Congrats Class of 2010!

14 06 2010

Congratulations, Class of 2010! After years of midterms, all-nighters, and late night junk food, you’ve made it! You are officially released into the working world to leave your mark.

But as you embark on this new time in your life, you’re faced with some of the hardest challenges our world has ever faced: a 9.5% unemployment rate in the United States (13% in California!); national bankruptcy in Greece and Spain; and the constant fluctuation of the Asian stock markets. The world as you know it is changing before your eyes and the years you were in school kept you somewhat removed and safe from these realities. But now that you’re faced with the real challenge of finding your dream career (or any career for that matter), the pressure is on.

For those of you who have lined up your first job after college, congrats! You can stop reading now. For those of you who are still searching, I implore you to stay positive. While I won’t have a magic solution to solve your problems, I hope that I can remind you of the ways to keep you moving forward despite setbacks. So here’s my advice to you, Awesome and Unemployed class of 2010:

Stay positive. When you hit the bottom, there’s no where to go, but up.

I am a firm believer in the kinesis of attitude. Finding your strength and staying positive during uncertain times can bring you the energy you need to stay focused and find creative solutions to your situation. It can also draw others to you. People want to help others that have a good attitude despite all their circumstances. Don’t give up on yourself. You have worked too hard to let economic adversity change who you are and what you’ve achieved.

Make small, attainable goals that lead to bigger ones.

When I first sat down with my brother to talk about building a resume, I saw the color drain from his face. The thought of doing something he didn’t know how to do (building a resume) and doing something he didn’t like to do (talking about himself) made him lose his confidence. I knew that if he didn’t take tiny steps to try, he wouldn’t be able to start. He didn’t realize it, but I began laying out small milestones for him, starting with the frame of the resume. In our next conversation, we moved on to filling in the details he already knew about his experience. Finally, he thought about what else might be missing from the resume (I will ignore the fact that he lost his nerve again when I asked how it was coming along, because he forgot that he had even started the resume!). With a few final touch ups, he had a great resume. But had he kept thinking about the goal, he would have stayed overwhelmed and unsure of how to approach the situation. Setting tiny milestones help bring you to larger goals. Don’t forget to simplify your tasks, especially if you dislike them.

Creativity in scarcity.

There are numerous academic articles on how creativity comes out of scarcity. I like to call it being “scrappy”. I remember hitting the point in my life where the depression of being unemployed set in. It felt like there was nothing I could do to land the job I needed so badly for myself. I met with a mentor who suggested that I “walk in with more” than my resume. As I thought about this more, I really thought that I could do more than just talk about how I was a great fit, I would show them with real life examples. For my next interview, I decided to prepare a portfolio that showed off my different skill sets. I included examples of core skills and a snapshot of my schedule to show how I organize my life every day and how active I was. I did research for the company as if I was already working for them and added it to my portfolio. Then, I made sure that I used it as show and tell in my interview. Having visited many college campuses, I’ve seen many creative approaches to “walking in with more” than your resume. So what’s yours going to be?

Finally–Don’t waste a moment.

Being unemployed means that you have free time. Please don’t let your time go to waste. There are books to read, countries to visit, research to conduct, risks to take, people to help, and a life to live. Sitting and brooding over your situation doesn’t change it. It is toxic for your mental health. Enjoy life and do the things that make you the most passionate and alive. Find ways to incubate your skills and your sanity, so that when you finally do get the call from the employer, you’re mentally stimulated enough to have meaningful conversations with them and talk about all the amazing things you’ve been doing with your down time!

And with that, please, go out, and enjoy the summer. I wish you the best of luck!




2 responses

15 06 2010

A nice post at right time. Thanks for writing this valuable article.

29 06 2010
Double Logic

Creativity in scarcity… How true and inspirational. I’ve just finished my MBA this month, but the job landscape is not so beautiful. But, as you mentioned, I am going to stay positive. Thank you for great tips!

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