No one likes applying for jobs, making resumes, or going through interviews. The whole process is foreign, and many people just want to start working. Unfortunately, the online job search process is a reality in today’s world. When job searching, knowing yourself and what you want out of employment makes this process easier.
If you’re in a job you don’t like, or looking for something new after leaving a difficult position, my biggest tip is to identify your favorite parts of that job. It may sound trite to find a favorite aspect of a dead-end job, but it is a good exercise that can really make a difference in your future. For example, if strawberry is your favorite ice cream flavor, and you head to the local ice cream shop, ordering is an easy decision. Do you want your favorite, or do you want something different? Jobs are obviously more complex, so it’s not so easy to decide, but over time your choices will become clearer.
How do you know your favorites? Start by writing down daily experiences as you work, go to school, volunteer, or complete any other aspect of your day. Write the good and the bad, the things you love and the things you hate. Record the emotions and thoughts you have about those experiences. What stands out? Over time trends will emerge, and you can identify your personal favorite moments, favorite tasks, favorite parts of jobs.
While employed, write down the best parts of the work you do. Do you like working with people? Having a sense of accomplishment? Belonging in a group? What keeps you going every day instead of quitting. For some work is a place to relax — not necessarily because it is easy, but because there is a routine and home life can be more chaotic. You might be thinking that it’s impossible to find something you like about your job, but it can be done. What are the positive things you can say about work?
As the employment specialist at the Galesburg Public Library, I really enjoy helping people think differently about their experiences. For example, we might talk about working at a cash register. It may seem like a simple, boring task, but if you work the cash register, you are the front-line representative for the company. The owners trust you with their money and with talking to their customers. In addition, you are probably the first to hear customer complaints and start the process of finding a solution that will bring in business. It may sound like a boring job, but there are lots of things to manage, including counting accurately in spite of constant interruptions.
When it comes time to look for a job, you can now use this knowledge about yourself to write a resume or cover letter, or prepare for interviews. Explaining what excites you is much more interesting than rehashing a job description.
Come to the library, make an appointment, and let’s talk about your job search.
Travis Downs is the Employment Specialist at Galesburg Public Library. If you would like help writing a resume or cover letter, applying for jobs, or practicing interviews, contact the Reference Desk at (309) 343-6118 and press 6 to make an appointment.