The days following college graduation can be difficult to muddle through; the seemingly endless search for employment is daunting. “How do I get my foot in the door?” is a question that leaves many feeling defeated. After I graduated from college, I had no idea where to begin the search for employment, as my only real-life experience had been my days as a college student. I had no formal work experience at all. I applied for several job opportunities using my secretarial degree. I landed countless interviews, but had no luck with any of them.
In this post, I share three ways to begin on the path towards success. The awesome part about these tips is that they provide a record of your interests and endeavors, while also assisting you in getting that much-needed experience under the belt. The three steps I will share today are: build an online presence, work and/or volunteer as much as possible in a field of interest, and make connections.
Step 1: Put Yourself Out into the World
Allowing yourself to be out in the world isn’t as easy as one would think; one must be extremely cautious when sharing personal details. Don’t share everything. The easy part of sharing talents and interests with others is the simple fact that posting online can be done in a matter of seconds, and millions of people can have access if the post goes viral. Everyone uses social media and there are many sites that are useful in making yourself known, such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. LinkedIn is a great resource for building an online resume.
A personal example is my blog, “Molly’s Zone.” I started out just as a weekly inspirational writer and my career grew from that. “Molly’s Zone” had been active for a year or so when the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council learned about it; as a result, I started publishing in their newsletter and subsequently became a member one year later. Since then, I have continued to publish on several platforms.
Another way writing helped my career grow was by introducing me to the non-writing aspect of my career: I’ve gotten to be a part of several committees while lending my voice to make positive changes in the independent living movement.
Check out “Build an Online Presence with Social Media” on the Telecom Toolbox website for more details and tips on how to get started with social media.
Step 2: Use Experience to Climb the Ladder
After you establish an online presence, start applying for jobs you find in your chosen field; also look into volunteer work options. Starting small is great, and it can prove to be a great avenue for gaining work experience and character. Focus your attention on activities and opportunities that will help you to climb the ladder. Nonprofit organizations serve as a great beginner’s point. Research it; don’t jump into the first opportunity that catches the eye. As for the actual employment search, the same principles apply.
A volunteer position I hold is my membership on the West Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council; it has provided massive experience. I’ve learned so much about the world of independent living, advocacy, and my writing is improving through the many platforms I’m involved with. Through serving on four committees, I am slowly but surely finding my voice in the world.
Websites such as Indeed, Craiglist, or again, LinkedIn are great resources for volunteer opportunities. Another old-fashioned but still heavily utilized resource? The Wanted Ads placed in local newspapers. For example, a great place to volunteer is with a nonprofit organization; contact information can often be found on these organizations websites. One place you could look into is your local Center for Independent Living.
Check out “Active Job Search” on the Telecom Toolbox website for more details and tips on how to use social media and online resources to find jobs.
Step 3: Meeting People
The final and most crucial aspect is using the experience you’ve gathered to network and make the right connections. Unfortunately, success and opportunities often come as a result of “who you know” rather than “what you know.” Connecting with the right individual could be the key that opens the door to a fantastic career. Confidence is a must when making connections, but an essential component is to find the medium between collected and over-confident. Stay humble. Stay true to who you are, and people will love you.
Networking has played a huge role in the development of my writing career, as well as my growing career in advocacy for those with disabilities. The conversation that took place at my aunt’s wedding about starting “Molly’s Zone” was between myself and someone I had known since I was four-years-old; becoming part of her business and launching my platform provided me with room to gain experience in the blogging industry and to grow creatively as a writer. Because of my connections with this woman, my life took a purposeful turn. I’ve never been the same in the best of ways.
Check out “LinkedIn Networking” on the Telecom Toolbox website for more details and tips on how to network.
Lastly, a career doesn’t begin magically; one has to push and strive for it as much as possible. Develop your passions, and don’t be afraid to open up and be yourself. Life may begin when and where you least expect it. The sky is the limit!
To learn more about Molly and her writing career, check out her previous Telecom Toolbox Blog Post: “Blog Your Way to a Successful Career—Q and A with Molly Spence.”