So many times people stray into paying for career counseling, graduate degrees, professional certificates and go into even bigger debt simply because they’ve forgotten the basics. These pursuits are noble of course, and the hearts of these individuals are in the right place. But the truth is sometimes we don’t want to hear or do the simple answers. For example, what’s the trick to losing weight and being healthy? Just eat healthy and exercise regularly. That’s it. It’s hard and annoying, but effective.
I majored in English and upon graduation encountered the same problems the rest of America’s college grads are facing. No jobs. At least, I thought there weren’t. After three months I was able to secure a job in my field doing what I loved. I currently work as an In-house Copywriter for a promotional flash drives company. I work specifically writing their marketing content while maintaining their blogs. I’m not saying I’m particularly successful, but if a writer can get work, so can you!
The truth of the matter is simply going to college, graduating, and applying for a job will get you nowhere with majors like Architecture and English. So these steps are meant simply as guidelines for those of you who will undoubtedly struggle in the job market because of your chosen field of study. Remember to always think positively and believe in yourself. You worked 4 long years to become a professional in your field and that’s worth something.
The number one person who cares the most about your well-being and success is you. Second on that list are your loved ones. This could be your father, mother, brothers, cousins, uncles, spouse, or a very close friend. Make sure you have a good talk with all those who you consider family and ask them for advice. Swallow your pride and let them know you’re in a difficult situation and are on the job hunt. They’ll be glad help you in any way they can and will be able to offer you a different point of view. The important thing is to remember that you don’t have to do this alone.
9. Let everyone know what you do and what you’re looking for.
Go beyond the scope of your family and close friends. Don’t discuss the detailed personal matters of your situation, but just make sure everyone in your social circles knows what you’re about and what you love. Tweet about how your favorite architecture firms or art galleries. Always share you goals and dreams. When someone asks you want you’ve been up to, share that you’re looking for job in your field. Keep it friendly and casual. This is basic networking.
8. Visit your local library.
Seek professional career counseling and help. There are answers your friends and family just don’t have. But don’t make the mistake of paying for these services. Public libraries offer countless resources on career counseling and job hunting. There is dedicated professional staff that offer free advice and scheduled appointments to help you in any way they can. There service is usually far better than the university career counseling because they don’t deal with 2,000 students every day. In fact most people are unaware of these services. There are also hundreds of books on resume writing, interview tips, and just about anything. Don’t let this free resource go to waste.
7. Learn the skills that complement your major.
As an internet writer, it was very important that I learned SEO, basic HTML, Photoshop, and social media skills. . Look at additional skills mentioned in job postings for your field. These skills are not learned through your course work at the university, and they are rarely mentioned by professors or guidance counselors. Bottom line, there should be nothing on a required skills list for a job posting in your field that you are completely unfamiliar with. Go to the library and borrow some books on the subjects. You don’t have to become a pro but you should have a general idea for each of these secondary skills. Many times this is the make or break factor between two job candidates. Don’t be the one caught unprepared!
6. Know your city.
If you majored in history, do know all of your local museums? If you majored in political science, do you know all of your district’s representatives and congressmen? If you majored in art, do you know you city’s art district? Does it have an art district? You should ask yourself where are the most ideal places that you’d like job placement at, and start your search there. Don’t send an email. Show your face and introduce yourself. After the looking at the big businesses, go through the small ones. There are many places that are just starting out that don’t have websites up yet. Local acting theatres and independent research labs rarely list themselves broadly over the internet. Try getting off the computer and doing it the old fashioned way.
5. Create a website.
There are plenty of free sites like WordPress and Blogger where you can create a free web site. In the digital age it’s important to have your own little space you can call home and invite others to visit. This shows that you’re keeping up with the modern times and actively working on marketing yourself. Add professional details about your skills, background and goals, but also make it personal and fun. If you are on a tight budget and don’t have a computer or Internet from home then go to the library and use the computers there.
4. Use Social Media.
Join Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and various other blogs and social media sites to create a digital picture of yourself and your interests. Employers conduct digital background checks on their potential candidates. This is an excellent opportunity to show them how your actively involved and interested in your field of study. Keep it professional and clean, but also be you. You’re a nice guy deep inside I promise!
Volunteer your skills to family, friends and employers. Use what you have to offer and hone your job skills. It’s ok to mention any type of volunteering you do in your resume as relevant experience. The fancy word for this is, “internship”. Really all employers want to know is if you can do the work and do it well. Show them you can by actively using your skills at any given opportunity. You never know who may be watching.
2. Make a portfolio.
Have samples of your work. If you’re a photographer, have a ton of your professional photos. If you’re a writer, have blog entries, essays, and articles written. The key is that your portfolio is never finished. You have to keep adding and adding your most recent work to it. And yes, there should always be recent work! Employers want to see that you’re constantly active and involved in producing content relevant to your field. It shows dedication and responsibility. But most of all, it helps you sharpen your skills. If a runner stops stretching outside of competition seasons, they’ll lose flexibility. Likewise, it’s extremely important to keep practicing what you love so when the opportunity comes, you’ll be ready.
Keep trying. Keep going. Don’t give up. It sounds like a Disney sports movie right? But it works. You’re not going to succeed by trying once. Keep applying to new positions at the firm you really see yourself at. Continue networking your passions to everyone your meet. Stay up to date on developments in your field and stay on the lookout for new companies coming to town. Consider looking outside of your town. Keep learning new skills related to your field. Update your portfolio and resume constantly. Keep scheduling appointments with a career counselor. Do not stop until you’ve reached your goal. It may seem impossible, but if you keep at it and try your best, then something good will come out of it.