Okay let’s admit it: times are tough and job opportunities are limited. So, what are the other possibilities? It’s important to keep things in perspective; instead of drowning your the-economy-sucks sorrows in ice cream while watching soaps on the couch, think of the upcoming months as extra time to transform yourself into the ultimate candidate for when you do land an interview. Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for the 2011 job market, and holding onto a bit of sanity as you do
Ever thought about getting your masters? Today city colleges offer the same academic opportunities and standard of education as prestigious private colleges… at a fraction of the price. Think about hitting the books again. It will be worth it when you have more to offer your future employer than your competitors do. Maybe you aren’t ready to be a full-time student again—graduate schools now have part-time masters programs and can provide you with a flexible schedule. Compile a list of public universities in your area and call for more information about programs you love.
Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back. Yes, everyone needs money to live but never forget that some of the most worthy experiences in life are often priceless. Start looking at internship opportunities in your areas that can provide you with hands-on experience and a chance to learn your field better. Start with your Alma mater; companies often post internship opportunities with colleges. Ask around. Don’t be shy to call up companies in your field of interest who haven’t posted inquiries—you have nothing to lose.
With our lives usually running at 100mph, volunteer work understandably keeps moving down on our lists of priorities. While applying for jobs, try fitting community service into your schedule once or twice a week. Helping others will help you maintain high self-esteem, generating positive energy that will keep you upbeat on your job hunt. Plus, you never know where you’ll find an opening.
Fellowships and Grants
Take a risk—look at programs that you might not have originally considered a possibility. Now is the best time to apply for fellowship programs and grants that will let you pursue your passion. Most colleges offer their own specific programs, so check with your advisor to see what is available. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately find what you are looking for. There are hundreds of grant and fellowship offers that will permit you to do anything from scholarly research, to teaching English abroad, to interning around the world.
Whatever you do, remember to take a deep breath and a look around you every once in a while. Life may be hard right now, but there are lots of people who support you. Take the time to go out to dinner with a friend or read a good book. This is your life, and you deserve to enjoy it.
– Deborah Asseraf