Help! I Need a Job! By Erin Shelby

If you’re like the majority of recent college grads, you’re struggling to find full-time employment in your field of study.  With older workers postponing retirement, companies closing and federal agencies looking at furloughs, you’re not alone in the quest to find meaningful work. Here’s some advice you haven’t heard for an ever-changing, increasingly difficult job market.

Remember Your Worth

As a hard worker needing a paycheck, it’s easy to start sending out résumés to anyone who’s hiring. But before you apply, honestly assess each position: what does it offer you other than a paycheck? Does it give you a chance to shine? Are there advancement opportunities? Is it a rare chance to get more experience in something you’re interested in? Look for positions that will provide more than just a check but a good match with your experience and skills.

Getting Rejected Is Okay

Because you need to start paying off your student loans, you may apply for a job at Target only to never receive a call back. Certainly graduating from a university shows your ability to push carts, doesn’t it? Unfortunately not receiving interview invitations for positions like these may be due to a perception that you are “overqualified”, an unfair perception that may result from an employer’s fear that you’ll jump ship for a more lucrative or prestigious offer.  In these situations remember that getting rejected is okay and can be a blessing in disguise. Many job seekers could attest to being rejected by one employer only to later receive a better offer.

Envision Your Ideal Job

Do you know what type of job you’re looking for or are you randomly searching job boards? To know what jobs could be right for you, make a list of your wants, needs and skills. The needs should state what you cannot compromise on, such as drive time from your home and the minimum salary you need for rent. Wants could describe the company culture or fringe benefits- in other words, things you desire but will compromise on. Your skills are what you bring to the table, whether it’s your people skills or fluency in a foreign language. The merger of your needs, wants and skills will help you look at prospective jobs and know much more quickly if they’re worth applying for. The process will also help you create targeted cover letters and focused resumes and speak intelligently during interviews.

Try Temping

An unfortunate reality of today’s workplace is that you need experience for many entry-level jobs. How can you get experience if you’re just starting out? You’re smart, so you’ve probably done an internship or volunteered. Temping is another way you can generate a paycheck and get more experience in a dried-up job market. Agencies like Robert Half and Adecco place workers with companies that have a temporary need. These opportunities can sometimes lead to a permanent opportunity.

Think Outside The 9 to 5

When Dolly Parton said that working nine to five was a way to make a living, she wasn’t singing its praises. If you’re stuck in your job search, consider redefining a job and looking to a Plan B to provide a different income stream. Starting your own business whether it’s Etsy, EBay, a blog, Avon or Pampered Chef can ignite an entrepreneurial fire and help you survive a financially dry period.

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