Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Job Searching Advice

Well, it is that time of life again where I must look for employment. First, before I go into my job search plans I should mention some caveats that make my situation unique. The first is that I am currently going to grad school for a master’s degree in library & information science. So job-searching isn’t the main thing I am doing in life at the moment though it is pretty important nonetheless. My last job was library-related and I hope that my next job is also in a library environment. Since I am a student I can perhaps get a job through either working for my school or through an internship in a few months. Also, because of my school work a part time job would probably better suit me than a full time position, though I’d gladly go full-time again if such a position was offered to me. All this factors make my situation unique.

When it comes to searching for work, having specific goals is a big help. To use a political science concept, try to use checks and balances to make sure that you are focused on the particular kinds of jobs you want and open enough to take on something that’s less desirable if need be. Do this by writing down in hierarchal order the kinds of jobs you want to obtain. Decide on a minimum of applications that you’ll send in each day. This second piece of advice will not only keep you in the official unemployment stats but will ensure that even when you have applied for all the jobs that you are interested in applying for you are still out there trying to find some work. You can always keep looking for work while you toil away at that dead-end job. Sometimes the economic benefit of just having any job outweighs the hardship of having a job you don’t really like.

Using a variety of sources for your job search is very important. I suggest that job seekers should read the first few chapters of Dick Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute? Basically, he says that you should use multiple sources for job searching, though no more than four since studies show that juggling more than four methods decreases one’s effectiveness. And, no, multiple methods does not mean multiple websites (I’m quite Internet-centric in my past thinking I admit since most of the jobs I’ve held came from applying online). It means using the Internet, phone book, newspaper ads, using your network to find jobs, using temp agencies, etc. He does not mention this but asking a reference librarian at a public library might be a good idea too. I know for myself that I’ll probably rely mostly on the Internet (it’s just my nature) but I will pursue other methods as well.

Write down your specific sources and keep track of your ‘luck’ with each of them. By this I mean list specific websites, newspapers, etc. that you use. Append these sources to your earlier list of the kinds of jobs you are looking for. Thus, if government jobs are on the top of your list put government websites there, etc.

Try to organize your time in such a way that you stay focused on things that matter rather than on things that don’t such as becoming a zombie in front of the TV or a mindless web surfer or gaming addict. True recreation is good but as Aristotle said, all things must be done in moderation. Always be willing to modify your strategy or your time-management schema. I know that I modify these things a lot in my own life. Despite what a million self-help books will tell you, there is one size fits all solution to these quandaries. One must explore and use trial-and-error to discover for him or herself. Above all, do not be discouraged away from the search but always contemplate new possibilities and adventures in the spirit of entrepreneurship that has made our country great.