‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I am a 28-year-old college grad (sociology) who served briefly as a military translator and now can’t find a “real job.” (I’ve been working in restaurants.) I am writing this nearly in tears over the frustration of being denied interviews and being ignored by employers. I feel I have a lot to offer if only I could get the chance. I can’t help but think (or hope) there are employers looking for a “blank slate” like me. — Melanie
J.T.: A “blank slate”? Not true. You need to embrace your strengths, getting to the point where you can say: “I’m looking for work that will let me leverage my sociology degree and my experience as a translator in the military. I know my way around a computer, am well-organized and communicate effectively.” You need to share who you are while getting the word out that you are looking for a job.
Dale: Successful people in any economy strive to be well-connected, and that starts by making connections. Look at what J.T. is suggesting and you’ll see the possible connections — people who’ve served in the military, translators, fellow soc majors. In fact, as you chat with customers at the restaurant, you could make a joke of your degree not preparing you for a job and ask if they know anyone with a sociology degree who found a career. You’ll be surprised how often you hear a “yes,” and that’s when you say, “I’d love to meet that person.”
J.T.: If your job search isn’t personal, it’s not effective. Getting to know people by talking about your career is the best way — often the only way — to find a job.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com.
Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
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