About Me

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I am a M.A. in industrial/organizational psychology. Most of my experience has been in human resources and change management. My passion lies in employee assessment, organizational development and employee opinions. Website: www.IanMondrow.com LinkedIn Profile: http://linkd.in/drBYoC

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sure you have a degree... but you have no job experience!

As you enter college or graduate school, its important to start thinking about your career. Your school will tell you that you don't need to decide your future immediately. They are right. HOWEVER you do need to seek out valuable job experience. In today's job market, employers are valuing experience over an advanced degree. I have personally experienced this and have had multiple recruiters tell me that a M.A. is not equal to two years of experience (like my professors told me). A thesis is great but if you plan to work in corporate america, how does this benefit the organization? They want someone who knows how to do the job and they want references from previous employers, work samples, and other signs to see you that you will quickly fill into this role.

My advice to you is to seek out internships during your time in school. Even if it is unpaid, it is valuable experience that can assist you with your future job search. Many students claim that there are no internships available or that they have applied for internships but were not hired. Do not give up easily. This means that you have to create your own internship. It is simple, I promise.

Non-profit organizations have a limited amount of expenditure available. As a result, they focus their hiring on completing tasks that have to get done. As a result of this necessity, the companies cannot contribute as much time towards other responsibilities. This is where you come in! You can fill this gap but you have to demonstrate your expertise and dedication to the organization's mission. Here is what you do:
  • Contact the organization and emphasize that you want to volunteer. Be ready to tell them how you can contribute to their organization. Often, this requires you be sell yourself.
  • Contact the appropriate individual. Do not contact HR asking for this opportunity as it is likely to be unsuccessful. Instead, contact the head of the department. You can use LinkedIn to get in touch with these individuals (view previous posts for more information).
  • If possible, try to make an appointment to discuss this opportunity in more detail.
  • DO NOT SUGGEST THIS OPPORTUNITY VIA E-MAIL! In most cases, managers will just ignore the message. You need to put them into an opportunity where they have to listen to you. Therefore, it is ideal to call on the phone or meet in person.
  • Explain how it would benefit you (i.e. job experience, reference, learning, etc.).
  • Declare why you are particularly interested in the organization.
  • Finally, do not take it personally if they say no. If you get rejected, just move on to another organization.
Once you get hired, there are several guidelines that I suggest you follow. This will be covered in tomorrow's posting.

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