Career Corner is a program produced by the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network, part of State Services for the Blind. And it is recorded for people who are blind or have reading disabilities.
You can find complete programming of the Radio Talking Book at www.mnssb.org/rtb. And the password is R T B.
Your host for Career Corner is Anne Obst.
Today, we'll begin with the "Working Strategies" column from the June 1st issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press titled: "Some Tried and True - and New - Advice for New Graduates. By Amy Lindgren.
It's graduation season. Every year, I write one or two columns for new graduates, always striving for a balance between heartfelt congratulations and strategic career-launching tips. It's a happy task, even if I'm more likely addressing parents and spouses than the graduates themselves. After all, graduation is a busy time and reading advice columns comes pretty low on the list of priorities.
This year I'm more conscious than ever of those priorities, as I watch graduates struggle with competing concerns: Getting value from the education investment, launching or re-launching an independent life, paying down student debt, and finding work in one's new field.
Here are five "evergreen" tips for new graduates, followed by three specifically for this year's graduating class.
1. Get advice early and often in your job search process. Meet regularly with outside mentors and coaches at your college placement center, at the state workforce center, and in career counseling practices.
2. Do the things that make you uncomfortable, including cold calls, drop-in visits and asking others for introductions. Despite all the technology available to smooth out the process, job search is fundamentally an in-person game.
3. Maintain a steady pace for your search. Two hours every day is better than unsustainable bursts of intense effort. Most offers happen through follow-up, not first contacts. You need daily effort to coordinate follow-up with multiple leads.
4. Take any paying work you can, regardless of its status or wage. Even if you're barely clearing an income after the costs of commuting, remember this: When it comes to working or not working, it feels better and looks better if you're working. Since self-esteem and image are both essential ingredients for success, this one is an easy call. Take that under-paid job.
5. Continue to "work" in your career field even if you're not actually employed. Keep your hand in by doing your ideal work as a volunteer, whether that's for a nonprofit or a start-up enterprise. If that won't work, assign yourself a new topic to research and blog about each week, sending the links to people in the field. But don't let go of your career path.
1. Until your finances stabilize, minimize expenses drastically. Whether you live with family or friends, or sell your car, or just drop most features on your calling plan, economizing is critical. The last thing you need right now is a burgeoning credit card bill.
2. Pay down your student loan debt aggressively, particularly if you are a 20-something graduate. It doesn't matter how low the interest rates are, it's still interest and it's going to add up. Remember that debt impacts the job-seeking mindset. Owing money influences which jobs you feel you can take, whether you feel you can travel or work independently, and even your decisions about starting a family or owning a home.
You might be a candidate for loan forgiveness if you work in public service (go to www.studentaid.ed.gov and put PSLF into the search box). If that's your plan, then grab onto it. But otherwise, make a plan of your own. For example, if you can live very cheaply for two years while piecing together even $30,000 gross annual income, it's not a stretch to say that you could pay down $20,000 or even $30,000 in debt over those two years. Yes, you'll be miserable. But if you're going to be miserable either way, why not be productive about it?
3. Set a success plan of five years if you're in your 20s, three years if you're mid-career. At first, the specifics for the plan might be fuzzy, but the premise should be clear: Promise to do everything humanly possible to launch yourself in your field in the three or five years allotted. If that means working nights for income while you work days for free, then the good news is that it will only last for three or five years.
In reality, it's unlikely to take that long for your new career to take root. The real danger isn't that your launch will drag on, but that you'll give up too quickly. Keep meeting regularly with outside mentors so you can stay on track. I promise, the years will fly by and you'll be surprised to see how far you can go. Congratulations on all you've accomplished so far.