Are you a member of the Boomerang Generation? You are if you were born between 1977 and 1989. It’s called the “boomerang” because many young people of this generation went off to college, graduated, and ended up back home with Mom and Dad. If you are among this group, know that it’s okay to lean on your parents for at least a little while as you get your career bearings.
Of course, the reason for many Boomerangs’ return home is the job market. It’s tougher today than it was in the 1990s to land a good-paying job right out of school. You might be feeling anxious about beginning life on your own, but it’s time to figure out what you want to do and start putting that college education to work for you. As a certified career coach, I’m here to help you kick-start the process.
Some tips to get you on the right career track:
1) Get out there
The ideal job doesn’t land in your lap. You’ve got to get out of the house and pound the pavement (or the virtual pavement as the case may be). Did you know that many first jobs are obtained through referrals (people you know, friends of friends)? Learn to be a career networker. Connect with professionals in your chosen field… friends, relatives, teachers, online acquaintances, and so forth. Let them know you’re here and serious about your future.
Finding a job is a process. So you sent in your resume and you didn’t hear anything back… Call them, follow up. Remember, job hunting takes time and effort. So what if you didn’t land the first job you interviewed for? Shake it off and keep going. Above all, don’t get depressed – and don’t let your parents bring you down with worrying, if that’s how they are. Rarely is the first job you apply or interview for the right fit. If you need extra support, maybe talk to Mom or Dad about finding a career coach or joining a few career networks to keep you motivated and connected with what’s happening in your field of interest.
2) Get experience
You may think that a college degree is enough to land a job. But since everyone has a degree these days, employers are looking for more. They want to see experience. The best way to get it is with an internship in your field. The next best thing is to get some office or business experience, in any field. Why? Because you’ll learn how to work with other people and function as part of a team. You’ll also learn your strengths and weaknesses, and get a sense of what you like and dislike in a job. This will help you build confidence as well as learn what type of job is the ideal fit for you. When the right job does come along, you’ll feel prepared and ready to face the music.
A temp job can be the stepping stone to your ideal career. Sure it’s not a long term position, but if it brings in income, gets you out of the house and helps you gain experience and confidence, then that’s good. Temping is certainly worth it – particularly if you want to “test the waters” of a certain field before committing. You know the old saying, “it’s easier to get a job when you already have one,” right? It’s true. You will feel better about yourself because you’re making your own money (instead of just living off your parents) and gaining work experience that will last a lifetime, whatever your chosen field.
3) Be positive and persistent
Don’t let obstacles hold you back. Work on maintaining a positive attitude, about yourself and what you can accomplish. Everyone fails sometimes – but that’s okay, because failure is only temporary. The key is how you handle failure, by getting back up and trying again. Think about this: Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. Did he let these setbacks stop him? No, he kept trying. When Donald Trump failed, do you think he sat around and moped? No, he kept going and tried again, finally gaining back what he’d lost and more. So maintain a positive attitude and have faith in yourself. You have to believe in yourself first before others will.
4) Learn to overcome obstacles
If you don’t land the first job you go for, don’t let it get you down. Disappointment is part of life. Everyone goes through it, and gets past it on their way to bigger and better things. For whatever reason it just wasn’t meant to be. So accept that, pick your head up and keep going. Learn from the experience and turn the disappointment into motivation or determination to find another job.
Let those obstacles become challenges to conquer and overcome. Suppose something is getting in the way of you landing that job you want. Maybe the employer whom you want to work for isn’t hiring right now. Maybe they’re telling you that you don’t have experience. Don’t sit and mope. Instead, figure out your next move. For instance, you could ask for more benefits to make up for a lower salary. Or, you could begin temping to get the experience you need for the position you really want. And as always, you can contact the employer and ask them to keep your resume on file. By looking at a situation from the long-term or big-picture perspective, you’ll begin to recognize solutions that help you to move forward in your quest for the perfect career.
5) Be pro-active and take charge of your own life
Make a plan of action for your job search, complete with goals, deadlines and action steps. You’ve lived off your parents for some time, however long it has been, and that’s okay if it helps you get where you need to be. But now it’s time to step out and start making it on your own. Although that may be a scary prospect in many ways, it’s also incredibly empowering. Know that you can and will take care of yourself. You’ll figure out how to do it, just get started.
Copyright 2007 Hallie Crawford and Authentically Speaking. All rights reserved.
NOTE: Feel free to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info below).