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How to Create Professional Opportunities Instead of Waiting for Them

How to Create Professional Opportunities Instead of Waiting for Them

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By Leia O’Connell, MSW
Contributor, Career Services

If I were to give one piece of advice to a job seeker, it’s to stop waiting. Go out and create opportunities; they’re out there. Take a look below for tips on how to develop opportunities instead of hoping one is around the next corner.

  1. If you’re currently in school, you should be pursuing opportunities related to your field of interest. If you have good rapport with one of your instructors – consider reaching out to see if they are currently working on a research or grant project to which you could contribute. Instructors are not only sources of potential opportunities; they can also be great references when you start your job search.
  2. Becoming more involved in your community is a great way to get some experience. Let’s say you’re interested in pursuing a career in marketing. Many non-profit organizations would LOVE to have an individual come in and create/market a fundraising event for them. Through this event you could network with local businesses, practice graphic design through creation of advertising materials, and practice social medial promotion. These are all professional skills which you can add to your resume. If you don’t want to create an event on your own, find a group which already supports a non-profit and get started that way.
  3. Work for a great company but want to switch departments? Make sure you are first in line to volunteer for projects which will allow you to collaborate with members of that department. A manager will remember if you excelled on a project he or she worked on; a great way to set yourself up for success in a future interview. I once volunteered for a project outside of the department where I was working and two years later when I interviewed for a position, the manager remembered that I had volunteered on that project and mentioned it to me in the interview. You never know when that bit of extra work will benefit you down the road.
  4. Looking for a job or an internship? Talk to every single person you meet about it. I’m not suggesting you walk up to strangers and ask them for a job. BUT, if you’re having a conversation with someone, you can casually mention that you are looking for a job/internship in XYZ field. I was once struggling to find an internship which I could do in the evenings/weekends. I mentioned the difficulty I was having to a group of professionals in my field at a party. One of those people gave me a contact name of someone who was looking for interns. I called that person and to make a long story short, I ultimately interned under that person and even worked for that organization after my internship was over – all because I mentioned my search at a party.

Opportunities are out there! The next one could lead to the job of your dreams.

[Related article: Networking: Beyond the Job Application]

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