Thursday, March 20, 2014

Post-College Job Search Must Be Focused, Realistic In Order To Be Effective

Dear Tazi:

I graduated college last May and, in spite of looking for a job all summer and through the winter, I have still not found work.  My degree is in Communications, and I noticed that your Mommie also has a degree in Communications.  I was wondering if I am somehow looking for the wrong type of work and how long it took her to find a job using her degree.

I will admit my grades were not the best, and that I partied a lot in college, but now that my student loans will be coming due any day now (my six months post-graduation plus my six months unemployment deferments are almost up) and I am ready to get serious about my career.  It is too late for me to take an unpaid internship to get some experience, and I don't have the money to look for work beyond my local area.  Moving away is out of the question unless the company is willing to pay my relocation expenses.  Overall, I realize that this does not look good, but I am getting desperate and will take any job that pays at least $22.50 an hour - that's what I need to pay my rent, car insurance, student loans, and other expenses.  So, do you know where I should be looking and for what kind of job I should be looking?


Dear Jobless:

I admire your grammatical skills!  Yours is one of the few letters that did not require me to make any corrections!  I am simply purring with joy over the fact that, in spite of your partying ways in college, you did manage to learn something (even if your grades do not reflect it).  Have you considered working as a Proofreader?  It's no $22.50 an hour, but it is a foot in the door!

I hate to burst your bubble, but if you are looking to make at least $900/week ($22.50 x 40 hours = $900) you are probably going to be working two jobs until you have enough experience to command such a salary in these difficult economic times - especially since your job search is limited to such a small geographic area.  [Ed. Note: For privacy reasons, the writer's location has been omitted, but suffice to say s/he does not live in a large metropolitan area where larger salaries are commonplace]. Without a history of internships or any experience whatsoever, it is doubtful that a company will be willing to pay to relocate you.

Communications is a broad field, so it depends on what concentration you studied as to what jobs would be an appropriate fit.  If you concentrated on Broadcasting and Media, try for opportunities to work behind the camera or on the technical side of the business. On-camera positions are few and far between, but if you can gain experience and start developing a portfolio of your work by volunteering with a local cable-access show you can gain valuable experience in front of the camera.

If you concentrated on Interpersonal Communications, than Marketing, Public Relations, or even Anthropology/Intercultural Relations are areas where you could find your career.  Many large corporations have departments dedicated to these skills in order to improve their marketability in the world.

Other concentrations include Advertising, Business Communications, Speech Pathology (which requires a graduate degree to work in the field), and Interpretation.  Do you know American Sign Language?  If you are fluent, your skills will be in high demand in the courts and possibly in educational realms.  If you concentrated on business and/or advertising, your best bet may be to start out in Sales and work your way up from there into Advertising Design or Management.

If you have no specialized skills whatsoever, I have to wonder exactly what you spent the last several years studying and suggest that you learn some secretarial and computer skills if you do not have them already.  Executive Assistant positions are often hard to fill due to a lack of qualified candidates.  These are not your run-of-the-mill data entry, Receptionist, or secretarial positions and require a great deal of vocational abilities as well as professional Communications skills.

As for how long it took Mommie to find a job in her field, I believe it was three months.  She took an entry level position in the advertising firm that brought Ginsu knives into American homes...and charmed one of the partners by doing a perfect imitation of the commercial's voice-over artist.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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