Are You Looking For a Job or a Career?

August 1, 2011


Two weeks ago I found myself in a sea of job and career seekers looking to be hired for one of no more than about 150 positions in areas of administrative support and IT related jobs featured by local universities in Washington DC. I would estimate that at least 2,500+ persons attended this Job Fair!

I happened to ask a couple of young men very much unprepared for this occasion “are you looking for a job or a career?”

I noticed within seconds a blank stark-like response enveloped on their faces as if I had said something wrong.

To my amazement they both replied,” I really don’t have a response for you.” My conversation led to sharing with them the definition for each word.

It really makes a difference about what you are seeking when attending a Job Fair. These companies and institutions are going out of their way to seek potential employees. Keep in mind that they are bringing the jobs to you!

Career (as defined in Wikipedia) is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a person’s “course or progress through life (or a distinct portion of life)”. It is usually considered to pertain to remunerative work (and sometimes also formal education).
The etymology of the term comes from the Latin word carrera, which means race (as in “rat race”.

A Job (as defined in Wikipedia) is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. A person usually begins a job by becoming an employee, volunteering, or starting a business. The duration of a job may range from an hour (in the case of odd jobs) to a lifetime (in the case of some judges). If a person is trained for a certain type of job, they may have a profession. The series of jobs a person holds in their life is their career.

It doesn’t matter how much time and money you invest in your résumé because if you have not defined for you what you’re attempting to carry out then you’re not going to be one of those successful candidates attending.

Quite frankly, I want you to get hired and to get noticed at you’re your next Job Fair visit.

Let me suggest a few tips for being competitive and successful in your approach to getting hired:

* Research job and career trends

* How does your skill set(s) match with the job posted

* Think long-term

* Re-educate an update your training for that specific posting if necessary

* Ask the employer about other job possibilities that may be coming up that’s not advertised at this particular Job Fair.

* Are your values congruent with the position you’re seeking?

* Stay positive and don’t ever give up

* Seek advisement from a career coach or counselor

Lastly, make sure you get your questions answered at those Job Fairs and leave on a positive note because now you have learned and you are much closer than you were before today to getting hired!

Curt Canada is Executive, Career, and Leadership Development Coach at FindingYourZenith in Washington DC. He holds a MSW in Social Work from the University of Iowa MAT in Teacher Education from the American University. Mr. Canada is a member of International Coach Federation and Christian Coaches Network.

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