To Whom It May Concern: Some Resources To Help Find That Perfect Job

The working world can be a crazy place for entry level employees. This is no different in the city of Boston. Approaching real life can be stressful and it may cause disorientation of the individual.

The warm covers of college removed; coming into the workforce for many young Bostonians is something very like waking up on a cold winter morning when the heat is busted: you’re freezing, you don’t want to move, but you know that you have to.

This recurring column on is in place to throw a sweater and some pink bunny slippers on college students emerging into the workforce for the first time. It is here to say, “Yeah, its cold outside, and yeah, your heat’s busted, but here’s a hot coffee and the wanted ads. Get your butt in gear.”

In honor of the Christmas holiday and of the holiday season in general, here are 12 places you can start looking for work:


I know, I know. You’ve probably looked at it; you probably don’t feel like looking at it again. But facts are facts. If you post your resume and you fashion a respectable profile, employers will not only look at you, they will contact you: more on this in a later column.


This site doesn’t get enough credit. Sure, it has had legal troubles in recent memory. Sure, not all of the jobs are desirable. Sure, the format is disagreeable and might as well be not formatted at all. But trust me; there are jobs to be had here; especially if you are looking for a small firm with little advertising dollars.


Your college probably had a website that helped you with careers. At Northeastern, this one was used. Everyone can create a log in though and should. There is a wealth of jobs here.


Not my favorite site, but a lot of my friends and colleagues have had success here. Try it out if you dare.


This is the state of Massachusetts’s HR website. I have worked for the state before, and I found this site extremely useful in finding government jobs. Be sure to check this one often.


Obviously no list of this kind would be complete without guiding people interested in Boston to work for the city. Check this site out if you are really into working for your town.


Now onto the staffing agencies. Sometimes securing employment is hard. These guys (#’s 7, 8 ) are here to help. They might aid you in finding permanent work, but be wary, it’s more likely that they’d get you something temporary.


Ditto to the previous answer. Both KNF&T and Beacon Hill Staffing are downtown, both have a bunch of clients, and both have friendly people working for them that will help you out in your search.

9.      Respective company’s websites

Always make sure to apply to specific places via their own websites. It is ridiculous how many people know that they want to work for a specific company, only to play a losing waiting game after having not applied themselves on said company’s actual website. This will definitely get a column later too.

10. says it’s good and so do I. This is one website I personally want to check out more. If you’re into Boston’s cultural scene, this one’s for you.

11.  Colleges

You went to college. You know people work there. Why shouldn’t you?

12.  Hospitals

Maybe health care is your thing and maybe it isn’t. The bottom line here is that Boston is home to many of the world’s best hospitals. There are jobs at each of them, and not all of those jobs require a health care background. Definitely look into this industry.

I hope that this column proved helpful to some of you in week two. Please let me know if it did or if it didn’t. Beyond that, happy hunting: I hope you feel a little less frigid about your job search now. If not, no worries, there’s more to come.

Happy Holidays,



Rules of Engagement - An Interview with Vic Acosta

In any volunteer organization, the people make the experience. At Back On My Feet Boston, one of the key people is Executive Director Vic Acosta. I interviewed Vic about the unique program, great volunteers, and how anyone can help.

Meg Reilly: What makes BOMF successful?

Vic Acosta: It’s a simple concept:  bringing community to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access. BOMF is truly the non-resident volunteers!

MR: Everyone is looking for volunteers; how does BOMF attract such great people?

VA: We do have the best people! I’m amazed everyday that people are out there so consistently.  The non-residents are managing and dealing with relationships in a way that’s different from other volunteer opportunities. BOMF volunteers directly engage and affect people by simply being who they are.

MR: I witness the great turnout in the early mornings, but it’s more than just showing up. From your perspective, what makes a great volunteer?

VA: The word volunteer doesn’t come up at BOMF.  “Volunteering” changes into having a relationship with someone in the shelter. It changes the whole concept of “volunteer”.

MR: I agree. When describing my involvement, I always say I’m running with a team.

VA: To volunteer anywhere is to help, but actual engagement doesn’t always play a factor.  That’s where we’re unique – the line of sight is extraordinary. Holding hands, putting your arms around the people you’re trying to help, and just being yourself. Our non-resident runners bring the positive, negative, and mediocre of themselves – and residents see a complete person. They can understand that no life is perfect.

MR: How can non-runners help?

VA: There are many ways to help.  We offer unpaid internships, and, as a lean organization, all interns have the opportunity of making an impact almost immediately.  Also, our funding is coming from the community.  Consider donations, contributions, connecting with businesses.  Our runners are working daily to earn their gear and grants.  There’s great value in a donation because it’s there and it has to be earned.

MR: So people can run, fundraise, anything else?

VA: Donations, “fundracing”, running, talking about the program; all are critical.  One thing that’s important – and doesn’t happen often – is that cities talk to each other about how effective programs are.  Because we work in several cities, we speak often about what’s working and build from that.

MR: What do you think are the best and worst parts about Boston?

VA: Native New Yorker – tough question!  What I love about Boston is that it’s a city you can put your arms around.  It’s not so big that you have no hope of making an impact. If I could change one thing, I would make it more accessible. I don’t know if it’s the New England character, but it takes longer to access the warmth we all carry.

MR: You were just named Boston’s Executive Director.  What’s next?

VA: I’m excited!  The role has me dealing a lot more with relationships, funding, and building community support.  After 6 months here, we’re an established & known entity. My mission is to broaden accessibility to both shelters and people who want to help. BOMF is a very unique way of caring about each other and we want as many people having access to that.


How To Correct Credit Report Errors

Photo: amboo who?

Correcting errors in your credit reports seems like an easy task.  You get copies of your reports, you review them for accuracy and if you find something wrong, you file disputes with the credit bureaus to have the errors corrected.

Unfortunately it’s not as simple as I just suggested. But following these tips will help ease the pain:

Make sure it’s really an error

Keep in mind that credit reports do not constantly update in real time, which means the balances on your accounts are going to be different from the previous month’s statement.  And, if you just wrote a check a few days ago to pay off a collection or a loan, that’s not going to be reflected on your credit reports yet.  So, the question is, “is it really an error?”  Clearly a balance that isn’t your true current balance can be a problem but since the credit reporting system isn’t, has never been, and likely will never be a real-time system, you have to reset your expectations as to what is accurate and what is inaccurate.  You can certainly dispute the balance as inaccurate, but it would have likely been updated in the next few days or weeks anyway.

Burn the candle at both ends

The credit bureaus don’t generally get involved in disputes between you and your creditors.  They’re simply warehouses that store information sent to them by their data furnishers (your creditors and collectors seeking payment from you).  When you send them a dispute they will send notification of that dispute to the source of the data, which is called the data furnisher.  This is the standard protocol for all disputes unless you’re disputing a public record.

The credit bureaus generally will send the creditor/collector an automated form called an ACDV (Automated Consumer Dispute Verification) via a web-based system called e-Oscar (Online Solution for Complete and Accurate Reporting).  There is very little human involvement and the credit bureaus will simply report what the data furnisher tells them to report in response to the dispute.  This is called “Parroting.”

If your disputed item comes back as “verified as accurate” then you really should contact the creditor directly and take up the argument with them.  There’s no sense in re-disputing the item over and over through the credit bureaus. Eventually they’ll consider repeats as being “frivolous,” which then allows them to ignore your disputes.  In fact, I’d suggest contacting the creditor right out of the gate.

Think about going old school

If you file an online dispute from a credit report you claimed at, then the bureaus: a) have 45 days to complete their investigation versus 30 days, and b) only give you a list of pre-selected dispute reasons, which may or may not exactly match up with what your dispute.  If your dispute is atypical, I’d suggest that you type up a letter and mail it to the bureaus.  If your dispute is garden variety (“not my account” or “balance paid in full”) then go ahead and file it online.

Be vigilant

If you know for a fact that what’s being reported is wrong AND that error is significant to the point that it’s costing you money or worse, a job, you should not simply live with it for seven to 10 years.  The challenge you face is, unlike our legal system, that you’re guilty until someone else tells the credit bureaus that you’re not.  The bureaus will never take your word over one of their revenue-generating data buyers/data furnishers.  And while the bureaus and I don’t share pleasantries very often, I can’t blame them.  According to their trade association, the CDIA, about 30% of the disputes are submitted by credit repair organizations.  That equals millions of disputes each year that may not be real disputes and are simply attempts to get accurate but negative data removed early.  Point being, if you really want to get your credit files corrected and the standard process isn’t working for you, then you might have to escalate your efforts into the legal environment to get it corrected.

John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education of and the author of the book “You’re Nothing But A Number.”  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO and Equifax, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  He has served as a credit expert witness in more than 60 cases and has been qualified to testify in both Federal and State court on the topic of consumer credit.