Job searching looks easy from the outside. Especially for those office culture chameleon-types. You know who I’m talking about. They’ve had 5 jobs in the past two years just because they can.
For the rest of us unlucky souls, the job search process can be overwhelming and frustrating – particularly because it usually accompanies other large [unwanted] life changes. Nobody wants to spend their time making 50 unique resumes and cover letters to possibly get one callback for one phone interview. A phone interview for a position you’re only mildly interested in, of course.
In my experience, this is where job search mentors come in. There are many benefits to mentor/mentee relationships (check out this article from Monster.com) and most of mine have been specifically targeted to my previous job searches. I’ve been lucky to have a few people help me in different ways – wearing different “capes,” if you will. Here are the heroes you want to be on the lookout for:
The Introducer is the person who knows everyone. They also have great interpersonal relationships with everyone. And they like to introduce everyone to everyone else. The Introducer is a key person to have on your job search team because they’ll bring up your name any time anyone mentions a job opening or if someone is currently in a role you’re interested in. Your professional network grows exponentially just by knowing an Introducer.
The Champion is always in your corner no matter what. They may have been your professor an unnamed number of years ago, but they will always have a spot on your list of references (shout out to Dr. Aaron Hughey at Western Kentucky University!). The Champion will check in with you periodically – even out of the blue – to see what you’re doing for your own professional development. This person will even go to bat for you if something less-than-positive happens to you professionally. The Champion will always help you find your way.
The Confidant typically plays a background role on your job search team but they are so, SO crucial. They listen to your frustration and your interview horror stories and respond with encouragement. If you’re stuck or if your search is stalling out, they will have creative and fresh ideas to jump-start the process. Family and friends may play similar roles but they probably don’t interact with you on a professional basis. It’s important to make sure The Confidant on your job search team is a professional mentor so they can maintain a broad career-focused perspective.
The Guru is the utility player on your job search team. They will help you develop a resume and cover letter template (or fine-tune your existing documents). They will also give you tips for phone, video, and in-person interviews – including mock interview questions with thoughtful response suggestions. The Guru has a never-ending list of personal anecdotes to help you learn from their mistakes and mirror their successes. They have answers for even the simplest of questions OR they have the perfect resource to help you find the information on your own.
Overwhelmed? Don’t worry – no need to activate the “Bat Signal” because it’s likely these people are already in your network. You only need to open your eyes and ask for help!
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Terri Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org._
About the Author
Tori Holmes currently serves as the Assistant Director for Student Affairs and Student Engagement at Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, CA. MBKU is a small, private non-profit graduate school that provides optometry, PA, and pharmacy degrees. She received a bachelor’s degree in Earth Science and Biology from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Western Kentucky University. When she’s not training for an upcoming run, you’ll find her at the beach. You may also find her on Instagram (holmest8) or Twitter (ToriHolmes11).