Remember the first time you were hunting for a "real" job? If you're like many of us, it was probably during your senior year of college (or toward the end of a graduate program). You anguished over the dilemma of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience. You knew your resume was supposed to sell your skills for a particular job, but you weren't so sure what particular job you wanted.
I've been reliving that experience over the past few days as I've been reading Lindsay Pollak's "Getting From College To Career." First published in 2007, this career guide for young people has been recently re-issued to take into account the lousy economy and the existence of social media. (Pollak is the global spokesperson for LinkedIn). The advice is clearly aimed at folks barely out of -- or still living in -- their parents' homes. For instance, Pollak recommends "bookending," which she defines like this: "Whenever I am about to do something scary...I call my mom before the action to gear up and get confident. Then I make the difficult call. Afterward I call her to report on how it went."
But the more I think about it, the more I realize that much of this advice for young people works for all of us.
For instance, it's not only young job seekers who need to be cognizant of their online profiles. These days, we all need good head shots. (Do you have one?) We should all check out the online profiles of people we admire -- and copy their form and what they emphasize. We should all make what Pollak calls a "Really Big List" of all kinds of jobs that might interest us. You never know when the one you're currently holding will disappear, and your entire industry might enter a shrinking period. Do you know how you might pursue any of your other interests? And hey, since anyone who ever ponders offering you a job will Google you first, if you want to get good search engine results, you might do what she suggests and write a guest post for a well-trafficked blog. That will probably come up first -- and show exactly the expertise and knowledge you want shown.
Have you ever done that?
Of course, we can all be grateful that we're not actually reliving those scary early days. When I moved to New York City at age 23 with no job or prospect of one, the uncertainty of what I was going to do with my life was almost overwhelming. Sometimes, I literally felt dizzy -- uncertainty gone psychosomatic. But eventually you figure things out. Mostly.
Sometimes it still helps to call your mom before tough negotiations, though.
What lessons have you learned from your first job search?