However, in that space, new ideas, new types of businesses are going to form, and if you are keyed into that you can do quite well on the upside. So that's the opportunity out of these crises.

ROMANS: All right. Lakshman Achuthan, thank you very much. Sonia Alleyne we will talk to you soon. Louis Barajas.

OK, are you about to lose your job? How to read the writing on the wall if you are and what to do about it.


VELSHI: There's been so much news about layoffs, you probably can't help but wonder if you or someone you know is next.

ROMANS: Well here to tell you how to read the corporate tea leaves. Robin Bond employment attorney in work place and legal analyst and Nancy Collamer founder of Welcome to the program, both of you. We're glad to have you on.

I want to talk to you first Robin about what's behind all these layoffs? I mean, we're seeing them over and over and over again in all these different kinds of industries. Is it just the numbers? Is it just business is down? You have to lop heads here?

Oh, no. While there's true economic distress, I see at least two other factors very much at play here. First of all, companies are proactively choosing to lay people off before things get bad. This is a way of making the numbers and obviously, covering up for some prior management misjudgments. The second major thing I see is companies are cutting way deeper than they need too as a way of cleaning house and what better way to jump on the bandwagon is under the guise of economic distress than to get rid of the expensive workers, the people you don't like and people that are costing you a lot of money. When you clean house this gives you an opportunity to soak up some of the great cream that's on the market with other people that have been laid off.

VELSHI: That's typical in many industries where they lay off the bottom percentage of those they don't like and then they hire as many people back. Nancy, let's ask you, warning signs if you haven't been laid off first of all, we are going to talk about what happens when you have been laid off, but if you haven't been laid off, warning signs that you're next or that your company's got something big about to happen.

NANCY COLLAMER, FOUNDER, LAYOFFSURVIVALGUIDE.COM: I would have my antenna up if I see a lot of cost-cutting measures going into effect in rapid succession. So if you suddenly start to see that there's been a freeze on hiring that performance reviews are being delayed or that there is severe restrictions on travel, extraordinary cost-cutting going, you are expected to see some cost cutting going on right now but we're talking about something that's really out of the ordinary.

The other thing too watch out for is unusual meetings going on. Do you see people in hr spending long hours behind closed doors with executives? If you see that type of thing going on, definitely have your antenna up.

ROMANS: It's a reminder for managers to I think. This is not the time too have a bunch of meetings right in front of people. Everyone is worried about this.

VELSHI: You're not trying to signal that there's a problem. Nancy one quick addition to that, you tell us how to see signs that there might be things going on. What about things that you might be involved in personally. How do you get a sense that you might be a target of a layoff?

COLLAMER: If you suddenly feel like you're the odd person out and you're not being included in key meetings and your boss is avoiding making eye contact with you or you are not getting those plum assignments all of those could be warning signals to you.

ROMANS: We also know for both of you that when you have people around you, a lot of positions that have been left unfilled over the past year or so that's a kind of a sign when there's a hiring freeze around you, I think that's a sign that your company is certainly wasn't adding jobs and might be looking to cut jobs, too.

Robin, let me ask you about to do. Citigroup, earlier this fall they cut 50,000 jobs and who knows how many more financial industry jobs will be lost. What do you do? Do you walk out the door with your self esteem in your briefcase or your handbag or do you make the best out of the situation in terms of the payout and the like?

ROBIN BOND, EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY: Oh, absolutely. You need to be proactive. As you see the signs of distress that Nancy was talking about, the first thing you want to do is find out what does my company say about severance. What does it say about termination? Learn what the policies say now and start figuring out what you will need to make the transition. An average number is four and a half months of time to find a new job today. That's an average number.

So that gives you an idea of what you need for severance pay. If you don't see that number there, you have to figure out what am I giving the company of value that will inspire them to give me more money or continue my healthcare longer. Are you giving them a release agreement? Are you giving a non-compete agreement? These are the kinds of things that are worth more money.

VELSHI: Non compete even in an environment like this where so many people are being laid off? Is that of value to anybody?

BOND: A lot of people, yes a non compete, I see a tremendous amount of activity in the area of non-competes right now and a non- solicitation agreement.

VELSHI: Which means you can't solicit other people from your place of work once you've left.

BOND: Correct. Or you can't solicit the clients of your former employer once you leave. But whether or not these are enforceable is strictly a matter of state law and the facts that pertain to everyone's situation. Of course if you can get them to pay you six months of severance in exchange for six-months non compete you'll probably be OK with that. That is why I am saying let's negotiate for what we want and give the company something that it wants in exchange, too. ROMANS: Nancy give us some of your tips then for how to make the most of a severance package. The writing's on the wall and you are going to lose your job, a lot of other people are, too, don't panic. Make sure you get the most out of that deal. How do you do that?

COLLAMER: As Robin just said first of all, you should know what you're entitled to in your severance package. Find that out ahead of time if at all possible. Recognize, too, however if you're part of a large company layoff, your ability to negotiate is probably going to be very restricted. Companies put together these severance plans with a lot of care and there's going to be very little room to bargain.

ROMANS: Nancy Collamer,, thank you. Robin Bond, employment attorney, thank you so much both of you for helping us do that.

VELSHI: Well it might take time to take a different approach to finding a job, but how do you get the job search results that you want with some simple steps? We'll tell you.


VELSHI: Well some of us have jobs, some of us are worried about losing jobs and some of us have been out of jobs. If you've been looking for a job for a few months and you're starting to get frustrated, it may be time to reconsider your approach.

ROMANS: Liz Wolgemuth, of US News and World Report joins us now with some ways to search more effectively. The first step to every job search is getting the resume together. How important is that?

LIZ WOLGEMUTH, US NEWS & WORLD REPRT: Well, obviously, the resume is key and it's really important to be clean, concise and have proper grammar. One of the things that many of us have been trained to do is write these objective statements on the top of our resumes.

ROMANS: What is the objective statement? I've never done that before. What is that exactly?

WOLGEMUTH: Well it's supposed to speak to the kind of job that you're looking for, but a lot of people sort of throw away that space because that's like prime real estate at the top of your resume. A lot of hiring managers are only spending 10 to 15 seconds on each resume; probably less in a recession when there are more people applying for jobs and you want to really grab them with that top statement. You don't want to leave it bland. You want to keep it short, concise, snappy and make one word maybe that speaks to your skills or to your accomplishments, but if you can't do that, if you really feel like you're not equipped to have that kind of precise writing or you don't have the time for that, drop it. Leave it off your resume and let your work experience be at the top and let that really sell you for hiring managers.

VELSHI: Let's talk about networking. We discussed this earlier in the show, the idea whether you're losing your job or you lost it, networking is very important. What's the most effective ways for a job seeker to network?

WOLGEMUTH: Get on linked in. For people who have been out of the market for a while, maybe they've been in one job for a couple of decades or they were at home taking care of their kids, get on links in and create a profile and track down your former colleagues and you'll be surprised by the number of professionals that are on there.

ROMANS: That's one of the social networking sites, the grown-up version of myspace.

VELSHI: The grown-up version of your address book.


VELSHI: Yes. That's a good tip. Let's talk a little bit about you're applying for jobs and you're not getting a good response. That's very, very frustrating. What are you suppose to do?

WOLGEMUTH: Well, when you're -- you really sort of need to reconsider your method. They're finding openings only on the Internet. You want to carve out a piece of your time every day to get off the Internet and cold call companies. Get your resume, get your name, get your face out in front of people and go knock on doors if you need too. It's a little old-fashioned, but it's effective because you want to get in there before the opening gets posted.

ROMANS: Take a look at the skills you have and figure out how the skills might get interested. You could be in accounting and laid off, right? From an accounting firm, but you can figure out a way to translate that into health care for example or education or some other kind of growing industry, right?

WOLGEMUTH: That's very important. I would say that accounting may hold up pretty well during a recession and all industries will be hurt a little bit, but health care will hold up better. The public sector will hold up better. So if you can find a place to find these transferable skills that will work well in a government job, that's really important.

VELSHI: Liz, finally, be flexible. Christine and I talk about this all of the time, if you have the ability to be flexible and some job seekers don't, but if you can move, there are other parts of the country that are better, and other industries that are better for you.

WOLGEMUTH: Yes, I know that's hard for homeowners to be flexible as far as location and geography goes, but when you look at your requirements and you look at what you've been expecting and what your bar has been there are all kind of areas where you can be more flexible. Maybe you can accept a part-time job. Maybe you can accept a temp job or do contract work. There are a lot of areas where you can be more flexible. It's just math. You can increase your odds of finding something.

VELSHI: It was a pleasure to talk to you again. Thanks for your good help to our viewers. Liz Wolgemuth is a reporter with US News and World Report. You know what else you can do to make sure you get the job.


VELSHI: Take some vitamins. Are you going to make it?

ROMANS: I'm going to make it. Is it that distracting?

VELSHI: It saddens me that you're sick and I may not be able to work with you.

ROMANS: I'm not sick. I'm fine, right? Now that you have all of the right tools to search for a job. We're going to tell you where you can find jobs, open jobs right now.


WHITFIELD: Hello I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta, now in the news.

Indian security forces continue to comb Mumbai's Taj Ma Hall for any remaining terrorists or hostages. The hotel was the last hold out of the gunman who attacked multiply targets in Mumbai. At least 183 people in all were killed including some Americans. Investigators are trying to find out who is responsibly.

President Bush says terror will not have the final word in Mumbai. He says the United States will lend its full support as India investigates this week's terror attacks. The president spoke about a half an hour ago after landing there at the White House after spending the weekend at Camp David.

Sectarian violence in Nigeria. Mobs are fighting each other for second day, burning homes, churches and mosques. An imam at the city's main mosque says more than 300 people have been killed. The violence began as clashes between rival political parties all escalating along ethnic and religious lines.

Retailers in this country are nervously awaiting to see how the struggling economy will affect one of the biggest shopping weekends of the season. The official numbers won't be known for quite a while. The National Retailer's Association predicts that some 6 million fewer shoppers will hit the stores.

Coming up at the top of the hour, we'll be looking more into the retail situation this holiday weekend. Now back to more of YOUR MONEY.

ROMANS: Every week we've been telling you about growing industries. Industries in this country that are hiring right now. Every month we look at the unemployment number and there are all these industries where they're just shedding jobs, but there are some that are growing.

VELSHI: That need positions filled immediately.

Here to tell us what they are and how to qualify for them, Dennis Damp, the author "Healthcare, Jobs Explosion." And Jennifer Merritt career journal editor for the "Wall Street Journal." Dennis thanks to both of you for being here. Dennis, let's start with you, we picked out a couple that you told us about in the past and let's get right to them. These are jobs in the healthcare industry, a growing industry. One of them that you talked about is a medical transriptionist. Tell us a bit about that.

DENNIS DAMP, AUTHOR, "HEALTHCARE JOB EXPLOSION:" Yes. They basically will transcribe the notes that doctors dictate for the official records for the organization. It's a great job. You can work part-time or full time. My editor for many years worked part-time as a transcriptionist because she wanted to stay home with her young children and it was a good fit for her. You start at $30,000 a year and you can either work for a major organization and work independently and they're hiring 18,000 a year.

ROMANS: That's good news. What about physician assistant? This is not the same as a medical assistant. This is a physician assistant. Tell us about this one.

DAMP: Physician assistants treat the overall care of the patients, the diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive care of the patient under the drug supervision of a physician. They also prescribe medications in 48 states and it's a great occupation. If you don't have the time or inclination in ten or 12 years to be a physician you can get into this field with as little as two years of college. Most have a B.S. degree. The average pay is $75,000 a year and it's a great way to get into the field.

VELSHI: That's incredible. That's good pay.

Jennifer lets turn to you, you were looking at some education jobs, another growing area. Elementary school teachers. Let's start with that.

JENNIFER MERRITT, CARERRJOURNAL EDITOR, "WALL STREETJOURNAL:" You know, there's a shortage of teachers all over the country that a lot of states are letting you become a teacher with just a bachelor's degree and you have 18 months to get your certification and you can make $45,000 a year plus a sign-on bonus, so there is a real demand and it just doesn't ever stop especially with retirements.

ROMANS: High school counselors. This is a job that you told us that you us before that you think is a great growth opportunity with good pay.

MERRITT: You can make $57,000 a year after a few years and up to $75,000 or more and you need a master's degree in counseling but there are more people retiring and leaving the field than there are graduating. So it's a great opportunity for someone who is trying to figure out what to do right now.

VELSHI: I love this next one and I want to talk about this. It's the concept of a virtual administrative assistant. I've sort of read about this in the past, what are they and what can they make?

MERRITT: It is really catching on, they can earn between $20 to $60 an hour depending on the complexity of the work they do, a lot of the small businesses or independent consultants or even psychiatrists or counselors will hire a virtual administrative assistant, you work from home and you can work part time and you are basically their office assistant and you really have a lot of flexibility in that job.

ROMANS: With no overhead. You can do a job like that from anywhere.

MERRITT: You can do it from home. We all need one, right?

ROMANS: These are the kinds of things we should be thinking about with the ways that you can useyour talent to try to reach out. Like if you have a talent, if you have a knack and you have a talent for being an organizer, you can reach out. How do you start a business like that? A virtual assistant.

MERRITT: You know there are lots of firms out there that are advertising on or Career Builder and looking for virtual administrative assistants and in a lot of cases you can find a job there. There are also some specific job boards that post these positions.

VELSHI: All right. Dennis, Jennifer stick around. We will look beyond next year and check out the jobs you could be training for in five years or ten years, next.


VELSHI: Many of the jobs that have been hot for the last decades may not be the brightest career path for the future.

ROMANS: Let's look into our crystal ball. Back with us then is Dennis Damp and Jennifer Merritt. We want to look at some of the jobs that will be hot going forward. What you should be training for for the next five years and for the next ten years. What you should be encouraging your children or grandchildren to get involved in the things that are going to grow. I want to start with you, Dennis; computer system analyst earns about $70,000 a year. What do you have to do to train to be ready for this job in the future?

DAMP: They analyze the operation environment of the company they work for and integrate new technologies; they modify land, local area networks and wide area networks. They develop databases and work on security issues. It typically takes a B.S. degree and those with an inclination for computer and are often self taught can also enter the field. However most enter with a BS degree. The pay is $70,000 a year and they're looking to hire 140,000 between now and 2016. So, it's a great opportunity for those who like computer and want to get into that field.

VELSHI: You know, one of the things Dennis pointed out is that healthcare jobs are projected to grow 25 percent by 2016. So that's probably 3 million jobs. Jennifer, you mentioned a job in your notes of a patient advocate.

MERRITT: This is increasingly popular. There are companies that have been set up, pinnacle care, health advocate that actually help walk you through the health care process and companies are actually hiring these firms to offer the service as a perk or adult children are hiring these folks to help with their aging parents from afar. So the job pays very well and you need a bachelor's degree. It helps if you have a background in social services or human services, but you don't have to have one. You just want to be able to help people.

ROMANS: Anybody who's ever been in a situation where you have someone who is in elder care or in an assisted living or in some kind of a rehabilitation hospital situation, you know it takes a lot of help to walk you through how to pay for it, where insurance lags and you need other things and right down to the social worker part of it, connecting you so I could see how there could be a real need for that, because when two people are working and trying to care for someone else, it can be tough.

MERRITT: It's very difficult.

VELSHI: Dennis let's talk about an environmental science and protection technician. I'm trying to figure out what that is, but not a bad starting salary, $40,000.

DAMP: Yes. They work basically in any organization to determine any hazardous materials in the environment. They do air sampling. They test water. They do diligent audit prior to, during and after any type of major project to determine any impact on the environment. There are also occupational safety and health specialists and they work basically to look at the health confined space and hazardous communications areas. It's a growing field because of the greening of America.

ROMANS: It sounds like that's the kind of job where you can get out from behind the desk yourself and get out on the field and start to meet people and do some things out on field tests and the like. That's kind of interesting.

DAMP: They also expand an occupational safety and health arena and when they do that they can expand their salary by $20,000 or $30,000 more by getting into the OSHA regulations.

VELSHI: You're predicting a 28 percent growth rate in 2016.

Jennifer, genetic counselor. Talk to me about that.

MERRITT: This just exploded as more genetic tester available; it's grown by 50 percent in the last decade. It's expected to expect to grow another 30 percent over the next five years. You need a masters in genetic counseling. But it is a two year program and in your last year you are in the clinic doing the work. So you help counsel people. You give them genetic activities, prenatal tests and prediction position for heart disease so you're in a helping profession there and it's growing like mad and more and more people feel that this will just become a part of our regular health regimen as time goes by.

ROMANS: Dennis, we have this other one here. Air traffic controller, $122,000, is that a starting salary or is that an average salary?

DAMP: No, the starting is around $40. But I was air technical manager for the FAA at the Pittsburgh tower and they basically control traffic in and out of airports across country, maintain safe situation separation, talk to them, provide advisories and route them around weather disturbances and so forth and bring them safely in to land at an airport through a local terminal facility like the one I worked at in Pittsburgh. .

They hand it over to ground control, they either sequence them in for immediate landing and put them in a holding pattern and when they land they safely get them to the terminal. The opportunities are rather extensive. They're hiring 17,000 over the next ten years. Most controllers will leave within ten years because there's an age limit. You can't be over 31 to get in and you have to leave at age 56 so that doesn't leave a huge window. They can make up to $122,000.

A lot of opportunities and they work with professional specialists called system specialists and that group along about the air traffic controllers provide the safest national airspace in the world. They're also offering a $20,000 sign-on bonus for new recruits witch is phenomenal and in the federal sector like one of your earlier guests alluded to, there are many opportunities and they'll even offer up to $60,000 for paid tuition assistance to get you into these critical positions.

VELSHI: Tough job, though. It's a high-stress job. If you don't like stress in your job, that's not one for you.

DAMP: Toughest job I ever had, but the best job I ever had as well.

VELSHI: Very rewarding. Jennifer you got one if you're an air traffic controller you need this one. A life coach.

MERRITT: You would think of life coach as a personal trainer for your life. Life coaches help you overcome obstacles and help you how to figure out what comes next and work on your relationships and it's like a therapy without the stigma of therapy. You can make up to $50,000 to $75,000 a year. You train under another life coach and you can get certification through the International Coaching Federation and it takes six months and costs about $5,000.

ROMANS: In a tough economy wouldn't that be the first thing you cut back on? I have to get rid of my life coach because I can't pay for the kindergarten bill.

VELSHI: You might need it more in a tough economy. That might be the time that you have a spending problem or you need to get fit, people can change their lives in a recession.

MERRITT: Absolutely and that's what I've heard from a lot of life coaches that their business is picking up because people feel like they need the help now.

ROMANS: All right. Jennifer Merritt thank you so much.

VELSHI: I have learned a great deal from this.

ROMANS: We're going quit our jobs. No, we're not. We are not quitting our job. Dennis Damp, Jennifer Merritt, thank you so much.

VELSHI: All right. We asked you for your questions and you sure did respond. Thousands of e-mails to our money mailbox. We will tackle the issues that are telling us are more important to you or most important to you coming up next.


ROMANS: Position yourself to get a job in a down market is tough, but not impossible. Meet one job seeker who is learning how to make himself stand out from the masses of the unemployed.


ROMANS (voice over): Inspiring comic Danny Rouhier would rather be standing on a stage right now telling a joke, even if it gets just a few polite chuckles, but he's cueing up in this line of thousands for the chance at the day job he's been looking for since July.

DANNY ROUHIER, JOBSEEKER: Anyone looking for ad sales.

ROMANS: Steady and dependable, it's what he needs to pay the bills.

ERIC WINEGARDNER, MONSTER: What you saw today is three blocks worth.

ROUHIER: Three city blocks worth of competition. It's really about how you distinguish yourself from the crowd.

ROMANS: Career expert Eric Winegardner says it's OK to tell potential employers you have a passion outside of their line of work.

WINEGARDNER: Be very forward with the fact that this is who you are and this is what you want to do because if you're really engaged in your non-work hours that makes you a productive employee while you're there.

ROUHIER: Be up front and be totally honest.

ROMANS: That and being prepared. A polished, focused resume targeted to the job you want. A professional look, ready handshake and a 30- second intro that might get your new boss hooked.

ROUHIER: What's my pitch? I would say you're not going find anybody with better temperament that's as easy to get along with and that's as comfortable to dealing with people as I am. I do it professionally.

ROMANS: Most important, a positive attitude, even in this market at a job fair where turn out is so big it surprises even the organizers. Optimism can make you stand out.

ROUHIER: Everyone needs a comedian in the office. Professional water cooler, storyteller guy. There's probably a job like that on Monster.


ROMANS: You have to learn how to stand out. Companies are hiring even in this economy. Thousands of jobs are posted on career sites like Monster and it's all about making the match and get out there and make as many online and personal contacts as you can to find the next job.

VELSHI: We asked you to send us your questions and concerns about the job market and we have a team here to give you advice. Brad Karsh joins us now; he's the president and founder of Job Bound. We are also rejoined by Robert Bond, an employment attorney and Sonia Alleyne, a career editor at "Black Enterprise." Welcome to all of you. Thanks for being with us.

Brad, let's start with you, we've got an e-mail from Gregory who said I have a Bs in computer science, but I'm not using the skill in my current position. I tried to transfer to another department at my company, but my employer seems unwilling to help me move. I am willing to relocate in order to use my knowledge of computers what should I do?

BRAD KARSH, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, JOB BOUND: Great question and it is top now. Here is my first piece of advice. Do not quit your job, even if you are not happy with what you are doing now, given everything that's going on, what you want to do is start looking for this job while you still are employed. So be active about the job search. Start looking at different locations, looking at different companies and get your resume out there.

You heard about the importance of networking? Try and work your way into the job. Do the stuff on the side at night on and on weekends keep your current job and then when you do land something you'll be able to go to your employer, say hey listen I have another offer, either you can give me something here if you want to stay or you move on.

ROMANS: Great advice. Robin this one is for you. Rick says I recently accepted a contract position with a company, only to receive a better offer from a different company one week later. The second offer is a permanent position with a parent company of the first. Are you following? I don't want to go back on my word with the first company, but I'm concerned about my long-term job security. What should I do?

ROBIN BOND, EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY: Well, you know, a contractor position is a temporary one, so they are expecting that you will be leaving. The devil's usually in the details and I don't have the contract there, so this individual needs to look at the term and termination section of any contract that he signed to see what is required about giving a notice to move on to this next position, but I'm definitely going to say you need to arrange a way to accept this full-time position and tell the accepting boss that you're pleased that you're keeping it all in the family so the departing boss that you want to work out a very nice and reasonable transition and they'll think very highly of you for how professional you handled it.

VELSHI: In this environment that permanent position in a job with benefits is very useful. Sonia, this one's for you. J.B. has written I lost my job in early August and I've been unable to find gainful employment since then. I've had a few interviews, but nothing has panned out. I have a pretty compelling resume, but I have a hard time explaining why I'm not employed anymore. It's because I didn't get along with other coworkers and this affected my performance. I do not want to seem like I'm a non-team player.

SONIA ALLEYNE, CAREERS EDITOR, BLACK ENTERPRISE: He or she shouldn't be focused on the past in terms of what they did or what they didn't do and should talk about maybe that there was a philosophical difference. They want to move forward in terms of their direction and talk about what they want to do now in this company.

Maybe the other company wasn't as -- didn't allow them to be as creative as they possibly could or wasn't as innovative as they had thought they would be, and so now moving forward, that's what you want to focus. All of the strengths and all of the positives, but you don't want to -- the person says they have a compelling resume. They have to be able to speak to that and it sounds like they're wearing the burden of this past experience.

VELSHI: It's a bad time to be too particular about the environment you're in unless you happen to be an architect or a graphic designer, something that your creativity is there for the rest of us, we may want to button down on that creativity.

ALLEYNE: You really just want to focus on what you can bring to the new place.

ROMANS: All right. Brad we have another one for you. This is from Leslie, is it a good idea to submit a reference letter from your supervisor with your resume? I would like to make a lateral move in the clerical field. Many of my coworkers are also looking to transfer from our company due to a pending layoff next year. Sounds like Leslie knows the writing is one the wall that there is a pending layoff next year. What do you think?

KARSH: Well if you can get your current employer to send you a reference letter, obviously that means that you are looking for another job so you have to be up front about it. But if you can get one it will certainly not hurt. Be perfectly honest. I receive 10,000 resumes when I was a recruiting director and I got a lot of reference letters and references, the only people that you will include will say people that will say great things about you. I as a recruiting director always took them as a grain of salt. I wasn't about to put all of my eggs in that basket because if you put somebody on the list they will only say good things about you.

ROMANS: Good to know. Everyone stick with us. We have a lot more of very important job advice. Just getting started to help you recession proof your job. More of your e-mails on the way, but first, here's this week's "Right on Your Money."


ROMANS (voice over): America's elderly population is booming, the Census Bureau estimates nearly 20 percent of Americans will be 65 or older by the year 2030. "Money" magazine's Janice Revell says families are feeling stretched. JANICE REVELL, "MONEY" MAGAZINE: These days being in a so-called sandwich situation or you have your kids to take care of, you have your own retirement to fund, and you have parents who are aging and may need your help, it's becoming increasingly common.

ROMANS: Among those stuck in the middle, too many make the mistake of putting themselves last.

REVELL: You can't lose track of your own retirement goal because in the end, if you're not prepared for retirement, all you're going to do is shift the burden onto your kids.

ROMANS: Revell suggests adult children help their parents plan for health care expenses.

REVELL: Very common for elderly people to have far too much of their investments tied up in really, really low-yielding savings account and checking accounts.

ROMANS: And talk about finances early, before an accident or illness occurs.

REVELL: Don't wait until a crises hits because when that happens, that's when you run into -- into all kinds of bad situations where people are putting $20,000, $30,000 and $40,000 on their credit cards, it happens all the time, to help out their parents in case of medical emergency.

ROMANS: And that's this week's "Right on Your Money."


VELSHI: We're joined again by our job experts Brad Karsh, Robin Bond, Sonia Alleyne and we are answering your viewer e-mails. Let's start with you, Robin. We have an e-mail here from Katherine, if companies are laying off employees, what's the likelihood that they will hire new ones? Also, how can I market myself or find other options without abandoning my chosen workforce? Robin.

BOND: Companies are using layoffs for an opportunity to make room to hire some of the cream of the crop that's out on the market now. So, yes, I think the odds are excellent that you may see jobs posted even before the older employees are being ushered out of the revolving door. I think the chances are very good, you know, you're going to see new jobs posted.

Now, here's what you need to do to make yourself shine as some of this cream of the crop. You need to have some great talking points developed about the good things that you have done for past employers, how you have created value and helped the bottom line. Show that you're a flexible worker, that you like to work and that you're pleasant to work with. Because companies are looking for this and they also want people who can work well under pressure.

VELSHI: I must say just to add to that, Sonia was nodding her head and Brad and I talked about this in the past, make your resume about the value you've created rather than a list of skills you know. What have you done? What problems did you solve? What did you change for the company that you worked with?

ROMANS: I usually look to you, this is interesting. Robin wrote in, I'm a freelance copy writer in New York City. I have had steady work for over seven years. I thought when the economy suffers, freelancers do well. My business has been slower than usual recently and it's given some thought to a full-time position, which is, frankly, not my preference. Can you shed some light on the freelance market during a recession?

ALLEYNE: This is actually a great time for freelancers because as companies are looking to cut costs, they are looking for noncommittal relationships. This is perfect. They can hire you for a specific reason and then when the job is done, then you can actually move on. The onus is on the freelancer now is to really be able to sell themselves.

ROMANS: Be more aggressive. You might have to be more aggressive in a recession.

ALLEYNE: Very aggressive, very strategic and very targeted. And since you don't know where your next opportunity will come, you have to be prepared to talk about who you are and what you do. Those talking points that Robin mentioned, those have to be on the tip of your tongue any time you meet someone. You have to get that elevator pitch down to a science.

VELSHI: Brad, I got one for you from Hussein. He says, I'm an accountant. I have been unemployed and searching for a job for four months. I posted my resume to different sites but never heard back from employers. What other options should I consider?

KARSH: I'm so glad this question came up because this is one that I hear over and over again. As a job seeker, you have to be assertive and not completely passive. So many people do online and say, I'm applying for jobs. How come I'm not hearing back? It doesn't work that way. You have to think about it from the perspective of the company. They're getting flooded with resumes. They will not say Hussein finally applied for the job, hallelujah, get him in here. It doesn't work that way.

He needs to follow up to the companies he did apply to, send them an e-mail, call them on the phone, see if there are any next steps. But more importantly in this time especially you need to network to get your way in those companies. Find somebody you know at that company. It may seem impossible but the power of networking is quite amazing. Even now two out of three people get their jobs through networking. Go on Linkdin; go on other social networking sites.

When you're hanging out during the holidays, ask your cousins. Who knows anybody who works at these companies? Your crazy Uncle Meryl, does he know anybody that works there? You might be shocked at what you might find. Go back to your career center. Years later they can help you out with contacts at different organizations. ROMANS: I never thought about that. Here's something interesting. I want to ask this of Sonia. So many people asked me about this. It's the boss problem. A trouble worker reached out and says, I have worked for the same employer for eight years and enjoy my job but I cannot work for my boss. He micromanages criticizes and undervalues everything I do. Other departments and individuals at my organization value my work and give me recognition. I could report to a different department at my company to produce the same work that I am currently providing. How can I make this transition? Is this the time to be making waves with your boss?

ALLEYNE: This may be time to actually start having conversations with your boss. A lot of times employees suffer in silence and just don't really explore why they are having these challenges. Take the emotion out it. We talked about it earlier. Is it you or is it that just the way he manages? The good thing is he has good relations throughout the company.

He may have an advocate. He can talk to someone above him in another department and maybe they can make the recommendation. He shouldn't be the first person to make the move on that but somebody else can make the recommendation on his behalf to offer a position to him in another department.

VELSHI: Remember our friend Bruce?

ROMANS: Yeah, I do.

VELSHI: Bruce used to come to me and tell me about something his boss said. I would say what a jerk. He said no, clearly I'm not communicating something with him. He would go and have this conversation with his boss that made the boss say, what a great guy for carrying the responsibility for this and trying to fix it. I was smirking as you were saying this. I can't imagine ever doing that. There's a way to do this and say, what's not working? What can I do to make things work better? Interesting. That's very sound advice.

ROMANS: It's great advice all the way around. I'm really pleased.

VELSHI: I'm really pleased. Thank you for all of you for submitting those questions to us. We are going to stay on this jobs issue all the time. We are learning a lot, and I hope you are too. Thank you for joining us for this special edition of YOUR MONEY.

ROMANS: Whether it's job security or finding a new job, you concerns are joined by millions of Americans.

VELSHI: We will give you the information you need to take charge of your job situation right now.

ROMANS: Join us every week for YOUR MONEY, Saturday at 1:00 pm Eastern and Sunday at 3:00.

VELSHI: We will see you then.