Thursday, December 11, 2008

Practice What You Preach

I’ve been very lucky have a source of steady income over the last twenty years. It’s allowed me to do a lot things I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise; get another degree and start three businesses, for example. Like so many other people around the country, I can no longer count on it to provide what I need to pay my bills. My private practice as a career counselor is slow because people can’t afford the price for individual coaching. I need to find additional sources of income. Last week I spent time thinking about what I’m really good at and where there is a need that I might be able to fill.

While people can’t afford to pay for individual counseling services, I can utilize the current technology to help people at either no cost to them or for a very small investment find work. While this blog is still devoted to retirement life, I want to broaden the scope of what that entails. I will now be talking more about creating income in this new economy. (I started to write “find a job”, but I think people need to throw the doors open to finding income anyway they can-legal and moral ways, of course.)

I read the following this morning. It’s an excerpt from an article that appeared in a silicon valley newspaper discussing the difficulties young people are having finding work right out of college.

"I feel like I put in all the work [in school] to not have a job,"said Jillian Crawford, 25, who's been looking for a marketing jobwith a tech company since she graduated with honors from San JoseState University in June.Ms. Crawford has applied to about 25 marketing jobs withoutreceiving much of a response. She remains committed to finding a jobin Silicon Valley and would be dismayed if she had to lookelsewhere.

This is a problem many college graduates are facing, along with their parents who are having to open their home back up, so these young people don’t end up on the street.

There are no easy answers to the economic and labor problems facing the country right now. I believe, as an individual, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can find work.

What else might Jillian do to find a job? The article discussed how companies in silicon valley are more apt to hire people with experience who can hit the ground running. This provides the first clue as to what Ms. Crawford needs to do. It will not help to go back to school to get a graduate degree and it will not benefit her to take a retail job with the hope of getting marketing work later on. What she needs to do is find a way to get experience anyway she can. If that means taking a part time job to pay the bills and volunteering time in marketing, then that what she should do.

Here a some suggestions for Jillian to get experience and exposure. First, she should contact the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. Speaking to the executive director, tell him/her she is a recent graduate with a degree in marketing and she would like to get involved in the organization. She could inquire if they have any programs for recent graduates, or if they have a mentoring program. She can ask for names of members who might provide advice. She can also join in online professional groups such as Linkedin to connect with people in the profession.

Jillian can contact the San Jose State Career Center to see how to get names of alumni. She should start developing a list of people who graduated with a degree in marketing. In addition, review the list of 25 companies she applied to, identify the ten she would most like to work for, and start to contact people from San Jose State who work for these companies.

Arranging for thirty minute meetings, Jillian can explain how she applied for a marketing job, and ask for their advise about becoming a better candidate. Ask them to review her resume. It sounds weak if she didn’t get interviews, and there may be things she can do to spice it up. She wants to talk to as many people as she can asking them for advice, information and referrals (AIR).

She also might contact the local chamber(s) of commerce. She can explain her situation and see if they have suggestions of people she can contact for volunteer or paid work. She can contact independent marketing consultants to see if they need an assistant.

Jillian may also try contacting non-profits in her area and see about volunteering in their marketing department. Organizations still need to get their message out. There will continue to be a need for people with good skills.

She needs to be willing to try other activities besides answering ads. If she is willing to get out, meet people in the profession, do volunteer work to get experience, she will eventually be able to find a job in her field.

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