Finding a job that becomes a career

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Finding a job that becomes a career

In the current economy, it is difficult to find one’s dream job. Often recent graduates and those seeking to find a position that is fulfilling and worthwhile are crushed as they find that every door they’re interested in is closed. Often when a job seeker finds all the best doors closed, an extra punch comes when what might as well be a back door opens. A low-paying, entry-level, challenging job beckons from the back door. What many disappointed job-seekers don’t realize is that the back door is often a route to exactly where one wants to go. 

Climbing the Ladder


While most people would like to believe that they are qualified and experienced enough to skip the process of working their way up any form of the corporate ladder, it is a rare person and unique opportunity that allows for this. Most people actually need to enter the job field at a lower level and work their way up. Entering through the “back door” can allow for this because it makes a person more available. In turn, when promotions are available, the person at the lower level tends to be more easily accessible. 



Sometimes people will refer to their jobs as resume-builders. What this means is that the job is a short term, lower-paying, lower-level position accepted merely to look good on a resume when applying for a higher position. Often people grumble about or avoid such positions, largely because they are not immediately gratifying. But, a shift of perspective could be beneficial. Resume-building jobs aren’t just great nominally.  They actually benefit a person by giving needed experience, by paying the bills (even if there isn’t excess), and teach one about being flexible. When the opportunity for a high position arises, someone with experience being the employee they could be managing, does better.

High-Up Jobs Require Connections

Although it isn’t a pleasant reality, the truth is that having connections help in getting a job, especially in higher-up positions. Connections mean that someone can testify about a job-seekers’ character, ethic, skill set, and qualifications. These are obvious reasons why hiring companies are drawn to job-seekers with connections. Consider this: back door positions offer opportunities to make connections. Even if the back door is opening into a similar field of work, or a similar company, making connections with people higher up who can provide great references when a new opportunity comes is great! 



It isn’t uncommon to apply for a position –even one lower than desired- and instead receive tips about jobs at other places, in other departments, or at a different level which would better suit oneself. In applying for a job, especially when a person has experience or qualifications, he is not just saying “I want this position”, but saying “I am available”. Companies talk, as do departments. Sometimes higher level positions aren’t posted as seeking applicants for various reasons and instead rely on hear-say (or over qualified applicants for lower level jobs). 

Proving Work Ethic


Hiring managers are of course looking at individual applicants as people with a history of jobs, experience, and education. When they see that an applicant has been unemployed for a length of time (like six months) this suggests that the applicant has been applying elsewhere already…and has likely been rejected already. Why hire a reject? Lengthy unemployment can also suggest laziness, lack of direction, and lack of work ethic. Even when the economy is causing widespread unemployment, competitive positions aren’t looking to hire victims or rejects. Taking a lower-level position looks much better on a resume than the unemployment does.


George Watson is an investment banker and in his free time offers information on Money Market Rates.

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