Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to Get a Job

I read this article yesterday and nearly fell off my chair laughing. I could go on and on about Gen Y kids, their helicopter parents never letting them want for anything or suffer, and their unreal expectations coupled with a sense of entitlement...but I'll save that for another blogger. Now I want to talk about how to get a job.

How NOT to get a job:
  • Get into massive college debt to earn a degree then just assume jobs will be waiting for you. It doesn't work that way.

How TO get a job:

  • Nix the college education debt as much as possible. Get scholarships or work your way through a state school or join the military and use the GI bill. When you are overwhelmed with debt it just adds to your desperation and this shows when you are looking for a job.
  • Take what you can get. While I have an amazing job these days, I started out hustling pizzas, drinks, bait, and bowling balls...if there was work available, I took it whether it was related to my field of study or not. Surprisingly, this has led to a whole bunch of other job skills that I never would have learned in college.
  • Use your contacts. Sending out a thousand resumes will just land your resume in a pile with thousands of others. Most people don't get jobs like this. The way people do land jobs is through their contacts. Ask everyone you know to let you know about job openings that come their way. You'd be surprised--six degrees of separation wise--how many people (and job opportunities) can be found through your parents, siblings, friends, former co-workers, professors, etc.
  • Find ways to make (or save) people money. I started my first job this way. I saw a system that a business was using which was old and outdated and offered a number of ways that they could cut spending and increase income. I was hired as a contractor within the week.
  • Find ways to make YOU money. While helping other organizations will get you a job, if you have a good way to make money for yourself (ie: buying low and selling high, selling your skills to the public, etc) you may want to start your own business.
  • Volunteer. This is an excellent way to showcase your talents which others (ie: future employers, etc) will take notice of. One of my organizations has a steady stream of volunteers. Those who are hard working, take charge kind of people that don't whine and always look for ways to improve what we do will either get hired by me or will get rave reviews from me to others that I know who are hiring. And it doesn't matter if the person is a college graduate or high school drop-out. Attitude, work ethic, and having common sense are much more valuable than a degree because I can teach people the skills they need but I can't train people to have a good attitude or common sense.
  • Continue to improve and expand your skill set. The more skills you have, the more valuable you are. If you can write code, that's nice. If you can write code, use your search and rescue background to develop an emergency plan for your company, use your social skills to bring in more clients, and use your reputation as a master gamer to bring notoriety to your company, you are golden.
  • Move. Sometimes where you are isn't where the jobs are. The two girls in the article above are two very small (journalism) fish in a very big pond of writers who have much more experience and credibility than they do. Moving to a location that either has a lot of jobs or needs your particular skill set will give you much better odds of finding a job than living in a locale where there are few jobs in your field and a whole bunch of job seekers that are more skilled and have more connections than you do.

Those are the basics. Getting a job isn't rocket science and it very rarely is all about luck. Mostly it is just working hard at what jobs you can get while you make plans (and develop the skills) to move on to bigger and better things.

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