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Researching Jobs

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Once you've determined your career-related interests and skills, it's time for researching jobs. Figure out which job descriptions match your skills and passions. Determine your long-term and short-term career goals. The Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor can be quite helpful. Don't forget to look into jobs in the non-profit sector.

The next step is reconciling your self-assessment and research with the job market. You may not find a perfect match, but with some creativity you should at least be able to find a job that will put you on the right track or help you gain the skills you will need to achieve your long-term goal.

When you've targeted some potential employers, it's time to market yourself. When you put together your cover letter and resume, tailor them to the company's mission. Think about how the skills you learned in that Shakespeare class apply to your chosen line of work.

For example, in journalism, the fact you crafted an excellent academic research paper on animal imagery in Taming of the Shrew translates to an ability to write and report a story. In management consulting, your class presentation about madness in Hamlet translates to upper-level presentation and organization skills.

Also, in marketing yourself to employers, use language appropriate to the field in which the company works. It's important to come across as someone with a vision for your future as well as specific, immediate ambitions. Convey an understanding of the broad goals of the company as well as specific ideas of how you will contribute and better the company. 

Remember that while your first job probably won't match your long-term career goal, it is a stepping stone, the first step on a path toward your dreams.

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