As a mother and a student, there’s a lot to worry about. Will you get your homework done? Will you child do well at school? Perhaps the most scary might be: Will I get a job when all of this work is finished? And if I do find work, will it be enough to create a life for my family and me?

Let me introduce you to Audrey LeGrand. She will do some worrying for you. And, hopefully, she will take some of the worries off your plate.

LeGrand is author of “How to Get Out of Job Jail: Eight Ways to Have the Career You’ve Always Wanted.” She describes job jail as that under-employment issue where you are working and not fulfilling your potential, making enough money or feeling satisfied.

It is a real issue in today’s sketchy economy. According to statistics, what is known as underemployment affects nearly twice as many Americans as unemployment. The underemployment rate for Americans has climbed from under 10 percent in 2007 to nearly 18 percent in 2010. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, underemployment is a category that includes, but is not limited to, people who are unemployed, or who have a job but still cannot make ends meet.

“Job Jail is a particularly sneaky trap, because many of us land in it without ever realizing it,” said LeGrand.

Some background on Ms. LeGrand: She began her career as a human resource generalist with a major financial institution. In 1987, Audrey left the corporate arena and formed Innovators & Motivators, Inc., a human-resources consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations create tomorrow’s opportunities out of today’s challenges, while saving BIG money. Audrey’s past clients include Bellsouth, IBM, SunTrust Bank and many others.

“Whether our hours have been shaved from full time to part time, or we’ve struggled just to get two low-paying jobs to replace the one higher-paying job we once had, it can be almost impossible to escape once you’ve been locked in that cell,” LeGrand said.

Personally, I know that feeling of being locked into a job that doesn’t pay well or expected too much. My first job was for about minimum wage at the time, and I worked easily 50 or hours a week. I was fresh out of college, and I needed to pay for an apartment, my new-to-me used car and a young person’s social life. I hate to complain – because I did have a job in my desired field – but I did feel like I was underemployed, big time.

So what do we do to fix the situation?

“The first thing we should all do in the New Year is to take a new look at our resumes, because they represent the first time a potential employer considers us for a new job,” Le Grand said. She recommends employees – and students – create a resume and keep it sharp so they don’t forget to mention any awards, projects or jobs that would help advance them when the “right” job presents itself.

Keep your resume short, sweet and interesting. Don’t fudge dates, no matter what…Enough people have gotten in trouble with employers for messing up the timing of past jobs. It’s just not worth getting caught, LeGrand said. Have someone preview your resume to make sure there are no errors. And get it out in front of people. If no one knows you’re looking for work – or that you’re a hungry student ready to get to work – then you’ll just sit on a pile without getting any movement.

I’ll be talking to LeGrand about what other steps we should follow to stay out of job jail. Any questions or requests for topics? Let me know!

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