Saturday, October 30, 2010

Get a Job! Step #2: Places to Look

This blog post could also be called “networking.”   

“Networking” is a funny word.  The “net” part of it reminds me of a spider web.  You know when you’re walking through the woods and suddenly—Blaaarghh!!—you run into a nasty, stringy, sticky spider web?!!  Yuck!  And *shudder* you probably have a spider on you, now, too!  That’s what networking is a little bit like.  You throw your web of contacts & acquaintances far and wide (really, I mean, you pretty much put yourself out there as much as possible in order to build that web), hoping that eventually you’ll snag an employer in your sticky web of contacts and you, the scary little spider, will be crawling all over that new job!  Haha.

“Networking” also contains the word “working.”  Which is a reminder that job hunting is a lot of, yes, work.  To nail a job, you are not going to be sitting around eating bon-bons (unless of course you’re training to become a fat, flubby, sumo-wrestler).  You’ll find out how much work as you continue reading, but be mentally prepared to roll up your sleeves and do some kuh-razy things in the battle for a job, my friend.

Anyways.  Places to look.  Hmm.  How about…everywhere?!  I mean, look at the stores & businesses you pass every day on your way from point A to point B.  Signs in the windows?  Are they hiring?  Is that somewhere you’d like to work? 

Use your noggin.  Do you have passion and potential to do something out of the ordinary?  Start your own business, maybe?  Become an entrepreneur? 

Feel out your own passion…as you are going about every day life, stop for a second to reflect on what makes you love ___.  Why would you pursue a career or a job in ____ field?  Be constantly thinking about ways to network and come up with new things to do. 

But really, especially if you are currently unemployed, the best advice I have to give (that was given to me) is to simply GET A JOB—and fast.  No employer likes to scan a resume and see huge holes in the time line.  Work.  Work anywhere.  If you can’t work for pay, then volunteer.  Seriously, be a go-getter.  Employers will love it.

I started babysitting when I was 13, then worked in day care after school.  From there I worked a seasonal job at the age of 16 in a call center selling hams.  I took it up a notch and rose to the honorable position as cashier, then worked in college in the dining hall on campus, sometimes sloshing up the my elbows in raw, half-frozen chicken breasts at ungodly early morning hours.  I quit school and worked as a waitress, then started my own house cleaning business for a few months.  I found myself working customer service after that, and meanwhile I was still babysitting and nannying whenever I could.  None of these have been glamorous jobs, but they paid my way and I was thankful for them.

Some places I have looked for jobs are…
my local paper's classifieds
store windows 
church bulletins
community bulletin boards

Some people who are great to know…
  • talk to your high school of college administration office-- they may have openings on campus or may know of individuals in association with the school who are hiring
  • past employers or past coworkers in any venue
  • church members 
  • friends in any work place
  • presidents of large companies
  • billionaires
  • basically anyone who is employed
Opportunities are endless:  you could be volunteering at Salvation Army and meet your future employer dropping off donated goods.  You never know.  Be creative, be innovative, spread yourself out, and work hard.

Examples of networking:
Beth Loveless, owner of America's Pet Store and founder of Everything Imagination, lived in Williston, VT, and my mother was her house cleaner.  Beth heard  through my mom that I was a print journalism student taking a break from school and hired me temporarily as an office assistant to help her out.  I basically filed a bunch of old documents and papers for her until things were tidy.  And then she started a little children's company and asked me to continue working for her as a copy writer for her website.  I probably would never have met Andrew Parker-Renga, musician of the band APR, who worked for the same little children's company for Beth, if my mom hadn't worked for Beth.  Through Andrew, my musician cousin Jacob was able to wiggle into the music/entertainment circles in Burlington's restaurants and bars in order to promote himself as a musician.  You never know where networking will take you! :)

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