Getting A Foothold On Your Career

In an uncertain job market, here's how to stay optimistic about your future

companies? Or larger, more corporate environments? There are advantages to both, Bryant Howroyd explains.

Smaller companies offer great learning opportunities because staffs are considerably smaller and employees usually have to perform tasks that are not specific to their jobs. “As a result, you get to talk to everybody — from the bottom to the top — which is where you can identify and find mentors, people who can guide you on your path. In a smaller environment, you’ll probably also be more involved in external communications, which would help you develop a network,” she explains. There is also less chance of being laid off in a smaller company — particularly if you are the only one who performs a certain task.

“Large companies can offer you the opportunity to learn at your own pace,” says Bryant Howroyd. You were probably hired for one particular task which could provide you the opportunity to develop outside projects. “Working for large companies also helps to build a great resume.”

Recognize that jobs don’t have futures, people do. It’s up to the individual to determine where you want to go with your life and how you are going to get there. “What’s great about [recent graduates] is that they have wonderful opportunities to change employment, or change careers, without too much dramatic impact,” she states.

FINDING YOUR FOOTING
Just four years ago, Adrienne Allmond was working diligently at her first gig, straight out of Howard University. It was “not what I wanted to do forever, but I’ll never regret it,” says Allmond, who worked as an at-home companion for one year, caring for a terminally ill p
atient and her elderly husband. “It taught me that I wanted to help people,” stresses the 26-year-old.

Before her medical stint, Allmond studied public relations at the historically black college, but found it challenging to parlay her academic training into a job in that field. She was eventually hired as a public relations assistant at Community Health Charities of Maryland (CHC), a small organization in Baltimore.

Within a year, she was promoted to manager. Standing out among a small staff of about ten, Allmond enjoyed working for a company that raised money for needy people. “I felt appreciative that I got to work in an organization that was in line with what I’d studied. I was also looking for another experience, and considering moving.” When CHC underwent a restructuring and Allmond’s position was phased out, she was able to find that new experience.

Allmond headed to the Big Apple, hoping to find more challenges in a bigger city. “I was out of work and it was tough,” she recalls. “In college, we were taught that jobs were abundant. In New York, it seemed that you had to be part of a secret society in order to get hired. I thought that having a college degree guaranteed certain things.”

“It was really discouraging at first. I interviewed endlessly,” explains the Baltimore native. “I had never looked this hard for a job. Employers wanted three to five years experience. I didn’t

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