There are times when individuals can’t actually find a job—any job—but more often, they can’t find a job they want to do or which relates to the career path they are trying to forge. If you are in this position, it may be time to take a hard look at whether or not you are being realistic. Do you actually have the needed skills and experience for the job you desire or are you hoping to grow into a position once you secure it? Are your salary demands in line with your experience or is your request for perks outside the ballpark?
No one wants to start in an “entry level” position, even though it may actually be their first professional job. That old myth of starting in the mail room and working your way up to being the CEO doesn’t seem feasible in modern time, and besides, it would take way too long.
What options do you have when searching for that career position that seems out of your reach?
First, do your research. Make sure you fully understand the job requirements. If you find you are lacking in a similar area each time you seek a position, do something to fill that gap. Take an online course or find one at a local community college. Or find someone who works in that area who will serve as a short-term mentor or make suggestions for how you can acquire the needed skill.
Sometimes volunteering at an organization or agency can help to bolster your skill set and your resume. For example, if event planning is the career you are seeking, volunteering to assist an organization with a fund raising event can help you acquire needed experience.
Don’t rule out beginning with parttime employment in your desired field. Getting your foot in the door and showcasing your potential often leads to fulltime work. Also, current employees, even parttime employees, are often given an interview when a new position becomes available.
Networking with people already established in your desired field goes a long way. Find a relevant conference to attend and make as many contacts there as you can. Then follow up with them. Also, be certain to read related publications and stay current in your desired field.
Don’t rule out contacting or visiting the placement office at your university. If you can afford it, working with a company that helps match individuals to jobs can be an enormous help.
As your search continues, you may begin to feel discouraged. Try and maintain your focus and momentum. Keep in mind that a career spans a lifetime, and it evolves one job at a time.