Start My Job Search Now?

summersearchStart my job search now? Yes! Whether you will graduate next year or are an incoming student, it’s not too early to start developing your job-search skills. And note that I said “job-search skills,” not “job skills.”

“Job skills” include abilities necessary for a specific type of work (such as lab techniques, programming languages, art skills, knowledge of particular facts) as well as transferable “soft” skills (such as communication, collaboration, organizational skills).

“Job-search skills,” however, include knowing how to explore and find opportunities in the career field(s) of interest to you.

“Job-search skills” are not necessarily as challenging as they are time consuming. So, if you can start now, do! Devoting some time to developing competence in the following abilities will help you get ahead of the game (and make it easier to excel in these practices in the future). These suggestions for developing your job-search skills can also be rather fun!
Talk to People
Be Curious
Pursue Interests
Become an Expert Communicator
Be Amazed
Tell Stories
Send Fan Mail
Be a Sleuth
Get Experience
Start Now!

Continue reading “Start My Job Search Now?”

Time Travel to a Career

JJF_7912.jpgPerhaps you’ve seen posters around Philadelphia for the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, or you’ve been lucky enough to attend one of their events. The ads for the “Time Travel Plaza” have captured my attention, and I keep wondering about what I would like to see and do—and the people I would want to meet—if I could actually travel through time.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see how your great-great-grandparents lived? I think it would be fascinating to see how and where they lived, what their relationships were like, their awareness of the events of the day, and how they made a living.

So let me invite you to create your own time tunnel! To explore how people made a living, jot down who in your family’s history did what—as far as you know. Ask your parents or review any family documents you have.

Then add more details to your list. Ask yourself not only what they did, but why they did it. Where did they do their “work”? How did they complete their tasks?

If you know the person or have heard stories, can you ascertain anything about their psychological make-up? Did their personalities affect their career success? Positively or negatively? How did they define success? (Or did they?)

Add the circumstances of history. What was going on in the world at that time? How did most people live and how did they provide for themselves and their families? Did they work on their own? For someone else? Voluntarily? Where and how?

Consider biological implications. How did gender affect the livelihoods of the people on your list? Race? Health? Did they have choices or limitations based on their physical being?

As you populate your time tunnel, add historical or fictional characters to your list—especially to fill in gaps regarding certain eras and/or certain types of work. Have you included someone from the 1950s? The 1920s? The 1990s? Or even the 1750s or further back? Are there individuals on your list from work in industries as diverse as medicine, business, education, entertainment, government, agriculture, manufacturing, childcare, law, journalism, science, social work? Are there artists? Leaders? Laborers? People who worked within the systems of the day and those who worked outside them?

timemachineThen, walk through your tunnel and observe the work lives of the people in it. Does anything startle you? Impress you? Dismay you? Challenge you? Motivate you? Educate you? As you gain insight into what work meant for these people in your time tunnel, do you glean any new perspectives on what work means now in the twenty-first century? Perhaps you’ll formulate questions about what work might mean for you that will help you choose a career, change a career, or move ahead with confidence and determination in the career you’ve selected. Bon voyage!

With deference to and acknowledgement of the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, and Professor Jim Larkin’s Penn class on “Self, Role, and Expectations in the Workplace.”