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Have a Degree But Can't Get a Job?

If you're in the not-so-unique position of having a college degree or some form of professional training and don't see any movement on your career path in terms of landing jobs that are completely unrelated to your passions leading to career satisfaction, fear not. Below are Tips and Tools to help you get out of bed in the morning and put the spring back in your step.

START NOW - TODAY, OK, in the morning! Get out of bed each day, no matter how long you've been hiding under the covers - dress business casual and act as if you are already at your ideal career destination. Take five minutes each day to visualize and feel what it's like to have your ideal job and go to work excited every day. Just FIVE MINUTES AND NO MORE.

• Set up your "office" by finding a space in your living quarters that is dedicated to the "job hunt." It doesn't matter where, but it must be static.

• It may take a while, maybe several months, so be prepared for the ups and downs and be prepared to fail. It's really ok and, in fact, expected. You are learning the "lay of the land" so be gentle on yourself.

• Good News - college graduates make 75% more over a lifetime than non-grads. On the other hand, college isn't for everyone, so knowing your best learning environment will always help you know how to get the experience you need, whether it's on the job training, through internships, online courses or perhaps self-employment.

• There is no right or wrong way to find your "ideal" job or career. Stuck? Start by identifying a career direction that includes talents you love using by working with an unbiased professional- a career coach. Or, if you are extremely self-motivated and can stay accountable to yourself, read What Color Is Your Parachute 2010 and do all the exercises. Did you know that folks who complete a process of soul-searching or taking an inventory of themselves in relation to what makes them happy in their work life, have a whopping 86% success rate in finding satisfying work? (The Job-Hunter's Survival Guide - Richard Bolles).

• Ask those who've been there and are happy in their careers questions like, "If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?" What advice would YOU find most helpful.

• Get Organized! Get a 3-ringed notebook, calendar system, database for contacts, and spreadsheet for all job search activities. Main thing: keep good records of your "search." If you're like me, most of this stuff goes on the computer (note to self: get a good back-up system)

• Use your high school and/or college Career Services as a resource for exploring job titles and fields of interest.

• Use internet resources like Occupational Outlook Handbook ( and ONET ( to research job titles and careers you are interested in or that use the skills and knowledge’s you most want to use in a career.

• Read the paper most days of the week - become familiar with trends in industries you are interested in.

• Parents - beware. These are life skills that your kids really need to hone on their own. They are learning to become self-promoters, if they haven't already learned these skills. Offer advice only if asked. (I have to remind myself of this everyday with my sixteen year old, and trust me, I often fail miserably, so don't beat yourself up if you forget.)

This is a good place to start.

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About the Author

Shell Mendelson, MS, NB CAREERS
1231 Huisache Avenue, #1106
New Braunfels, TX 78130

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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