Well, your college career has come to an end. You have walked the aisle, received your diploma, hung up the cap and gown, but have no job. You have cleared out your apartment or dorm room and moved home. You might be asking yourself, “What’s next for me?” The little voice in your head echoes “I didn’t know how to start looking for a job and was confused but didn’t want to admit it. I was too busy having fun with my friends to think about getting a job. Why didn’t I seek help from my career services office? What do I do now?”
Don’t wallow in the past of “what-ifs.” Jumping into the game at this point and gaining the job-search skills necessary will not be easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is, right?
Let’s get started! Here are 12 steps to prepare you for a successful job search.
1. Read up on vocational calling as your new starting point, which will transform your job search and provide the motivation you have been yearning for! You are wonderfully unique, and you were created for a purpose. Be a steward of the gifts, talents, abilities and transferable skills that have been entrusted to you.
2. Self-Assessment. You will never have clear job search direction without knowing your design. Go to Monster.com and take some free assessments so you can be articulate about what you bring to the table.
3. Do some job shadowing and informational interviewing. These will provide you with key information, new relationships, and excellent career exploration.
4. Land on a general career direction, even if it changes later. Decide on a couple of areas of employment that interest you.
5. Write or revise your résumé by using bullets that include: action verbs, transferable skills, accomplishments, and results. View the résumé writing guide and other outstanding resources from Grove City College Career Services.
6. Utilize existing and new relationships to network. Ask the question “Who do you know that knows something about _____?
7. Investigate Behavioral Interviewing. DDI (Development Dimensions International) is the world leader in preparing companies and organizations to interview you. Remember, someone is going to hire you not because of what you have done, but because of who you are! Transferable skills rule the day today in the entry level job marketplace. If you align your design with employment, you will be successful in finding a career “fit.” Develop your interviewing skills by viewing free online interviewing skills training.
8. Volunteer your time and serve others! Don’t sit around. Tell your story and share your preparation and goals for employment with those around you. Also consider getting experience by pursuing temporary work. Break the cellophane on the package and get out there!
9. Pursue accountability by setting some dates for accomplishing certain job search tasks. Get some traction; this will provide intrinsic motivation.
10. Persevere—push past the challenges.
11. Be confident. There is a place for you in the marketplace. Step outside your comfort zone and get started. It will be easier than you think it will be.
12. Refrain from exclusively using popular job search web sites. The offerings there for an entry level candidate will be very limited.
Put your past indecision and inaction behind you. Move beyond your perceived limits and when you do, this job search will be extremely encouraging and rewarding. Employment is just around the corner for you. If you work these steps, you will be well on your way to a meaningful career. Stay positive and hit the curve balls. Today is a new day. Confidently get started, get informed, and get hired!
—Dr. Jim Thrasher is the Senior Fellow of Grove City College’s career services office and the coordinator of the Center for Vision & Values working group on calling.