Monday, March 23, 2009

Pushing Resumes

Much of my motivation for starting to write on Nook Fiction came from two sources; my friends and my charming job title - UNEMPLOYED. First, let me be clear. I am entirely grateful to be in the position I'm in, as I did not get laid-off due to the recession like many of my fellow hunters. My husband and I (whom I will refer to as JJ from now on) have been very lucky in our living situation and have thankfully avoided many of the economic daggers. But I am a new graduate - fresh out of MBA school - along with the other 1.5 million 2009 college graduates in America. That's 1.5 million Starbucks drinking, subway riding, metropolitan bound, big ambition, 22 year olds all after the same jobs as me.

At age 25, you would think I should be at least a little bit ahead of the game compared to this group of hustlers, but after two years in a profession I'm not interested in and little experience outside of MBA papers and exams, I find myself back at square one and ready for a career change. After much research and too many failed scrolling attempts on big search engines, I've narrowed my search to three areas, Marketing, Public Relations, and Corporate Communications. All areas where I have no more experience than my 22 year old competition.

So far, I've picked up a few job search tips for myself and for anyone else who may be needing a little creativity in their seach.

1. Avoid the Big Boys. While,, and Yahoo! Hot Jobs all provide an enormous database of openings, everyone looks there! You are up against way more competition than you think. Rather than using them to find jobs, use them to find company names in your area. Once you find a few, google the company name and search for jobs directly from the company's website. Usually you'll find jobs that aren't even posted on the Big Boy sites.

2. Creep on Social Networks. I was told several times to use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to talk to people and put the word out that I was looking. While I understand the value of networking, it's just too awkward for me to Facebook chat someone to ask for a lead with their dad's best friend from Idaho. Instead, I just creep around on these sites to again, search for new company names in my area. Often people will list where they work on their profiles and you can go search those sites for jobs. If you find something, you can always contact that person later to ask for advice or a good reference.

3. Chamber of Commerce. The location where JJ and I live is not exactly bigger than a 4 stoplight town...literally, there may be It takes us a good hour to get to any mid-major city, and even longer for the bigger metropolitan areas. Because of the commute, I search for jobs in four locations, Charlottesville, Richmond, Washington, D.C., and small cities in between. Once I find a location that is within reasonable distance I google the Chamber of Commerce sites to see who's listed in that city, then go to the company's website to search.

4. Do You Take Cream and Sugar? Go the intern route. Right now, as I search for opportunities in areas where I've never really worked, I keep in mind that internships are definitely not out of the question. Even though I have an MBA and I'm a bit non-traditional, I'm eager to find a spot at the bottom where I can learn it all...the basics, and hope for a full-time hire on position later. No job is ever beneath you...especially in these times.

5. Personal Inventory. Start a journal. In addition to my blog, I have also been keeping a journal that I write in to record quotes I've heard, new books to read, personal goals, etc. Journaling has helped me strip down to the bare bones of the infamous interview question - what are your strengths and weaknesses? I feel like I am JUST now starting to figure out who I am and what I want to do, and putting it all down on paper helps to show you what you're made of...or what you're not!

6. Embrace the Weekends. Job searching can take a major toll on your health: physically (hunched in front of the computer for 8 hours straight), mentally (will I ever find something?!), and emotionally (does anyone think I'm good at what I do?). But just because you're not working doesn't mean you don't deserve weekends, too. Chances are recruiters and companies aren't in the office on Saturday afternoon posting new job opportunties, so take this time to re-charge and relax. Stepping away from the search for a few days can help build motivation to dive back in on Monday, and it will take your mind off the unemployed shadow over your head.

Bottom Line: it's a rough world out there. Remember, it will take some time to find the right fit - especially right now. Our jobs become an enormous part of our life; our thoughts, our friends, stresses, and responsibilties. Stay patient and remain calm in the thought that everything happens for a reason at a reasonable time.

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