Articles like this (read it) get passed around like wildfire. The short of it: we’re called “generation limbo” because we are not getting full-time jobs, and we like kickin’ around our parents basement post-graduation. But what I hate about these generational trend articles is that Middlebury students read it and think: That could be me.
In this case, “that could be me”-syndrome results in a variety of responses: 1) That could be me and that terrifies me, so I’m going to work tirelessly to prove the statistic wrong, or 2) That could be me and that’s great because I eschew taking on a traditional career, or 3) That could be me because I don’t really want to think about it and I’ll play it by ear.
Any way you cut it, “that could be me”-syndrome makes you draw some serious lines in the sand for those figuring out what they want to do after Middlebury. It negatively sets you up to accept your preconceived notions about the job search and use those notions as a starting point. By projecting yourself onto what you’re reading and hearing about the job search (not just in the popular press but also from friends/family), you change the way you think. Read more
I got started writing about career/jobs last year with this post. To summarize, my point was that students spend far too much time on their resumes and not enough time working the phones, making real progress, and treating the job hunt with the seriousness and organization of a 5th class. The same applies this year. And at the beginning of the school year, it’s particularly easy to be plagued with information overload: your head is swimming with semester due dates, used book costs, new Proctor crushes, whatever it is. Simultaneously, the spring and graduation seem distant, so it’s easy to procrastinate because there is no immediate consequence. And the job search takes a backseat.
Make no mistake: this is a problem. By the time you’ve returned your attention to the job search, it’ll be November. To combat this, seniors get the pleasure of going to the Career Services’ “senior meeting” (Sept. 20th, FYI) where you get slapped upside the head with statistics from last years’ class, recruiting info, resumania, mojo, senior blog, etc. For half of you, the meeting will add to your anxiety. For the other half, you’ll dismiss it as unhelpful, and it will still add to your anxiety. Nevertheless, the goal of the meeting is to jump start seniors’ job search with force. They will tell you: do not let this sit on the backburner. But the reality of the senior meeting is that it is a cram session of information, and there is no way you’re going to do all you need to do because of one meeting. Read more
via Flickr / jips
“I came back with real currency…Everybody wants a good story.” I’m giving full credit for this idea to Sunny Bates in her TEDxMiddlebury talk last October. Watch the video because it starts with identifying your passion and moves to the point of this post and then beyond.
I wrote about rethinking the start of a job search last time. But I guarantee you 98% of people who read my last article didn’t do a single thing to start their job search. So what are you waiting for? Go do it.
Today I will argue that a good story will get you a good job. Okay, I just oversold that a little. But really, a story is a powerful thing. Every job seeker should have a story, actually multiple stories, that help you simultaneously encapsulate what you’re looking for in a job AND why you’re qualified to do the job.
The trick with college grads is that most of us don’t have a discernible story. I’m sorry, your graduation from Middlebury is not a story. You know that already. Your story has to be something that starts as a seed and grows on people and you do that with an anecdote that is short, unique, memorable, and repeatable. And the best way to craft a story is from your passion, experience, and desires. So let’s dive in to an example that’s partially real.
via Flickr / hanzabean
Have you ever read an article like this, this, or this? None of those links are spam — certainly not the highly ranked Career Services Office (CSO), US News, and the popular Mashable.com. But what these sites have in common is that the checklists and bulleted items lure you into a false sense of security that you are searching for a job or internship. Let’s be honest, you are doing nothing but reading.
So, instead of doing nothing, do something real to kick start your job hunt.
Chances are that it starts with walking into CSO, resume in hand. Good for you. Chances are you’ll walk out with an edited resume but still at a loss. The game is easier played if you know what you want. And, if you’re a good little liberal arts student like I was, you don’t know what you want. Professional musician? World traveler? Journalist? Foreign service? Entrepreneur? Economist? Blogger? Ski bum? I had no idea what industry I should look in or what marketable skills I possessed. And the overwhelming number of question marks made it easy to fire off resumes and cover letters to all sorts of places instead of focusing. That is a recipe for a lot of frustration.
You probably shouldn’t start with a resume and cover letters.
And yet, that’s often where we’re told to start. Countless students are staring into their computers looking at example resumes, worrying about formatting, and trying to whittle down relevant experience. Stop. Just stop. At some point you will need your groomed resume and cover letter but it’s not now, not when you don’t have a sense of what you’re looking for. And while you’re at it, do not search various online databases of job listings. All those do is suck you back into the resume-cover letter game. Read more