GUEST BLOGGER: Joe McCarthy, Career Coach, Center for Career Education & Professional Development at Providence College. Joe received a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from the Jesuit University of Scranton and an M.A. in Holistic Counseling from Salve Regina University. He spent many years as a Human Resources professional in the insurance, banking, chemical and textile industries. He has been married for 49 years to his wife, Marlene, and they have 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
I can still remember the night very clearly. My wife and I were sitting at the kitchen table of our campus apartment at the University of Florida. We had just returned from dinner (OK – giant hot dogs and fries!) at King’s Food Host, an off-campus fast-food restaurant where I was spending my non-study time as a busboy. King’s had a “remarkable” benefit program – employees and their families could eat for half-price. We were among the most regular visitors.
Anyway, on our kitchen table, there was a gigantic book about the size of the old Yellow Pages. In the era before the Internet, this was the job search bible for students. Each page was devoted to an individual company’s advertisement that shared information about the company and highlighted available jobs. My wife and I were checking out the jobs and deciding where I should MAIL my resume.
One of the ads caught my wife’s eye. The page showed a very modern, good-looking building in Philadelphia. I can still hear my wife’s words, “Wouldn’t it be great to work in that beautiful building”? I recollect agreeing that it would be a good place to work, but immediately discarded the idea because the ad was for jobs in a chemical company and I was studying counseling. But, my wife persisted, so I figured nothing would be lost by sending my resume, and off it went. What a surprise when – a few weeks later – I was contacted for an interview and offered an entry level job in Labor Relations.
As I recall this experience, a few lessons come to mind. First, there are many jobs that are unrelated to a student’s major – so be open to a variety of diverse opportunities that may seem to be totally unrelated to what you have studied. And second, take advantage of some “out of the box” thinking in your job search.
Of course, use the many traditional job search resources, including eFriars, networking via LinkedIn/Friarlink and friends/families/faculty, social networking sites, on-campus recruiting, alumni contacts, career fairs, employer websites, meeting with a Career Coach in Slavin 108, etc.
But, at the same time, do some brainstorming and try out different approaches in your search for a job. Here are a few “o-o-t-b” ideas. I am sure you can identify many others that are more creative.
- The list of organizations participating in the PC Career Expo on March 16, 2016 in Peterson, will be listed in eFriars in advance of the Expo. Identify 3 companies that are of special interest and send a cover letter/resume by mail to the President of each and indicate your strong interest and that you are looking forward to meeting with the company rep at the Career Expo.
- Prepare a second page to attach to your resume. Include a list of 6 major strengths that you possess with two bullet points indicating how you use each strength.
- Check out Market Gauge in the Business section of the New York Times and send a resume to the HR VP of one of the ten companies at the top of the Most Active Stock List and one of the companies on the Top Gainer Stock List.
- On a monthly basis get together with 3 students for an hour and discuss successes and challenges in your job searches – learn from each other.
- Identify 3 PC graduates of the Class of 2014 who are on LinkedIn and send them a note asking if you can forward your resume to them so that they can share it with their manager and HR Department.
- Send a letter/resume to the Principal of your high school thanking her/him for the education you received and indicating how it has impacted your college experience and the type of job you are seeking.
One of the keys to an effective job search is using a variety of resources. Combining traditional job search tools with a few out of the box approaches will enhance your opportunity for achieving the success that you deserve.