May 13, 2016

The job selection dilemma, post graduation!

You got the degree, now it's time to get the dream job.  You have a lot of motivation to find a job. Let's do a quick motivation countdown. How about family pressure, add in some peer pressure and finally the bill collector for your student loans, does that sum up your motivation? If it does, then you are about to experience one of your first post-graduation decisions, the job selection dilemma.

What is the job selection dilemma?  It is the crossroads of waiting for your dream job or taking a stepping-stone job that will eventually move you towards your dream job. So what is one to do? Should one wait or take something that is not exactly what you spent at least four years of your life preparing for the day you would start dream career?  So what is the correct answer? Unfortunately there isn't one, or as I call it, this is a job selection dilemma.

The dilemma is, should one wait for their dream job or take a reality starter position. Some individuals will wait for their dream job. In the fine arts universe many theater majors will wait tables and take on other similar jobs while they audition for roles in major theaters. Weeks, months, even years go by before some get their break and their dream job. The theater process is a good role model for almost anyone who is waiting for their dream job. One must be willing to sacrifice and keep the dream burning to grab the ultimate brass ring.

How do you know if you are trying to land a dream job? Use some metrics and not just gut feel.  If you apply for one hundred open job positions and you have zero interviews, then you are looking for a dream job. Many times you will not be qualified since the open positions require six to twelve months experience.  Does one wait it out for a job that requires no prior experience or should one take a stepping stone job? It's a dilemma, both ways work. However, be aware that if you choose to wait, you really must fight the big D, Depression! After awhile one may begin to wonder why they don't have the job they studied for and paid good money to obtain a degree so they could qualify for employment in the field that they love.

Another option is to take a starter position in a related field.  This will not be your dream job. The pay may not be at the same level as your dream job but you can gain some valuable experience. You may even turn out to actually like the starter job even though you didn't think you would like it when you took the position. Starter jobs can be very important even if they have a very remote link to your dream job. One can learn some key generic job skills that every employer desires.  Basic skills like timeliness, communication skills with your peers and management, and work ethic under both normal and deadline conditions. One can also develop contacts in your dream field if you can find a related job. If your job is not in a field that is related, then you can still develop contacts in your dream field during your off hours. A key factor to remember in following the related field strategy is that you are making some money while you work at pursuing your dream job.

The following is some advice when dealing with this dilemma. First, stick to your vision. It may take a little more time than you thought but your dream job is your passion. Test out both options and use metrics to determine your odds of securing the job you desire in a timely manner. Always have a fallback plan.  If option one isn't working try option two. Believe. Believe that your dream job awaits you but you haven't found it yet. Don't fall into the trap of thinking about what's wrong with you. Resist temptation of taking any job, especially one that you know you will hate. Be flexible and open to learning new ideas or jobs. Don't panic and keep in touch with your college career center. The career center may have some advice or opportunities that they can share with you post graduation. Finally, use a job quality check. provides employee feedback on the working conditions of many many businesses. You can learn if the job is a sweatshop or a nurturing organization.

Good luck and remember that you are not the first nor the last to face the job selection dilemma.

No comments:

Post a Comment