My First Job-What I Need to Know …

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UnknownProm night, party rentals, invitations, commencement speeches, long walk to the podium, framing your diploma, parties again, hot summer fun with friends and then…? You are not what your parents made at least not when it comes to your potential career choices. You stare at your resume, uncertain as to whether you put your educational successes first or highlight all of the summer internships you’ve had leading you to this point? Nothing makes sense. One minute you were having a blast and now you have to get serious and actually put all those years of study to some good use-after all EVERYONE is watching your next move!

Not that you need any more pressure than you already have right? Recent grads are entering the workforce in droves and older workers are not retiring fast enough to make room for you newbies. Now what do you do? If you are lucky enough to have a job then maybe you stick to it for awhile even if you are not that happy. Or, maybe you decide to hit the road with the band for a few years and sew your wild oats so to speak-let the job rush die down a bit? Or maybe you get cracking and figure out how to make the best of a depressing situation and find a job before your parents kick you out of the house.

You have undoubtedly by now read everything you can get your hands on regarding how to network, how to put a resume together, how to dress for an interview and of course how to accept a job offer when presented to you. So, I don’t want to cover old, tired ground, but here are a few things to think about that maybe your teachers, career books and advisors have not shared with you until now:

  1. They Lied To You: Well, maybe not intentionally but yes, job search is not what it once was. You have to do more than apply for jobs on the Internet or through referrals from your college career counselor you have to hit it hard and be smart about it. Sending mass amounts of paper into the ether is not going to raise the odds any although it might sound impressive when someone asks how you are doing on your job search. You will likely NOT get a job using only this approach. You need to work every and ANY connection you have and make a short-list of jobs, companies and contacts that you need to target like a sniper getting ready for combat. Get in the door any way you can and in person-use your computer for research and make sure you work all your connections!
  2. It’s Harder Than It Looks: As much as you think you are the best thing to graduate school and had the best grads, securing the job you want at a decent salary to pay the rent is harder than it may seem no matter what they told you. You are competing against yourself as well as all the others who are pounding the payment no matter how qualified you think you are. What does this mean? You should not quit before you even start but you should be realistic about your expectations. If this means you have to take, yes, wait for it, another internship to get your proverbial foot in the door-do it! You are not only competing against other recent grads, folks who have a few years under their belt but those baby-boomers who just won’t retire. It’s a tough out there and if you think your high grads, good school and strong work ethic are enough to land you a jog think again. You need to be creative and flexible about your approach to finding and accepting work even if it’s not the job you really want or the company you desire. You have got to build the foundation of your career and a resume full of summer jobs is not going to cut it against all the others who are battling the same job fight. Pick wisely, but by all means pick. Sometimes you got to start somewhere and getting a job on the resume may be your only option so loose the pride and take the job.
  3. End of the Rainbow: You have to make sure that no matter how hard it gets know that you may fail a few times before you find the success you are looking for. Being afraid to fail will inevitably lead you down the wrong road. Starting out is usually the hardest part of any project or venture you take on. Knowing that there is always an option to every job even if you have to accept a job that is lower in salary, responsibility or title-it’s okay. Take the job. Start your career. Worry about finding the end of your rainbow later. Don’t delay until things are perfect because they will never be perfect. You can change your mind later but the key is to choose and to make the best choice available to you at the time.

Fear is a good motivator even if it makes you realize that the normal, safe and appropriate job search strategies might not always be your best option. Realizing that sometimes you have to think creatively and assertively about what you want and how you will go about getting it may be all you need to get the job you want. Determination is as strong a motivator as fear and sometimes more powerful.

So the next time you want to hide behind the resume, the suit, or the interview prep questions, think about what you really want, find out who has the job you really want and get into see that person or persons and find out how you can do ANYTHING it takes to work there. That might be your best most sound advise you can take to finally get the job you want.

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