Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Developing Your Job Search "Plan B"

Special thanks to our guest blogger, Conor Barnes, Associate Director, Employer Development and East Coast Relations at CAPS, for today's post:

Plan B

Thanks, Economic Policy Institute.

According to their May 2008 report, “new college graduates will confront a more inhospitable job market than their predecessors faced in 2001, the beginning of the last recession.”

And, the Washington Post isn’t helping either.

So, what will help you in a rough market? Develop a Plan B…and maybe even a Plan C.

At its core, your professional development should always be about your biggest hopes and dreams…arguing in front of the Supreme Court, writing articles for The New Yorker, owning a multimillion dollar company, and all the possibilities in between. But, when jobs are tight and bills are due, dreams sometimes must be tethered to economic realities.

Think local.
Look at the companies you are applying to. Google? Amnesty International? Goldman Sachs? Well known companies are exactly that- well known…and well applied for by you and every other student in America. The CAPS Career Resource Center has a wide selection of materials that can help you determine all the players in an industry, not just the big names. Develop a list that includes companies in your own backyard. Regionally focused companies can be a great way to get a start in an industry and they often have more opportunities for new hires to take on greater responsibilities.

Introduce yourself.
People hire people. People don’t hire diplomas or resumes or cover letters. Seize any opportunity to connect with professionals in your desired field. CAPS offers dozens of panels and programs where you can do exactly this in a low-stress, low-key environment. If CAPS isn’t offering programs that you want, get out into Chicago. Chances are that experts in your field will be in town for a conference, event, panel, something. You want to start to position yourself not just as a candidate, but as a colleague.

Be humble.
No matter how many internships or summer jobs you’ve racked up through the years, remember that this is your first job. Be open to all sorts of positions; not just the ones with a fancy signing bonus. Core classes don’t lend themselves to humility, but we all start somewhere.

Questions, comments, complaints, or praise? Post it all here.


Virna Dapic said...

Great post! I've also started a career blog that is mostly aimed at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in life sciences but it is nice to see that there are other blogs focusing on career development You can check my blog out at:
How many people do you have in your office? How does someone with no prior experience in advising get a job like that?

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