Yes, it is true that now is a tough time to be looking for a job. But there are other truths about the job search that will help keep your motivation high and improve your likelihood of employment success in 2012:
- Hard is not the same as impossible. Remember why you chose education as a profession, and fix your eyes on that goal. Believe that the right job is out there.
- Job searching should start earlier than you think and will take longer than you think it should. This is especially true for new grads. Building your network and prospecting job leads should be part of what you are doing now if you are looking for a new job in the next 6 months. Long hiring lead times are common. If you've been looking for a while, that's normal. Hang in there.
- Job searching is time consuming, especially if you do it well. In fact, success depends on viewing your job search as a 24/7 task. Keeping the job search uppermost in your mind enables you to find opportunities in new ways and unexpected places. Always be ready to engage in a job hunting conversation with someone who might have information that would benefit you. As Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favors the prepared mind."
- Go above and beyond in your job search. A job search is made up of more than a resume and application. The way you follow up, how well you interview, how professionally you present yourself and so on all are part of the "package" you present to a prospective employer. The way you conduct your job search, start to finish, shows the employer the kind of effort and enthusiasm you will bring to the job. Doing only what's required is like getting a "C" on an assignment, and in this economy employers aren't lining up to hire average performers. Make sure you manage ALL aspects of the job search well. Pace yourself and give attention to the details.
- Willingness to relocate improves employment prospects. There are jobs out there, and you will have more success if you are open to moving to where the jobs are, or teaching in underserved populations.
- Consider education employment opportunities that are outside of traditional classroom environments. Instructional design, corporate training and development, adult education programs, non-profit organizations that offer education programming, curriculum development, educational testing or publishing and even educational outreach for theaters, museums, or other cultural venues are just some of the options where the skills of a educator would be highly valued.
Assistant Director of Programs and Training
Center for Calling & Career
Northwestern College, Saint Paul, MN