I think it is about time that I include Job Seeker in my employment history. Some days, it certainly feels like a full-time job. I would even argue as a Job Seeker, you are on the clock non-stop. One has to be accessible at any time to quickly respond to emails and receive incoming phone calls. Then, I feel guilty not searching the cavernous depths of the internet at all times for fear of missing the right opportunity. There is always this sense of anxiety that lives within my chest. With every new application, a feeling of anticipation.
While I can assure you I am most looking forward to finding the right job for me, I admit that this process has taught me much about myself. Most importantly, the post-graduation jitters of “OK, now what?” have disappeared. I feel that I have a clear idea of the type of career that I wish to pursue. This would not be possible if I had not had to scour over – at this point – thousands of job advertisements. This new found clarity has focused my passion within the environmental field and allowed me to set goals and aspirations moving forward.
Much of what I have learned has been through personal growth. At first, the job-hunt was disappointing and would hurt anyone’s ego. The weeks of waiting with no response, the bombardment of emails of rejection, or hearing that I was not selected for the next round of interviews began to wear on my self-esteem. However, this allowed me to turn inward and reflect on the process. Often times, I am competing with 500+ applicants for one job. In the world of entry-level, it is difficult to stand out. With this in mind, I began to focus on my strengths. Competing with those who have been in the workforce, what I may lack in experience, I can overcome with passion and drive. I own my strengths. I believe in myself. The hardest part in the job-search is getting that foot in the door, standing out as a shark amongst a pool of goldfish.
Through the job search, I find that I have gained or enhanced qualifications that are often strewn throughout the job advertisements. Take for example: “Excellent written and oral communication skills.” I see it on almost every job advertisement in some form or another. What better way to learn how to write or communicate professionally than through interacting with employers? Often, the requested cover letter or writing sample is handled by a Human Resources Representative, an individual who may not be familiar with the technical background or experience illustrated in your writing. As a result, the job seeker has to eloquently describe biogenic volatile organic compounds or erosion and sediment control practices in a way that remains technical but that resonates with a recruiter. Then, following up on an application requires a professional dialogue via email or phone. Through the job search, I believe I have demonstrated “Excellent written and oral communication skills.”
For every cover letter that I write, a tapestry is woven combining my work and education experience and the company and job position. Another common qualification: “Possess the ability to perform (online) research.” Each cover letter written for a specific employer requires research. This includes company history, mission statement, recent projects, etc. I often look beyond a company’s website and search technical articles published, learn more about particular projects, discover employees and the work they have completed, or any recent news article. Often times, this not only helps stich together the cover letter, it enables to me to ensure that I stay current within the field while in the hunt for a career.
Take some of these other common qualifications:
- Ability to complete tasks in high pressure setting, outstanding organizational abilities and a strong attention
- Ability to work independently
- Experience with Microsoft Office, Excel
- A proven self-starter
- Adaptive; willing and able to learn new subject areas quickly
- Excellent judgment, flexibility, optimism, modesty, and graciousness
These qualifications were all pulled directly from job advertisements. Ironically, many of these qualifications I feel I have demonstrated through being an active job seeker.
I don’t think you will see Job Seeker on my resume anytime soon. But I do recognize that many of the skills requested in job advertisements are skills that will not be out of practice because of my extended job search. My intention is not to sound cynical. Rather, I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn about myself, to interact with outstanding professionals throughout the industry, and to further develop my passion for the environment. Fingers crossed for continued success on my job hunt!
Wow! The last few months have been some I will never forget. So much has occurred as of late that has shaped me and the direction of the rest of my life! Well, let's get down to it!
I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE! What an accomplishment! I was so excited to have the ability to graduate early while saving so much money on tuition! It was a difficult decision to graduate early. I mean, who really wants to give up a lifestyle of eating pasta, working on calculus equations you probably never will need again, and socializing. In all seriousness though, I love Penn State and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences so much, that it was a difficult decision. In the end, the advantages of saving thousands of dollars and not taking out any more student loans were to great! It wasn't until December that I filed for my intent to graduate, just two weeks before commencement. Because of this, I am a little late to the game looking for a job, but no worries.
I am hitting the pavement hard looking for a job in a field that I can become passionate about. Throughout college, I have been very interested in water resources and environmental management. I hope to continue in a field that combines my love for water, science, and people. There are several job openings that look interesting. Right now, it is just a matter of getting the applications out and waiting to hear back. I am excited to hear back from some of the positions, in particular GKY & Associates, Inc. and their Environmental Scientist position. As I continue the search, I will continue to update you on all the happenings on the job front. Hopefully some exciting news in the weeks to come! :-)
"Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away! You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go."
- Dr. Seuss
Today marks the beginning of the eighth week of classes. I went into this semester conflicted on numerous fronts regarding my educational and professional career path. The options spun in my head with little clarity. I am truly passionate about several things. But how do I bottle up all my passions into a purpose. My passions: people; communicating; environment; and problem solving. I sought numerous options in a hope of uncovering the "right" path for me. My options are confusing and convoluted and difficult for anyone to ascertain, even myself. There are several of combinations including graduating a semester early, graduate school internationally vs. in the United States, gap year before graduate school, cooperative education (co-op). On top of that, I am in the midst of choosing a specialty within the numerous different fields that I am passionate about: meteorology, hydrology, environmental management, etc. There is so much anxiety that exists today amongst students. The competition is unbelievable. And the pressure is extreme. I was so focused on choosing the "right" path. But I didn't have a definition of "right." Does anyone really? All of these options and anxieties only made the pressure insurmountable.
And now eight weeks in, I am still just as conflicted. However, I feel like I have learned a few things in the last few weeks - thanks to Dr. Seuss. I often reference my childhood hero who vividly portrayed many of life's moral lessons. Similarly to Dr. Seuss, I am not caught up or plagued by the lust for success. I need to remind myself that I am on the hunt for a career that isn't a career, but a passion. We may not get it right the first time, but I realized that everything in life is a learning opportunity. With the knowledge that you gain, you are only that much closer to the "great places" that "you will go." I believe that I am the type of person that will create the opportunity that fulfills my passions by enabling me to interact and help people while using science and logic to solve problems. At the age of twenty-one, I do not need to know exactly what that is yet. As long as I can say that what I am doing doesn't interfere with my morals and that I did my best, I will be happy. Knowing this takes the pressure off slightly. Phew! While I still have to make a decision by the end of October, I know that whatever that decision will be, it will be the right one because there will be no wrong decision. My mountain is waiting to be discovered!
"Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!"
Follow my quirky thought processes, my fears, my triumphs as I begin to apply to jobs, co-ops, and graduate schools.