A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
In This Issue (12/05/03):
- Determining proper etiquette of job-hunting while employed
- Finding ideas for choosing really cool careers
- Following-up with employer after interview rejection
- Wondering about college and potential future careers
|Q:||Steve writes: I just started a new job and I have quickly gotten the impression that the position will go no where so I want to keep looking for another job but I want to stay where I’m at until something else comes up. Is there any etiquette I should be aware of and will it look poorly in the future when I apply to another position and have only spent a short time in my current position.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: You are wise for so quickly realizing that this job and/or employer is not right for you. Better to realize it sooner and better to do something about it rather than dread going to work everyday! I hear from too many job-seekers who hate their jobs and/or employers but seem paralyzed to change the situation.
There is certainly no problem looking for new employment while currently employed; it’s always a better situation to be working than not. As for etiquette the only real issue is treating your current employer with respect by scheduling job interviews around your work schedule and by giving customary notice once you have accepted another job offer.
Before you start job-hunting might I also suggest you take a bit more time to conduct research on your prospective future employers so that you don’t fall into the same situation. By understanding the company’s culture by researching career paths and by observing employees working you’ll have a better understanding of whether you fit with the company. Even better try to use your network of contacts to see if anyone you know or they know works for the company – and get the inside scoop directly.
Finally before you start interviewing you better prepare a short answer to the question that is inevitably going to be asked — why are you leaving your job after such a short stint? Be careful how you craft your answer; you don’t want to badmouth the company but you also don’t want to appear that you made a hasty decision in taking the job in the first place.
|Q:||Jenna writes: I am currently trying to chose a career path. I will be going to college soon taking medical radiography (to become an x-ray & ultrasound technician); however I don’t think this is the career I really want (bad hours and too much human suffering). I want to do something that is a little unusual — not your average job. I want to retire early … comfortably. I want to learn a lot of new things on my way. Some ideas I’ve had are: commercial pilot architect something in astrophysics… What I really want are ideas for cool careers. Careers that when someone asks you what you do for your living they feel intimidated by your answer! I don’t know what’s out there. Hopefully you do! So… any great ideas?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: What’s out there as a career for you? It’s a clich’ but it’s true: if you have the intelligence the determination and the resources just about any career path can be yours.
But don’t think so much about one career shaping the rest of your life; think more about a series of careers that span your lifetime some of which may be related.
So the first big question is why are you majoring in something — perhaps even attending a specific college because of it — that you have no real interest in ever doing? Why not look into other colleges and careers before you make that final choice.
As for other careers’the best sources are your teachers and your family’ you can also conduct a lot of career research online using such sources as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Because you have a wide range of interests it might also be helpful to take one or more career assessment tests; these tests work well in conjunction with you own assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as well as your likes and dislikes.
As you think about majors you might want to read my article Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path.
You also might find these two areas of Quintessential Careers especially helpful:
|Q:|| Lorna writes: I interviewed with a prospective employer last Thursday for a customer representative job. During the interview I felt really confident and thought that I made a good impression with the interviewer. Today (Sunday) I received a letter from the employer stating that the position that I interviewed for was not the best for my qualifications. I would like to ask you if it is appropriate for me to call them and ask the “particular” reason why I did not get the job. This is the first job interview that I failed to get hired. I feel that I have done something wrong. Please advise.
Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I hope to hear from you soon.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First I am amazed you heard back from the employer so quickly. Should you follow-up? Sure! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Call the person you interviewed with and ask both for a critique of the interview as well as why you are not a good fit for the job. If nothing else you may gain some insights about how you portray yourself or your skills — and perhaps just perhaps the employer will reconsider and ask you back because of your initiative.
But remember also take the feedback with a grain of salt — this is just ONE person’s opinion about you… so be careful of putting too much stock into his/her words. If he/she identifies some potential flaws ask a close friend or colleague to conduct a mock interview with you and give you more feedback.
One final comment. You have been very lucky that all your previous job interviews resulted in a job offer; I know very few job-seekers who could claim such a record — so even having just one rejection is still a pretty remarkable track record.
Best of luck to you. I know you will continue to have job-search success in the future — especially if you keep trying to improve yourself.
Find lots of other good job interviewing tools articles and question databases in this section of Quintessential Careers: Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.
|Q:||Nikki writes: I have been out of college for two years. During those two years I was a public school teacher. Now I would like to make a career change towards international business. I enrolled into a graduate program for International Management and Commerce. What kind of job should I seeking to gain experience in this field? How can I land the position with my education experience?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There is a bit of a misunderstanding among students who are enrolled in international business programs though more so at the undergraduate level. Students think they are going to graduate with this international business degree and travel the world working for large multinational corporations.
You seem to have a better understanding of the situation. Businesses who have operations in other parts of the world do want graduates of international business programs — especially graduate programs — but those graduates need to have proven domestic business careers first.
So the critical thing for you is to get experience while you are in the graduate program. I don’t know the details of your program but find a way to work fulltime part-time consult and/or volunteer. If you can work for the next two years as you earn your graduate degree you will be a very attractive candidate to a multitude of companies that are doing business overseas.
Talk with the professionals in your school’s career services office network with alumni of the program and join at least one professional association. Start researching potential employers now examine the types of job offers graduates have received over the past few years and begin putting yourself in a position to receive multiple job offers upon graduation.
One final piece of advice. Do you know one or more foreign languages? If not I would also suggest you take the time to become as fluent as possible in at least one other language besides English.