Q: I went through a rough marriage, which ended in a traumatic divorce. I determined that I could find any low-paying job, or I could spend some of the divorce-settlement money to get a college degree. I chose a program in diagnostic medical sonography. I managed to graduate with a B.S. and honors. It has been eight months and still no job. I'm tired and depressed and just want the struggles to end. - Trish
A: J.T.: Kudos to you for taking a chance. As a career coach, I often have clients who just dither following a divorce - it's wonderful to hear that you chose to move on and create your own happiness.
Dale: Did you read a different letter? The one I read is from Trish, who's depressed.
J.T.: Yes, and I want her to reconnect with the energy that got her a new degree. I assume, Trish, that your school's career center hasn't helped. Even so, I'd go back to it. I'd also go to your instructors. Ask if you can meet for a cup of coffee to "pick their brain" about getting a job.
Dale: Remember, though, that while most instructors are willing to share their wisdom, they don't want to take on the task of finding you a job. So I wouldn't mention jobs when you contact them, just that you want to talk about what's going on in the industry. Then, when you meet, you can ask for names at the facilities they mention. But you might do better seeking out classmates who got jobs. These are people who are much closer to the job market and might have fresher information and leads.
J.T.: You also should contact all the facilities in your area that use the technologies you've studied. You might try volunteering to do an internship : unpaid. I know, I know. But listen to this: I had a client who did only three months as an intern before she was scooped up by another company, making a wonderful salary. She's ahead of where she'd be if she hadn't worked for free. And you can add an internship to your resume.
Dale: Force yourself to think of networking as another education, a degree to make your degree useful; if you do, you'll find that networking can be an antidepressant. Here's an important principle for any job hunter: In cases of roughly equal qualifications and personableness, the job goes to the applicant with the most energy (physical and mental). The folks from school might remember you for your dreary past, as "the one getting a divorce." You have to replace that image with that of one who's out meeting everyone, sharing ideas and energy, the one with a future.