With graduation behind me, the stress of readings, assignments, and exams has given way to a new source of stress – the stress of looking for a job. I’m anxious to begin to establish myself professionally and feel that my education has prepared me very well for this but at times, it feels like a very daunting task.
The good news (I guess) is that there is no shortage of career advice out there be it in books or blogs or coming from family or friends. I’m always eager to listen but at the same time I can’t help but think that we are all different and what’s worked for one person may not be the right approach for another. I feel my job search should begin with an understanding of who I am as a person and my career goals. In doing so, I see where this will ultimately lead me to target opportunities that are best suited for me as opposed to broadcasting my resume far and wide in hopes I can spark some interest from someone.
How to Prepare
I’ve spent a lot of time as of late reading “What Color Is Your Parachute”. This is a book that was written in the 1970’s and has been updated each year since. I got the book at the suggestion of a friend and the author’s premise fits very well with my thinking that we should first determine what you love to do the most and where you would most love to do it, and then map a strategy to find job opportunities based on these and persuade employers to hire you.
There are exercises throughout the book that are designed to help you identify who you are as a person and each one requires a great deal of self-reflection. I’m working on one exercise now, referred to as the “the Flower exercise” that when completed will describe me in seven different ways including the kind of people I prefer to work with, the working conditions that best suit me, the skills I prefer to use, my goals, my knowledge, my desired salary, and where I would like to work (geographically). I’ll use this to help create focus I am looking for.
What to Wear
Not surprisingly, I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking through what I will wear to the interviews I land. I feel my choice in what I wear will communicate a lot about me to a prospective employer. The answer to what to wear to an interview is also very specific to you, the position, the company culture and dependent on where you live in the country (or world). I’ve gone through my closet and a found a few outfits that I feel are appropriate for interviews and wanted to share these.
Given that we are in the midst of a hot summer in Southern California, I chose this simple, yet elegant dress. I love the pleat that runs down the middle of the dress and the button detail. This dress reminds me of a modern day version of a dress designed in the 1940’s – an era I feel like I was meant for.
This dress is unfortunately no longer available at Banana Republic, so another look I chose is this beautiful form-fitting striped dress from White House Black Market. I typically wear a size 0P but the stretchy material fit best in 00P.
All the best to those who are like me and are going through career planning and a job search as a recent college graduate and to those who are doing so as part of a career change. I’ve shared a little about how I am going about this and hope you find an approach that is best suited to you.