Monday, June 6, 2011
Your Career and You: "Do Your Research...THEN Network"
I know it seems like I spend a lot of time talking about "researching" and "networking" in the course of my ramblings, but I keep getting reminders as I chat with students...AND professionals...about their job search.
This morning was no exception. The call was from a professional acquaintance who has focused his interest...but, or so it seems, not his attention...on an academic job search.
I say it like this because this fellow is not new to the job search world...he works in human resources. But our conversation this morning left me with the uneasy feeling that he's as clueless about how to go about looking for a job as are many novice job hunters.
First off...and today was the continuation of a conversation we had a couple of months ago...he knew absolutely nothing about Curry College (in which he professes to be interested) including not even knowing how to find us!
Now this latter part...the finding...isn't rocket science. It's a simple matter of going on to our website and looking under "About Curry" at "Our Campus." Maps and everything, including some great pictures of a beautiful campus.
But the thing that really got me was he had no idea what he really wanted to do. In the course of a very rambling chat, he bounced from "volunteer work" to "adjunct teaching," from "unpaid" to "paid." Nothing I could pin a definitive "here's what your next step should be" response to.
And that's the point of this monologue: We (aka "professionals") would love to help you in your job search...to give you feedback on your plans. Can't do this if you don't give us something to work with!
So do your research into organizations, job opportunities, areas of interest (or not). Then come to me for advice and guidance. Because then I will be able to go foraging in my address book and extract a name or two of colleagues who will be able to talk to you about jobs and places you are interested in.
It's simple. Do your research first to get a sense of the things that catch your attention and get you excited. Then do your networking with the ability to describe to your contact what you really are looking for and why.
Since I would rather make of him [the child] an able man than a learned man, I would also urge that care be taken to choose a guide [tutor] with a well-made rather than a well-filled head."
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. Essays, bk. I , To the Reader, ch. 26