On the Job: Brand your way to a better job

Photo by RENNIE PATTERSONAshleigh Brown, columnist and student at Mount Mary University.

Ashleigh Brown, columnist and student at Mount Mary University.

Do I have a sign on my back that says “Do not hire me!” Can I still blame it on the economy? As a new graduate student in Mount Mary University’s English program, I find myself frequently asking these questions as I struggle to find my place in the working world. When am I ever going to find that great job – that career – that pays the bills and lets me go home every day feeling satisfied?

I realize there are not many people fortunate enough to wake up every day excited to go to work and loving what they do. However, I would still like a job that utilizes my abilities and rewards me with a competitive salary to justify the long hours I spent studying. How does one do this?

Fine tune your resume

While searching for a career in higher education, I found an administrative position advertised at a technical college that seemed perfect. I spent a great deal of time customizing each bullet point on my resume to meet the skills and qualifications required of this position. I included as many highlights and accomplishments as possible, from typing speed to leadership abilities, extra-curricular activities to volunteer work. My resume became a well-rounded representation of me.

Sell yourself

Armed with my new and improved resume, I attacked as many job boards as possible, from LinkedIn to CareerBuilder. Every time my resume was updated, it became new again for the recruiters or hiring managers searching for it. I also learned that hiring experts recommend following companies on Facebook and Twitter. Try commenting more frequently to discussion forums.
You may find a connection that turns into a referral.

Get help

The Advising and Career Development Office in Mount Mary’s Student Success Center offers career development counseling and workshops, resume critiques and mock interviews. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., located on the first floor of the Haggerty Library.

Mount Mary students and alumnae can locate resources describing internships and employment opportunities free of charge. I visited the career development office for assistance with my resume, and what a difference it made.

Be patient

Although I secured an interview for my desired technical college position, I received a message a week later thanking me for my time. They informed me that other candidates would be pursued. Here’s the most important lesson: Don’t get discouraged! It can take months to find the job that’s right for you. If I had a nickel for every job I didn’t get, I wouldn’t need a job, period!

Adding a dose of reality to your aspirations always helps, so don’t discount any progress you may have already made. Even if, like me, you are working in a humdrum job that doesn’t necessitate a college degree, be grateful for the experience as well as the paycheck. I wish all students the best of luck in your own job searches!

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