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Career Center

If you're not sure what you want to do, most colleges have a Career Center. If you're still in school, or just graduated use it! Even if you graduated a while ago or are in the middle of a career change the Career Center can still assist. You can talk to a counselor, look through job books, take an "Interest" exam, pick up a JobTracker and even set up "information" interviews with alumni that work in different fields. There is wonderful insight to get from people in the field. Just beware, don't expect an "information" interview to lead to a job. It won't happen. However, if you hit it off and you keep in touch from time to time, you never know what can happen. Quite honestly, my Career Center has helped others, but never really helped me. I basically had to take the "do it yourself" approach.

Do it Yourself

With the "do it yourself" approach, exploring the classifieds is a great start in terms of checking out the different types of jobs, how much they pay and what kind of experience they require. You should comparison shop, and get to know the various options. Think like a buyer, and take control of the situation.

Industry trades are a great source of information about companies. Industry magazines and newspapers tend to have classifieds as well as on line bulletin boards. By reading articles in industry trades, you'll begin to notice company names that are featured or mentioned repeatedly. You can begin to compile a list of these companies and explore their Web sites to get more information on them and explore their "culture" to get a taste of what they might be like. Larger companies will often include annual reports as well as a job listing Web page. However, you have to decide if you want to be with a larger company or not, and if you like a more intense and restricted corporate culture or a more relaxed and forward thinking atmosphere. Keep this in mind as you explore and determine the parameters of what you want.

If you find a job listing you really like, but don't quite have all the requirements they are asking for, still print it out or copy it down. It can be a reference to keep. You may decide the job you look for might be the one that will help you get the experience for the one you want. You might even still apply, and include in your cover letter your interest in the position and working with that organization in a capacity that would give you exposure to that department, even as an assistant. This way, you are taking initiative to create an opportunity that is not yet there - but actually can be.

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