Today’s topic was prompted by an article I read recently, about a Gen Y’er who couldn’t find a job. I have a pretty great career and have never been unemployed for long. Others, including the Gen Y’er from that article, are having a challenging time starting their career, even in their late 20s and early 30s. Why is that? If you haven’t landed your first job yet, how can you avoid the same fate? Here are four less-obvious hard truths about what it takes to get that first fabulous job — a vital step toward lifetime financial health.
The obvious methods of landing a job aren’t enough
Many people say that the résumé is dead and that work is all about who you know. Therefore, showing up at conferences, networking events and meet-ups focused on your target industry are a must. You are not guaranteed a job this way, because you’ll be in competition with every other savvy person who’s realized that networking is key to getting your name out there. Still, make sure you aren’t paying more than $15 dollars to attend any networking event; if you live in a large city, there should be a ton out there that are $5, and even free. More money doesn’t equal more quality.
Professional relationships take time to develop
On the topic of networking: I’ve done my fair share, especially right at the start of my career. Five years later, it’s finally starting to pay off. I’ve nurtured relationships that have turned into wonderful friendships as well as great professional partnerships. Thanks to the time and patience I took to cultivate these relationships, I’m often approached with job offers. Networking works — if you work on it.
Consider living with your parents
Do your parents live within commuting distance from the major urban centre where you’re job searching? I recommend living at home if at all possible. The mental competitive edge you’ll gain by not having to scramble to make rent makes a huge difference. Also, you can get a head start on paying off your student loans with any money you are bringing in and not needing to put towards rent — another major step toward long-term financial independence.
Be honest with yourself
Do you really want to be a social media guru? Or are you just trying to go ‘where the jobs are’ or follow ‘hot trends’? If you’re not passionate about your employment industry of choice, you may be able to convince people for a while, but it almost never works out. Passion is something you can’t fake; passion is what keeps you going, fighting for ideas you believe in and pulling late hours. You’re doing yourself a disservice by following job trends you’re not truly interested in.
Next week, I’ll finish up with the rest of my post-millennial, hard-earned advice for becoming a totally employable careerist rock star.
Written by M. Alice Allen