Q: I am a 27-year-old male who has been trying to get my career started. Since 1999, after I graduated from Grambling State University, I have taken jobs outside my field only because I had to make a living. I am willing to relocate. I am willing to start at the bottom. I’ve even tried taking jobs in one area to network my way into the area I’m interested in. I don’t know what else to do, I am seeking help.
–E. Owens, Detroit, Michigan
A: It’s great that you are open to starting at the bottom. It’s great that you would consider relocating, if necessary. You’re obviously willing and anxious to work. You’re just not focused. If you’re unable to maintain a concentrated effort on your goal, you won’t find anything. Job-hunting today is a full-time job that’s going to take time before you see any results, particularly if you’re not experienced.
Sit down and develop a plan of action. Since your time is flexible, see if you can work nights and/or weekends and volunteer during the day or take an internship in your intended field. Develop a detailed résumé that quantifies the experience you do have. Employers are not just interested in where you’ve worked, but what you’ve done. Visit www.wetfeet.com and research the areas of the country that offer the best job opportunities for your career interests. Don’t assume that if you take a job in one area that you’ll be able to “network” your way into your preferred department, unless your interviewer has indicated that possibility. In this economy, staffing has become so lean that if you are hired in one area, then that’s where you are needed. Read “The Résumé, The Pitch, The Close” (February 2003) for detailed information on what you need to know to find a job in this environment.
Mail your career development questions to: Since You Asked, BLACK ENTERPRISE, 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.