Category Archives for "Land the Right Job"

Post-interview Strategies with Tammy Banfield
Mar 11

3 Post-Interview Strategies To Land the Job & the Top Salary [Video]

By Tammy Banfield | Land the Right Job


3 Post-Interview Strategies to Land the Job & the Top Salary [Video]

Resume Writing Service Toronto

Tammy Banfield B.Sc.
Resume & Professional Branding Specialist

Careers by Design

Post-interview Strategies with Tammy Banfield

While it’s understandable that most job searchers focus intently on preparing for the interview, too many overlook the importance of following through with a solid post-interview plan.

After every interview, you have a couple of key opportunities to establish yourself as a high-value candidate that will not only improve your chances of getting a job offer, but also position you to command top dollar in the salary negotiation stage.

These strategies are subtle, but powerful; it’s all about making your interviewer feel valued and having those positive feelings attributed to you, the candidate.

Tammy Banfield, Resume and Professional Branding Specialist for Careers By Design, outlines your 3-Step Post-Interview Strategy in the video below:


Have a question or comment for Tammy about handling the post-interview thank you and follow-up? Post your message below!

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job interview anxiety
Feb 23

5 Tricks to Make Job Interview Butterflies Go Away

By Tammy Banfield | Land the Right Job


5 Tricks to Make Job Interview Butterflies Fly Away

Resume Writing Service Toronto

Tammy Banfield B.Sc.
Resume & Professional Branding Specialist

Careers by Design

job interview anxiety

A slight up-tick in your heart rate; a quickened, shallower breath; a tingling sensation in your gut.

This is the familiar combination of anticipation, anxiousness and excitement, that we’ve cutely labeled as getting “butterflies”.  It’s a confusing mix of “I can’t wait to get started” and “am I ready for this?”.

There are times when getting butterflies is a very good thing: falling in love, buying your first home, or embarking on a great, long-awaited adventure. Other times, that feeling – also known as anxiety – can really knock us off our game.

Unfortunately for job seekers, interviews tend to be one of those experiences where anxiety runs amok. But, before we wage war on anxiety here, it’s important to remember that not all anxiety is bad. Feeling a manageable amount of anxiety can actually prime us for improved performance. The right amount of anxiety works like a wonder drug to make us sharper and more focused. However, there is a curve for anxiety: a little is good, a bit more is better, but too much is disastrous.

If you’ve participated in competitive sports, you’ve likely experienced this phenomenon first hand. As a runner, I consider a little race day anxiety a very special gift. Having “butterflies” has powered me to multiple, personal best finish times that I’m sure wouldn’t have been possible had I arrived completely calm and unworried. At a couple races, I questioned the accuracy of the race clock because I had so dramatically outperformed my training. That little boost in anxiousness (and adrenaline) can have a seriously strong impact.

Just like race day for runners, anxiety is inevitable at a job interview. It’s natural to feel pressure to impress in your interview and to give perfect answers. But you need to keep your anxiety levels from crossing over into that danger zone. The trick is to find the precise balance: one where anxiety is advantageous, but not so overwhelming you become frozen with fear.

The best strategy for keeping your anxiety at a manageable level is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

Preparation breeds confidence; and confidence can help keep your anxiety in check.

Here are my 5 top tricks for elevating your confidence and managing anxiety before a big interview – ensuring an impressive, top-of-your-game, interview day performance.

5 Tricks to boost your confidence before an interview!

  1. Map it out

    Author and business guru, Suzy Welch, tells a great story about choosing an executive assistant based on the amount of preparation the candidate did before the interview. Among other research, the candidate she hired looked-up the location of the office on Google Maps, drove to the office the day before to understand traffic, and scoped out the parking situation.

    Getting the lay of the land, literally, can be a huge confidence booster. Knowing where you’re going, where the parking is, and what the office and environment is like, is like getting home-field advantage. It will also help eliminate any unforeseen stresses, like struggling to find parking and worrying about being late.

  2. Dress to impress

    We are all sensitive, to some extent, about our physical appearance. I don’t believe in the old “the clothes make the man (or woman)” saying, but I do know that what we wear can have a very real, tangible impact on how we feel about ourselves.

    I (unfortunately) have an intimate understanding of just how quickly you can fall into a pit of self-consciousness when you’re struggling to find something to wear (my closet has been privy to many fallen tears). Protect yourself from an interview morning melt down; select your interview clothes in advance (at least the night before). Try the outfit on, see how you feel, and make adjustments as necessary.

    One of my favourite personal hacks is to take a selfie. I’m serious. You don’t always see the full “picture” when you look in a mirror. It’s easy to lack perspective and see nothing but flaws. Taking a picture, and assessing an outfit from that vantage point, can change everything. Likely, you’ll realize you look better than you thought.

  3. Write out your answers

    Absolutely, 100%, compose your answers to common interview questions before the interview. Write them out. Read them. Practice saying them. The more comfortable you are with the questions you expect to field, the more confident you’ll feel. It’s easy reassurance for yourself; no matter what, you’ll have rock-star answers for at least some of the questions.  

    This interview preparation is also invaluable for questions you may not have predicted. You’ll likely be able to use and adapt your scripted answers to respond to other questions. All interviewers are generally looking for the same information, they just may ask different questions to get there. The more you try to anticipate and prepare answers, the better your performance will be.

  4. Expect the unexpected

    Even with all the preparation in the world, you’re bound to get thrown a curveball. Expect something weird to happen. Expect that your interview will not go flawlessly. Maybe you’ll be interviewed by a panel, when you expected a one-on-one session. Maybe you’ll be interviewed by someone you didn’t expect to meet. Maybe you’ll get a completely bizarre question. Be ready for anything to happen.

    Last year, I was contracted by a private college to deliver job search training to students. During my interview, the interviewer decided to try something she had never done in an interview before. She left the room, found a random student, invited the student into the interview, and asked me to deliver career coaching to that student on the spot. Of course, I did, and I’m sure my ability to go with the flow and rise to the occasion is part of why I got that contract. I brought this “bring it on” attitude that worked in my favour that day.

    Try to go into the interview open and ready for a challenging situation or question. Pro tip: you can still have prepared answers for completely unexpected questions. Try something like, “that’s a great question; give me a minute to think about that”, to buy yourself a little extra time to think through an answer, instead of rushing and giving an answer that doesn’t truly reflect your value or abilities.
  5. Bring a talisman

    Or a totem, or a lucky charm, or whatever you want to call it. I’m not suggesting that superstition works or that the object you choose will have magical powers; but bring something that will trigger a sensation of calm or empowerment. This can be incredibly useful in a high-stress situation, like an interview, especially if you have some nervous habits or tendencies (like fidgeting, nail biting, or teeth clenching). Select something small, like a ring, or a watch, or a tie clip, or even a special pen, that will remind you to breathe and smile. This strategy can be incredibly grounding and help you feel safe in the interview.

These 5 strategies are all about simply preparing your body and mind for the stress that’s bound to crop-up during a job interview and keeping your anxiety at a helpful (not harmful) level.

Feeling better already? I want to hear which one of these strategies is your favourite, or which trick you use to boost your performance in interviews. Comment below!

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How to boost your security in the gig economy
Dec 04

How to Boost Your Security in the Gig Economy

By Eileen Chadnick | Land the Right Job


Eileen Chadnick


by Eileen Chadnick, Leadership Coach, Careers by Design

Lately I've been having a lot of conversations about career stability.

Clients – of all ages and experience – are expressing some anxiety around the new way of work, which is increasingly contract- and gig-oriented.

Surprisingly, many within the millennial generation are voicing this concern, wanting to settle into something more secure. Trying to get traction in their careers, they want a full-time, long-term job with benefits, growth potential/vertical-promotion possibilities … in other words, some of what their boomer parents had in their careers.

Uh oh. Those times have changed.

Welcome to the gig economy. Get a gig, then another, and another …

Stability and security are reasonable wants but today's career landscape is increasingly different from that which the boomer generation navigated. We're now deep into the gig economy.

The rules have changed.

Increasingly, organizations are shifting to what can be described as an "agile work force." More contract and freelance hiring, which lends itself to a more dynamic and flexible work force serving "just-in-time" needs and evolving requirements. While "FTE" (full-time equivalent) roles still have a significant place in our career landscape, it's a good idea to hold that notion of "permanent" lightly these days. Organizations change, restructure, merge. Needs change. Even a full-time, so-called "permanent" role can turn out to be a "gig," too.

But all this doesn't mean we have to completely forego the notion of career security. We just need a new approach and mindset about career security for today's realities.

Here are a few ways to get some career security in the gig economy.

Stay nimble; be quick:

Much of your career security will depend on how quickly you can adapt – either within your current role or on to another.

The pace of change continues to accelerate.

Ambiguity mixed with frequent (often sudden) change will increasingly be the norm. Those who can learn to roll with this will find themselves more secure in their job prospects and within their emotional well-being.

Know your superpowers:

According to a LinkedIn @Work study, Canadians are known to be modest. This is not an asset; it's a potential derailer.

The gig economy will insist you get to know yourself better, because you will need to sell yourself again and again.

Knowing your skills, accomplishments and superpowers will give you confidence (valuable in itself), and help you get your next gig as you continuously "fertilize" and freshen up your career narrative (in your résumé, LinkedIn, interviews, etc.). 

Of course, it will be key to make sure your evolving skills are current and in demand.

Leave nothing on the table:

A new gig can provide a new opportunity to expand your career potential by learning new skills, meeting new people (for career-long networking) and conquering new challenges.

Even if a gig isn't ideal, you might still find something of value in the experience. With the perspective that nothing is wasted, then every experience can serve a purpose.

Optimize, maximize and make sure every gig matters in some way.

Be open to lateral moves:

If you think the only way to grow is via vertical ascent, think again. Lateral moves can be expansive, too.

Don't get too stuck on titles; many people have built robust careers with some side steps and zig-zag moves.

Build - don't burn bridges:

In a gig economy, you will meet a lot more people in your career. You will also end/leave jobs more often. Build bridges wherever you go and continue to nurture a healthy network.

Give, don't just take. And never burn a bridge when leaving or completing a contract, even if it was a toxic experience.

Always exit with grace and professionalism. You never know who you will meet in your next gig and/or need a reference from.

Build your inner game resilience:

A gig career has many benefits – but no question, it can also be stressful. Learn to manage anxiety when in times of uncertainty. Your mental, emotional and physical well-being will be a significant factor to your success. Take it seriously and invest in your inner game.

Money matters:

With less certainty and potentially more income interruptions, the gig economy can present new financial realities. Spend within your means and save more for those rainy days. Get advice from a financial planning professional who understands and can advise in this new paradigm. Doesn't hurt to shore up on your own financial literacy, too.

The gig economy presents new challenges (and opportunities) for all of us but with the right moves you can create more security in your "career-ability." Stay focused and do your best work wherever you go. Build healthy networks. Concurrently, keep your eyes open and on the horizon and always be career-ready for your next move.

This article first appeared at The Globe and Mail and has been reprinted with permission.

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Personal Branding and Your Resume
Nov 06

Bring Your Personal Brand Into Your Resume

By Kristen Duever | Land the Right Job


Kristen Duever


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer, Careers by Design

Do you have a no-name resume?

I mean, of course you have your name on your resume … but does it look a little too generic?

Does it look like you just found a resume template online somewhere and filled in the blanks? If it does, then it is time for an upgrade!

It's time to infuse your resume with your personal brand.

Depending on your age, you may have been taught that there is one way (or two or three ways) to write a resume. It must be a maximum of two pages. And it should not contain any “funny stuff” like cutesy fonts, graphics or overly casual language. In general, these are still pretty good guidelines – but they are not hard and fast rules anymore.

Your personal brand is more important to your job search than ever and it’s time to let it shine through in your resume.

Here's why...

Brands convey focus. 

Whether we are looking at company brands or personal ones, the great ones all have something in common.

Brands have a clear focus and that focus helps to direct the decisions of that business… or person.

Coca Cola for example is an iconic brand that consistently promotes its message of being an uplifting product that brings people together. Apple relentlessly focusses on product design developing beautiful and easy to use devices that have customers lining up outside electronics stores the night before their release. Richard Branson’s Virgin company is known for being a cheeky brand that pushes boundaries in innovation and marketing while reinventing the relationship between company, employee and customer.

What does your personal brand convey?

Personal brands have always existed in some form, but today with the internet and social media, they are easier to build – and more important - than ever.

If you think you don’t have a personal brand, you are wrong.

Everyone has a personal brand, but unless you spend time to develop it, it may not be a very good one.

How do you build a personal brand?

Your personal brand begins to develop when you look within to discover your true purpose.

Are you – like Coca Cola - on this earth to bring joy?

Are you – like Apple – here to design and develop products that make people’s lives easier and better?

Are you – like Virgin – here to challenge the status quo?

Listening to your heart on this matter can, not only help to shape your resume, but it can help to shape your career path and entire future as well.

Now that you have this insight, it is time to dig even deeper to further build your brand. What sets you apart from others? What tone of voice will you use? Would it be beneficial for you to have a personal logo made? A website? A blog? Professional social media accounts?

Incorporating your personal brand into your resume.

There are a variety of techniques that you can use to infuse your resume with your personal brand. To some extent, what you do is going to depend on the type of job you are applying for.

Employers in the creative space, for example, may be more likely to enjoy creative resumes.

Here are a few tips for bringing your personal brand to your resume:

•  Create a personal branding statement to place near the top of your resume.

Let the hiring manager know exactly what you stand for and what you have to bring to the table.

•   List your accolades in your own voice.

You probably already know you need to list your accomplishments on your resume – but try doing so with your own voice by incorporating language or themes from your personal branding statement.

•    Be bold in your layout.

The general wisdom for resumes is to go with your standard 12 point Times New Roman or Ariel font in black and for some job applications that may still be a good idea. If however, you feel it would be to your benefit to highlight something in a colour, use bold, italics or underline then go ahead and do it! Just be sure to keep it tasteful.

Get started on your personally branded resume today

If you agree that your resume needs an upgrade and if you agree that you need to more strongly incorporate your personal brand, then Careers by Design’s resume service can help.

Brands like Coca Cola, Apple and Virgin did not get where they are today through the efforts of one person. They all had great teams.

The Careers by Design team can help you to develop your personal and give your resume a boost, so give us a call today or click on the Learn More button below.

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Is social media helping or hurting your career?
Sep 18

Is Your Social Media Presence Helping or Hurting Your Career?

By Kristen Duever | Land the Right Job

Kristen Duever


by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer

Imagine. You’ve just returned from a wild weekend in Vegas with your best friends and you can’t wait to facebrag with some mildly questionable photos from your trip. But you’re also in the process of applying for a new job. Could these photos possibly come back to haunt you? Could they hurt your chances of landing that new position?

Or maybe you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum. You don’t post anything because you don’t know who’s watching. If you are in the process of a career transition, you are making sure that there is nothing that might dissuade an employer or recruiter from moving you on to the next step in the process. But is it possible that the lack of an online presence might be just as damaging as photos of a drunken romp through Sin City?

The fact is – whether you believe it’s proper or not – more and more employers are using social media to screen potential candidates. According to the latest Harris poll*, 70% of employers now research job candidates through social media. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that going “off grid” is the solution because in that same survey, nearly 60% of employers said that they would not hire a job candidate that had no digital footprint. Technologies such as smartphones and social media have made us more connected than ever – and that includes more connection between our personal and professional lives. That means you have to find balance as you develop a positive online presence.

Here are some tips to do just that:1. Lay the foundation for thoughtful postsIncreasingly, what you put on your social media pages is becoming nearly as important as what you put on your resume – only it’s often much more personal. Having a good awareness of how you are presenting yourself is key.

By building the necessary skills to share your thoughts and feelings, you will be better able to develop posts that employers are drawn to – and less likely to make impulsive posts that may hurt your career development.2. Social media do’s and don’tsNow that you understand the importance of having a positive and professional online persona, let’s examine some of the ways you can make your social media profiles more attractive to would-be employers.

Let’s start with your name and profile picture. These are aspects of your profile that are visible to everyone regardless of your privacy settings and should therefore be kept professional. If for example, your Twitter handle is something like @beersnobforever, you might want to consider changing it – unless of course the position that you are applying for is brew master in your city’s newest craft brewery. Avoid making posts that will give recruiters a negative impression of you. This includes comments or photos with references to drunkenness, drugs or illegal activities, derogatory or racist comments as well as negative posts about a past or current employer.3. Take your social media to the next levelIf you really want to gain an edge over your competition in the job market, it’s important that you not only have a social media presence that doesn’t hurt you – but that you have a social media presence that actually helps you. If you are looking for a career in the digital space, it is almost expected that you use your online presence to showcase your talent whether it’s through blogging, video production or some other skill. More and more, however, people in other professions are also using their social media profiles as quasi-portfolios. Did you receive recognition at work? Proud of a new project that you just completed? Sharing it may just catch a recruiter’s eye!4. Ask for help!​Social media is one of those things that everyone does – but not everyone does well.

If you are trying to improve your social media presence in a way that will benefit your career path, then it makes sense to get some coaching.

Working with a career coach that can help you showcase your strengths and sincerity will help to make sure that you approach social media with balance and positivity. Do this, and recruiters will notice!*

Do Your Job Search Skills Measure Up?
May 09

Do Your Job Search Skills Measure Up? – Q&A with Shirin Khamisa

By Shirin Khamisa | Land the Right Job


A Q&A conversation with Rachel Van de Vooren, Client Happiness Manager & Shirin Khamisa, Founder & Practice Leader, Careers by Design

Rachel Van de Vooren
Shirin Khamisa - Careers by Design Founder

Do Your Job Search Skills Measure Up?

Want to feel less overwhelmed and more confident in your job search? I sat down with Careers By Design Practice Leader, Shirin Khamisa, to learn some of the best strategies to stay recharged on your way to More Happy Mondays!

Rachel: Shirin, If you really need a job, should you cast the widest net possible? Apply for anything you can?


No. It’s really important to target the right position.

Most people know this but when the stress of being unemployed starts to take a toll, they decide that they can’t afford to be too picky. This has the opposite effect of what they were hoping for.

When the search is too broad, your efforts can get diluted. While it feels contrary to our instincts, especially when the market is tight, being focused on the right job will really help you get further in your search! You will have a focus for where to look for opportunities and who to talk to.

Rachel: How can I best use my network?


People want to help you. Help them to help you by clearly communicating what type of opportunity you are looking for.

A common pitfall our coaches see is people reaching out to their network and asking if anyone knows of any openings but not specifying what they are looking for.  

Another mistake people often make is assuming people know what they have to offer. It’s important to be able to communicate a strong professional brand to the people who can help you.

Rachel: What if a job seeker isn’t well connected?


Many people really underestimate their network, and it’s common to feel like you don’t have much support.

We challenge our clients to identify 5 or 6 people to start with. The best place to start is with those who are closest to you, people you really know and trust. You’ll be surprised how many supportive people are around you and how fast your network can grow.

Rachel: What if a job seeker has a large network but they have tapped out their network?


Most of us are better at giving than receiving. Many clients with a large network feel reluctant to continue to keep in touch with the people who can help them because they feel embarrassed or reluctant to ask for help.

The job search can take longer these days and it’s important to stay connected to your network and remind them about what you are looking for.

Rachel: So what are some of these best strategies for networking?


The best strategies depend on your personality and communication style.

It’s key to leverage your strengths.

If you are better meeting with people and connecting one on one, make coffee dates or Skype calls a large part of your strategy.  If you thrive on working the room, attend industry events and professional development events.  Make sure you also add activities that move you out of your comfort zone and make you stretch!

Rachel: How can social media help job searchers be more strategic?


Using sites such as LinkedIn helps us to learn about people and what we have in common. We no longer have to “go in cold” and can establish trust in new relationships more quickly.

Many people don’t actually know how to use LinkedIn effectively and so don’t see results, but there are great strategies for using social media to start building relationships.

Rachel: What is the one thing to keep in mind that most people forget?


Make it a priority to keep your spirits up: the longer we are unemployed, the harder it can be to get outside of our comfort zones and make connections with others. A job search takes time, and we need to remember to be kind to ourselves and recharge our batteries during this process. Get more tips here.

Rachel: What is important to know about the job search?


Job search requires many skills that we don’t use in our day to day lives.

Take the time to learn how to do a good job search and build the skills.

Hiring a professional to help you to navigate the process can save you lots of time. There are so many things to learn, and things have changed so much!

It is worth the investment, and can cut down on the time you spend being out of work.  People often feel “but I have the time and I should be able to do this on my own", but it’s challenging to be able to see yourself clearly. A third party professional who is trained to seek out your blind spots can be very revealing and can make that critical difference in an interview situation.

Working with a coach can give you new insights into yourself, what you want, and can help you create a strong professional brand.

Also, people tend to get isolated when they have not been working for a while.

So it is important to reach out, stay connected, and get professional support when you need it.

Job Fair Toronto
Jul 29

Job Fair Toronto – 5 Tips to Find the Job You Really, Really Want!

By Shirin Khamisa | Land the Right Job , Students & New Grads


Written by Shirin Khamisa, Founder, Careers by Design

Job Fair in Toronto? 5 Tips to Find the Job You Really, Really Want!

You see the announcement: “Job Fair Toronto.”

Perhaps you already have a job, but you’re looking for something new.

Or maybe you’ve been out of the job market for a few years to care for children or to go back to school.

Regardless of your situation, you may have mixed feelings about attending a job fair in Toronto. It’s natural to feel excited about potential opportunities, yet be unsure about how to get the most out of it.

Most people try to visit all the booths and talk to as many people as possible before they leave. It’s unlikely that this untargeted approach will help you find a fulfilling job.

Here’s how to enjoy and get results at the next Toronto job fair you visit…

1. Know what stage you are at in the job search process

Some people will use a job fair Toronto hosts to go “window shopping” for potential jobs. Often times, this is because they aren’t clear about the kind of job that they want. If this is your situation, then you are still in the exploration phase. This means that you will have different goals for attending the job fair and that’s okay. Use this job fair to learn more about what’s out there, rather than putting pressure on yourself to snag your dream job.

2. Have a job target and develop the courage to go for it!

Before attending a job fair Toronto is hosting, take a little time to examine your professional goals. This will help you figure out which jobs will be a stepping stone to success. Be honest with yourself and have the courage to go for what you want. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that they can’t be too picky. They end up in jobs that rob them of joy. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs that don’t provide opportunities to work towards your long-term goals, unless you are facing a financial crisis.

3. Don’t get hung up on labels!

If you are clear about the type of job you are seeking, don’t get hung up on job titles. Even within the same industry, different companies use various titles to describe a similar role. Beware, some companies tend to use the words “manager” or “director” more freely than others. Don’t assume a fancy title pays more or gives you more responsibility.Understanding the type of role you want will be a powerful way to sort through all the options available.

4. Let your curiosity guide you…

Review the list or organizations attending the job fair in Toronto and spend your time at the ones that interest you. It sounds obvious but often people are so focused on getting a job that they don’t think about the type of company they really want to work for.Learning as much as you can about the companies that will be there, will help you figure out if the company will be a good fit for you.Take the time to look at each company’s website to understand what they do, what they value and what they are trying to achieve.

5. Don’t Just Pass Out Business Cards!

Having a few questions ready for potential employers will give you a reason to get better acquainted.Knowing about an organization will also help you dig deeper in the conversation, show your interest in the company and learn more. This will help you make a genuine and memorable connection. You’ll stand out from the crowd because most people don’t bother doing this.

Ready, set, go ….

When you’re at the job fair Toronto is hosting, remember that it’s ok to be a little nervous. Making genuine connections with others will make the process more fun and you’ll get better results. Expanding your network is an effective way of finding a job that will allow you to reach your full potential as a professional.

Now, it’s time to put these steps into practice, so you can make an interesting and rewarding job part of your reality.

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The 5 Best Tips for Employment After Graduation
Jan 02

The 5 Best Tips for Employment After Graduation

By Sana Khan | Land the Right Job , Students & New Grads

As youth unemployment hikes to nearly twice of the national average rate, it is no wonder that more and more young Canadians continue to become disengaged as they try to find their right fit. What the students of today need to know is that times are changing and well…where there is a will, there is a way. Here are some ways you can prepare yourself for this changing economy and make the best of your situation after graduation.



So you have a degree and you can’t find a job?Before you go applying to 50 jobs per week, be sure to ask yourself this simple but important question.It may or may not be related to your line of work but the least you can do is be certain of the kind of work you want to look for at this moment in time. How it fits to the rest of your career is what brings me to my next point.



If you didn’t think about this before you decided to spend 4 years and 30k on a degree then now is not the time to panic. You’ve put all your energy and time and money and congratulations, now you have a degree! Whether it’s in Psychology, Business Management, or Radio and Television Arts, think about where you want to be in 5 years. Maybe you don’t exactly know the title of the job but narrowing it down to the industry or setting will give you a defined path to work towards.Don’t be discouraged, take a deep breathe and think long and hard about what you can do with your degree and what your options are.Having a short term goal, particularly if finances are an issue, will not only keep you focused but it will give you experience, transferable skills and most importantly the discipline to schedule your day and work towards your real dream.



Don’t just volunteer anywhere–be strategic about it.Think of the kind of industry you want to work for and then seek out organizations or positions that can aid in your long term goal. Assuming you want to do something that you love (highly recommended), you will want to volunteer at a place that not only falls in line with your goals but energizes you as well. Working with children when you hate working with people will not only drain you but will get you farther away from your goal than you already are.[box]FIND YOUR TALENT AND PUT IT PRACTICE![/box]

Some people want to volunteer to get them away from work related activities whereas others use it to get them closer to work opportunities.

Regardless of your situation, avoid being stagnant in your career path and volunteer. You will be able to focus more on your goals, network with like minded individuals, and most importantly keep your mind and soul engaged while giving back to the community. In addition, this can also help replace any gaps in your résumé and will make you look more responsible, outgoing, and focused. Many will find that this will open up doors to full or part time employment as the impression you make as a volunteer will follow you in your work history.



A résumé is a dynamic document in that it is constantly changing and evolving. If high school was the last time you updated your résumé then it may be time to speak to someone who can help you refine and target your tools. Having a competitive and up to date résumé will attract the right employers and set you apart from the competition.



I am saving the best for the last, networking may be your best defense to fighting unemployment. Building and maintaining relationships should be a constant part of your action plan and if you aren’t thinking about it now then take a few minutes right now to do so.[box]Do you know someone or someone who knows someone who works at a firm or a position that you are interested in? [/box]Ask your relatives, friends, old colleagues, teachers/instructors, dentist, hair stylist, etc. Rather than asking people for jobs that you are unsure of, why not ask for information on the jobs that you are interested in. Call up people, email them and set up an information interview.

Find out about the person, the industry, the position, and get advice on what you can do to get you closer to the job you want. This may be hard at first but if you do it right, you may never have to rely on internet job postings again. This is the real deal and is the best weapon to combat unemployment.

Try one or all of these tips if you are still wondering what to do upon graduation or are in the midst of applying for jobs. Remember, career planning is a bigger deal than you think so don’t be frivolous with your time and seek professional help if you are stuck. There are people out there who can help you and you are not alone.

This is a guest post from Sana Khan.