Career Resources

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why a Healthy Dose of Insanity Pays Off in the Job Search

Last Saturday I presented a “Job Search Strategies” workshop to management students at UMass Boston. At the beginning of the workshop I asked them, “What’s the key ingredient to a successful job search?” The students voiced several answers such as a professional resume, a solid LinkedIn profile, and a strong network. While these things are all important, it wasn’t the answer I was looking for.

So I pressed them further and I gave them a hint. “It begins with the letter “P.” Then the answer did come forth – perseverance – as well as some other P words that also make sense: persistence, patience and positivity. I explained how the average job search can take 3-6 months and that the people who emerge victorious are the ones who persevere despite encountering rejection, frustration and despair.

Quite spontaneously, I then shared my story about how I had applied numerous times to both UMass Boston, where I currently work, and to Boston University, where I previously worked, and interviewed at each institution several times before I landed a job there. Amid some surprised expressions, I told them that I even interviewed for the same job twice at BU and didn’t get it the first time, but did get it the second time! They laughed when I told them that I was either insane – expecting difference results from the same behavior – or persistent. I shared my story to show the students that rejection is a normal part of the job search process, but that it shouldn’t prohibit them from moving forward – and yes – applying to the same company, or even the same job, again and again and again.

Many job seekers think that if they don’t get a job at a certain company, then they should give up on that company and move on to others. Not true! Looking for a job, I told the students, is a lot like dating where you have to date a lot of people before you find one that’s the right match for you. The process of interviewing is for both parties to figure out if it’s a good match. In fact, this element is becoming even more important than a candidate’s qualifications. Sometimes it’s a match made in heaven but sometimes it’s not. If it’s not, it doesn’t mean you weren’t a strong or qualified candidate – it simply means you weren’t a good match for that particular job at that particular time. The key to a successful job search is to keep going until you find the right match for you, and for them.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

College Seniors: Don’t Get Detoured from Reaching Your Career Goals

Neither the New England Patriots nor the Atlanta Falcons would have made it into the Super Bowl game if they hadn’t keep their focus on the reaching the goal line during each and every game they played throughout this year’s season. Staying focused and determined on reaching the goal is critical to football success and it’s equally critical to students’ job search success. I often find that students get derailed from pursuing their career goals and dreams by external factors and pressures.

The reason this bothers me so much is because studies have shown that people are ultimately happier and more successful when they are working in a career that they love. If they don’t, they may have regrets later in life that they never pursued their dreams. I also feel that students have invested a lot of time, energy and money in earning their degree so should make every effort to turn find a job related to their major.

A finance major I was recently working really wants to work in financial services and is applying for internships in that field. However, he is currently working as a customer service representative in the telecommunications industry and is doing such an excellent job that his employer offered him full time employment as a manger after graduation. Sounds like a sweet deal, right? And one that is hard to refuse. Getting offers such as these are very flattering, especially to students who don’t have a lot of work experience and are grateful for any and all offers. The only problem is that if he takes this position, chances are he will never get back to his original career goal.

Another senior was in my office yesterday, and she had received a full-time offer from her current employer. However, it was for an accounting role, and she really wants to work in human resources. The offer was flattering and so was the salary! She confessed that the salary would help her pay off her tuition bills, and that is a very enticing reason to accept an offer. We discussed that she could work in the job for a year or so but then get back on track with pursuing her dream of working in HR.

Many students now are also getting contacted by recruiters on LinkedIn regarding enticing job leads. Again, it’s very flattering for a college student to be contacted by a recruiter! However, a lot of the time the recruiters are recommending jobs that have nothing to do with what the student really wants to do. The recruiters are working in their own best interest to fill their job quotas, but the job isn’t necessarily in the student’s best interest. Young college students just starting out in their careers are often na├»ve to this fact.

So the message here for college seniors is to take control of your career and keep your eye on the prize! Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from pursuing what you really want to do or you might regret it later.