Recent Grad Has Hard Time Finding a Job

Andy writes:
I am an April 2011 college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a
minor in sociology. My career search is looking bleak. I can’t find work anywhere.
Please help me. I also need to find a job in the area rather than relocate.

The Career Doctor responds:
There are too many unanswered questions here. I need to know where you are in identifying
career paths. I need to know if you have any work experience any internships or residencies.
So the first thing you need to answer for yourself is what you want kind of work you want
to do now — and in the next few years. Are you interested in some sort of counseling
position that utilizes your education or are you looking into other possible career paths?
My best advice for you is to talk with various people to formulate some ideas on possible
careers. Talk with the career services office at your alma mater with one or more of your
former professors with your family and with other trusted members of your network. If
you did not want to go into counseling your other career choices are really unlimited.
Next take stock in identifying your accomplishments — in the classroom and from any
kind of experiential activities (such as projects volunteering and work experiences). Whenever
possible quantify those accomplishments. For example if you were a resident adviser in
college in your accomplishments section mention how many residents you were responsible
for how many programs you developed etc. I tell my clients this activity is where you
describe how you made each job your own. As you conclude this exercise I want you
to then see if you can find the two or three accomplishments that make you unique –
your unique selling proposition (USP).
The third step is writing or revising your resume to match the career field you want to
enter — clearly identifying your accomplishments and your USP. You’ll also want to
review all your job-hunting techniques – cover letters interviewing skills etc.
The final step is using your existing network of contacts while also building it with more
local contacts since you plan on staying in the area. Networking is the key to getting your
foot in the door to start your career. Your network of contacts — people who know you (or
know people who know you) — is a key resource of information about potential job leads.
You might also consider conducting a few informational interviews to learn more about
possible career paths — and to build your network.
Tools from Quintessential Careers to help you in this process: