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Want a Job? Create a Story.

By Joan Mitchell

We recognize that trying to get a job in the current economy can be harder than trying to fit a circular peg in a square hole. But it's certainly not impossible, and whenever you can get a leg up on your competition, you might as well. Right now, there are a ton of recent grads who are still trying to find work. So what's one way to get ahead? Create a story.

Now I of course don't mean that you should lie; this isn't the type of story I want you to create. All that saying is that you should start doing something with all of the free time you have. Volunteer for a charity three days a week. Learn a language. Help a friend start a company. Just do something, so that when you land an interview and they ask, "What have you been up to for the last couple of months?" you can say something beyond, "I was looking for a job." This is for two reasons: (1) no one wants someone that everyone else doesn't want, so instead of having to answer that you've been "looking" you can instead talk about what you've been doing, and (2) if you've been doing something, it makes you a much more interesting and motivated candidate (i.e., you can tell a story). Connect that story to the job you're interviewing for (e.g., maybe you'd been interning in the industry), and a new career awaits.

Of course, some people might say, "Wait - now that I'm volunteering for a charity, won't I get pigeon-holed as a non-profit buff?" No. Build onto the story. Come up with a reason why you've been doing what you were doing. For example, in our non-profit example, you can say that you wanted to donate your time and effort to a cause you strongly believe in on a part-time basis while you were also exploring different career options.

All this being said, I by no means am suggesting that you should give up on your job hunt. Set aside at least two hours per day (or even two hours four days a week, and a full day once a week) to continue pursuing jobs openings, networking, etc. But just spice things up a bit with a new activity. And in the process, you might even meet the person who finds you your next job. You surely won't meet anyone who may connect you with your future boss sitting at home. But you definitely might if you get out of the house and get involved.

Now wouldn't that be a good story?

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