I’ve been on the job prowl for just a week or two now, and I’ve already noticed some factors working against me. For starters, something I’ve heard referred to as “the experience paradox.” Even at entry level, many of the jobs I have applied to require very specialized experience (often rightfully so). For example, applying to a center for people with developmental disabilities requires at least one, if not two years of developmental disability experience. While often this prerequisite is completely justified, it’s extraordinarily difficult to gain experience if no job will tolerate inexperience for some time. I still feel that in some cases it’s worth applying anyway. The employer may find that you are qualified for the job in other ways, or have gained experience that they feel is relevant. The worst-case scenario is that you are respectfully taken out of consideration for the job. This likely just means no phone call, which some might consider the easiest way to go down.
One of the earliest steps that I took in this job search was to create a profile and upload my resume to some major career search websites (Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, and CareerRookie.com for entry-level jobs). While it hasn’t been overly-fruitful, I did receive a few responses, most of which were just general offers directed at probably every college graduate on the site. Still, it’s comforting to know my resume is out their working for me when I’m not surfing the web for openings. It’s still important, however, to check new postings regularly.
I’ve also made use of my college’s job postings website. Most schools offer a whole host of resources for job-seekers. Visit your college or local career center and take advantage of all they have to offer. Your college career center may also have special arrangements with companies and/or firms that may give you a leg up in your search. Often times companies will hold interviews specifically for students at particular universities. I have made it a general point to check posted flyers on-the-regular for potential openings.
The take-home message is not to pass up any chance to hear about a job. Do your research, hand out resumes, and talk to people (you never know what other people can do for you). Don’t be ashamed to ask for a little help to get your foot in the door. Give it time, but never stop looking!
As for me, I’ve got my first job interview on the 21st. I’m not sure what to expect, but I feel confident! I’m going to do my research, and I’ll report back in Part 2 of this Job Search series.