Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Make Yourself More Marketable

As a recent college grad (I graduated one week ago today), I understand just how difficult it can be to find a job. I've applied to three different newspapers so far, and am sending material out to a fourth on Monday. Now, I know there are positions available, but it is really nerve-wracking to sit around, hoping and praying to get an interview. I've recently decided to expand my horizons and learn new things in the hope it will make me more marketable.

My degree is in print journalism. A dying field, right? Wrong. In this economy, there are fewer and fewer jobs, so it is important to expand your knowledge base online in order to grow with the times. As I have not had anyone explain the various media outlets to me, I have had to be a self-starter.

For instance, when I first started college, my parents bought me a USB-compatible digital recorder. This meant that I could record interviews and later upload them to my laptop. Handy, no? A year ago, however, I was enrolled in an advance tap class at UW-Whitewater. I wanted to practice the dances on my own, so I recorded the songs on my digital recorder. Unfortunately, it was hard to rewind, so I figured out how to format the recordings into iTunes and upload it to my iPod.

As you can tell, I have also started blogging. Honestly, no one showed me how to do it, or explained what to write about, so it is hit-or-miss right now. It's a little frustrating, as I have no followers, but I persevere.

In addition, one of my graduation gifts was The Flip - a video and audio recorder. I haven't had much time to experiment with it yet, but I plan on taking the time soon and uploading some videos online.

My final point is to seek employment outside of your major. I recently got a job with Vector Marketing selling Cutco knives. Although it is business-oriented, the skills I learn there will benefit me in my future career. My parents are not very supportive of the job, despite the fact I get paid even if customers don't purchase anything. They view it as just selling knives; I view it as selling myself.

To clarify, my position with Vector will develop my people skills and teach me sales as well. When you really break it down, there is not a huge difference between selling knives to families and selling ad space to businesses. You need to know the basic selling points as well as know how to sell your product.

I was recently told that if a newspaper has to lay off a person, they are going to lay off the individual with only one specialty, not the person who has multiple skills.

Though my position with Vector does not tie in directly, it will make me more marketable with employers. Careers can overlap, and it is for that reason that you should not be afraid to seek employment outside of your degree.

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