When I finished my Masters degree at LSU in 2009, I knew that I was entering the job market at a difficult time and in a specialized field that had had its fair share of financial setbacks. Despite all of that, or maybe even because of it, I was determined to prove to myself that my studies and my time at LSU meant something. It took more than 23 months, 4 temporary jobs, and countless interviews, but I’ve found the right fit for me. I also walked away from the job search experience with a more mature outlook on the world around me. Here are three things that helped me along the way and may help you and your Tiger as they look ahead to the perfect career.
There is no easy way to hear that you’ve been passed over for a job (or 63, but who’s counting?); however, dwelling on the negative situation is really just a waste of energy that could be used to keep searching. Over time, it became draining—physically, emotionally, mentally—to think about how things could have been different. Some employers are willing and able to provide feedback so it is important to maintain a professional relationship after being turned down for a position. For me, learning what areas I needed to improve in for interviews in order to make myself a better candidate became critical.
Temporary employment (working while searching for something permanent) may not always seem ideal, though there are ways to make it meaningful and marketable for future applications and interviews. By identifying skills that I could develop through these roles, I was able to find positions that could be tailored to provide that growth, be easily discussed, and be promoted on my resume or in interviews. Also, my jobs were enjoyable which helped immensely as the months passed during my search.
Lastly, the encouragement and guidance of my friends, family, and professional colleagues made all the difference in the world. I knew that I had a support system that truly wanted me to succeed and would help me achieve my goals. Most importantly, they knew when to push me and when it was appropriate to let me find the right path for myself. Furthermore, there are resources at LSU, such as Career Services, that are available to advise students beyond graduation.
The job search many graduates face today may be challenging. Focusing on the positives, developing necessary skills and deficits, and relying on support can make the challenge an adventure, rather than a burden.
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