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Six Ways to Get a Job - in The Field You Want

Nov 1, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

If you’re stuck in a job you didn’t go to college for, you’re not alone. According to a New York Times assessment of data from the US Department of Labor, college grads between 25 and 34 years of age employed in food-service jobs has risen 17% between 2008 and 2009.

Those working for gas stations, limousine services, and retail stores has also risen—meaning that many college grads are working in jobs that don’t pay benefits and have no college degree requirement.

Even if your job has great benefits and a good salary—making you one of the rare success stories in this economy—you might be frustrated in your career. Maybe you wanted something different—you’re an Anthropology major stuck in a Human Resources job, for example, when what you really wanted was to curate at a museum.

If you’re not in the job you want, there are things you can do to change the situation. Here are a few ideas.

Keyboard Jobs

There’s no reason you should stay in a job that doesn’t make you happy—working toward a career you don’t want.


Sometimes working for free can pay off in other ways besides a paycheck…and sometimes it can lead to one. If you can’t get a job in the industry you want, try to find a way to work in it for free. It’s not forever—the goal is to build a list of contacts who might help you land a job, as well as building up your resume with relevant experience.

Start a blog

When starting a blog, keep it professional - a blog can be a great way to show off your interest, passion, and expertise to future employers. When you apply to a job, the potential employer will find your blog when he Googles your name (and a lot of them do these days). You’ll also forge connections with other bloggers in the industry as you go—some of whom could be valuable connections when you’re looking for a job.

Rewrite your resume—with an eye toward transferable skills

So you want to work in a library but your resume is all retail cashier experience? No problem. Like librarians, a good retail associate helps patrons find what they’re looking for. They familiarize themselves with what the store offers and can do research on the best products to fit customer needs. They deal with customers every day and sometimes handle difficult situations. The interpersonal skills you need in retail translate well to working in a library.

Think about the types of skills you’ve developed in your previous jobs. Make a list. They can be as specific as the ability to use certain computer programs—or as general as interpersonal skills and teamwork. Then circle the skills that you’d need in the position you really want. Rewrite your resume to highlight those skills—and start sending it out.


Know how to network! Get to know people in the industry you want to work in. This could include people you meet offline—at Meetup groups, at industry events, or through friends and family—as well as people you meet online through industry-specific forums, blogs, and other websites. Keep a list of contacts and try to get in touch with one person every day—with something they might find interesting, not a request for a favor. You can ask for favors later once you’ve established strong relationships.

Educate yourself

Find out if you need any special type of education to get an entry-level job in the field you want. You can find this out by searching job listings on sites like  or as well as talking to people who already work in the industry.

It may be that you have to go back to school—or you may not. But even if you don’t have to earn a credential to land the job you want, it can help—especially if you don’t have a lot of job experience in the area. Consider earning a relevant professional credential that demonstrates your skills—without having to commit to another four years of college. 

There’s no reason you should stay in a job that doesn’t make you happy—working toward a career you don’t want. Resolve to do something small each day to move yourself closer to the career you want—and use this list as a starting point. If you do, you’re much more likely to see your real career goals happen.



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