Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Message from a College Grad 2

Last December I was safe walking the streets of my university. Now I'm navigating the fields of part-time employment in retail and an endless sea of applications. Last time, I talked about a general after-college life. Here are 5 more tips, focused on getting that job:

1. Beware of volunteer and unpaid positions.
While it may seem like a good way to get a job, beware of the ones that ask you to commit a lot of time or energy without pay. Only join if it is for a cause your really believe in. Likely, they will not hire you for pay afterward. They will just hire another out-of-college volunteer. Also, many employers will not take the volunteer position as seriously because you were working for pay, or they will seriously low-ball you in potential wages. After all, someone else got away with it once already.

2. Stay at your part-time job.
Don't quit your part-time job just because you're home with your family and don't have to pay rent. Yes, job searching is almost a full-time job itself. Still, unemployed time looks bad. Even if you stay at the same part-time job that has nothing to do with your major, it shows discipline and loyalty. It's a lot better than jumping from part-time to part-time. If you're out-of-state, see if you can transfer to a store near your hometown.

3. Make a list: of what you want.
No, this isn't the same list as last time. This list is to focus you on figuring out what you want. The list should start with your dream job and work down on all the potential jobs. It should include positions that you worked in college or related fields of interest. For example, my major is in English but I've also worked in the campus library and in child care so I've added potential places of employment as a substitute teacher and operations assistant in the library.

4. Update your résumé and highlight your top achievements in the CV.
All those little jobs I talked about above, add those and any relevant award. Create different resumes for different positions. I have three: Creative Writing, Journalism, and Educational. If the word resume appears in the document, make it have those funny é's. Delete things from high school. Likely, they are no longer relevant. Use the CV as a teaser for the resume. You want employers to look at you more closely so highlight your best and most relevant achievements. 
*If you excel at one of their listed qualifications or have an extra certificate, say so. You want to stand out as their best fit.

5. Stay active in the community.
As long as its not a committed job, it's not bad to stay involved in the community you wish to work in. As a writer, I freelance and blog. For an education major, volunteer to read to children at the local library. For math and science majors, tutor. Spring and summer is also a time for conferences. If you have the money to spare, attend ones in your field and add it to your experience. Conferences can give you an in into what's going on in the field, who's hiring, and networking with professionals. I attend the Maryland Writers Conference every year that I can where I met the author and entrepreneur Georgia McBride, whom I currently work with on

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