Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Turning Your Passion Into Promise

Many of us are passionate about one thing, or more often, a whole lot of things, but the next step is the tricky one: how to take that excitement and translate it into a job? I’m a big advocate of figuring out what you love by volunteering, traveling, and dabbling in all sorts of ventures before deciding on where to place your most valuable resources, your time and energy.

The final chapter of Ten Ways to Change the World in Your Twenties focuses on how to land your dream job with suggestions throughout about resources and organizations for job seekers, as well as success stories of people who navigated their way to the perfect fit.

Every chapter has a “Ways Guide” that is applicable to the focus of the chapter. Here is an updated excerpt from the Chapter 10 guide:

Ways Guide to Finding the Perfect World-Changing Job for You (or at Least One to Try Out for a While)

Read all about it. Learn as much as you can about the job market and the trends of potential employers. For the green job hunter, some excellent resources include websites like the New York Times’ Green Blog, Green America, Treehugger, Grist, and Earth911. Also, check out the internship opportunities on the Green Collar Earth website to learn more about the many shades of green jobs available.

Build a platform on the web. It should come as no surprise that one of the best ways to network these days is by using Web 2.0 tools. Set up a LinkedIn account and invite key people you’ve worked for or with to write a recommendation. Also, ask friends for recommendations of colleagues you should connect with. Add professional information to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and consider setting up a website or blog with samples of your work and testimonials (when appropriate) about your expertise.

Become a member. Once you find a few organizations or businesses that might be good potential employers, visit their websites often and sign up for email action alerts and updates. If you can afford it, consider becoming a donor. Doing so not only guarantees that you will stay informed, but your membership will show a tangible commitment to their cause when a job becomes available.

Network, network, network. Put the word out to anyone who asks (and even those who don’t) about the kind of work that you would like to do. Check in with friends, acquaintances, former bowling league buddies, and basically anyone who might know someone at the type of organization or business that you would like to be involved with. Attend mixers like the Green Drinks parties, and don’t be shy about asking for help. Many people find their job through someone they know, and it only takes one good connection to turn you on to that perfect job!

Get in the door with informational interviews. Even if you can’t immediately find an organization that has a job opening to match your skill set (expert hacky sacker, soap opera trivia genius, nap master), many will be more than willing to sit down with you for an informational interview. These types of conversations are an excellent way to learn more about an organization, express your interest when something does open up, and make a good first impression on someone influential within the company. Treat these discussions like real interviews and schedule as many as you can. For more tips to help you prepare, check out the SkillsBuilder section on the Green Collar Earth website.

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