New Grad Just Wants to Be a Waitress or Store Clerk

Anonymous writes:
How do get a job in waitressing or retail without work experience in those? I
have degrees but no work experience. No one told me I needed to do part-time jobs
like this before graduating from college. They just said get a degree and go to grad
school even counselors said this. Is it too late to do this? Should I give up? I would
like a job as a hostess/waitress or clerk or something now.

The Career Doctor responds:
Wow. There are two major flaws in your job-search situation one that your
college should never have allowed and one that you need to change now.
Not to sound elitist but as a former college professor and a big believer in the value of
education I have to tell you that you should not be trying to get a job as a waitress
or store clerk now that you have a college degree — unless you are doing so as a
stepping stone to some sort of management-training program.
I’m not blaming you for this flaw in your job search. One of the problems I see in a
number of universities is an almost single-minded focus on graduate school with little or
no career counseling for those who choose job over grad school. You should have
already had at least one internship perhaps several informational interviews and job-shadowing
opportunities and perhaps some volunteering work — all giving you a much clearer focus on
your career goals as well as beefing up your resume.
My suggestion is to first research the jobs for which you qualify then narrow the list to jobs that
interest you and then develop a resume that will get you into the hiring manager’s door. While
you gained no outside experience while in college look to school projects and part-time jobs
to build at least some experience on your resume. If you really have very little experience
consider professional temping (certainly before waitressing or clerking) to gain experience
and a foot in the door of prospective employers. If possible also try volunteering in your
field to gain even more experience.
For more advice read these articles on Quintessential Careers:
Temping Offers a Way to Build
Your Resume — and Much More
Strategic Portrayal of
Transferable Job Skills is a Vital Job-Search Technique
Finally we have a new free tutorial to help college grads with the transition from
college to career. Go to:
Conquering the Real World:
A Guide for Achieving Success After College
800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
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