Advice from a college pro

College career centers are getting an uptick in business -- from laid off alumni looking for work. It's no wonder, because a lot of these college career professionals have a lot of expertise in advising prospective workers.

I'm going to cut and paste an email I received from recently retired college career counselor Patricia Peterson. Ms. Peterson used to run the career center at the West Philadelphia's University of the Sciences. I think she made a lot of good points. (Please excuse any typeface weirdness.)

"While I recognize the economy is in bad shape, I believe people really do not know the ins and outs of looking for work.  People right now are really desperate and will go to any job fair instead of really sitting down and figuring out what they want to do and where they should begin. Also, people, even in a tough market, still place obstacles (in their own paths), which often are procrastination mechanisms.

#1 Identify the Four Main  Environments-
Government -  Most people do not even think about government hiring. Look at, or look at the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Civil Service, etc.
Non-Profit - Try and look at listings around the world for those interested in the non-profit sector
Education - Colleges and Universities hire all skill levels from janitor to professor.  People think colleges and universities only hire highy skilled people but it takes many different skill levels to keep these institutions open.  Go to the Human Resources section of any of the nearly 75+ colleges and universities in the greater Delaware Valley Region and view openings, includes the community colleges as well.  Also, private independent schools have opportunities for teaching for new graduates. Go to
Corporate- This one is tough right now, but again, look at the different industries and try, and,,
#2 Geography -
How far are they willing to go to work?  I always tell people to go where the jobs are although I recognize everyone cannot do this.  Decide how far you are willing to commute via, automobile, train or bus.
#3 Cover the Water Front in Your Job Search Efforts:
This means:
Looking on-line - Register New York Times Job Forum, Career Builder, MonsterTrak, (I have to also suggest -- adding to Patricia's list -- that you check the Philadelphia Inquirer and
Attending job fairs
Networking by going to association  meetings.  Example, if you are an accountant, go the library and look for the Association Book in America and find out when the National Association of Accountants have their monthly meetings here in Philadelphia.  Generally you can attend, go and introduce yourself and network, network. 
Career Services Offices at your alma mater or call and ask them to write a Letter of Reciprocity so you can use a career center near your home.  More often than not, there is no fee.
Job Coaching Groups - Trinity Church in Princeton, New Jersey has one of the best on the country.
Utilize "The Workplace" at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia Free Public Library. - career and job search info
#4.  Be realistic in your search.  Set reasonable guidelines in terms of salary.  Look at the entire package, and not just your take-home pay.  Look at those health benefits. pension.
Thanks, Patricia, for your advice, and enjoy your second career in retirement.   

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