You can get your dream job in this economy

Ramit Sethi Feb 3, 2012

Tess Vigeland: Despite the good news from Friday’s report, the fact is millions of people are still out of work, as Chris said. And college grads are having trouble launching their careers. Sure, the economy is mostly to blame. But commentator Ramit Sethi says they should be looking in the mirror too.

Ramit Sethi: I recently read a heartbreaking quote in the New York Times. It was from a 23-year-old Dartmouth graduate who was forced to wait tables for a few dollars an hour to pay off her student loans.

“We did everything we were supposed to,” she said. “What was the point of working so hard for 22 years if there was nothing out there?”

I feel for her. Times are tough. But I also want to offer some blunt thoughts about the job market: It’s become popular to claim that there are no jobs, but that’s simply not true. I know first-hand. I regularly teach my students how to write persuasive resumes and conquer their job interviews. Within weeks, many of them have multiple job offers.

So why do we spend so much time complaining about the economy instead of actually finding our Dream Job? To find out, I polled over 20,000 people, mostly in their 20s and 30s.

The code word for our generation’s career outlook is “betrayed” — it’s not that we’re lazy or feel entitled. We worked hard and did everything we were told, yet here we are with crippling student debt and few opportunities.

Many of us claim we want to find our Dream Job, but most of us have done very little to actually get it. Instead, we’re doing more of the same — mindlessly sending out resume after resume. Honestly, if you’ve sent out 200 resumes with no response, will sending 100 more really change anything?

Here’s one simple step to take power back into your hands: Invite three people per week out for informational interviews. Use your network — college alums, friends, friends of friends, people who already have your Dream Job. Ask them how they got their jobs — and then turn the table. Tell them how you’ve prepared for your Dream Job. Impress them with your strengths and skills. Even in this economy, hiring managers are looking for top talent. At the end of the month, you’ll have built 12 relationships that can connect you to job openings, while others will still just be complaining about the economy.

Vigeland: Ramit Sethi is the author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.” Next week, we’ll expand on this commentary in an interview with Ramit about the best strategies for job hunting.

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