Stand out by writing and living your worklife mission and learn the new rules for careers. It also might help your parents if you moved out of your old room or the basement.
Start with a new paradigm, a new mindset. Find organizations that support your worklife mission and fight to join them. Generations ago it was your parents and even grandparents that thought they would be in one career path and maybe with one company. That was the dream of dreams. Then you could settle down in life. Well, forget that mindset. If that’s the lottery you want to hit you will probably have lottery odds to get into one career path, climb the corporate ladder and retire that way. Who checks time with a watch anyway? It’s on your IPhone or PDA or whatever. In many ways, you need grasp the idea that you will have some major career shifts and, most likely, change careers during your career. A career must be viewed as a sequence of jobs and probably a sequence of career paths. How can I make this claim? All industries change and as the industry changes then you must change with it. It’s Internet warp speed. No industry remains stagnant and if a business that serves that industry does not change then that business faces changes of its own.
Look at the way the construction business or housing industry has changed in the last year. Look at the technology and software industries. Have they changed? How about the music and entertainment industry? Any changes you noticed? They change daily. How about the oil business, the airlines and others? Okay, you have the point. Either the business, technology, people and economies change or something shifts. For those shifts any jobseeker or person who intends to have a long career must embrace change.
Now for a healthy outlook on your career path I recommend you:
1. Accept Change. To open a door to a new career jobseekers must focus on accepting change as reality. So look at the ways you have learned and enjoy learning. Express this in achievements and keywords in your resume and career marketing materials. Be ready to respond swiftly to the needs of corporations by offering different aspects of your background. No longer are resume just dry ways to demonstrate your employment during high school, college, through internships, military or other experiences. You must give line and verse about what you have done and how it applies to the position you are going for next. That means get ready to edit your resume for each position you apply for online or offline. Change happens abruptly in business. It happens abruptly throughout many a career path. What’s in our control? You control your actions and your attitudes; that may be about all you can control. Control the content within your resume. Develop your volunteer experiences, key class projects, athletic or other achievements. Everything must be looked at, developed and considered. Some new graduates think they have nothing to offer. You do if you market it properly.
2. Look Beyond the Surface. According to career authors and other representatives from the major search engines, something less than 5% of leads are advertised on the big job boards. So where does the typical jobseeker or the typical new graduate spend their time looking for jobs? I would argue they spend 95% of their energy focused on Internet job boards. This is a good starting point. In fact, sites like Craig’s List offer opportunities and danger too. As a new graduate you need to search and find your target audience. Recruiters don’t just look on the major sites for resumes. They are working the social networking sites like Facebook and the more professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Those are not the only ones either! So if you information isn’t loaded there and you don’t know why you need to campaign in that way then you are out of date. You are not savvy or sophisticated. Weddle’s Guides and Peter Weddle himself an Internet guru stated personally to me that there are dozens of sites for niche industries being developed weekly. In fact, he suggested that recruiters are more interested in finding you doing something they might want to hire you for than downloading your CV from the big sites. So where could you go and what could you do to be seen as someone serious? Remember you must think this way even if you are in a path toward law school, med school or are not sure what you want to be when you grow up.
3. Go for Your Mission not Just a Job. Take an entrepreneurial approach to your future. How do I want my life to be in 10 years and what career path may be the best vehicle to that path? What do I want my reputation to be in five years? What is my Worklife Mission? Everything you do should be geared toward these goals and aspirations. If you are looking for a job and not a career a lot of this advice might not matter. If you are just trying to pay bills then who cares what you do or who you do it for. But if you can compose more than your 30–second commercial – develop a Worklife Mission statement. Pick career opportunities that may advance you toward who and what you want to be in five or more years. Current Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers suggest that 65% of people don’t like their jobs. But what do they do about this dissatisfaction? Where do they go to take proactive, positive action on finding their professional calling, their next steps? To properly research new ideas you can use the big job boards like Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com. Other sources of information may come as easy as finding articles and information from a variety of sources: industry journals, company websites, blogs, volunteer organization sites, DOT, OOH, ONET and other resources. In a competitive job market, it’s hard enough for job seekers on a steady career path to get their resumes noticed. If you are pursuing a new direction, it’s all that much more difficult to convince hiring managers to take a chance on you. Study and read. Utilize insiders to help you network. Pick jobs that will give you part of what you want to be in 10 years. Move toward something specific. Also, please stop looking for a job and start looking for opportunities. Employers want people who want opportunities. If you want to stand out then take the attitude that you want an opportunity.
4. Lastly, start dealing with the gaps and mistakes you made during college. So you didn’t get that internship that you wanted? You didn’t really have that great of summer jobs? You didn’t do all those volunteer things you thought you would do? Well then start doing them now. Start volunteering. Ask for the experiences you need and give away your time and expertise for free. No, don’t wait. Do it right now. In the meantime you may have to get two jobs, three jobs or even put up with being underemployed until you make up this lost ground. Mistakes that new graduates make usually means that they want to utilize the same poor decisions they made during school as they attempt to compete in the marketplace. That just simply won’t work. As professionals, many of my clients need a makeover and to understand they must self-study in order to research, define and emphasize key qualifications for these new goals and objectives. If you have not earned them start earning them now. With that attitude you will probably be hired into a position you want.
5. Your Resume Must Be Outstanding. What do the potential hiring managers want to see in a resume? Here’s a tip – they want to see what you can do for them now and how you will drive revenue and reduce cost for them now. What do they want to see in you if you ran a construction operation but now want to consider selling industrial products? Hire a professional to interview you and market you. Good writing, proper use of keywords and a marketing oriented resume sells in person and online. You need to ask yourself tough questions to come up with original documents. In a behavioral interview for major account management, how will you relate your transferable skills or the experiences you gained to date? What if you were in the military and you want to be in a federal job? That may make sense. But how do you relate your class experiences, jobs, internships, military experiences and whatever you have into a corporate assignment in finance, sales or operations? The list goes and could go on forever. They don’t need to know dry work history or a listless listing of dates, times and responsibilities but they do need to understand the transferable skills, keywords and strategy you intend to take with them in communicating your specific and immediate value. Any savvy jobseeker and especially a career changer may need to clearly write down, analyze and synthesize raw data to feature why they are marketable and why they should be interviewed. A great resume or personal marketing material must brand you across many platforms – online, offline, personal, professional.
Congratulations on earning your degree. You must look for an opportunity not a handout. You want to earn your future. Now go out and fight with passion for your career life and your all important worklife mission. And get out of the basement room at your parents house!
John M. O’Connor is the President of Career Pro Inc. (http://www.careerproinc.com) which specializes in Individual Outplacement Solutions and Career Branding. He is available for questions and consultations at (919) 787-2400. He was the first private practice Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST) in North Carolina. John is also a Certified Electronic Career Coach (CECC). With a unique fiction writing pedigree with fiction publications as well, he obtained a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. He has been featured in the Raleigh News & Observer, The Ladders Resume Writers Digest, The Gladiator, Execunet, Career Masters Institute Monthly Newsletter, Monster Career News and other national publications such as JIST. Additionally his diversified experience includes serving as a college professor and as a US Army officer.