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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Archive: Getting the job — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

Archive: Getting the job — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

June 27th, 2014

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Finding a job can be difficult, no matter if it is your first job or your twentieth. That said, finding that first “real” job can leave you wondering just how you’re supposed to get started if no one will give you a chance. As with most things in life, there is no secret to success, but there are a few ways to increase the chances of finding a good first job and making a great start on the career you deserve.

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Find something you are passionate about, whether in your area of study or not, and pursue jobs in that area. Passion is of incalculable value in an interview. If you are talking about something you are passionate about, it will be clear to the interviewer. There is no way to hide it. Conversely, there is no way to fake it if it isn’t there to begin with. Focus on interviewing for jobs you are passionate about and not any job that presents itself.

Too often, especially early in a career, we are desperate and grasp at any opportunity that presents itself. It’s understandable, of course. We need to make money and we want to get started on a career, not just another placeholder job. Sure, you may need to take a job out of necessity, but you can’t let that cloud your thinking and make a large commitment to a job that means little to you. You need to constantly be looking for a job that meets your needs.

Once you believe you have found a career you can be passionate about, focus on companies that will allow you to pursue that passion. Again, you will be focusing your job search and not wasting time pursuing jobs that you don’t really want. This focus will help you to ignore jobs that are entirely out of your area of interest and help develop targets where you can invest the majority of your time. Expend your efforts in those area which can yield the most, or biggest, rewards.

When you are just starting your career, your biggest weakness can be the lack of connections. Some of you will be able to find out about job openings or even get interviews due to family and friends , but I find that these might not generate as many opportunities as you hope. The fact is, these contacts are interviewing you out a sense of obligation, not because they have any interest in you or because you have any real interest in the job. There are better ways to build your connections and you do many of them every day.

If you aren’t doing it already, start attending Meetups, networking meetings, and any other opportunity to meet other people involved in your area of interest. Check out and see if there is a meeting in your area on your favorite topic. If not, consider starting one of your own. After all, the best way to be known by everyone is to be the founder of the group. Take every opportunity to talk to as may people as possible. You can never be sure who might be in the position to offer you your first, or next, great job.

Finally, while it might sound crazy, you should try to develop your own job or company around your passion. This doesn’t mean you stop looking for a job, only that you open a parallel path. Thomas Alva Edison supposedly said, “Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits” and I think that is great advice. This means that every hour you are not involved in your current, stop-gap job,, you are thinking about, or actively working on, getting a job or developing your own opportunities. I usually describe it in this way, “When you are unemployed, getting a job becomes your job.” You need to apply as much care and attention to your job search as you would to a job you love.

I know that sometimes it can feel like you will never get a job, let alone a job you love, but if you focus on your true career desires, build your relationships with others and maybe even create your own job, let me assure you that you can and will find a job. People find jobs every day, many with fewer opportunities than you enjoy. Those who succeed share one thing in common, they all “hustle while they wait” and focus on getting a great job and starting to build the career they truly deserve.


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