Career Resources

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Recent Grads: Do you need a pep talk?

Last week I had a meeting with a recent grad with whom I've been working for the past two years. When she walked into my office, her facial expression said it all. She was clearly feeling dejected and unmotivated because she hadn't landed a job before graduation. I could certainly understand why she was feeling this way because she is the type of person who, all throughout her life, was able to set goals for herself and readily implement a plan to achieve those goals. Her industrious, ambitious nature had paid off nicely for her...until now. So it was understandable that she was having a difficult time with what she perceived as failure.

However, at the end of our meeting I noticed that her facial expression had changed...she seemed more relaxed and was actually smiling and joking. In our meeting, I had strategized with her to develop new job search options and, more importantly, had reminded her of the many ways she was a superior and competitive job applicant. I was able to boost her morale and her confidence, and she was able to leave my office feeling re-energized about her job search. Just a week later, I received a very upbeat email from her informing me of her networking activity and upcoming interview...she feels positive that something will come out her renewed efforts. And that makes me feel great because my job is to be a supportive coach who cheerleads my students onto success.

So, if you're like my student and haven't landed a job yet, please don't give up...even if you've applied for 50 jobs...or 100 jobs! Maybe you too need a pep talk from a career counselor to motivate you and get you back on track. Most colleges continue to offer career services for recent graduates and alumni, and they're usually not that busy in the summer so they'll have lots of time to devote to you.

Even though you may feel that you're doing everything right in your job search, your career counselor may be able to identify a minor thing that you hadn't even noticed. For example, one of my students came in and said she wasn't getting any interviews. It turned out that she had her New Jersey address on her resume while she was applying for jobs in the Boston area. Other students have told me that they don't move onto second round interviews, and I always suggest that they come in to do a mock interview with me where I can provide constructive feedback on what they can do better. Or other times, I just reassure students that they are doing a great job at interviewing, and this gives them the confidence they need to go in and ace the real interview.

So, don't just sit in your room feeling downhearted. Get out and go visit your school's career counseling office and get the pep talk you need to keep you going! I would recommend going to see them on a weekly basis to keep you on track and to keep you motivated. A job search can be a grueling, emotionally draining process so why not enlist the support of a career counselor who can coach you along the way?

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